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tooironic

dreaming in another language

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tooironic

Has anyone here ever dreamt in Chinese or any other language that is not native to them? I started having Chinese dreams a few years ago and was quite taken aback. Mainly they oriented around a few of my former Chinese teachers in high school, as well as new vocabulary I had recently learnt and Chinese films I had seen. My partner has also caught me speaking Chinese in my sleep a few times - shame he doesn't speak a word of Mandarin or he'd be able to tell me what I said! :lol: I gather it would be quite a fascinating area to read up upon, and I'm hoping someone here might know a little bit about the psychology/cognitive processes behind it. Or simply just share your own experiences. Cheers!

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zozzen

i didn't dream in putonghua but i've often unintentionally speak it when I actually want to speak another language. In recent days I usually flooded a series of putonghua conversation to my friends who don't speak Chinese. Until I found that he patiently nodded his head and pretended to understand it, I realized that he doesn't speak Chinese at all.

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renzhe

They say that once you start dreaming in a foreign language, you'll never forget that language.

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randall_flagg

I've had dreams in two different languages that are not native to me. But since my dreams are not like "Planet Earth" and there is no narrative to them, my dream language is mostly dependent on whom I interact with in any particular dream. I have so far avoided the "clash of civilizations" and have managed to keep friends/family that don't share a common language apart. I still wonder what will happen when they meet in one of my dreams, and I guess they eventually will. Gosh! I hope I don't have to translate!! That would be an exhausting dream indeed!

But then, I tend to dream about fishing most of the time anyways, and there ain't much talking for the lone angler staring at a bobber and wishing for a big catfish to bite.

EDIT:

Mainly they oriented around a few of my former Chinese teachers in high school

As unromantic as it sounds, I think it is only reasonable that your Chinese teachers speak Chinese in your dreams. I for one would be most surprised to hear one of my Chinese friends speak to me in English, even in my dreams.

Edited by randall_flagg

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Lu

I only recall one occasion that I dreamed in Chinese, when a Taiwanese friend was in that dream and he spoke Chinese. I might have dreamed in Chinese more often, but I don't remember.

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skylee
They say that once you start dreaming in a foreign language, you'll never forget that language.

Wrong. When I was younger there were occasions that I dreamt in Japanese. Now I've almost totally forgotten the language. :)

I miss the days when I could speak in Japanese. :)

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sebhk

I think it is not very common for people to dream in a language that is not their native language while living in their home country. However, once someone lives abroad or in a multilingual environment it is just a matter of time.

I live in Hong Kong and speak English at work and Mandarin, Cantonese and English (or a mix of the three) when I am talking to friends or strangers. My native language is German, but I rarely speak it nowadays, and I mainly think and dream in English (or maybe Chinglish). I also often have dreams in Cantonese or Mandarin or a mix of languages. The interesting thing is that I am always extremely fluent when speaking Cantonese or Mandarin in my dreams, but in reality I am not really fluent in either. Probably wishful thinking.

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randall_flagg
The interesting thing is that I am always extremely fluent when speaking Cantonese or Mandarin in my dreams, but in reality I am not really fluent in either. Probably wishful thinking.

Hehe, reminds me of the Matrix's concept of the "residual self-image". Cool. I've always wondered whether bespectacled people (or people with hearing aids) wear glasses in their dreams. Mmhh...

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renzhe

It's not that unusual. In the dream, much of the insecurity is gone.

Some people speak much better when sleepy or slightly drunk.

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Lu
Some people speak much better when sleepy or slightly drunk.
More fluently, yes. Better, not likely :-)

As to the glasses, compare it to clothes in dreams: you're not wearing any specific clothes in a dream, unless the clothes start playing a role in the dream. Same with glasses, and with hearing aids I guess. Even when awake you don't wear them conciously, you only notice them when something is the matter with them.

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randall_flagg

As to the glasses, compare it to clothes in dreams: you're not wearing any specific clothes in a dream, unless the clothes start playing a role in the dream.

I'll be sure to find a mirror in my next dream! Really, what HAVE I been wearing all those years?

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Lu

Shuo Cao Cao... just last night I dreamed I had my glasses on, I usually wear contacts both because it looks better and because my glasses are not really strong enough for my eyes. So I was squinting and not seeing clearly all through the dream. If dreams mean anything this one probably meant that I should get stronger glasses (and stronger contacts as well, actually).

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randall_flagg
But I used to dream of speaking Japanese while learning it, yes, heart and soul...

I'm one step ahead of you: I dreaming about speaking Japanese without learning it! (Its more like daydreaming, though!)

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sea-au-don

With my enormous effort to develop an English-speaking mind, I dream in the language once in a while. I can’t remember in what circumstances I’d normally use it except that one time when I was supposedly arguing with some annoying person – never had I spoken English as fluently as I did by then – crikey!

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Caidanbi

I have had many many dreams where I am speaking in Mandarin or Cantonese, and also Korean! This is funny, since I'm always very fluent in these languages in my dreams, where in real life I am just learning Korean, and my Cantonese isn't very good either.

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eatfastnoodle

I've been dreaming and dream-talking in English since high school.

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Hofmann

I think I dreamed that I was speaking French. I never got to a dream-worthy level though.

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edelweis

I never remember my dreams... except this morning I woke early and then fell asleep again while waiting for the alarm to ring... except my alarm does not ring, it's actually a mix of Chinese beginner-level audio tracks. So probably my mind anticipated on both Chinese and breakfast.

Anyway my dream self asked 请给我一杯咖啡. Then I remembered I don't like coffee. Meanwhile the 服务员 was looking perplexed (they always do). Finally she repeated 咖啡 and nodded and made to go past me (I was apparently seated at a table). So I grabbed her arm (quick, quick, find something to say, but I don't like tea either) and I asked 有茉莉花茶?

(and as usual when thinking about jasmine tea, I visualized the neat little row of cao radicals - the other strokes were blurred as I have not learned how to write it yet)

Meanwhile the 服务员 was laughing at me (they always do!) and said quite a few things ending with 有茉莉花茶! I was quite discomfited at having forgotten ma again :oops: and at the same time I wondered how to ask for strawberries (the strawberry season has started in Spain and I've had some for breakfast this week).

That's it :mrgreen:

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rezaf

I have dreamed of speaking Chinese and in that dream my Chinese was much better that the Chinese I can really speak.

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