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Dreaming and processing in your second (or subsequent) language

17 posts / 0 new
Member
Csatlakozott: 21.09.2018
Pending moderation

Hi everyone!
This morning I woke up with a question.

Do you guys also have dreams in your newly acquired languages? In which language do you process thoughts?

It is not very common for me to dream in my native tongue, Spanish. But when I do, the characters in it are people in my life who ONLY speak Spanish.

I can recall the first night I had a dream in English. I am ESL, so it was a big deal for me. Truly it was an epiphany to my fluency in the language.

During my waking hours, I process a lot of my internal thoughts 'in Spanish'. Obviously no one can hear it, but all my language outputs are in English.

Right now, I am really honing in to learning Italian. I am waiting for my first dream in that language!

Does this manifestation occur to you fellow bilinguals?
What about those of you that are multilingual?
Do you dream in all of your languages?
What language do you think in?

Editor in search of Anningan & Malina
Csatlakozott: 10.05.2012

I've already seen a similar question some months ago, but don't mind repeating myself.
It happened more than once. Usually my dreams have very little sounds (I tend to dream emotions and then link that emotion to an image, so that if I feel fear, I'd dream about something that makes me afraid and if I dream love, I'd see myself in a sweet relationship and so on...), so it doesn't happen very often. When it happened it was usually the language of the country I lived in (in England I dreamt predominantly in English, in France mainly in French and in Italy almost exclusively in Italian), so in my dreams I speak fewer languages than the ones I actually speak. Sometimes it's also the language that I've used the most during the day, but not always. Plus in such dreams the sentences are either grammatically incorrect or don't make any sense (my native language included). It's a strange feeling because in a dream everything seems so mystical that even if you don't understand, it really seems real... but as soon as you wake up, you just wonder what's your brain's problem.
As for thinking, I think in all languages I speak. It obviously depends on the situation, though. If I need to speak a specific language, I also think in that language. That's also why I need some seconds of break if I need to switch languages (for example, if I meet a tourist).
Hope that answers your question.

Member
Csatlakozott: 21.09.2018

Wow that's so cool. This is so intriguing to me

Senior Member Knight of sleep
Csatlakozott: 23.09.2018

Well, for my part it's quite the same as for DarkJoshua: my dreams have very little sounds and are based on emotions. But sometimes people do speak in my dreams and it's quite weird, because often I am not able distinguish their words, but plenty able to understand them and tell which language do they speak. I think it depends of our mood... maybe?
Weir weird brains we have (:

Moderator and guesslator
Csatlakozott: 25.02.2012

The strangest thing I have is dreams where I'm in some country that's not Germany, and I dream I'm speaking the language, but in fact what I'm speaking is German because that's the only foreign language I can speak.

Editor in search of Anningan & Malina
Csatlakozott: 10.05.2012

I've just remembered something. If I don't know a language, I can't dream it: I don't even invent it and think it's an actual language. For instance I remember having dreamt about being in Israel... and not only that, I was an actual Israeli, but in real life I don't know a single word of Hebrew. In the dream there were no dialogues (it felt like I was talking telepathically to people) and I wanted to thank someone who helped me doing something... except I have no idea how to say "thank you" in Hebrew. In the dream I felt very frustrated because I was sure I knew the word, but couldn't remember it. Waking up I just felt stupid about it.

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Csatlakozott: 01.08.2018

I dream of lands and places that look completely different in the real world, places that I've visited - yet I choose to believe the dream projection of my fantasy... I hardly ever use a language besides my mother tongue (Modern Greek).

I am sadly unable to recall any weird situation in which my dream consisted of cases with different (real or imaginary) languages.

Senior Member
Csatlakozott: 21.10.2018

Well... It did not happen to me very many times but... At some point (I forgot exactly how long ago it was), I had a bizarre dream. Peoples were talking to me fluently and I was at place I did not recognize at all! All of the words on the signs and the pictures I could not read, I could not understand what anybody was telling me so I was getting really scared! I did not even know the people either! The more I stepped backwards in my dream, the closer the people came towards me talking to me! I was FINALLY able to wake myself up (before my health became effected) then I tried to figure out at least some of the words the people were saying. After a lot of thinking I realized I had an entire dream that had people speaking to me in Hungarian AND German! I guess they were speaking the languages at the same time too. I have been learning German for quite awhile now but I can not talk in German yet and I had been listening to music from TV shows in Hungarian and German (not at the same time). So I guessed that was how the dream happened? Otherwise all of my dreams are in my native language which is English.

Senior Member
Csatlakozott: 21.10.2018

Where I live there are some Dutch speakers and a German food bakery is in a town close to me (the owners are actually FROM Germany) but the Hungarian language is unheard of where I live. Also the Dutch is a dialect Dutch -.-

Editor Absolute Amateur
Csatlakozott: 27.03.2015

Once, in Spain, I dreamed in Spanish. I dreamed that I was very angry with a friend of mine: I was insulting him in a very fluent Spanish, and later I kept muttering in that same language...

Editor (Resident Evil)
Csatlakozott: 26.10.2015
Pdugan01 wrote:

Does this manifestation occur to you fellow bilinguals?
What about those of you that are multilingual?
Do you dream in all of your languages?
What language do you think in?

I mostly dream in German because that's what I'm hearing/speaking most in everyday life. After a couple days in an all-English environment this can change (but doesn't always).

I'm usually thinking in the language I'm speaking at the moment (sometimes even in languages I'm not fluent in speaking in, like French or Dutch). As for quiet moments, I usually think in English when I'm daydreaming or making plans with a technical background (both private and work related), in German when I'm having romantic thoughts (for whatever reason).

Member
Csatlakozott: 21.09.2018

Wow! Truly uncanny. I wonder how / if certain languages are more prone to affect your personality? mhmm... but, I digress.
Thank you all for commenting. I fancy the topic greatly.

Member
Csatlakozott: 21.09.2018

How can I search for a topic within forums?
I'd like to read the previous thread. Thank you Regular smile

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Csatlakozott: 01.08.2018

Ok so the day before yesterday I was on a facebook group and I had a comment dialogue with a person who speaks Russian. I was answering in Belarusian and we managed to talk just fine. Note that we both are Greeks in a group full of residents of the Hellenic Republic.

Yesterday night I had one of those absurd dreams of mine.
Everything is blurry now, but I can recall being at a table with various people. I was talking with someone and I clearly remember answering in Belarusian (something like "жыццё гэта лепш", "life is the best"). I didn't pay attention while being asleep, but upon waking up, I realised what happened and I happened to remember this topic.

The explanation is rather simple: the thoughts I made while having the conversation (previously mentioned) created subconscious connections and I was actually able to speak a phrase while sleeping, from a language I barely "know" and I've only seen on this site (I've been mainly romanising Belarusian songs and attempted to translate some from Russian to Belarusian). In fact, I don't think I actually know Belarusian tbh.

Editor (Resident Evil)
Csatlakozott: 26.10.2015
Pdugan01 wrote:

I wonder how / if certain languages are more prone to affect your personality?

Ever heard of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_relativity

Member
Csatlakozott: 21.09.2018

I had never heard of that before... thank you for sharing. I spent a couple hours reading deeper into it.

Member
Csatlakozott: 31.08.2018

To my recollection, because I forget most of my dreams, I have only used one word in Spanish in a dream in my entire life: Cállate, which means shut up. I remember I was talking to my roommate and shouted it to her.

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