How to Think In a Foreign Language or the Dress Rehearsal

Thinking in a foreign languageYou recognize that internal voice in your head, the one that practices interview questions with you, or plays out a conversation between yourself and your boss when you desire a raise; this is your inner speech. Inner speech is the internalization of external or out loud speech.  The inner voice renders a vital role in understanding and communicating with yourself and the world around you. The inner voice lends a helping hand when it comes to figuring out the world and to making sense of it, so why not apply it to your learning a foreign language?

Being able to think effortlessly in another language is a significant achievement in becoming fluent. The inner voice can assist with pronunciation, working out the grammar, practicing conversing in the target language and putting that passive vocabulary to use, by changing it into active vocabulary.

The utmost crucial or essential action to take is to decide to exercise your inner voice in the target language from the onset of studying a foreign language. Start by making a deliberate effort to name items around the room in your target language: TV, lamp, coffee table, couch and anything else you might notice. As your skills progress, start by describing these items such as “The TV is on the coffee table.” Or “The lamp is green.” Eventually, imagine a conversation in your target language. Practice it over and over in your head. This training will swiftly convert passive vocabulary, those words that are in verbal memory not understood completely enough to actively be used, into active vocabulary.

Imagine preparing for a speech. Repeating the words over and over again in your head until each word is correctly pronounced, each pause is scrutinized; each emphasis is noted until all is memorized. This is a type of visualization, a dress rehearsal if you will, for real life. Thinking in a foreign language allows for an analysis of the conversation or speech. This analysis will aid in identifying errors and correcting them.

conversation bubbles

Think through a few commonplace conversations that would regularly occur in your native tongue, for example greeting another person, asking what’s for dinner or what a friend’s plans are for the weekend. Begin by recalling the vocabulary needed, next practice putting it into a sentence / question format followed by thinking what would the other person answer. Repeat this process 3 or 4 times until there is a modest conversation taking place. Practice this minute dialog several times. Subsequently, this brief conversation will become a greater one until it becomes a natural process and will become available for active use or out loud speech. If there are unknown words or phrases just jot down these in a notebook or on your phone to look up at a later time.

Using your target inner voice is a powerful tool that is to be used anytime and anyplace. The best thing in regards to using your target inner voice is that no one else can hear your conversation or whatever mistakes that may be produced. Ergo, go ahead and talk to yourself, it’s just a dress rehearsal!

Dress Rehearsal



One thought on “How to Think In a Foreign Language or the Dress Rehearsal

  1. Marta Frant March 23, 2016 / 4:28 am

    I dream in English while sleeping but my inner voice is always in Russian.


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