Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Thinking languages

After 6 months of living in Belgium (yes that's right, more than halfway through!) my French has gotten to the point where, providing I am more or less comfortable with the topic, my thought processes take place in French. At the beginning there was a bit of confusion between the two, and I was using French words in English (though not the other way around), but now I can keep the two nicely separated.

I don't really know how to quantify how much I have improved, but I would guess at least C1 level for speaking and listening, writing is more or less the same as it was, and reading is perhaps a little higher. Still, I am not sure enough about the C1 level to pay for an exam to prove it(!), so I think I will end up taking the C1 course during my first year at university, which gives me the chance to actively use my French on a weekly basis, while making sure all my skills are firmly at a C1+ level.

My main issue is that my memory registers my thoughts at a certain moment, but there is little to no recollection of the actual words used, only what I understood by them and how I responded. This results in me trying, in French, to tell people about a conversation I had in German, but finding that I had long since forgotten the words we exchanged, and so I have no way of clarifying the message except for expanding on my own experience of the dialogue, rather than the original source material.

I suppose that is a good thing, as it means that my memory transcends language (or something), yet it remains an odd experience!

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