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The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: The Pollantir:
Do you speak another language?
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Poll: Do you speak another language?
A little bit
View Results (68 votes)


Nov 23 2013, 7:05am

Post #26 of 40 (270 views)
Dreaming in French [In reply to] Can't Post

This is something I've wondered before: what language to people who speak more than one language think in? I asked my aunt once (who is Mexican and speaks both Spanish and English fluently), but I don't recall her response. I find it very interesting that you said you've dreamt in French before. Did you ever think in French? Or did you have to translate before speaking it?

Grey Havens

Nov 23 2013, 2:32pm

Post #27 of 40 (253 views)
It depends. [In reply to] Can't Post

I listed myself as speaking 5 languages, but I have native fluency for speaking, reading, and writing in only two, English and Lithuanian. (My parents were Lithuanian immigrants to the US). At work I always think in English. I'd attribute this to the fact that I work in a technical field, in which I was educated in that language. I would not even have the words in my other languages to think about problems at work!

But if I am thinking about family, friends, social interactions with them, etc. I sometimes think about/remember them in Lithuanian (the language in which I have such interactions).

I'd class "thinking before I speak" as a separate instance. In none of the five languages I speak well enough to have mentioned them, do I think in English of what I want to say before translating and saying it. I just say what I want to say, in that language, without any particular mental preparation in another language. In that sense, I do think in all of my languages. What don't ever do, is find myself driving along in my car thinking over events of the day, books I have read, things at work, etc. and find I am doing so in a language other than English or Lithuanian.

I can remember, thinking back, that in the early days of learning the three languages I picked up in school, that I did sometimes think in English and translatie, but this was something I moved away from as I got better and acquired enough vocabulary/experience with the language. I also did this in a college course I took in German, in which we read German literature and has to write papers about it in German (I find writing about literature for a university hard enough in English...!) Even while, if conversing with someone in German, I would have been doing it without tranlsating.


Nov 23 2013, 11:11pm

Post #28 of 40 (232 views)
Dreaming in foreign languages [In reply to] Can't Post

That's an interesting point. I remember, when I lived in England, it felt like a milestone to wake up in the morning with the first thought on my mind "Is it morning already?" instead of the German equivalent and then realising I had also dreamt in English. It was a nice sign of finally, truly being there.

Forum Admin / Moderator

Nov 25 2013, 2:42pm

Post #29 of 40 (226 views)
Yep [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm doing it right now...

Native is Dutch.
I pretend I'm rather fluent in English and German.
And I can manage a simple conversation in French.

And some words for touristy things in Spanish and Italian.

Tol Eressea

Dec 3 2013, 1:07pm

Post #30 of 40 (203 views)
Yes, but of them only English is good. [In reply to] Can't Post

My German is rusty, my Swedish is a joke, and I've failed twice to learn proper Spanish...

The plan is us to update my German and then learn Russian!

Tol Eressea

Dec 3 2013, 1:08pm

Post #31 of 40 (230 views)
I often think in English [In reply to] Can't Post

And sometimes I realize I can't find the proper word in Finnish, but do find it easily in English... it's scary...


Dec 4 2013, 5:52pm

Post #32 of 40 (198 views)
Language [In reply to] Can't Post

I am a French native speaker so that's the language I use everyday but I am very close to be bilingual after 2 years and a half of learning English. Since then I am quite in a fulll immersion of the language. I watch TV and read books more than often in English. Also, that's the language I use most on the Internet. There is just bigger communities and informations available online. That's very useful. ;) As a result, I often think in English and at times part of my dreams are mixed up French/English as well.

(This post was edited by sam90 on Dec 4 2013, 5:57pm)


Dec 4 2013, 6:08pm

Post #33 of 40 (184 views)
I got to where I could hold a conversation without speaking [In reply to] Can't Post

I still can pick up some stuff when listening to a movie in French without needing to translate. But it's mostly gone.

One of my friends is Dutch but has lived in the US for 30 years and he says that he now not only thinks & dreams in English, but when he goes home to the Netherlands, he doesn't always understand what people say to him in Dutch.

Superuser / Moderator

Dec 4 2013, 7:20pm

Post #34 of 40 (193 views)
I have thought in shorthand. [In reply to] Can't Post

I know it's not another language but when I was learning it in high school, I found that I was making shorthand outlines in my head when other people were speaking. It was quite annoying!


Dec 5 2013, 2:22am

Post #35 of 40 (190 views)
I'm fascinated with languages. I wish they were easier to learn. [In reply to] Can't Post

I can say a few things in German & Spanish, but almost conversational in American Sign Language.


Dec 7 2013, 10:34pm

Post #36 of 40 (182 views)
Language [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree Nira but also that depend how you learn it.

As for myself, 3 years ago I wanted to have English courses but couldn't afford them. Still I was determined so I set myself to watch the TV in English only, even it I didn't understand most of it. Also, I ordered a couple of books in English on amazon and started to read words by words , phrases by phrases with the dictionnary. It took me 1 hour to read 2 pages in the very beginning.

I picked up things along the way and pieced words together, matched phrases, recognized patterns and learned.

So, unless you can frequently attend language classes, all it takes to learn a language is an unshakable resolve and time. You are rewarded little by little. What a great satisfaction it is when you realize that you can fluidly follow a conversation and read a good book writted by the Professor Tolkien himself.

(This post was edited by sam90 on Dec 7 2013, 10:38pm)

Tol Eressea

Dec 8 2013, 6:10pm

Post #37 of 40 (212 views)
No, but my interest in languages always follows [In reply to] Can't Post

whatever my current interest in films is. When i was obsessed with Ingmar Bergman in and after college, i wanted to learn Swedish. When i was obsessed with French Cinema, and was going to France, i wanted to learn French. Never did either.

(This post was edited by sauget.diblosio on Dec 8 2013, 6:17pm)


Dec 12 2013, 5:00pm

Post #38 of 40 (127 views)
yep!! =) [In reply to] Can't Post

Cantonese, conversational Spanish and Mandarin! =)


Dec 20 2013, 3:01am

Post #39 of 40 (110 views)
that's wonderful! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for sharing your experience! I studied linguistics in college and the topic that interested me most was second language acquisition in adults. I honestly think one of the biggest factors in how well someone learns a language is motivation and it sounds like it worked for you! Your English is excellent! Smile


Dec 24 2013, 2:07am

Post #40 of 40 (107 views)
yes [In reply to] Can't Post

but not very well. Unsure

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