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Edustation's blog > Thinking in a Foreign Language

Thinking in a Foreign Language

Added by Tomasz H. 7 April 2014 in category: English, French language, General tips, german

This time I'm writing about thinking in a foreign language. Is it easy? Of course not. It's not something that you can just learn, but rather something that happens. However, you can practice it at any time.

Thinking in a foreign language is a big step in a foreign language. But it doesn't come itself. You can learn language since many years and you will still not think in a foreign language. But when you start thinking in a foreign language, you will activate your brain to use active vocabulary. What does active vocabulary mean?

I show you it on an example: you learn German. In your verbal memory you have the word Ausgang (Exit). You know this word, you understand it but... you might not be able to use it in a sentence while you're speaking. So it's passive vocabulary. Active vocabulary is something you can readily use when speaking.


How to start?

Create a language bubble

The idea is to surround yourself as much as possible with the language you learn. How? Change your language on Facebook, Google or even Smartphone. You work with the computer every day and you will see how you will encounter your vocabulary. Read news in foreign language, follow on Twitter or Facebook people posting in language you learn. Listen to music and watch films or videos.

Describe things around you

When your vocabulary is limited, start with describing things around you. Everything in your mind. It can be your desk, your room, neighborhood, school or workplace.

Start with small steps and then increase your thoughts by making more difficult phrases, which describe everything around you. What is important: try, try, try and you'll reach a point when you'll be able to say more complicated things.

Think about typicall conversations you would have

If you speak more fluently - try this! It's a very useful way to check your everyday situations vocabulary. Try thinking what would you say when:
- you buy a newspapper in the morning,
- you answer an email at work,
- you talk with someone.

Talk aloud to yourself

You think - it's stupid. I say - it's a great tip:)

Kill two birds with one stone: this way you organize your thoughts during speaking and it allows you to practice pronunciation. Still don't like the idea? Ok, maybe make some videos when you talk in foreign language about some topic? Think, why all language blogers, polyglots or language learners post videos? Because it's great training for your thinking in a foregin language & also speaking!


So now you can clearly see why the best practice is go abroad and learn language there. Because abroad you think in foreign language, you don't have time to think in domestic language, then translate it and say in foreign language. Just think-talk. What is more - you hear this language everywhere and also read in foreign language. So you're immersed. But with my advices you can also be immersed. Try it. Try thinking in a foreign language and be better at languages:)

Check also our posts about:

Make time for language learning

Reading in a foreign language

Why music helps with language learning

Improve your English pronunciation

Talking - why is it so difficult

Learn English faster - easy & funny way

Do you have any thoughts, questions or suggestions? Have you spotted a mistake or you don't agree with something? Leave a comment :-)

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