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Thread: Does multilingualism interfere with your thought processes?

  1. #1
    osias
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    Does multilingualism interfere with your thought processes?



    There are so many members here who speak more than 2 or 3 languages.

    My question is: Does multilingualism interfere with your thought processes?

    I speak at least three languages, and I sometimes find myself unable to continue with my train of thought, unable to speak freely..like a mental block. Speaking is more difficult than writing in any of these languages..

    I'm wondering if this has anything to do with multilingualism.

    I think I'm not very good at abstract thinking.. maybe this only shows that I'm stupid....

    anyway...

  2. #2
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    It doesn't happen so much when I think in my mother tongue, but if I try to think of anything in Spanish these days it comes out in Japanese, but that's probably more from a lack of practice and motivation.

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    Does multilingualism interfere with your thought processes?

    No. Once I start thinking in one language I tend to continue to think in that language. I can also think simultaneously in two languages but I can't tell whether my thought process slows down or not.

    Speaking is also not a problem. You have to understand though that in our country Filipino and English (not to mention local dialects) are used interchangeably in conversations.

    I'm lost in my own mind...

  4. #4
    Mikawa Ossan
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    It happens to me, when I want to express a concept that is easily expressed in one language but not the other. Unfortunately, I can't think of any good examples at the moment.

    I think that it's very individualistic. I simply cannot think in two languages simultaneously. Heck, I have trouble thinking in just one at a time! But seriously, some people are more adept at switching from one to another than others.

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    I can only speak English and French fluently. I'm learning Japanese but my ability is woeful. However, recently I've been to Spain and Germany, and I don't know Spanish or German but my brain went into 'foreign language mode' and I kept thinking in mainly French but with Japanese particles/sentence structure.

    I think it's ok if you only speak 2 languages. Once you get to be fluent in more than 3 languages I'd say it might be a bit confusing sometimes! I guess it depends what the people around you are speaking; like in sl0thmachin3's case if they use the 2 languages interchangeably it wouldn't be a problem. If you're in a country where you speak that language, you could just switch to that, but I think it's when you don't know the language but your brain registers 'Hey! it's foreign!' that you get the problems...

  6. #6
    Mike Cash
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    Both my kids are monolingual Japanese, which normally isn't an insurmountable burden in my life. The one thing I've had to caution them about in the past is that I am incapable of listening to two people in Japanese at the same time, so they need to address me one at a time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nice gaijin
    It doesn't happen so much when I think in my mother tongue, but if I try to think of anything in Spanish these days it comes out in Japanese, but that's probably more from a lack of practice and motivation.
    I've had the same problem ever since I started learning Japanese. It seems like I'm always using Japanese particles instead of Spanish ones.

    Then again, perhaps I haven't experienced the full impact of such a phenomena since I'm far from fluent in either Japanese or Spanish.
    Go Trojans

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    I have issues with my Japanese interfering with my French and my English interfering with my French. It's not so bad with Japanese and English. But when I'm speaking French I sometimes forget about the le/la/l'. Because in English and Japanese there's no such think as masculine/feminine.
    “All right then, I’ll go to hell”―and tore it up. It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming.
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

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    I sometimes have this problem like the OP said. It's because so bad my French has gone downhill and I tend to mix Japanese words in it. My English goes rather well, but my Dutch has gone downhill too. I think studying multiple languages can influence your think pattern. Good thread !
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    Learning different languages at the same time can interfere with your thought process. Maybe it's some kind of psychological thing.

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    I sometimes find myself saying a sentence using two different languages. The thing is, there are certain things that are unique to a language and only that language can express what I really want to say.

    What I have found out when I started learning Japanese is that sometimes when I first look at an English word, for that fraction of a second, I had the temptation to pronounce it in the romaji way....

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma Cherie View Post
    Learning different languages at the same time can interfere with your thought process.
    I have to respectfully disagree - as far as I remember from studies red it only interferes if the languages you want to learn are quite close like i. e. Spanish and Italian.

    When I started working after maternity leave I had problems remembering some of the professional jargon at the right time.

    I usually don't have problems with this in my strong tongue, but it happens more frequent when I'm speaking another one, although I quite often fill the gap with a word form another language.

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