How do you think in a particular language?

My German teachers say that before speaking or writing German, one must think in German. As far as I have observed my mind, I normally think in English. So, before speaking or writing German or Japanese, I might think in German or Japanese without realizing it. I think it’s better tht way, because if I realize it, then I’ll start thinking in English again. Then, I’ll have to translate the whole thing in German and this process will take ages….. But, even so, how do you tell your brain to think in a particular language? I totally agree with the fact that one must think in a certain language before speaking that language, but how does the brain think in a particular language without the person noticing it?


One thought on “How do you think in a particular language?

  1. In my experience you don’t tell yourself to, you just do once you are fluent enough. My mother tongue is English, and yet I have had dreams in Swedish – and even sometimes my brain flips over and tries to read English words in Swedish – if that makes sense. (My brain ‘sounds it out’ in Swedish phonetics and then I get confused for a millisecond until I realize what’s happening. I haven’t lived in Sweden for 13 years. I also recall my BFF back in Sweden was fluent in Swedish, English and French. She would flip back and forth between speaking Swedish and English without even realizing it. …until you get to that point with any of those languages, just try to thinking in German or Japanese. Start with simple thoughts… think about your grocery list or something and eventually it will become second nature to switch it on.

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