What language do you think on?

I am bilingual in Russian and Hebrew, I speak English on a C1 and I have an A2 (or maybe B1) in French.
I speak Russian at home, Hebrew at school and with my friends, and most of the media I consume is in English. Most of the time English is the most comfortable language for me to think or write (journal) in, though if I’m reading a book in Hebrew or Russian or when I’m in Russia for a long time I might think in Russian/Hebrew.
It’s been like that since I’ve started reading and browsing the Internet in English.
It would be very interesting to hear what languages do you guys think on? Is it your native language? How does it depend on your environment?

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I always think in the foreign language I am using. For example, if I write a letter in French, I think in French. Or when I am going to visit my friend to talk Italian to her, I am thinking in Italian on my way to her house.

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I haven’t developed the skill to spend much time thinking in any language but English, my native. However, I do find that the more I study, the more likely that words and phrases sneak in to my inner monolog that are from the languages I’m studying. I would like to think in other languages one day and I feel I will the more I use them.

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As a bilingual person, it’s interesting. I am able to express myself in both languages, but sometimes, English can win a little more because of the environment I live in. I can switch to Spanish when I’m hanging out with fellow Spanish speakers in my city.

I have always had that ability to think in my foreign languages, but not on the A1 - level. I needed immersion situstions to stimulate my thinking level. I learned to think in Danish and Norwegian as a praticipant of VHS conversation courses, where the whole discussions are in the target language. My wish to be able to think in Turkish failed completely, because all of the Turkish courses I atended were taught in German, so I had never a chance to assimilate the Turkish language.

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Usually I think in the language I’d be using aloud. So when I think of what to say to a Hungarian, I’ll think it in Hungarian, etc.
But it does happen that I get it wrong. Once I talked on the phone with my German aunt, and afterwards thought about what she had said. I knew the exact Hungarian word she had used … but she doesn’t know any Hungarian, so it must have been a German word. And I couldn’t even find the equivalent of the Hungarian word in German, though German is my mother tongue.
The languages I interact in (and therefore think in) are mostly German, Hungarian and English. But when I’m lucky, words in other languages come to my mind, after having listened a lot in these languages.

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When I’m thinking in one language while immersed in an environment that speaks a different language, I sometimes get confused in my head and it’s very funny. I’ll say a sentence to myself in English but then reply in Russian, and the sentence after that will be in Hebrew.
It does get messy though and there’s no one to get me out of it as it’s happening inside my head :sweat_smile:

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During the time I lived in Chile, I would think in Spanish unless I was at home with my family. Now I live in Brazil and I think in Portuguese (my native language) when I’m talking to my family or friends, or when I’m doing anything related to college. But except for those situations, I always think in English. Ever since I started reading and doing things on the internet in English it became the language I’m most comfortable with, to the point that all my inner monologues are in English haha

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I’m a bilingual. Although my native language is Indonesian, somehow I always think in my second language which is English. And thus, I can better express myself in English. Now as I’m learning Chinese, I am purposely trying to think in Chinese a lot more often, and I do get to dream in Chinese too sometimes.

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I think in whatever language I am using, for languages B+ or C level. The funny thing is, I sometimes get so into reading or listening to something interesting, that I forget what language I’m in, and I’m just “understanding”. I’m sure many of you’ve felt the same at some point, but I’ve never met other fellow polyglots (if I can call myself one), so I haven’t talked about this before.

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I think in a variety of languages. It depends on what I’m doing, who I’m talking to, and/or which language I’m into at that moment. I think mostly in Korean, Chinese and Taiwanese because they are my native languages. However, I also think in English, Malay, Indonesian and Vietnamese because I consume content heavily in these 4 languages as well. @Mateo I understand what you meant! I’ve felt the same on many occasions. Because we are so used the languages that we’re learning, it seems so natural “to be in that language mode”. :joy:

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My mother tongue is German and I speak English at a C2 level. I usually think in either of these two languages, depending on the situation or even the day. If I use one language throughout the whole day, i.e. at work, at home, in shops etc., then I usually think in that language, too. But if I, maybe watch a movie or read a book in English while speaking with my fiance in German it can happen that I think in English even though speaking German. If I’m really cought up in said movie or book it has occasionally happened, that I would answer him in English even though he is speaking German :see_no_evil:

As for my other languages, I’m currently studying Arabic (A2-B1) and am relearning French (B1-B2). I try to have one Arabic day and one French day during the week. It’s usually the day on which I have my respective lessons and on those days I try to think as much as possible in the target language, but that still is an active effort and nothing that comes naturally yet and I’d never accidentally switch to either of those languages because I’m not fluent enough in them yet.

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I am a Polish native speaker but when I use English I am thinking in English. At least I am trying to:) I would say it is the only right way to use a foreign language properly.

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@PinAngel

I go through the same thing! What’s horrific to me though is when those random foreign terms slip out in the middle of a seemingly normal English conversation with English-speaking people.

One time I was like…“I am talking about “Knoblauch” uummm what do you call Knoblauch again in English buddy? Doesn’t it sound familiar to you? Vampires hate it or so I learned from Hotel Transylvania. :roll_eyes: It’s German… Ok never mind I will Google it.” :rofl::rofl:

That happens all the time. I don’t know how to shut my brain off when it starts forming sentences with all kinds of languages.

The mind of a multilingual… right?

Zeina

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That depends on the environment. But usually I think in english and russian. My native language is spanish.

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I just had an experience with my Grupo de conversación de español. I was chatting and I completely lost the word for “leaf” in Spanish(hola), but it popped up in both German(Blatt) and Romanian(frunze) in my head. Unfortunately, it was a word with no cognate between any of the languages. I had to revert to English to ask my partners what it was. I have that kind of thing happen quite a bit.

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For me I have always been able to think in Russian and English because I am able to speak quite extensively in both languages. I tend to think in the language that I am using or speaking in but it is fun to play around with changing the language of my internal dialogue from time to time. I have just about reached a point were I am able to make a conscious switch into thinking in French, but it is very limited by my vocabulary. This is such an interesting topic as I find it really helpful to think in a language I want to improve and it is a great way to practice a bit in everyday situations.

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Yup I hear ya! :hugs:

Does anyone else here think in the last language that somebody else spoke to you in?
I do and it drives me crazy that other people can change what language I’m thinking in!
(I’ve had this question in mind for years…I only just discovered the ‘polyglot world’ and would love to know what you think!)

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Hola Tamsin, benvinguda. En aquest sentit és molt fàcil canviar d’estructura linguistica. Quan nosaltres pensem en una llengua, utilitzem una estructura predeterminada. Quan canviem de llengua (és a dir, passem a pensar en una llengua a pensar en una altra llengua) ens adaptem a una estructura diferent i cada llengua és una estructrua autopreservada, amb el seu ordre de paraules, la seva gramàtica, el seu vocabulari i els seus matisos (nuances). Jo sóc Matías, un argentí de Buenos Aires que parla català.