Thinking in Japanese?


I know several people have said to be good in a language (besides studying and such) you would have to actually think in that language instead of english. I'm wondering, how is that possible and how would you even go about doing it?


I agree that it is necessary to think in the language being used - especially to achieve anything approaching fluency. A conversation will be very broken if someone is spending time thinking in / translating everything to another language before responding. As a simple example, if someone asks, "あなたの名前は何ですか?", it would be much better to be able to answer immediately without having to translate the question to, "What is your name?" in your head and then think of the answer you would say in English and then translate that answer into Japanese before answering... How to achieve it is of course much easier said than done! We can start thinking in a language by practicing, practicing and more practicing and when you have done that, practice some more. I think that translating is necessary at first, but once the words and phases are understood, it is best not to think of what they mean in English. There isn't a short cut. It takes a great deal of time and effort - but I believe it is certainly possible and to communicate effectively, necessary...


I think one way to learn a language is to keep listening to the language and various conversations repetitively until you are absolutely clear what you are listening to. In addition, you need to have a conversational teacher who can talk to you only in Japanese. In this way, you are forced to think in the language. Nowadays, I only listen to Japanese conversations with my iPhone. No more music for me.


Thank you both for your response! It makes much more sense now. c:


Some simple thoughts. Firstly you will never forget your native language. You don't have to think about that. So whenever you have the chance don't look at an object and think of it in your native language. Think of it in Japanese. So the television is not the television. It's terebi and so on. You'll be surprised how many words you can learn this way. Try it out in the supermarket. You no longer look at the eggplant that way. It's nasu instead. Similarly things you are about to do. There's lot's of ways you can make sentences just to describe your own actions. Go and come of course are common but there are plenty of other verbs that can come into play. If you stop for a second and say to yourself "I'm going to say this in my new language" you'll be surprised how much you can learn.


Thank you all for your suggestions. I am a beginner and I am just starting to put some of these ideas in practice.  My teacher is also focusing on conversations. I am not very good at it right now but we have only just begun.   And I have started saying "How would I say this in Japanese"  Someone suggested that if you have no one to talk to--talk to you pet in your new language. .


Your suggestion on using Japaneses for my everyday living has been very useful George-G3. Thank you! 

Also, love your "talk to your pet" suggestion Janice-D14! I have tried this method on my son and house mate... with mixed results.   


When I get the chance I try to think of things in Japanese sentences to help my learning of it. I think it is a good idea and helps memorise words.


Lots of practice helps.  Then one day when you least expect it, you realize that you just thought about something in your new language.  I was watching  a Japanese TV show the other night and saw a sign in the program on a wall.  It suddenly hit me that I had just spent two minutes or so thinking about the sign in Japanese without even realizing it.  You'll start dreaming in your new language, too.

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