Tag Archives: native

Which language do you think with?

This is a weird one, I know.

I have been, for years on end now, thinking and “talking to myself” in a foreign language. By foreign language, I mean English. Malta is a bilingual country, and in fact we start learning English at the young age of six. I always loved the language and the literature that came with it. I always carried a book with me and preferred British TV and movies over Italian (I’m mentioning Italian because all of my friends watched Italian TV when I was growing up).

homer-simpson-thinking

Although I love the English language, I knew that there is one barrier that I won’t be able to surpass. This is, because even though I know that my spoken and written English is better than the average Joe’s, I will never have enough practice verbally to become super fluent and master it as it was my first language.

It was in 2011, when things changed for me. Leaving Malta meant that I had to leave my mother tongue behind (to an extend). When I landed in Manchester airport, I knew that at this point,  I have to deal with people in English. I think, that this is when my head decided that I should start thinking in English. I think, this was rather beneficial (yes, I googled it):

  • Apparently, if you think in a foreign language, you are not only practicing the language itself but also learning new vocabulary. It’s almost like when you are reading a book for the very first time.
  • Another reason according to a study is that since a foreign language provides psychological distance because you need to make a bit of an effort to use it, it will affect your reasoning and decision making in the sense that they become less biased, more analytic, and more systematic.

In reality, in my daily life, unless I am speaking with my friends and colleagues, everything else is done using the English language, which means that I was very surprised that it took my brain this long to switch languages:

  • Reading news, blogs, articles
  • Google searches are conducted in English
  • Reading Books
  • Listening to music
  • Making use of laptops (or computers) and phones using an English interface
  • Watching TV, Movies and Series

Am I the only one who took this leap? Do you think in your native language or did you choose another familiar language to do so? I want to know! 🙂

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//Obviously this is targeted to users who can speak multiple languages rather than just the one.

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