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When you speak in a language, do you also think in that language?


My answer would be, undiplomatic: 'Of course I do. Why do you ask such strange questions??!' 


But some postings here seem to imply that this is not common? I would not be able to first think in Dutch, and then switch to English, German, Spanish, then translate what I want to say, then say it out loud. That goes way too slow! Even in languages I do not know perfectly like German or Spanish, I work this way: one language only. To my opinion it would be almost impossible to constantly use two languages, your native and the foreign one, and then swap back and swap forward. In my opinion, to be able to speak fluent, you should get the native language out of your head, and only use the foreign one. Do you agree? Is that the only way?



Well ,actually not .. for those who get used to one language . For example ,I have been speaking Italian for two years ( I have learned it for more than four years though )I don't properly think in Chinese when speaking it .. I am not saying that I speak nativelike .. I catch what people talk to me .. but I can barely translate some phrases or sentences into Chinese ,which is my mother language . I just managed to speak without thinking in Chinese . Thanks for share your discussion and I would appreciate if you could correct me.


Ah yes. Well if I would try to describe what happens in my brain, is that basically I build all sentences in the foreign language, using the foreign vocabulary I know. If do not know a term, I try to describe it with other words, but still that of the foreign vocabulary. If that does not work, I try to form another sentence, but still in the foreign language. If that still does not work, then, at the utter latest moment, I fall back to my native tongue, and I think: 'Oh, darn, what is the word for XXXX in XXXX. What am I going to do now'. But mostly for minutes, Dutch does not enter my head. Dutch is the last resort, the tool back down in the basement, that only comes out as the last option. It should not enter my head anyway, since it's useless at that moment.

I'm thinking is it worth a discussion? :D

Yes, I agree with you. I believe that our native languages disrupt our willing to speak a foreign language.
because we have been brought up on thinking in our native languages. so I think somehow it became a physical habbit, to send our thoughts and ideas from the sensors or actuators of our body (like eyes, nose, ears or hands ...etc)  in our native language to the brain to process it.
So, i think the best solution to this problem is to forget the native language for a while, i know it is somewhat difficult but you know it its gonna be acheived step by step, and the best way to do this is by living among people who speak this forign language, also by willing to have their culture and this is a very important point.


Well at least it is about languages, that is what we are here for @Silent Demon7.


But maybe it's so common to also think in the language you are talking, it is indeed not even worth mentioning. As I said, my own answer is also, Yes, why do you ask this silly question? I was just surprised there are people who do not.

My grandfather spoke several languages, and my father told me that that's what he always used to tell him: "You have to be able to think in the language if you want to speak it!"


I haven't achieved fluency in a second language yet, so I'm still learning to think in another language. I think I'm getting there, but I still have a ways to go.

I strongly agree with you. If you want to speak foreign language perfectly (or good), you have to think in foreign language. If you want to think in foreign language you have to forget native language. I know it, becouse i am not able to do it...;-). Best way is to leave native country.


It is not the matter of turning off the native language. "turning off" is almost impossible. The native language is a some kind of mesure we count the world. For example, russian phrase for 6:30  is "It is half to 7" on comparison  english one "It is half past 6". These are not thinking but inner constructions. So the way of fluent speaking in foreign language is to get habits of using another constractions. The latest could be similar or different. Another example. You know the sportsmen in high jumping have the favorite foot for an impetus. Can they jump from another foot? Sure. Do the favorite foot make the jumping from other foot difficult? :)))

Okay, I'll discuss it.


Yes, the fact is not worth mentioning because it is obvious. :D


Also, I think advising people to "turn off" their native language while speaking a foreign one is the right thing to do but may be of little use. I mean, if you you can't think in a foreign language "turning off" your native language will not automatically teach you how to think in a foreign one. Easier said than done. I think most people will say "okay, I've turned off my mother tongue, what do I do next?"

If my level in that language is above average or even just average I will think in that language. It's hard to translate word for word from my native language to example English or english to my native language because there are words or expression that cannot be translate word for word. for example " come on man, what's up?, cover me ( command use by police/military) and there are also words and expression that cannot be translated to english word for word. However if I am beginner in a certain language like Spanish and I dont  have enough knowledge about the language I am really tempted to think of english first then tried to translate it to Spanish. I dont know why I think about english first rather than my native language before speaking what I want to say in Spanish

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