Bilingual+ WPers, what language do you think in?

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Readydaer
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01 Dec 2023, 8:01 am

My first language was Spanish but I generally only speak it at home with my family, and I'm much more adept at English anyways, thus I think in it.


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IsabellaLinton
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01 Dec 2023, 8:08 am

I think in English even though I know French.

My exbf thinks and dreams in Spanish, but speaks English.


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MatchboxVagabond
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01 Dec 2023, 8:10 am

Honestly, it varies a lot. I'm passable in 3 languages, and can utter comprehensible phrases in a lot more, but the whole thing can be a bit of a mess, especially if I'm stuck between languages.

That being said, I do usually stick to English, just because I was speaking it for decades before I picked up any other language and the only two languages that would be useful are English and Farsi. But, then again, most of the English that's in my head is unrelated to what I'm doing. And from time to time all the language goes away completely, and I'm not even sure how I'm thinking.

IMHO, it doesn't make much sense to think in a language that you're not using for daily living or whatever language you're actively using where you're at right now. Which is probably why folks tend to default to their native language when thinking, there's a pretty high hurdle to clear in order to regularly think in a different language. It's like writing with your nondominant hand. Only about 25% of handedness is genetic, it's just that learning to write with the other hand is a lot of work, so people usually don't bother.



naturalplastic
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01 Dec 2023, 8:36 am

At a party way back in college I got into a conversation with a guy from a odd back ground family where they all fluently spoke, French, English, Russian, and Ukrainian. And I asked him that very question.

He said that he himself would stop his train of thought to ask himself "hey, what language am I thinking in?".

And he said that a lot of times "it's no language at all. It's just thinking."



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01 Dec 2023, 9:15 am

I think first in concepts then in whatever language I'm using. If I'm not using any language then I default to the one I'm mostly using at the time. Typically my native language English.



CockneyRebel
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01 Dec 2023, 11:20 am

I find myself thinking in German a lot.


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MatchboxVagabond
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01 Dec 2023, 6:40 pm

I asked my wife, her first language is Farsi and she's allegedly NT, she uses English in her head a lot more now that she's married me. Which is consistent with my experience. I don't usually think in German or Chinese these days as I've been too busy lately to use either much.

I personally find that keeping multiple languages separate involves picking and choosing which one I'll be defaulting to. Whenever I go through a period of intense study/use, I'll go through a period where the wrong language will pop out from time to time as I train my brain about which one I'm supposed to be using.



Raleigh
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01 Dec 2023, 7:32 pm

Sign language


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funeralxempire
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01 Dec 2023, 8:06 pm

CockneyRebel wrote:
I find myself thinking in German a lot.


You speak German? 8O


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Lost_dragon
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01 Dec 2023, 8:10 pm

I think in English the vast majority of the time. Granted, I'm not bilingual, but I'm trying to learn German.

There are exceptions. I've had dreams where one speaker was speaking in German and the other replies in English.

I used to play video games in German to help me learn the language. As a side effect of this, I sometimes forget the term for certain power ups or spells in the English version of particular games. So I'll use the terms the German dub used when thinking.

On a somewhat related note, a friend recently asked me 'Hey, you speak a bit of German, right? What does this song say?' then played the song. I decided to see what I could understand - only to be met with 'I am an omen! I am the end of your days! I am the plague!' which was definitely an interesting introduction to a song. :lol: However, I will say it's become one of my favourites. Definitely a good song for Halloween.


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Edna3362
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01 Dec 2023, 8:16 pm

I also think in English more often and read in English more frequently.



Me thinking in my native language?
There's something lacking to it.
Something missing -- likely the gaps over the thoughts from the English language that my native tongue couldn't come up with.

I've yet to actually 'get to know' this side of me, despite speaking more frequently with it.
And if I force to think in my native language, it sounded like my mother. :?


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MatchboxVagabond
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01 Dec 2023, 8:27 pm

Raleigh wrote:
Sign language

As odd as that might sound to some, that's one of the reasons why it's so important to teach people sign language if they can't hear what people are saying.

Personally, that reminds me of when I was learning to reach Chinese and I'd see characters in my head as I was talking and listening. (Not that I'm particularly literate, I think I'm at a similar level to a primary school child)



naturalplastic
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01 Dec 2023, 8:46 pm

CockneyRebel wrote:
I find myself thinking in German a lot.


But you dont speak German. So how could you be able to "think in it"?



naturalplastic
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01 Dec 2023, 8:56 pm

Edna3362 wrote:
I also think in English more often and read in English more frequently.



Me thinking in my native language?
There's something lacking to it.
Something missing -- likely the gaps over the thoughts from the English language that my native tongue couldn't come up with.

I've yet to actually 'get to know' this side of me, despite speaking more frequently with it.
And if I force to think in my native language, it sounded like my mother. :?


Maybe you go back and forth because each language conveys things that the other doesnt?



naturalplastic
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Tim_Tex
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01 Dec 2023, 9:14 pm

I have been thinking in Portuguese lately.

My speaking is still piss poor, but I have mastered reading in Portuguese.


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