Learning a language helps you think differently by becoming more figurative and not so literal. You’re more flexible because you have to constantly rework the way you’d like to say something and turn it into a more direct translation.
Instead of saying something like "My boyfriend and I broke up” which is a funny expression if you think about it. WE BROKE, We Broke where? Up!
Hmmm…. You can’t translate that literally to Spanish. It would sound weird. They might be like -what did you break? A vase? An arm? And why In the upward direction?
No! Not at all! It’s just an expression we use, and they don’t! So how else can I say that? We ended our relationship. We are not together anymore. We are both single now.
Cool! Three different ways to say the same thing and get the same point across without completely confusing the person you’re talking to. This is why it makes you more flexible. It helps you think differently and in new ways, and recognize what is literal and what is an idiomatic expression.
Kids are said to have an ability that most adults no longer have. Do you know what that is?
It’s idea generation. The ability to think of more uses or ideas for a thing than what it is used for or thought of typically.
The example I’ve always heard of was that a box is placed right side down and both adults and kids are asked how many ways can you use the box. Adults generally think of only one way, put stuff in it!
Kids, however, see it as a house, a storage container, a hat, a stair step and so many other things! They often come up with many more ideas for what something can be than an adult. Why? Because we are trained to see things a certain way as we age.
The beauty of what kids can do can be accessed and harnessed through learning a language. You can think of that sentence or thought in new ways by trying to say it differently. This very abstract thinking helps us reconnect to our childlike open-minded view of life and grows our brains!
Be prepared to become a better idea generator and a happier, smarter, more flexible person than ever! You can do it! ¡VAMOS!
Dreaming in another language
Everyone asks me “Do you dream in Spanish?” Yes, I do! Especially when I’m speaking it more. The first time you dream in another language, you feel so proud!
It’s like your brain is working overtime and has fully started to understand how to think and process a different way. I’ve had full on conversations and planned speeches while dreaming in Spanish! I wake up feeling marvelous, fully rested but like I was doing slight brain exercises overnight.
Whether it’s true or not, I wake up feeling smarter. In a lot of ways it is true, because this is one of the first signs that your brain is assimilating the language and actually getting it.
I had a recent client tell me she was having dreams of our Spanish lessons together. It was so exciting to hear. She was partially thinking- “Brittany, get out of my head!” but she was also so pumped that her brain was finally understanding it to that degree!
It won’t be long until you reach that milestone too and you will understand exactly how cool it is to dream in another language!
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This "dreamy" photo was taken in the salt flats in northern Chile outside of San Pedro de Atacama. I took this photo and I'm so proud of it, that I sent it to National Geographic for a contest... Sadly it didn't win, but I still think it's phenomenal!
Brittany is a bilingual Spanish teacher who has lived in Spain and Argentina. Through this blog, she hopes to relate her travels, insights, and Spanish speaking journey!