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Learning to think in your target language?

I've noticed that even as I have become more advanced in my language learning, in my head, instead of being able to simply think in Spanish, I translate Spanish to English or vice versa. To all the people who have been learning languages for a longer amount of time, do you think in your language?
Have a wonderful day!

February 11, 2020



Part of the problem is DL's method - it forces you to translate - which most people need at the start. But you have to stop. Even as a beginner in school translation was rarely used. English was mostly used to explain and introduce new vocab - but we worked in Hungarian.

Once we hit B1 English was dropped - completely. The teacher spoke slowly, used simple vocab and sentences - but no English. Eventually, yes, you do start thinking in your TL - but not if you are allowed to - or have to - translate all the time.


I'm expecting Duolingo to move more and more away from translation. They've said they plan to add more monolingual content and we'll see how far that goes.


Thank you for a positive refreshing post. Yes, "thinking" in your target language is the best ever way of learning. When you go shopping, or eat-out or drive to work, "think" in your target language, speak out loud if you can, make this a learning habit. I have almost forgotten the word duck, it's always "anatra", and my car is always "la macchina". Enjoy your new "thinking"!


I do. I mainly think in English, despite living in a non-English-speaking country. I have also started to force myself to express my thoughts in Spanish. Hope that'll help to grow the ability to think in this language. I guess it comes when your level of language is high enough.


How long have you been learning Spanish?


I dream in Japanese sometimes.

I used to dream in French but my French is rusty now. But Japanese? Yes, that happens. I watch TV programmes in Japanese without subtitles as well and forget, often, that I'm watching in another language till I want to show it to someone else and have to explain what's going on. XD

I can't do it with my duo languages Chinese and Welsh yet. Though I do watch Welsh TV and occasionally make out sentences.

The moment you can understand something in a language you are learning without consciously thinking about translating it is the moment you break the back of the language. Not the end of the path, but in a sense, the real beginning of it and the possibilities it offers.

Congrats on reaching that point with Spanish XD.


I do this as well. Weird but welcome. That shows that you are really learning Spanish.


I don't think in Welsh per se, but I do get some weird and not entirely random sentences in Welsh floating around in my head sometimes. Does this count?

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