What language do you think in?

For most of us, we think in our native language.  Even for those expats like me, who have been living abroad for many years, there are many times during the day where we switch from our learnt language to our native language (when dealing with money, for example).

Do you remember the first thought you had this morning?  I bet it wasn’t in a learnt language.  How many mornings will it take before your first thought is in a language other than your own?  Do you take the train to work or do you drive? Do you daydream as you walk?  In what language are those dreams?

Here is your new challenge: how long could you go without thinking in your native language?  Obviously, our unruly brains will do exactly the opposite of what we tell them to * but – just theoretically – how long could you go?  Start now.  What are you thinking about?  Could you think that same thought in English?  Could you simplify your thought so that you would be able to have it in English?  And, more philosophically, would you be as intelligent as your are if you didn’t have your language.

Let me know how you get on.


* Don’t think of a black pig.**

** You just thought of a black pig.***

*** Don’t lie.  Yes you did.


A Challenge

This week, instead of posting resources, I’m going to set you a challenge.

Narrative Tenses

When you are telling a story, you should be using past tenses to do it.  How many past tenses do you know? *

Your teacher can tell you more about these tenses.  The challenge is to write a story, using one or more of these tenses.  How will you do it?  You can start by thinking about what you did last week, for example.  Or you can pretend you are a character in your favourite book or film.  Or you can go completely freestyle and make something up!

As with any challenge, it is not whether you fail or succeed, but what you learn along the way.  You may learn, for example, that you do not know the rules well enough to be able to use them, or perhaps that you know the rules but you keep getting the structures wrong.  In the former case, you now know that you should revise the rules, and in the latter case the structures.

Go for it and good luck!

* past simple „I did“, past progressive „I was doing“, past perfect „I had done“, past perfect progressive „I had been doing“