There's a question that I've had for a while now that I've wanted answered so I'd thought I'd post a topic about it (I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the right spot). I've recently just started studying Japanese and I can recognize a few Japanese words from anime and other Japanese media, but every time I here one of these words in Japanese I think "oh right that word means stupid or amazing, ect. So the question is: I was wondering when you stop referring something said in Japanese to English, and you start taking things said in Japanese in Japanese.
Anyway that's is my question, sorry if it's confusing to understand what I mean.
You'll find you do it less and less as you become more fluent. When you're familiar enough with the language, you don't need to mediate with English. I'm not sure how it works on an unconscious level though. This study was quite interesting: Chinese-English Bilinguals Are 'Automatic' Translators. I think your mother tongue will always have some influence over your other languages, but it doesn't have to stop your from becoming fluent.
I've always felt that your L1 serves as a scaffolding for the new language. You use it to orient words into semantic (meaning of something) slots. As time goes on you don't need refer to the scaffolding. I remember seeing some fMRI studies which showed though that even after people have become very fluent in a language and don't have to mediate in their L1, that the regions of the brains which correspond to an L1 word still activate when a word in an L2 activates. So at some level you are still using your L1 when you work in an L2 it would seem.
I think it's a process. For me anyway, it wasn't like there was a day when I suddenly was just thinking in Japanese. At some point I realized that I could carry on or listen to a lot of everyday conversation and understand it without translating it into English first. When unfamiliar words appear or the conversation gets more difficult for me in general, I'll catch myself thinking more in English to try to figure things out.
From: Los Angeles Registered: 2009-08-31 Posts: 925
it's not even standard either... there are phrases that i see that i can get right quick, and then others that require me to stop and think.
i wouldn't say it goes straight from Japanese --> Japanese either, it's more like it goes from Japanese to a languageless idea that i can understand. so, i can take in Japanese and i can reply in English or Japanese.
it's more like it goes from Japanese to a languageless idea that i can understand. so, i can take in Japanese and i can reply in English or Japanese.
I'm kind of the same. When I'm listening to people talk I try to take it in sort of passively, when I focus too much on stuff (ex: *listening* "Oh I know that word..what is that word, dam!") I get lost and kind of lose the flow of things. I find though that when I listen like this I interpret everything as "feelings" and less as chunks of knowledge. My understanding is higher based on how little people seem to be confused by my responses, but I have a hell of a time trying to translate stuff back to the English. I've always assumed this is a "good thing," but its kind of annoying when a student asks me what X means in English or how to say something in English and I know what they are saying but for the life of me I can't find the words to get the same exact "feeling" in English.
Anywhere from right away to never. Depends on the person. Some never stop, though that's probably a minority.
I don't do that, even at the very beginning, but I've studied quite a few languages, so it's hard to know if that was always so or if it's just now.
Try -- and I don't know if you can do this consciously -- to associate words with concepts and ideas, not to equivalent English words. If you learn a word, say ringo, imagine an apple and say the word without invoking the English word. You must attach words to concepts and images, not to other English words.
From: North Carolina Registered: 2008-03-24 Posts: 869
I think its just a matter of how familiar you are with the words and phrases. I mean if you spend a lot of time learning the phrase 「いい天気ですね」、then you are probably going to understand it automatically when you hear it, without really needing to "translate". Whereas when you first learn the phrase, maybe you are having to think about the meaning of the words and how they fit together in the sentence.