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About thinking in a foreign language

What is your opinion about "thinking" in a foreign language? For me, it has been very difficult, because I have the tendency to translate in my mind.

For more advanced students of any language, is it posible? Have you achieved think in a second language? 

What is the best form to learn to thinking in a second language?

Thanks for comments.

Mar 1, 2018 8:46 PM
Comments · 4
I have found in learning Spanish that the more I read in Spanish, the less I need to translate in my  head. This takes practice over many weeks, but it has worked for me. The process seems to transfer to listening later on. I have a sense of "knowing" that is much faster than having to translate.   I haven't gotten that far with my Portuguese, yet, but I know I will get better if I read in Portuguese regularly.
March 1, 2018

In my opinion thinking in a foreign language is obviously possible. It may be considered one of the learning methods, but it has it's disadvantages. The quality of your 'thinking' depends on your level. When you are advanced, you know a lot of vocabulary and the most frequent grammar constructions - you may think about everything and your thoughts will be like the fluent speech (or at least you will imagine it is). When you are beginner, you may try to think using the vocabulary and grammar you already know. In fact it may help you with talking to foreigners.

How to start? Imagine that you meet a friend who can speak only the language you learn. This person is with you all the day (in your mind of course) and you have to explain him everything you do. If something just came to your mind - share it with him in your target language. And remember - communication above all. When you start thinking - just verbalize it at once and don't wait until you will know what to say. If you have idea that it would be better to create the sentence and then translate it - don't do it, drop it, try to say it in shorter sentences with easier vocabulary. When you think you need a dictionary - forget it and try to find other word (maybe a few). Your imaginary friend will not wait.

Of course you will make enormous number of mistakes that way. You may check them later and discuss with your teacher. Your aim is to adapt your brain to verbalize your thoughts in other language at once. It helps when you meet real person and have to talk to her - you speak faster though not perfectly correct.

Will you speak fluently after this exercise? Unfortunately not. Our brain plays tricks on us, makes shortcuts in our thoughts - we may think we have built the complete sentence... and skip it or substitute with our native language. So when we try to speak we recognize we are not so good as we thought. So it is not the method you can use separately. 

March 1, 2018
The easiest way for me to prevent myself from thinking in my native language is to watch a movie in one of the languages I'm learning, with subtitles in the other.  I'll watch a Chinese movie with French subtitles or a French movie with Chinese subtitles.  My brain doesn't have room for three languages at the same time, English disappears, and I suddenly find myself thinking in the target languages.
March 1, 2018
I think that translate in your mind is normal! And at some point you catch that yourself thinking in another language =)
March 1, 2018
Language Skills
English, Spanish
Learning Language