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What language do bilinguals think in and can they think in their weaker language? Watch

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    I'm finnish and I have studied english for 10 years and I can think in english. Sometimes without even noticing it. Every time I'm reading, speaking or listening something in that language I also think with it as well. It would be confusing to think with finnish while I'm speaking english. But practicly I am not officially bilingual as I speak only finnish on daily basis (living in Finland, hopefully in UK next september!)

    All in all I can speak 4 languages: finnish, english, german and swedish.
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    (Original post by fat_pam)
    Just curious.
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    (Original post by Pikkukaveri)
    I'm finnish and I have studied english for 10 years and I can think in english. Sometimes without even noticing it. Every time I'm reading, speaking or listening something in that language I also think with it as well. It would be confusing to think with finnish while I'm speaking english. But practicly I am not officially bilingual as I speak only finnish on daily basis (living in Finland, hopefully in UK next september!)

    All in all I can speak 4 languages: finnish, english, german and swedish.
    How many languages can you think in?
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    I'm only strictly fluent in the one language so can't speak from experience but after reading a couple of super-interesting books by Steven Pinker, I don't actually believe that people, bilingual or otherwise, necessarily "think in language". I'm paraphrasing Pinker's words but I think that the cognitive mechanisms involved in thought processes occur before the "language" part kicks in and that language is just the human output of communicating our thoughts, if that makes sense.
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    My yoga teacher is Brit but spent many, many years in Italy - married, raised kids, the whole shooting match. She's now back in UK but says she still thinks in Italian.
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    (Original post by Amusing Elk)
    I'm only strictly fluent in the one language so can't speak from experience but after reading a couple of super-interesting books by Steven Pinker, I don't actually believe that people, bilingual or otherwise, necessarily "think in language". I'm paraphrasing Pinker's words but I think that the cognitive mechanisms involved in thought processes occur before the "language" part kicks in and that language is just the human output of communicating our thoughts, if that makes sense.
    I agree, people think in concepts.

    But humans like thinking in language, it's sort of a layer above concepts. A mapping in a way. The language maps to concepts. Though it is quicker to think in concepts I guess.
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    (Original post by fat_pam)
    I agree, people think in concepts.

    But humans like thinking in language, it's sort of a layer above concepts. A mapping in a way. The language maps to concepts. Though it is quicker to think in concepts I guess.
    Yeah I took a couple of classes at uni about these kinds of ideas. It's still a matter up for debate but I agree that there is some kind of mapping relationship between thought/comprehension and the formulation/output of language.
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    (Original post by fat_pam)
    How many languages can you think in?
    Fluently two: Finnish and english. If I speak with native swedish or german speaker I have to translate what I speak most of the time because I don't speak them as fluently as english.

    I usually don't have to translate english because I understand it so well. In fact I find it useless for me to translate english to finnish when I speak (or think) it because it just takes too much time and is annoying.
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    Well I'm fluent in Chinese (both mandarin and cantonese) but since I grew up in England I'm also fluent in English so it doesn't make much of a difference to me. Feel like I think in both
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    (Original post by michelle88222)
    Well I'm fluent in Chinese (both mandarin and cantonese) but since I grew up in England I'm also fluent in English so it doesn't make much of a difference to me. Feel like I think in both
    So you prefer to think in English?
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    (Original post by fat_pam)
    What age did you learn English and Urdu?
    No particular age but i think urdu at like around age 2 and english when playgroup started
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    (Original post by retro_turtles)
    No particular age but i think urdu at like around age 2 and english when playgroup started
    So do you think slower in Urdu compared to English?
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    (Original post by Pikkukaveri)
    Fluently two: Finnish and english. If I speak with native swedish or german speaker I have to translate what I speak most of the time because I don't speak them as fluently as english.

    I usually don't have to translate english because I understand it so well. In fact I find it useless for me to translate english to finnish when I speak (or think) it because it just takes too much time and is annoying.
    Can you think in Swedish and German?
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    I lived in Spain for 5 years and almost always spoke and thought in Spanish. I'm back in England now (English is my first language but I speak Spanish at home) and mainly speak and think in English unless I'm having a conversation in Spanish...in which case I'll think in Spanish.
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    I had a teacher who's first language was Scottish Gaelic, then learned fluent English by age 9 and in later life learned German and French as well as Latin.

    He said that even though he didn't use Latin for over eight years at the time, one night he had a spontaneous dream entirely in Latin. He also said that sometimes he'd have 'mixed sentences' like: Oh, that was uamhasach math! or No, I don't have une gomme.
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    I think it depends on how and where you are raised also the situation at hand....I mostly think in Yoruba since it was my first language I understood.But when over thinking,I ended up thinking in English.
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    (Original post by fat_pam)
    Can you think in Swedish and German?
    Spontaneously no. I can make myself think in German or Swedish but I don't do that unless I need to, for some reason use the language. That's because I have only studied German and Swedish for 6 years and I don't have to use them on a daily basis.
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    (Original post by jahyjahy)
    I think it depends on how and where you are raised also the situation at hand....I mostly think in Yoruba since it was my first language I understood.But when over thinking,I ended up thinking in English.
    How many languages are you fluent in?
 
 
 
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