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Linguaholic

Thinking and Speaking.


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I wonder if I am weird sometimes.  I find that in some instances, I think about what I would or how I could say something, and somehow I don't seem to find the right or matching words. Yet, when I am in an impromptu situation, I come up with the right words in my conversations and presentations, that it makes me wonder how I didn't have to think too hard about the words to find. What is it about speaking that causes the mind to function more powerfully? We need to express ourselves more, vent more, and see the relief it gives us.

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I am the exact opposite when it comes to Spanish.  I can think of what I want to say and put it on paper, with little issue.  When I'm speaking, I have trouble putting the right words together. Someone could ask me a question, that I'd know the answer to, immediately, if I saw it on paper, and not be able to answer it.

I believe it is because, when writing, I have time to think about what I'm saying. In speech the pace is faster and, rather than stalling the conversation, I just say I don't know. I'm trying to better my speech so this doesn't happen but it taking me some time.

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When you're relaxed your mind tend to slack off a bit which is why it's harder to recall words you've learned. When you're doing an impromptu or debate, you have a heightened state of mind, your brain processes stuff faster which is why things pop up without having to think much.

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I think that's actually pretty common! A lot of people even find that they speak more fluently when slightly intoxicated. Once you've achieved a certain level of proficiency in a language, your first instincts are often correct, and second-guessing isn't always helpul.

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When thinking, you're more concerned about getting the "perfect" word to use in a certain situation. That's why you find that your mind might by-pass the most obvious word in search of something else. When you're on the spot, it's an entirely different matter. The fact that you have to get information across without having much time to rehearse, the words, the mind will have to work faster, find the right words and have them in some sort of cue so that you just kind of pick them up as you go.

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I am the exact opposite when it comes to Spanish.  I can think of what I want to say and put it on paper, with little issue.  When I'm speaking, I have trouble putting the right words together. Someone could ask me a question, that I'd know the answer to, immediately, if I saw it on paper, and not be able to answer it.

I believe it is because, when writing, I have time to think about what I'm saying. In speech the pace is faster and, rather than stalling the conversation, I just say I don't know. I'm trying to better my speech so this doesn't happen but it taking me some time.

Nothing is wrong if that's your situation. Most people are like this anyway. Persons learning a foreign language find it much easier to write than to speak in the language (especially if they have photographic or pictorial memory).  :grin:
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When you're relaxed your mind tend to slack off a bit which is why it's harder to recall words you've learned. When you're doing an impromptu or debate, you have a heightened state of mind, your brain processes stuff faster which is why things pop up without having to think much.

Wow, cool explanation. Very concise and to the point. I see that you can understand and relate to what I was talking about. I'm not alone. Lol.  :grin:

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I think that's actually pretty common! A lot of people even find that they speak more fluently when slightly intoxicated. Once you've achieved a certain level of proficiency in a language, your first instincts are often correct, and second-guessing isn't always helpul.

Oh yea...that's definitely true. Language is something that is instinctive and automatic...well, it eventually becomes such. So, that explains it. You work with what comes to mind first when you are speaking, and not with what it may be when you're completely ignorant.

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When thinking, you're more concerned about getting the "perfect" word to use in a certain situation. That's why you find that your mind might by-pass the most obvious word in search of something else. When you're on the spot, it's an entirely different matter. The fact that you have to get information across without having much time to rehearse, the words, the mind will have to work faster, find the right words and have them in some sort of cue so that you just kind of pick them up as you go.

Oh. I see what you're saying. The mind is a perfectionist in itself. It is trying to find the perfect words all the time. When you're speaking however, the perfect word or phrase become of less emphasis being that you are being prompted to express yourself in a limited time space.
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I think it's because when you think, you are more concerned of how you might make mistakes or how you want to appear as fluent as possible, but when you're actually talking, you don't have time to be conscious about that anymore, so you just say any words that can get across what you want to say.

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I think if I feel like I have to express myself the words just flow out. If I am writing then I have more time to think of my words and that trips me up. I over analyze, but if I have to speak to people the words flow out.

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Words come out from me naturally especially when I am speaking and talking about an interest of mine. I am very fluent in speaking the topics I like. Debate is a good way for me to show my thinking and speaking skills and it gets me hyped up every time.

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I often think that we speak so quickly that our minds must be working overtime to be able to form sentances, make a joke or even a pun.  Other times to use an idiom we can "put our foot in our mouth: and wonder why our brain didn't stop us before the words came out.

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It's almost the opposite for me :( In my head thinking up a response I will know just the word I'm looking for, but when it comes for me to actually say it I forget and can't seem to bring it up again. In the end I always end up having to settle for another word and it never fits what I'm trying to say as well as the word I'd forgotten.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's always good to express yourself indeed with words and just letting things out with your lips. I try hard to think it first though before just saying it. I dont want to come off insensitive.

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This might be off topic, but does anyone else view what they're thinking as words written in their head?

Back on topic now: words come naturally to me when I'm speaking and less naturally when I am writing. If I am speaking to someone about a topic I'm especially fond of, I could go on for hours. However, if I'm trying to write my novel (which I have been trying to do of late), I end up losing my train of thought and sit there for a good 10 minutes wondering what to write next.

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You're right in saying that the mind seems to be better at finding words when it's not being forced to. Words seem to come easier when you're in a flow. It might be because if you've been talking for a while, you are probably thinking about language both consciously and subconsciously.

I read somewhere that the reason you seem to spontaneously think of answers to questions or figure out what that song was that's been stuck in your head all day is that you start to think about it subconsciously.

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I think it's because when you think, you are more concerned of how you might make mistakes or how you want to appear as fluent as possible, but when you're actually talking, you don't have time to be conscious about that anymore, so you just say any words that can get across what you want to say.

I completely agree with this!  I often find myself in this situation.

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I think the situation you've stated is just a good example of how your mind can get in your way sometimes, and it's probably fairly common as I also experience this sometimes myself. I think when your brain goes into autopilot, it's much more efficient at making things happen, but when you start thinking about something too hard, then it only entails more effort and often results in stress. It may be similar to having the right word at the tip of your tongue, but the more you try to remember the word, the more the memory gets distant.

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