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Poll: In which language(s) do you dream?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 15:45
SITE STAFF
Jun 26, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "In which language(s) do you dream?".

This poll was originally submitted by Karin Berling. View the poll results »



 

Cecilia Civetta  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:45
Member (2003)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
Other Jun 26, 2010

I sometimes remember my dreams, but I never remember in which language they were.icon_smile.gif

 

Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:45
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
A philosophical can of worms Jun 26, 2010

The idea of internal 'language' has always fascinated me. If we are talking about the language of the dialogue between the 'characters' in a dream, who for me tend to be people from my everyday life, then it tends to be the local language, in my case Spanish in Spain or English in England, unless my dream has transported me elsewhere, naturally.

Aside from dialogue, I would argue that 'the language in which you dream' is a completely different notion to the language that one speaks, a bit like the 'language in which you think', i.e. concepts and feelings not necessarily expressed internally by words. When communicating information to others, you have to encode concepts into a language in order to transmit them; I have always wondered what form, if any, these concepts take before they are encoded as strings of words. Of course, the other argument is that thoughts and language are inseparable.


 

Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
France
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
As Simon says... Jun 26, 2010

My dreams exist as "concepts", and only fall into one particular language when a character speaks. It's quite normal to have English and French-speaking characters in the same conversation, and the mix seems to be fairly even (other languages do occasionally put in a cameo appearence).

Similarly, I'm often unable to remember if something I've read or heard was in English or French. The idea remains in my head, but not the means of transmission, unless there's something striking about the words themselves, as in poetry.

[Edited at 2010-06-26 09:57 GMT]


 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:45
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
All, at one time or another Jun 26, 2010

Simon Bruni wrote:

Aside from dialogue, I would argue that 'the language in which you dream' is a completely different notion to the language that one speaks, a bit like the 'language in which you think',


I call it my "break point". It usually happens when I've been grappling with another language trying to activate it (during or after protracted stays in the second-language country, for ex.). For me it means good news, you're getting there. It doesn't have to be logical.


 

CecileF
Australia
Local time: 09:15
English to French
+ ...
Either Jun 26, 2010

When I am in France (in my dreams), I usually dream in Fren ch. If I dream that I am in England or Australia, I speak English. The fun bit comes whenmy dreams involve my Portuguese relatives: they speak Portuguese to me, but as in real life, I reply either in French or English as my Portuguese isn't very good.

 

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:45
Spanish to English
+ ...
The one I would normally use... Jun 26, 2010

I do remember certain specific phrases from my dreams. I'd say I speak the language in my dreams that I would normally use with each person in my waking hours.

I had a dream a couple of weeks ago in which I was with a Catalan. I was speaking Catalan with him in the dream. It impressed me enough so that I mentioned it the next day to my wife. I know I've also dreamt in Spanish, although more rarely.

I'm sure I must dream in English too, but perhaps that seems so normal I don't remember as well.


 

Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:45
Spanish to English
+ ...
Including the languages I don't speak very well! Jun 26, 2010

I remember on more than one occasion conversations Italian and German where I was having problems finding the words I needed.

 

wonita (X)
China
Local time: 19:45
Funny indeed Jun 26, 2010

All men dream,
but more than 2% translators do not.


 

Francisco Rocha  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:45
English to Spanish
+ ...
Interesting question Jun 26, 2010

I think in most of the dreams I remember, me and the caracters always speak in languages I know. But I think it's just the brain processing the information.

When I speak in certain language I always try to think in that language. It was specially difficult when I first moved to Brazil, because I had zero knoowledge of portuguese, and in the beginning it was very complicated, like being a child again.

So I think it's the same thing with dreams, if your brain understands what's going on, then it would dream in a language you know, but if it doesn't, then it could be any language or even an unintelligible string of sounds, that you may consider as a language, as the orangutang sounds in "Murders in the Rue Morgue" by Poe.

As Bachelard says, dreams are like childhood half of them are what you remember and the other half is what you imagine.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:45
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It depends Jun 26, 2010

Most of my dreams are either in English or in Spanish, hardly ever in German, my native tongue.

However, the language "spoken" in the dream also depends on its context which can easily result in a "wild" combination of my working languages, those I only know a few words of (e. g. Greek, Japanese) and is, at times, "spiced" with Native American languages, mainly Lakota and Cherokee.

When I wake up, oddly enough, I usually remember what had been said. Sometimes even the language the dream was narrated in which could have been a completely different one. In short, my dreams often remind me of that time when the Tower of Babel fell.icon_smile.gif


 

Catherine GUILLIAUMET  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:45
English to French
+ ...
Ghost translators ?! Jun 26, 2010

Bin Tiede wrote:

All men dream,
but more than 2% translators do not.


You are right, Bin, the only moment when humans don't dream is when they are dead.

So, those 2 per cent voters are certainly ghost translatorsicon_smile.gif

I didn't imagine that one could miss ProZ so much that s/he sends his/her spectre from the hereafter to participate to polls.

Catherine


 

Karin Berling  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:45
Member (2010)
Norwegian (Bokmal) to English
+ ...
Dreams and nightmares Jun 26, 2010

I dream in all the languages I know, although I have found that people in my dreams only speak in the languages they know. Part of my current day-to-day adventures is to immerse my two small kids in my native Norwegian, and I frequently correct them when they speak English back to me. This scenario follows me into my dreams at night - always a nagging mother - haha. Makes me wonder which, if any, languages my bilingual kids dream in.

I recently had a nightmare where I was doing a rush translation and the text kept changing into a language I do not know. I was so stressed out when I woke up and my heart was racing...

[Edited at 2010-06-26 19:27 GMT]


 

cazabonne
Local time: 17:45
English to French
IN 2nd language Jun 26, 2010

Am French native, and have started dreaming in English when I was about 18, though I had spent only 2 summers in an English speaking country, and I had no exposure to English apart from my school classes.
Now that I have been living in the US now for 10 years, I never dream in French.
Emma


 

Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:45
Member (2009)
French to English
Don't forget the computers Jun 26, 2010

Catherine GUILLIAUMET wrote:

Bin Tiede wrote:

All men dream,
but more than 2% translators do not.


You are right, Bin, the only moment when humans don't dream is when they are dead.

So, those 2 per cent voters are certainly ghost translatorsicon_smile.gif

I didn't imagine that one could miss ProZ so much that s/he sends his/her spectre from the hereafter to participate to polls.

Catherine


Perhaps those are the machine translators?


 
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