Polish Paralysis wrote:I like the idea of translating your thoughts. But my question is, should it be a forceful process? Should I not simply be able to slowly translate more and more of my thoughts based off the things I've listened to or should I go about deliberately looking up words constantly. My fear would be the fact that I would wind up with sentences that are not grammatically correct.
When I first started with Italian, I was pretty much always asking "How do you say..." I'd ask about very simple things that I found myself wanting to say, and once I knew how to say it in Italian correctly, I'd go out of my way to say it a lot until I could say it automatically without thinking. Even now, when I want to say something that I've never said before and I'm not quite sure how to say it, I'll ask my spouse how to say it and then try to write it down (if possible) so that I can remind myself later on, or I'll try to keep repeating it in my head.
I know that you don't want to have a conversation with your financee at this point, but she could still be a good resource; if you find yourself wanting to say something in Polish but you don't know how, ask her how she'd say it, and then do whatever works for you to remember it (repeat it in your head, use it during an iTalkie lesson, write it down, etc...) Another way to use your financee would be if you came across some construction or verb in Polish but you're not quite sure how to use it yourself; you could ask her for some example sentences using it (even better if those examples are things you might actually want to say yourself at some point).
I think translation is good for forcing your brain to try to think about how you'd express an idea in your target language, but a lot of time the translation will either have mistakes or just not sound right. I hate translation, but I think it's actually really useful, because when I get something wrong and I take the time to compare what I wrote to how it should be, it sometimes helps me to remember how to say it right in the future. So, I think translation can be a really good activity if you have a way to check that what you've come up with sounds ok. I'm curious to hear if other people see this differently.