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Re: OT: What is your qualia of consciousness / thought? (WAS: does conlanging change your sense of reality?)

From:Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <>
Date:Tuesday, April 7, 2009, 9:41
2009/4/6 Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>

> On Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 7:12 AM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets > <> wrote: > > > > This has some interesting effects: > > - I learn languages easily. People often say that they constantly have to > > Wow, that's counter-intuitive. >
Not in my experience. The faster you "get" the inner logic of the language you learn and stop translating back and forth from language to language, the faster you achieve fluency. Since my thoughts are mostly non-verbal, they are less constrained by my native language, and I feel I can "get" a language's logic faster, and stop using an intermediary language as crutch very quickly (that's how I learned Dutch in a month for instance, and Modern Greek in three).
> > Right; I suppose most people who are really fluent in a secondary language > have gotten past the need to mentally translate, whether by learning to > think > in the secondary language directly, like myself and other primarily > verbally-thinking people, or by learning to convert their nonverbal > thoughts > directly into the secondary language, like yourself. >
Indeed. I routinely dream in French, English and Dutch for instance.
> > Hmm. This actually sounds a lot like my own mental translation process, > at least between languages that are extremely dissimilar. (I can often > translate between English, French and Esperanto without conscious, > deliberate thought; but going to or from gzb, or Greek, takes more > reasoning and experimenting until the "semantic feel" of the translated > sentence is about the same as that of the original.) >
I personally have difficulties even when the languages are similar. The worst is when I need to translate something to French. Although it's originally my native language, I have the most difficulty translating from it and into it.
> > This is partly similar to my own experience; I spontaneously > code-switch frequently while thinking silently to myself, but > *deliberately* code-switching when a social situation requires it > (e.g., at a meeting where there is a mix of Esperanto-speakers and > monolingual English speakers -- or interrupting a conversation in Esperanto > with a table-mate to talk to the waiter in English) takes some effort > and sometimes goes wrong. >
My code-switching is often unconscious. I just do it without thinking. And indeed I often get it wrong (start speaking the wrong language to the wrong person, and realising it only in the middle of the second sentence because of the face that person gets ;) ). Sometimes I genuinely *don't hear* which language I'm using.
> > > ..... There's nothing > > more annoying than having 5 languages available and still being at a loss > > for words. My thoughts just don't often fit the nice pigeon-holes that > the > > languages I know provide. > > That happens to me occasionally; it sometimes leads me to coin a > new word in gzb. > >
Sometimes it even happens with words I know I already know. This morning for instance I spent 15 minutes looking for the word "intuitive". I had the thought clear in my head, but the word itself kept eluding me, and I couldn't find it in any language I know. I had to do some googling around (using words like "easy" and "interface", it was about me finding the character ¡ on my keyboard at the first attempt, despite not knowing previously where it would be) until suddenly my eyes saw the word and everything fell back in place (although in my head I keep thinking my thought was referring to a concept slightly different, although related, to intuitiveness). It can be infuriating. -- Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.