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23 / M / Kaguya's Panties
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Posted 1/9/15
English, always.

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23 / M / AZ
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Posted 1/9/15
I think in Español and English
Sometimes in Spanglish
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16 / F / Connecticut
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Posted 1/9/15
If I was capable of learning another language, I would probably think in the language I was talking to people in and then think in English when I'm by myself.
I think one would think in pictures and sounds (but not words) if language didn't exist.
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Posted 1/9/15 , edited 1/9/15
I think people would be more inclined to think in there native language as that is what they are most familiar with. However over time my guess would be that their native language would begin to subside as they are not around it anymore(given the fact that they remain in the other area the rest of their lives and are only around people who speak that area's native tongue). So then they would most likely start thinking in the language that they are around.

As for your second question I am not sure. I would like to probably assume pictures would be the answer, but I am unsure. I do not believe we would actually be able to think. We wouldn't be able to communicate with one another or have an understanding of things. I don't know how to answer this question really, it's very thought provoking. Hmm I'll think about it some more and may add to my response later.

Posted 1/9/15

Scooty-Bby wrote:

It would depend how old you are, as its not very easy to change your natural mindset...


There was a British guy who woke up from a coma and spoke fluent french even though he's only studied french up to year 9...which is like when you're around 15 years old. Pretty funny.
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33 / M / outer wall, level...
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Posted 1/9/15
the more spanish i use, the more i think in spanish.
Posted 1/9/15

penguinguyx wrote:

1) You'll eventually end up thinking more and more in the language that you use the most often. It is more about using a particular language than being around that particular language. This may even come at the cost of a reduced functioning vocabulary for your unused (primary in your example) language.

Source: Experience.

2) This doesn't really answer your question (at least not directly). But here is a link to an episode of Radiolab (NPR) called "Words."
http://www.radiolab.org/story/91725-words/

The entire episode is quite interesting. The most on point is the first segment "Words that Change the World." It is about a woman who teaches a 27-year old man his first words.


Thanks for that link, it was well worth listening to even past the first segment.
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27 / M
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Posted 1/9/15
I'm no psychologist, but based on my observations I would say that people don't actually "think in their language" so much that they "think in patterns". If you've ever tried to learn the words to a song, for instance, you'll probably find that it's easier to remember the words in the middle of a verse after remembering the words at the beginning of the verse, and remembering the entire verse is often dependent upon whether you can remember the beginning.

When learning a language that is not your primary language, you will often learn that language in the context of your primary language. This creates patterns in your memory that map between your primary language and the foreign language which allow you to form foreign words or phrases by thinking about the word or phrase you wish to say in your primary language. That pattern of thinking is then typically triggered by whether the person you're talking to is speaking the foreign language or not. Once you have enough understanding of the foreign language, you can begin to remember patterns without thinking about your primary language at all. Thus, you're beginning to cut your primary language out of your thought process. However, since most of the patterns that you remember were learned while you were only exposed to your primary language, you will still tend to think in your primary language where applicable.

If you don't speak any language, you can still learn to trigger your synapses based on what you hear. I would use my cat as an example. She can't speak any language (unless you count other forms of communication as language, such as body language), but she is able to recognize when I'm saying her name or speaking in a tone of voice that indicates she's the center of my attention. She reacts accordingly based on her recollection of previous events. She's not thinking "meow meow", but rather remembering a pattern where I call her name, she comes over to me, and I pet her.
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Posted 1/9/15
I would probably start thinking in the second language, I would know because I'm bilingual.
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25 / F / Hoth
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Posted 1/9/15
Primarily, it'll depend on your age whether or not you can learn to think in another language. I learned French when I was about 4 years old, and I can think in both French and English. Sometimes, the language I think in is directly related to what I'm thinking about. For example, I went to school in French, so I do most of my math in French. I also think in French when I play ringette (similar to hockey), since most the girls I played with and almost all my coaches were French speaking.

Secondly, language and culture deeply affect each other. If you're thrown into a new culture, regardless of age, I think you would probably come to think in that language (at least to a certain extent) because you'll develop a better understanding of the function of the language (i.e. idiomatic expressions, the importance of structure, the emphasis of language - subject vs object vs verb, etc.)

Finally, since language is both abstract and arbitrary, it's not so much *which language* you think in, but rather *how* you think being influenced by culture (seeing as we've established the two have a deep connection to each other). So what you've seen, heard and experienced in life affects the outcome of your thought process. Your average thought process doesn't develop in words, rather you think abstractly - your brain makes connections based on recognition, takes shortcuts to conclusions, deals with "information" in your brain as ideals, images, concepts, and more.

Anyway, can you tell I was a language student?
Posted 1/9/15

forkberry wrote:

1. Most likely you'd end up thinking in the local language, especially during social interaction. That said, depending on the individual, he or she may very well revert back to his native language when he's at home alone or reading in that language. Either way, no matter how fluent you become, several historical studies have demonstrated that your second language will never be as deeply ingrained as your first.

I'm bilingual and learned two languages simultaneously from birth. Interesting story, when I was living in Japan for a year+ I challenged myself not to speak/think/read in English during that time, and only live using Japanese. When I returned I forgot half my English vocabulary and now I'm currently studying English to regain what I've forgotten (or rusted)... sad story. I was genuinely suspicious of brain damage until I discovered that it was a common phenomenon among bilingual speakers.




Well I can peak and understand Spanish and English perfectly. There was a study done that show the more languages you know. The more you can recall words from pages and increase in understanding of different meanings, it even increases your abilities of interpretation of the language or thins in general. It even help your brain memory and decreases the chances of you ever getting dementia. Including the aging of your brain.
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18 / F / Hell
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Posted 1/10/15
Well considering that the person would be fluent in both
it would most likely be the one they were taught as a child.
As for thought it may be just existence and instinct rather than thought.

Bavalt 
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28 / M / Canada
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Posted 1/10/15 , edited 1/10/15
People think in words far less than is commonly believed. The vast majority of thought that you do isn't given voice in your head. It's a well of concepts and conclusions. Words are like the bucket that you use to draw water out of that well. The well is there for your own use regardless, but to bring any water to other people, you need a bucket. Language, while crucial to communicating your thoughts, is not too important for thought itself. This is why there are so many people who seem inarticulate or downright slow-witted, but who are actually quite intelligent: not putting thoughts to words allow you to associate them more accurately and elegantly in your head, at the expense of communicating those thoughts with the same adeptness.

I've studied a number of languages, and have always found it a little strange that many people seem to learn by "translating" words in their heads. It's far easier to grasp the full connotative meaning of a word when you're not filtering it through other words you already know. Vocabulary is only one aspect of language, and it's an extremely mutable one. A word can mean dozens of different things that can only be communicated by that word's context, and while the ideas behind words are certainly connected, the way that connection manifests is remarkably different between languages when it comes to words.

I love language, and have spent the majority of my university years studying it, but I like it so much because it's a tool that allows me to grasp the essence of my thoughts and share them with other people. If language were a part of thought, and not a representation of it, we'd probably all have an inborn common language. We'd have terms for every logical or emotional "maneuver" that our brains make, and our subconscious thoughts would come bubbling up unbidden as vocalized commands. And language would be a whole lot less interesting. It's the ambiguities, connections, and overall elasticity of language that makes it so fun and interesting. We're impressed when someone gives a rousing speech or delivers a witty one-liner because they've managed to use language in such a way as to say exactly what they want to say. Masterful use of language is the arrangement of words to express one's thoughts in all their complexity in a way that others will understand. The fact that not everyone can do this (in fact, it's a highly valued skill) indicates that language and thought are not the same thing.
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