Contact Us
Apply now
Apply now

Dreaming in another language

The Bell Team
Written by the Bell Team
Girl studying in her bedroom

I had a very interesting conversation with some of the students in the advanced speaking and listening class recently. How do you know when you are becoming bilingual? When is the point reached where you are as comfortable speaking English as you are speaking in your own language? In the lesson we came up with the following list in answer to these questions:

1.    When you can make jokes and be funny in English

2.    When you sometimes prefer to use English even if you don’t need to

3.    When you physically change by using the body and hand gestures of English

4.    When you can use English without having to think about it first

5.    When you are speaking your first language and English words creep in without you noticing

6.    When you speak your first language with an English accent

7.    When you regularly dream in English

,

Number 7 (dream in English) is something many students talk about and here is an interesting article about dreaming in the language you are learning. Fill in the missing gaps in the article with these phrasal verbs:

  • pin down
  • longing for
  • keep on
  • found out
  • looked into  
  • worked out

It has been said that when you __________ dreaming in a second language you know you have become fluent. But is this just an old wives’ tale? In the 1980s, a Canadian research psychologist __________ that students learning French who spoke in French in their dreams made faster progress than the students who did not. Since then, psychologists and other scientists have __________ the link between dreaming and language learning. One problem is the difficulty in actually being able to __________ what takes place when we dream. Some people talk about speaking fluently in English but the big problem is that we, as dreamers, are very unreliable witnesses. Are people really dreaming in English or are they just imagining they are? It has been __________ that often people have dreams where they think are “speaking” the language fluently but they are actually only saying a mixture of their own language and the words they know in the new language. For those that really do achieve dreams in another language, this act seems to express a __________ being seen an insider and to feel like one belongs. If you start to dream in English take it as a positive sign.

,

Answers

It has been said that when you keep on dreaming in a second language you know you have become fluent. But is this just an old wives’ tale? In the 1980s, a Canadian research psychologist found out that students learning French who spoke in French in their dreams made faster progress than the students who did not. Since then, psychologists and other scientists have looked into the link between dreaming and language learning. One problem is the difficulty in actually being able to pin down what takes place when we dream. Some people talk about speaking fluently in English but the big problem is that we, as dreamers, are very unreliable witnesses. Are people really dreaming in English or are they just imagining they are? It has been worked out that often people have dreams where they think are “speaking” the language fluently but they are actually only saying a mixture of their own language and the words they know in the new language. For those that really do achieve dreams in another language, this act seems to express a longing for being seen as an insider and to feel like one belongs. If you start to dream in English take it as a positive sign.

Gain language confidence and the skills you need to succeed with Bell’s English courses for students aged 16 and over. Choose to study at our schools in the academic city of Cambridge or London, a vibrant capital. 

The Bell Team
Written by the Bell Team,
Bringing you up-to-date information and useful insights from Bell, so you know exactly how we can support you - when the time is right.