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Thinking in Japanese.

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Thinking in Japanese.

Postby Sumi » Sat 09.16.2006 2:10 pm

So, I'm having trouble thinking in Japanese. The only way that I can "think" in Japanese is if I think in English first. This is huge problem because, I end up getting things wrong. It's become frustrating, so for all of the advanced people here, how did you find a way to stop thinking in English or your mother tongue?

Thank you in advance
Sumi
ねえ、あのう、弟さん、ここに遊んじゃだめだよ。あそこは酸があるんだよ。
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RE: Thinking in Japanese.

Postby Schattenjedi » Sat 09.16.2006 2:39 pm

You are limited by what you know. Try looking around you and making random comments on things that you notice. E.g. my computer is on, the dog looks tired, it looks like a nice day, i should go outside today. I'm not sure what the brain process is, but you should just turn off the English in your brain somehow. Like pinch yourself when you think of something in English. If you don't know how to say these simple sentences correctly I would advise studying more though. It doesn't do much good to be thinking in incorrect Japanese. My ability is something like intermediate so I can manage to say most things, but often in a very roundabout way. If you are missing precise words you are forced to do this though. I can't be asked to think in this roundabout way though, so I only make the effort to think in Japanese if I'm in the middle of writing it or speaking it (in which case it's very necessary). If you don't mind mixing English and Japanese in one sentence or the like, then you can do that pretty much from the start. I personally find that crude though.

After writing all that, it's now clear to me that if you try to engage in fluid Japanese conversation, you will automatically think in Japanese. So do that.
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RE: Thinking in Japanese.

Postby ashitaka » Sat 09.16.2006 2:55 pm

Like schattenjedi said, just make comments in japanese, if you pay attention to yourself you will notice you already do this in your native tounge.

Or you can just take a knife and stab yourself each time you catch yourself thinking in english, althought that would be stuiped and painfull but i think it might work, better just stick to pinching yourself.......yeah that would be better
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RE: Thinking in Japanese.

Postby kinkachou » Sat 09.16.2006 3:54 pm

I was once told that thinking in a language is key to becoming fluent in it and being able to speak it naturally. Since then I've tried to think in Japanese as practice. But the point when it really became natural was when I was studying in Japan and completely immersed in Japanese. So I think the brain makes these natural connections when most input and output is in Japanese. So immerse yourself in Japanese as much as possible. Write in Japanese to a pen-pal, watch anime with no subtitles, read manga in Japanese. I notice even now that when I do these things and start thinking to myself about them it'll be in Japanese rather than English. Once you get a basis in the grammar I think it becomes easier to automatically think and speak using Japanese grammar forms. But it has to reach the point of being natural to you, so you'll probably have to practice a lot to reach the point where you don't have to think about it in English first. Good luck!
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RE: Thinking in Japanese.

Postby Txkun » Sat 09.16.2006 4:02 pm

I quote knnkachou 100%.
English is not my native language but sometimes, after a day reading in english, writing in english i find myself thinking directly in it. So for me, it's full immersion and having a so wide vocabulary that brain doesn't start thinking 'ooops and now how it was that in japanese?'
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RE: Thinking in Japanese.

Postby Rsquared333 » Sat 09.16.2006 4:18 pm

I am a real newbie at japanese but I have found that by buying a few japanese books (novels) I have really been able to increase my kana ability. The immersion in the language, though I can't understand it fully, really helps. I am able to pronounciate words very easily and fairly quickly while reading them now. I don't understand what it means yet but it helps get my mind in "japanese mode". Another way that helps me think japanese is using numbers. I am a carpenter (custom cabinets and millwork) so I use a lot of numbers everyday. I have started speaking and writing these numbers in japanese. It is small but it makes me feel more comfortable with the language the more I use it naturaly in my everyday life.
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RE: Thinking in Japanese.

Postby Sumi » Sat 09.16.2006 6:45 pm

I have one more question, although this might seem a little stupid. Would thinking in Japanese help your listening skills & would music help you listening skills? God, I still have a lot to learn.
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RE: Thinking in Japanese.

Postby LaughingMan » Sat 09.16.2006 6:56 pm

From [url=/www.english-learning.co.uk/voc.html]Learning Vocabulary 1[/url]

It is important to be clear about what is really happening inside people who are described as 'thinking in the foreign language'. Strictly speaking nobody thinks in any language (see Gethin, Amorey, 1999. Language and thought: A rational enquiry into their nature and relationship, Intellect, pp.32-51). What an English-speaker (for instance) is really claiming - though he may not be aware of it - when he claims to think in French is that when he hears or reads French he turns the language directly into ideas in his head without going via English words; and when he speaks or writes French he turns his ideas directly into French, again without going through English words. There are several simple proofs that we do not think in language, but perhaps the simplest is to consider what we mean when we say we understand a piece of language, in the first place a piece, any piece, of our own language. We do not just repeat inside our heads the language we hear. We turn it inside our heads into something else that is not language at all. Let us call that something ideas, or pictures of reality - nobody has yet pinned down exactly what the something is, and we shall know a great deal more about ourselves if anybody ever does. But whatever it is, it is clear that if ever and whenever we cannot turn language into that something else, we do not understand. Not being able to make that conversion in our minds is what we mean whenever we say "I don't understand", whether our own or a foreign language is involved. Quite simply, we hear words but they don't mean anything to us – or at least, not the complete meaning that is intended.


Basically, what we do is convert words into ideas in our head, so "thinking in Japanese" would be recognizing Japanese words and immediately turning them into the associated ideas in your head, as opposed to recognizing Japanese words, turning them into English words, and then converting them into the associated ideas in our heads. Given that, I'll address the following question:

Sumi wrote:
I have one more question, although this might seem a little stupid. Would thinking in Japanese help your listening skills & would music help you listening skills? God, I still have a lot to learn.


The first question seems a little odd. I doubt there would be a way to decide, "Oh, I think I want to start thinking in Japanese," and then suddenly start thinking in Japanese. What we call "thinking in a language" is not necessarily an event that happens because we just will it to happen; it happens when we become familiar enough with the target language that we are instantly able to associate its words and expressions into certain ideas in our heads.

As for music, yeah, it'll help your listening skills. Simply getting exposed to Japanese audibly is bound to help you become familiar with listening to it.
Last edited by LaughingMan on Sat 09.16.2006 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Thinking in Japanese.

Postby kinkachou » Sat 09.16.2006 7:42 pm

I suppose thinking in Japanese would indirectly help your listening skills assuming that you look up words you don't know and do it enough that you can start thinking in Japanese fast enough to be able to pick up Japanese more quickly. Listening to music also helps in picking up Japanese and is great for memorizing words if you listen to the same songs over and over. Just keep in mind that Japanese people don't usually talk like that.
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RE: Thinking in Japanese.

Postby James_dean » Mon 09.18.2006 7:27 pm

What LaughingMan said was exactly correct. Alot of what people tell you is crap when learning japanese, maybe to make themselves sound like a genius or something i don't know......but the most common is this "Thinking in japanese".......basically its nonsense. Like LaughingMan said you make connections in your head when you hear something and through experience and practice you respond to it in as correct japanese as you know. Yes i didn't mention english at all here because through vocabulary and grammar that you know in japanese you form your answer with that. So "Thinking in japanese" becomes just learning japanese and learning how to use it better through practice and experience which just ends up to being "Studying japanese and improving your skill". Thats all that is....thankfully all the advice you got here is more to try to help you than to think you have a huge mountain to climb which is really good.......keep studying and you will improve and find out these things for yourself.
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RE: Thinking in Japanese.

Postby keatonatron » Tue 09.19.2006 1:13 am

Thinking in Japanese just comes naturally. I have a feeling trying to force it simply wouldn't work very well. My favorite saying is, "When it comes to learning languages, don't try to use what you don't know". If your mind isn't naturally ready to think in Japanese, don't make it.
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RE: Thinking in Japanese.

Postby BrianM » Fri 09.22.2006 7:56 pm

Im guessing to start off slow, like when u see a dog, try to think "Inu" and when u see a cat, think "neko". Think of easy words and as you get more complex start developing thoughts.
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RE: Thinking in Japanese.

Postby prep_girl_Nessa » Fri 09.22.2006 8:40 pm

Although I'm really still a beginner, I definately think listening to music helps. Some of the Japanese girls I talk to say I have a good accent, and I can usually understand what they said (atleast I can understand the sounds, though I may not know the words.) I attribute that to the fact that I've listen almost exclusively to Japanese music for about 5 months. I love to look up the lyrics and sing along; that definately helps both listening (because you have to listen to how it's pronounced) and pronunciation (because you then try to pronounce it like the singer did.)

About the thinking in Japanese thing, like some of the people on here said, if your mind is in the mood, it's possible, but don't try to force it. Sometimes after reading Japanese stuff or listening to a lot of music, I can think in Japanese. It's kinda fun, actually :)

Although I doubt I should be thinking in Japanese... considering how much I really don't know... :(
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RE: Thinking in Japanese.

Postby BrianM » Fri 09.22.2006 8:51 pm

prep_girl_Nessa wrote:
Although I'm really still a beginner, I definately think listening to music helps. Some of the Japanese girls I talk to say I have a good accent, and I can usually understand what they said (atleast I can understand the sounds, though I may not know the words.) I attribute that to the fact that I've listen almost exclusively to Japanese music for about 5 months. I love to look up the lyrics and sing along; that definately helps both listening (because you have to listen to how it's pronounced) and pronunciation (because you then try to pronounce it like the singer did.)

About the thinking in Japanese thing, like some of the people on here said, if your mind is in the mood, it's possible, but don't try to force it. Sometimes after reading Japanese stuff or listening to a lot of music, I can think in Japanese. It's kinda fun, actually :)

Although I doubt I should be thinking in Japanese... considering how much I really don't know... :(


Thatss a very good way i didnt think of, or at atleast remember. I've been listening to Rammstein(German Industrial) for at least 9 years now, and i've learned plenty of words in german. So i might start listening to some Japanese music to see if i can get the same outcome.
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RE: Thinking in Japanese.

Postby neo2407 » Fri 09.22.2006 10:34 pm

I totally agree with you guys, listening to Japanese music and anime in Japanese without subtitles does make your listening skills better. For example:

When I decided to learn Japanese (at the start of this year) I watched the only show on UK TV that had any Japanese, Takeshi's Castle, and it just sounded like a jumble of sounds. Then I got some anime DVD's and watched in Japanese and it started to sound less like a jumble of sounds and more like words.
Then I got anime theme songs, both fast (Sakura Saku - Love Hina Opening theme, listen to it...it's fast!) and slow (Shooting Star - Onegai Teacher Opening theme) and now I can watch an anime without subtitles and listen to Japanese songs and I can pick out every single word...although I don't know most of them lol.

Unfortunatly my Japanese vocabulary is very basic, mostly because the words go in one ear and out the other I need a good way to remember them, and I've been focusing more on the grammer and Hiragana and Katakana 'cause what use are the words if you can't construct a sentence or write them down.
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