If you are a person who loves learning foreign languages, you’ve surely heard that thinking in the target language improves your chances of becoming fluent in it. This probably falls right in line with the things you learn, such as speaking, reading, writing, and listening. The only difference with thinking in a foreign language is that you control the thinking on your own.

‘Despite what many people think, thinking in a language is actually a skill. This is an intimate process that helps you translate the thoughts from a language you know to a language you are trying to learn, and what bigger liberty to express yourself than in your mind, when no one else is distracting or listening?’ – says Leo Gomez, content writer at the academic writing help service RushMyEssay.

Once you come to the point where you have some knowledge of a foreign language, it is time to work on this skill.

HERE ARE 7 SCIENCE-BASED METHODS TO THINKING IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE THAT WILL HELP YOU ACHIEVE THIS:

1. FOCUS ON FLUENCY, NOT ACCURACY

If you’ve studied the best ways to learn a language, you surely know of this strategy. Interestingly, the same actually applies to thinking in a foreign language, since the process actually intertwines expression and thought.

When you focus on accuracy over fluency, you are unable to express yourself, either inside or outside your head. At least not during the first levels of your foreign language learning. Grammar and vocabulary is extremely important and should definitely be learned, but when it comes to thinking inside your head, it is time to let this go.

The key to achieving language fluency through thinking in a foreign language is to get rid of the idea that it has to be perfect. Aiming towards perfection can lead to what experts call perfection paralysis, which can only cause frustration and decrease your motivation to learn.

2. VISUALIZE

Another common trick between thinking and speaking in a foreign language is visualization. In order to express your thoughts in a language different from the one you are using on daily basis, it is very helpful to actually visualize the things you are saying.

The brain is not created in a way that it can fully differentiate between imagined and real actions. One study has proven that the brain sends exactly the same impulses to a person’s legs when he is imagining running, as it does when the actual running process is happening.

As it turns out, our brain is set to treat visualization as similar to the real deal. This is why we use imagination to plan things and adjust our strategies, and why we should visualize learning a foreign language.

3. THINK DIRECTLY

Some experts say that, in order to learn a language, you need to think ONLY in that language. This is certainly not something you can achieve at the beginning phases of your language learning, but you should eventually start aiming toward such ‘direct thinking’.

When you translate everything you think, you may get stuck in between worlds, or lose the idea along the way. But, when you think directly in the target language, you can easily detect the gaps in your knowledge and wake those dormant vocabulary phrases and words you do not use when actually speaking the language.

4. IF IT DOES NOT WORK, TRANSLATE YOUR THOUGHTS

When you cannot think in the language directly, this seems like the obvious thing to do. And it actually is. If you haven’t arrived to the point where you can get visualize and actually think in the foreign language, you need to start with your own and turn that stream of words into a translation inside your brain.

You’ve probably heard of this strategy and most likely, you heard that it is a bad thing to do for your language learning. The previous strategy is definitely the most recommended when it comes to thinking in a foreign language, but we can all agree that you cannot just skip to thinking directly when learning a completely new language!

If you are a beginner, start translating your thoughts. Start by translating things that you read and see, until the point when you are ready to do the actual thing. Once you feel like you are ready, you can start working on your direct thinking.

5. WRITE IN A JOURNAL

Journaling is an excellent way to keep track of your thoughts, not only a way to take notes. Make a separate journal for your language thinking, and start a habit of writing down the things that you thought during the day.

This is basically another way to practice the skill. You may find it to be a bit slower, but you will be grateful for your journal keeping when you want to see the progress of your thoughts or glaze over the things you already considered.

In addition to this, writing in a journal is also advantageous in the sense that you can discuss your thoughts with others without being disrupted in the actual process. Your journal writing will be a daily monologue, but this does not mean that you cannot get feedback and corrections on your writing afterwards.

6. READ AS OFTEN AS YOU CAN

Reading is a step you shouldn’t miss when learning another language. When you read books in the target language, this will not only improve your vocabulary but also give you a sense of belonging in the author’s culture.

Obviously, reading someone else’s ideas and writing is not ‘direct thinking in a foreign language’, but the actual reading process has many more benefits than you think. When it comes to thinking in a foreign language, reading allows you to build ideas for further thinking, improve your vocabulary and fluency, and even create imaginary alternatives to those the author has chosen in his/her writing.

7. DESCRIBE YOUR ENVIRONMENT

Cannot come up with ideas of WHAT to think about? Luckily, there is no rule as to what topic is best to think about in your mind, which gives you the liberty to improvise.

When you cannot think of anything to think about in a foreign language, start describing the things around you.

That’s it! You now know the seven key steps to learning how to think in a foreign language. Once you implement these into your daily routine, you will notice rapid and amazing changes in your language learning.

LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE LITERALLY CHANGES THE WAY WE SEE THE WORLD, ACCORDING TO NEW RESEARCH. PANOS ATHANASOPOULOS, OF NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY, HAS FOUND THAT BILINGUAL SPEAKERS THINK DIFFERENTLY TO THOSE WHO ONLY USE ONE LANGUAGE.

And you don’t need to be fluent in the language to feel the effects — his research showed that it is language use, not proficiency, which makes the difference.

Working with both Japanese and English speakers, he looked at their language use and proficiency, along with the length of time they had been in the country, and matched this against how they perceived the colour blue.

Colour perception is an ideal way of testing bilingual concepts because there is a huge variation between where different languages place boundaries on the colour spectrum.

In Japanese, for example, there are additional basic terms for light blue (mizuiro) and dark blue (ao) which are not found in English.

Previous research has shown that people are more likely to rate two colours to be more similar if they belong to the same linguistic category.

“We found that people who only speak Japanese distinguished more between light and dark blue than English speakers,” said Dr Athanasopoulos, whose research is published in the current edition of Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. “The degree to which Japanese-English bilinguals resembled either norm depended on which of their two languages they used more frequently.”

Most people tend to focus on how to do things such as order food or use public transport when they learn another language to help them get by, but this research has shown that there is a much deeper connection going on.

“As well as learning vocabulary and grammar you’re also unconsciously learning a whole new way of seeing the world,” said Dr Athanasopoulos. “There’s an inextricable link between language, culture and cognition.

“If you’re learning language in a classroom you are trying to achieve something specific, but when you’re immersed in the culture and speaking it, you’re thinking in a completely different way.”

He added that learning a second language gives businesses a unique insight into the people they are trading with, suggesting that EU relations could be dramatically improved if we all took the time to learn a little of each other’s language rather than relying on English as the lingua-franca.

“If anyone needs to be motivated to learn a new language they should consider the international factor,” he said. “The benefits you gain are not just being able to converse in their language — it also gives you a valuable insight into their culture and how they think, which gives you a distinct business advantage.

“It can also enable you to understand your own language better and gives you the opportunity to reflect on your own culture, added Dr Athanasopoulos, who speaks both Greek and English.

Aside from other important holiday to-do’s like taking a family Christmas photo and getting your shopping done, another significant item on your Christmas checklist is your annual Christmas card. This season, we’re here to help you get your Christmas cards signed, sealed and delivered. Our guide will help you create the perfect Season’s greetings for everyone on your list. The last thing you need to worry about is what to write in your Christmas cards!

WHAT TO WRITE IN A CHRISTMAS CARD?

= Start your Christmas card message with a Christmas greeting like “Happy Holidays!” or “Merry Christmas!”

= Write a personalized messaged based on your relationship with the recipient.

= For business Christmas cards, write Christmas messages that are cheerful yet appropriate.

= Write a few funny Christmas card lines if you know your card recipient is the type to enjoy a good laugh.

= Write a few religious sayings or Christmas bible verses for those recipients who celebrate their faith during the holiday season.

= Write Christmas card quotes to share the magic of the season.

= Don’t forget to sign your Christmas cards.

IN DETAIL: WHAT TO WRITE IN A CHRISTMAS CARD

It’s not always easy to put your feelings into words or sum up the memorable year that your family had. We have you covered with everything you need to know about what to write in a Christmas card to jump start your writing. Follow the steps below to create the perfect Christmas card sayings for your holiday greetings:

1. Start your Christmas card message with a Christmas greeting. The beginning of your message should include short and sweet greetings that serve as a festive way to address your card recipients. A Christmas wish can go a long way and is the perfect opening for your tailored greeting. Traditional sentiments include, “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Holidays!”

2. Write a personalized message based on your relationship with the recipient. If you’re close with the card recipient, write a heartfelt message. This will show your card recipient just how much you’re thinking about them this holiday season. Use details specific to the person opening the card to personalize your Christmas card sentiments. Make comments about some big news, a special occasion coming up or a new addition to the family to go along with the rest of your greeting.

3. For business Christmas cards, use Christmas messages that are cheerful yet appropriate. Remember to use formal or professional titles when addressing your Christmas cards, especially when writing on behalf of your business.

4. Write a few funny Christmas card lines if you know your card recipient is the type to enjoy a few laughs.

5. Write a few religious sayings or Christmas bible verses for those recipients who celebrate their faith during the holiday season.

6. Use Christmas card quotes to share the magic of the season. Quotes are the perfect way to inspire your loved ones during the holidays. Don’t be afraid to use cheerful or jolly quotes that spread your festive spirit.

7. Don’t forget to sign your Christmas cards. Use a warm closing for close family and friends, use formal titles for those recipients’ you are not as close with and utilize a more professional closing for your business Christmas cards.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  • COVID-19 has resulted in schools shut all across the world. Globally, over 1.2 billion children are out of the classroom.
  • As a result, education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.
  • Research suggests that online learning has been shown to increase retention of information, and take less time, meaning the changes coronavirus have caused might be here to stay.

While countries are at different points in their COVID-19 infection rates, worldwide there are currently more than 1.2 billion children in 186 countries affected by school closures due to the pandemic. In Denmark, children up to the age of 11 are returning to nurseries and schools after initially closing on 12 March, but in South Korea students are responding to roll calls from their teachers online.

With this sudden shift away from the classroom in many parts of the globe, some are wondering whether the adoption of online learning will continue to persist post-pandemic, and how such a shift would impact the worldwide education market.

Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology, with global edtech investments reaching US$18.66 billion in 2019 and the overall market for online education projected to reach $350 Billion by 2025. Whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, or online learning software, there has been a significant surge in usage since COVID-19.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF LEARNING?

While some believe that the unplanned and rapid move to online learning – with no training, insufficient bandwidth, and little preparation – will result in a poor user experience that is unconducive to sustained growth, others believe that a new hybrid model of education will emerge, with significant benefits. “I believe that the integration of information technology in education will be further accelerated and that online education will eventually become an integral component of school education,“ says Wang Tao, Vice President of Tencent Cloud and Vice President of Tencent Education.

There have already been successful transitions amongst many universities. For example, Zhejiang University managed to get more than 5,000 courses online just two weeks into the transition using “DingTalk ZJU”. The Imperial College London started offering a course on the science of coronavirus, which is now the most enrolled class launched in 2020 on Coursera.

Many are already touting the benefits: Dr Amjad, a Professor at The University of Jordan who has been using Lark to teach his students says, “It has changed the way of teaching. It enables me to reach out to my students more efficiently and effectively through chat groups, video meetings, voting and also document sharing, especially during this pandemic. My students also find it is easier to communicate on Lark. I will stick to Lark even after coronavirus, I believe traditional offline learning and e-learning can go hand by hand.”