Bilingual? What language do you think in? | Globalgirl90

Hello, Hallo, Salut, Kalimera!

I thought today I will write about something different than my normal “Things to do in this country” posts. I want to talk or ask all you people out there who are bilingual or trilingual what language do you think or dream in? I get asked this a lot and it’s quite interesting to know.

I am actually trilingual and I speak German and English fluently. I used to think or dream in German mostly because I was born and lived there for a long time before moving to the UK. But after 10 years in the UK, I have to say it has changed. It started slowly and I think it took a few years for me to start thinking in English..To be honest I can’t really remember when it started exactly! I guess you don’t really think “Oh, I started to think in English now!”. But it must have happened around the time I started University, because that’s when I was mostly in an “English surrounding”.  But I do still think in German but only when I think about something Germany related like my German friends. For example, if I am going over in my head how I am going tell my German friend a story that happened to me, then I would do this in German. It’s strange right? But if its a story I am going to tell my English friends I will think in English. The brain is amazing I tell ya!

Also me and my sister used to talk in German all the time at home, but now we are slowly starting to speak in English and sometimes half way we go back to German. Its quite funny!

Anyway, are any of you bilingual or trilingual? What language do you think in or when do you swap to the other language?Let me know I would be interested to know!

Also I am working on my Athens and Santorini Travel guides posts. They should be up soon!

Thanks for reading.

Jeny

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11 thoughts on “Bilingual? What language do you think in? | Globalgirl90

  1. I am Dutch and you would expect that Dutch is my native language, in fact it isn’t. I live in the south-east in Province Limburg. My mother tongue is a dialect widely used in social, work related, business and ofcourse family relations. Than immediately after the comes the Dutch language. At secondary school I learned mandatory English, German and French. In my dreams I speak my local dialect but also sometimes English.

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    1. There some similarities ofcourse but the German component is there depending where you are in the province. For instance in the south of the province you will find all a French influence. In the south-east there is a region that is counted very German language orientated.
      In general we speak more with a softer G as in Dutch. We also speak also with more melodic components as in Dutch. The English dreaming part may come from a contact I had years ago with a British family. This was when just across the border in Germany British military bases were still in use. Many families lived of base
      They lived for instance in my hometown were several streets reserved for those families

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  2. I’m German and so my mother tongue is German. I’m fluent in English, can make myself understood in Dutch, Spanish, Italian and a little in French. Also have a little Russian, but since there is little occasion to practice, it’s almost gone.

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  3. Very interesting read! My first language is English but I’ve recently moved to France and my French is becoming better daily.
    As a result, I’ve found myself subconsciously thinking and dreaming in French. Language is so fascinating!

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  4. I speak reasonable French, OK German, and enough to read a restaurant menu in several other languages. And of course my own language, UK English. When in France with French speakers I do find myself thinking in French (it’s much quicker than having to self-translate all the time!). On one occasion I’d visited some friends in France for a long weekend and then back in the office my boss asked me a question. I answered. “Why did you answer in French? I don’t speak a word of it”. Oops!!

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