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Do you think in Japanese?

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RE: Do you think in Japanese?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 01.29.2008 5:15 pm

I spent enough time around so-so English speakers in Japan that some of their idioms started creeping into my speech, at least when I was talking with them.
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RE: Do you think in Japanese?

Postby furrykef » Tue 01.29.2008 8:24 pm

Try not to let that happen, though, Yudan. That just reinforces their idea that the way they talk is OK. (Should I call you "Yudan" or "Chris"? I realize "Yudan Taiteki" is an idiom, but it looks so much like a name...)
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RE: Do you think in Japanese?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 01.29.2008 8:44 pm

Try not to let that happen, though, Yudan.


How much experience do you have living in Japan and speaking English to Japanese people again? I don't need a lecture on how to speak English to foreigners.

Either name is fine.
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RE: Do you think in Japanese?

Postby AJBryant » Tue 01.29.2008 9:05 pm

furrykef wrote:
Try not to let that happen, though, Yudan. That just reinforces their idea that the way they talk is OK. (Should I call you "Yudan" or "Chris"? I realize "Yudan Taiteki" is an idiom, but it looks so much like a name...)


I used to think about using the screen name "Nariyuki Makase" (Mike Cash might remember when that came up in sci.lang.japan!). But ultimately I decided my real name held more validity.


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RE: Do you think in Japanese?

Postby furrykef » Wed 01.30.2008 12:23 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
Try not to let that happen, though, Yudan.


How much experience do you have living in Japan and speaking English to Japanese people again? I don't need a lecture on how to speak English to foreigners.


Whoa, I think you might be taking my comment a little too personally. Look, you can talk to people how you want; it was only a suggestion. I'm just saying what I think is best for other people learning English. Of course, if you're talking to people who have no intention to learn English well, it doesn't really matter. I just think it's counterproductive to reinforce their bad habits if they may be taking it seriously. I know I wouldn't want my own mistakes to be reinforced.

- Kef
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RE: Do you think in Japanese?

Postby Takoyaki » Wed 01.30.2008 12:55 am

Hello all. :) This topic interested me so I thought I would stop by. ^_^

My understanding ability is up to the point where I can understand simple things like "Look at this, isn't it wierd?" or "Today when I woke up, my nose was big," or "It costs only 549 yen, but it's a bit worn out". And that's about as much as I think in Japanese. I try to think in Japanese as much as possible.

Short of living there or when I am watching Japanese tv, it helps keep the words alive. Otherwise I tend to forget.

I even tried to do my accounting in Japanese but my stupid Microsoft Works program would not show the Kanji! So I am stuck with Romaji for now.

Also I found not thinking in English helps me relax, like it takes my mind off of the everyday problems of life, since they occur mainly in English. Lol.
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RE: Do you think in Japanese?

Postby Snowflake » Wed 01.30.2008 1:05 am

Reading all your responses is both fascinating and encouraging. Thanks for sharing! I'm looking forward to the day when I can... hmmmm how to say this so it doesn't sound goofy... um, speak without thinking :D.
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RE: Do you think in Japanese?

Postby Takoyaki » Wed 01.30.2008 1:33 am

Yes. Ganbatte ne! Practice a lot and someday you will. But also make sure you take breaks in-between. I can really wear myself out going for like 5 hours at a time with no stopping.

Oh, and I do agree with the earlier posts on not thinking when one is talking or listening.

The more direct you can get the communication between you and another person the easier and faster it is. The more one has to think to force one language into another really does slow it up. I used to accidentally lock up my thinking process too many times doing that when talking to my Japanese friends. I was also biting off more than I could chew language-wise. Start simply, and only get more complicated as you get good at the simple stuff. Step by step.

Rosetta Stone is good for that. But I would not recommend it without a good understanding of basic Japanese grammar first. Their software really didn't help me learn much until I got that in. Since they do not translate anything in that program.

And just to clarify my earlier post, I like to think in Japanese when I am planning my day for example. Or singing a Japanese song in my head. It's really cool when you learn all the words to a song and understand them. And you can impress (or annoy) your friends too, if you wanted.

But I am talking too much again. Sumimasen.
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RE: Do you think in Japanese?

Postby Pork Chop » Wed 01.30.2008 3:10 pm

richvh wrote:
I think Pork Chop was saying that he had said "a free time."


ピンポン!

Yeah, when I thought about it, I'm pretty sure I meant "when you have a free minute" or "free moment"; which is what i usually say, but the "time" snuck it's way in there.


Another weird thing happened to me when I went back for vacation last year.
I went through a sort of "Japanese overload".
Started learning Japanese when I was on base over there as a high school student.
Came back for college and for 10 years I was working hard to maintain & improve while in the States.
Well after going back for the first time in 10 years; I was suddenly picking up a lot more than when I used to live there. The total bombardment of Japanese literally gave me headaches; by the end of the first week I didn't even want to use it anymore. Had a much harder time speaking it the second week.
I guess I'd gotten so used to being able to switch back and forth between English and Japanese, that sticking with Japanese was painful. Maybe I should make more of an effort to drop the English once a week or so.
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Re: Do you think in Japanese?

Postby Yoshito » Thu 03.06.2008 11:40 am

When I think in Japanese I have had times where I almost respond using it, although I have been able to catch myself. Sadly, I don't think in Japanese as much as I used to. It helps if you have someone to communicate with in Japanese, at least if you can understand it decently.
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Re: Do you think in Japanese?

Postby bamboo4 » Sun 03.09.2008 4:25 am

Quite sometime ago, in fact, many years ago, I was in Switzerland as part of my trip to Europe. I took a train from Italy and arrived at Zurich to come to that beautiful country high mountains and perennial peace.

As it was my habit wherever I went, I ended up in one of the local bars and sat at the counter, flanked by local people as I had several glasses of beer. I struck up a conversation with one of the customers who were sitting beside me, who happened to be a Swiss folk of the German descent. He was probably in his fifties then and I probably was a bit younger than him at that time.

As we drank our beer, we talked in English and he was quite fluent in it with a slightly thick accent. We talked about each other’s nationality and he said he was a Swiss of German descent and I told him I was Japanese.

To maintain our conversation, I asked him “Is it true that Swiss people can normally speak several languages?” He said that it is generally true and he himself spoke German, French, some Italian and English. He also said that he also could handle some archaic Swiss tongue that the people do not normally use.

I asked him what gave the Swiss people such multilingual capabilities and he said that the Swiss communities ordinarily comprise different ethnic groups which together made up that country so that the ability to speak many languages was the necessity of life in Switzerland.

I asked how would one develop such multi-lingual ability and he said, after a pause, that it probably is because the children get exposed to such multi-lingual environment early on. “So it is not because of the education system you have?” I asked. He said that the education system in Switzerland certainly supplements that environment but it does not initiate it.

He said that it is your first conversation you have, greetings or what have you, that sets the linguistic environment. For example, if you go to a bread shop in the morning, it is the first sound you hear, “Bon jour” or “Guten Morgen,” or “Good morning,” that triggers the linguistic environment for that particular situation. Thereafter the conversation automatically follows that linguistic environment.

I said “I see (the truth was that I did not truly see) but how you deal with translation problems?”
“Translation problems? What do you mean translation problems?”
“I mean if you are not clear as to what was said; wouldn’t you refer to your knowledge of your mother tongue, such as German, to see what was said?”
“What do you mean ‘mother tongue’? There is no such thing as ‘mother tongue’. You assume my mother tongue is German, but it is not correct. Yes, I probably understand the German language much better than French or Italian, but I don’t think that’s why my ‘mother tongue’ is German. When I speak French, I speak French and when I talk in English, like it is now, I speak English. If you do that, there is no ‘translation problem’ that you speak of”

It started to dawn on me what this man was saying. He was telling me that his brain or mind, or whatever, works in compartments. If he used one of those linguistic compartments, his referent is that compartment only. He was like three or four persons, each speaking his own language, but none of them deal linguistically with any other one of him.

This revelation of how multi-lingual abilities work flabbergasted me. I immediately put that to practice, in reading books, writing letters and in doing everything that involved my Japanese and English. The complete dissociation of these two compartments (in my case) did not come easily, I think it took several years for me to develop and nurture this double linguistic personality. After many years, I think I have come close to doing that, and it also made my life easier because when I think in Japanese, I don’t have to think also in English, and vice versa.

I still have translation problems but thy have largely become selective merging of the dissociated linguistic compartments at a higher order (and I don’t even bother myself to see how that expression appears in Japanese).
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Re: Do you think in Japanese?

Postby visual.kei_love » Mon 03.10.2008 11:31 pm

Even though English is my first language I very rarely think in it.

The problem is when I am trying to think in French I'm thinking in Japanese and vice versa. It gets quite annoying at times but I usally just end up laughing and going on. The sad part is I know little Japanese so my thoughts very rarelly go anywhere pratical.
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Re: Do you think in Japanese?

Postby Stitchface » Thu 03.13.2008 6:37 pm

At first, I didn't really understand how people could think very easily in a language other than thier first language.
But it happened to me a few days ago without me even realising.
I was at work and had been asked to clean up the shop floor, and without even thinking a loud はい just slipped out.

I can only think in very basic Japanese right now since i have only just really started getting into the language, but i'm quite glad that i seem to be thinking in Japanese at least a little bit already.
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Re: Do you think in Japanese?

Postby bamboo4 » Fri 03.14.2008 4:33 am

That's not really "thinking" in Japanese, but it's alright, keep it up!
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Re: Do you think in Japanese?

Postby Stitchface » Fri 03.14.2008 5:15 am

I guess i didn't explain to well.
I mean i wasn't "Thinking" as such, like i would do if i was figuring out some math or like i am thinking while i'm writing thsi post, but its more on a kind of sub concious thing.
I hope i'm getting my point across here, i'm having a hard time trying to explain lol.
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