How to start thinking in your TL?

Ask specific questions about your target languages. Beginner questions welcome!
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Re: How to start thinking in your TL?

Postby Soclydeza » Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:38 pm

smallwhite wrote:
Soclydeza wrote:Lots of exposure. Once your mind assimilates a word or phrase and it becomes automatic, it will want to take the path of least resistance and use the word/phrase of your TL in place of those of your NL (if the word/phrase seems to make more sense in your TL).

I agree with the automatic then path of least resistance bit, but I believe that the best way is not lots of exposure, but more lots of output on your part, such that your brain gets used to producing output in the TL.

Poor wording on my part, but this is essentially what I meant; getting so used to saying and hearing something that when you say/hear it, you may not even realize it's in another language at first.
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Re: How to start thinking in your TL?

Postby Voytek » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:16 am

Iversen wrote:One final advice would be to get your vocabulary holes filled as fast as possible.

Have you ever used the frequency word list for any of your TL to fill these holes or you always look for words which are missing in your personal vocabulary?
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Re: How to start thinking in your TL?

Postby tractor » Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:12 pm

Iversen wrote:Instead I sometimes carry one of the two-way micro dictionaries in a pocket - but that only covers one language at a time, and mostly I forget to do it. Again the the futuristic gadget owners might be in a better position if they have internet access or a downloaded dictionary on their space age thingy.

Yup! I've installed dictionaries on my phone, and it's absolutely fantastic to be able to carry around a whole library of high-quality bilingual and monolingual dictionaries in my pocket. Always able to look up words wherever I am. No more need for those tiny dictionaries with too few words.
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Re: How to start thinking in your TL?

Postby windslav » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:43 am

You'll start doing it naturally once you know the language. There's no need to force anything, just keep studying.
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Re: How to start thinking in your TL?

Postby Kundera » Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:50 am

I don't think in any specific language (not even Portuguese), except when I'm talking to myself. Since internal talking isn't that different from "external talking", it is doable suppose that both skills keep up each other.
Nonetheless, the real breakthrough moment happens when you stop translating internally whatever you speak/write.
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Re: How to start thinking in your TL?

Postby Iversen » Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:07 am

Iversen wrote:One final advice would be to get your vocabulary holes filled as fast as possible.

Voytek wrote:Have you ever used the frequency word list for any of your TL to fill these holes or you always look for words which are missing in your personal vocabulary?

Sorry for not responding before, but I didn't notice this question. The simple answer is that any new word which isn't totally obsolate or irrelevant (given your interests), will fill a hole so any bulk learning process will qualify. To find holes among the most common words you could in principle consult frequency lists, but with some reservations.

The first problem is that frequency lists mostly are monolingual, and monolingual lists with no explanations are worthless - if you don't know what a word in such a list means then it could just as well be spelled in Klingon using cuniform signs turned upwards down. Lists with words about some specific topic will be useful if you can understand the explanations or translations. A list of bird names with translations into your own language will obviously be more useful than a list with translations into a language where you don't know the names. But a list with the names of 27 berries shouldn't be learned in one session - you will mix them up!

The second reservation is that you can't predict which words you will need, so some unspecific bulk learning will be necessary. But it will of course be logical to collect common words, grammar words (with their most common forms and uses) and the kind of expressions that glue conversations together. And then I would really like to state that you should collect the words you discover that you don't remember ... but I know from myself that it is easy to promise yourself to do it, but devilishly hard to do in practice.

So in order to get your thinking rolling it may be more productive just to learn to live with the fact that you don't know all words and expressions in your target languages. Or in other words: just think "bob-bop" if you simply can't recall a certain word. Or insert a word from another target language (better than from your native language). Or just find something else to think about. The important thing is to make the thoughts come gushing forth ... and remember: nobody else can hear your thoughts.
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Re: How to start thinking in your TL?

Postby reineke » Sat Feb 25, 2017 1:20 am

Mr Huliganov's thoughts about activation. Check put the length of some of those sentences ;)

A good time to germinate your German ... ur-german/

Boosting Fluency by Understanding Higher Order Semantic Content (A guest article by Maksim Sokolov ) ... c-content/

The promised activation article…
"If continually activating during the process of language learning is something that keeps you motivated in which you enjoy doing, then it’s valuable. Anything which keeps you going in the marathon of learning languages, is your friend. Anything which you find demotivating which detracts from the pleasure of doing it, is not your friend.

And in the above I said the most important thing that needed to be said. Having said that, I will now go on to explain the core of my own approach and philosophy with regard to the question of activating language knowledge in the whole course of study.

In order to approach this question wisely, one should perhaps first define — at least make a working definition for the purpose of the argument — what the word “activation” means. Not to do so is to risk incurring disagreement from people who actually agree with me but are simply using terms differently.

Let us say them that activation refers to the process whereby I so prepare my brain, or allow it so to prepare itself by giving it envitonmental stimuli, that it not only is able to recognise words and constructions and understand their meaning when they are presented in the target language, along with their pronunciation and various facts about those words and constructions, in situations where I am the recipient of language presented to me by a native, but also to generate reasonably correct and accurate words and phrases in that target language and direct them towards the native so that the native can understand them as intended, and to do so at a pace which he finds comfortable.

This of course is possible to do regardless of the level at which one knows a language. One might for example only learn 30 sentences connected with the simple job of selling ice creams in the street in an area populated by many tourists from around the world. I am active in those 30 sentences if I can access them quickly...

The disadvantage of being not active is that one misses opportunities to have conversations with native speakers whom one might casually meet when frequenting areas which are populated by lots of different nationalities. Another disadvantage is that one is unable to get up on one’s hind legs and “perform” as in the performing seal videos that we sometimes see polyglots tempted to do on YouTube..

A few exceptions to this exist, but in the main they are pretty boring as all I hear is the same information repeated over and over, in different languages and all too often with the same accent, rhythm and intonation...

Now I personally think, and this is based on 40 years of learning languages (not quite as much as Monsieur Kaufman, for example, but it’s still a reasonable quarantanna) that time spent during the language learning process on activating partly learned languages is usually a waste of time.

Having made that statement let me refer again to what I said at the outset, and that is that if something motivates your you enjoy doing it, it’s your friend." ... n-article/
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Re: How to start thinking in your TL?

Postby datsunking1 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:42 am

I would say music, tv, etc.

I have a bunch of apps on my phone that I can 'throw' myself into the language. German newspapers, tv, radio, music, etc.

I originally started learning German because of Rap Music honestly.

You can also change the language of your Netflix package and Youtube, which will bring up content in the language of your choice. You can use subtitles in other languages if needed as well.

I would say it's a matter of throwing yourself at the language with abandon and learning how to use it. For Spanish, once I let go of my fear of making mistakes, my learning pace was very very quick. Ask questions, if you don't understand someone or something, ASK. Everyone that speaks you have an opportunity to learn from, even people at a lower overall skill level you could learn a word or tip from.
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Re: How to start thinking in your TL?

Postby Tomás » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:57 pm

Iversen wrote:Or in other words: just think "bob-bop" if you simply can't recall a certain word.

If I did that it would be like Dizzy Gillespie had taken over my brain.
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Re: How to start thinking in your TL?

Postby YtownPolyglot » Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:15 pm

The thing that helped me out the most at first as a language-learner was to play with the language, almost to treat it as a personal toy. I was thinking to myself or trying to translate things that I heard around me, so I wasn't inhibited at all. Babies babble when they are learning their native languages, so why shouldn't we be so much different?
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