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Inner voice


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Internal monologue, also known as inner voice, internal speech, or verbal stream of consciousness is thinking in words.  It also refers to the semi-constant internal monologue one has with oneself at a conscious or semi-conscious level.

I spend most of my time online, where English is predominant over other languages, and when the day has end I've  read, written and heard English, but never spoken it. And so, I often cought myself thinking in English rather than in my native language because I've been "speaking" it all day. But the most strange thing is that my inner voice speaks almost if like it was my first language, no latin accent and perfect pronunciation.

The words that come out of my mouth don't sound at all like the ones in my head. :cry:

So, has your inner voice already learnt how to speak a language while you are stuck figuring out how to move your clumsy tongue?

I can't be the only one, right?

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I think there are two factors to take into account when it comes to speak and think of English even when you are not in an English context.

One is having forcing yourself to "live in English" in your daily activities. Listen to the radio paying attention to the lyrics of English songs, find the local information that you need but seek in the English section rather than in your regional version, and so on.

Then practice the language with someone who speaks English, preferably a native person. If you don't talk to someone, you cannot apply what you have learned and it may be pretty hard to assemble phrases "on the fly" and sounding natural.

In this matter, having a native English speaker talking to you helps also to correct your pronounciation, although you can also achieve this my using the speaking option on Google to hear how a word is pronounced.

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Yes, somehow. I also noticed that I will have thoughts in English when I've been writing a lot in English language lately. But I can't remember to have learned a language this way. If I don't know a language but had real much to do with it it is more like building parts of sentences.

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Before I had my english exam, I used to think. I even talk to myself. I'm thinking of  possible questions then I will answer it in my thought. It's easier to do it in my mind than to speak it. In my mind the pronunciation, diction and grammar are always correct, but once your speaking you can feel and see that it's not the same.

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I spend most of my time online, where English is predominant over other languages, and when the day has end I've  read, written and heard English, but never spoken it. And so, I often cought myself thinking in English rather than in my native language because I've been "speaking" it all day. But the most strange thing is that my inner voice speaks almost if like it was my first language, no latin accent and perfect pronunciation.

The words that come out of my mouth don't sound at all like the ones in my head. :cry:

So, has your inner voice already learnt how to speak a language while you are stuck figuring out how to move your clumsy tongue?

I can't be the only one, right?

This happens to me all the time. Now that I am in Turkey, my daily language is English. However, since the level of English here is way lower than mine, I tend to change my vocabulary and speaking to the level of the people I talk to. The problem is that this 'bad English' has started to come automatically even though I know the correct use in my head. Even my pronounciation is getting worse even though I speak English daily.

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And so, I often cought myself thinking in English rather than in my native language because I've been "speaking" it all day. But the most strange thing is that my inner voice speaks almost if like it was my first language, no latin accent and perfect pronunciation.

The words that come out of my mouth don't sound at all like the ones in my head. :cry:

So, has your inner voice already learnt how to speak a language while you are stuck figuring out how to move your clumsy tongue?

I can't be the only one, right?

I have had that same experience with Spanish in the years that I was learning it.  I would hear a fluent speaking inner voice that had flawless pronunciation.  You are not the only one! 

I do think that with speaking a language we must make that connection with the voice that we hear, both in our own heads, as well as the voices of native speakers that we hear.  By that I mean, that speaking is a motor skill as well.  So as you point out, part of it is learning how to formulate vowels and consonants that are not familiar to us.  Kind of like learning techniques in sports, e.g. how to do the various strokes in swimming -- freestyle, butterfly, etc. -- or the hand-eye coordination it takes to play tennis. 

I think as with sports, that we just have to practice so that we have less and less of the disparity between the inner voice and our increasing ability to speak the language fluently.

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Excellent topic.  My inner voice would shift between French and English and sometimes combine the two.  I learned French when I was in my early teens so it was a big part of my inner monologue during those learning years.  Since I left school, my inner monologue has been predominantly English.  Fascinating topic!

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My mother tongue is Spanish, but I learned French when I was 12. Sometimes I think (and dream) in French, other times in Spanish. I would even say that sometimes, I find myself thinking in English, which is always weird to me, haha.

I combine the 3 of them most of the time, without realizing, I guess.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My inner voice has got Cockney accent  :grin:

and I NEVER mispronounce words in my head! I hope my mouth catches up with my brain quickly because I want to make progress faster.

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I spend so much time writing in english nowadys, and yeah, I've noticed my inner voice has a way better pronunciation  :laugh: But... my inner voice seems to have some toruble processing words that I find hard to pronunce for real!  Could that be coincidence?  '

There are some words I still have a lot trouble trying to pronounce, like for example ''teeth''.  There is something about that ''th'' sounds I still can't grasp! I heard this is a comon problem among native spanish speakers.  I believe that's true!  I've observed that most spanish speakers pronounce certain words in english very badly. 

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This topic is really interesting and the responses show that we all deal with the inner voice on different levels.  It is interesting how the brain can "see" speech as in the inner voice, but control thought, pronunciation and sound to "hear" speech on the verbal level.  Even more fascinating is how we also are our own worst critics as to our pronunciation of the language we are learning (that is when we finally get brave enough to speak out loud).

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Mine is in my own native language. I'm comfortable enough with English and use it on a daily basis not only online but in personal conversations as well, but I still mostly prefer my own native language since it feels much more personal to me, and of course I can't help but love it since I've been around it so much and have had ample time to learn to appreciate it.

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No matter the language, my inner voice is far more eloquent and flawless than my tongue can ever account for. But I know what you're describing very well....I think the trick is to force yourself to speak it. Gain some muscle memory. Even if it's as simple as thinking of replies/thoughts to an article or discussion thread and "replying" a bit outloud to get some spoken word in there, or singing in that language, etc.

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Yeah! it's really easy have an inner monologue inside your head that speaks properly a foreign language and is able to structure it with ease.

However once that I have to face a real-time talking time with someone, it's like if I were unable to find the proper words or how to structure my phrases, not to mention I go slow, slow, not really at the normal pace people speak such language  :frozen:

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Language is beautiful in that it allows us to give form to the pure thought that is within, but it is also limited in that it can never give perfect form to perfect thought. It can cause us to get into convenional ruts of thought. I tell my monolingual friends sometimes, particularly those who are most wise, that the real beauty of learning a different language well is not that it teaches you to speak differently, but that it teaches you to think differently.

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