LINGUIST List 9.75

Sun Jan 18 1998

Disc: L2 and Dreams

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <martylinguistlist.org>


Directory

  1. Karen S. Chung, Re: 9.73, Disc: L2 and Dreams
  2. manaster, Re: 9.73, Disc: L2 and Dreams
  3. Laura C Snyder, Re: 9.73, Disc: L2 and Dreams
  4. Elizabeth M. Bergman, L2 and dreams

Message 1: Re: 9.73, Disc: L2 and Dreams

Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 10:15:46 +0800 (CST)
From: Karen S. Chung <karchungccms.ntu.edu.tw>
Subject: Re: 9.73, Disc: L2 and Dreams


> Anyone else care to share a memorable L2 dream?
> Duane L. Blanchard

	To add to the collection: 

	When I was first learning Chinese - and had a deep desire to
learn it fluently, while doubting it was really possible - I had a
dream in which I could already speak Mandarin Chinese. I woke up
excited, thinking that it was indeed possible to conquer this language
as well as any European one, as later turned out to in fact be the
case. But I also distinctly remember thinking - knowing - after I woke
up that the Chinese I spoke in the dream wasn't real Chinese, but some
Hollywood approximation that served the purposes of the dream. I was
dressed up in a Chinese princess gown, and made up maybe as for Peking
Opera, and that underlined the fanciful, theatrical character of the
whole scenario.

	I also remember, in a dream I had many years later, citing
various Chinese dialect forms of the pronunciation of a certain
written character, for dialects I didn't know all that well. It was a
fun dream, and the pronunciation patterns (e.g. a final -m for a
southern dialect) were basically correct, though the pronunciations
themselves were totally erroneous, and I'm not sure the character is
even a real character; and if it were, it probably *wouldn't* be
pronounced like I pronounced it in the dream!

	I will sometimes also dream in the European languages I used
to spend more time on - usually in response to some contact with the
language during the day. These dreams seem to express a desire for
assurance that the language in question is still there somewhere in my
brain, in some form. Unless of course I'm exposed to the language
constantly for a while - then I start dreaming in it just because it's
what I'm used to hearing and communicating in.

	I also notice that people in dreams don't always speak in the
languages I'm used to hearing them use in real life.

					 Karen Steffen Chung
					 National Taiwan University	
					 karchungccms.ntu.edu.tw

					 
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Message 2: Re: 9.73, Disc: L2 and Dreams

Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 23:15:30 -0500 (EST)
From: manaster <manasterumich.edu>
Subject: Re: 9.73, Disc: L2 and Dreams

My own experience of L2 in dreams has occasionally been like that
reported here, e.g., waking up to a recollection of having dreamt of
conversing in Mandarin, which I do not know well enough to converse
in, but more often I have woken up remembering dreams in which I had
been speaking some lg I do know, say Dutch or Spanish or something,
and having trouble finding words or expressions which I in fact do not
know. So in these more frequent cases I sure seem to be really
dreaming in the language in question. AMR
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Message 3: Re: 9.73, Disc: L2 and Dreams

Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 01:21:00 -0500
From: Laura C Snyder <laura.snyderjuno.com>
Subject: Re: 9.73, Disc: L2 and Dreams

>Anyone else care to share a memorable L2 dream?

Sure! When I had barely begun to learn German a couple of years ago,
I had a dream in which I was speaking to a Swiss-German friend of
mine. In real life, we had only ever communicated in English, but in
this dream, I spoke a very broken German with him, according to the
level of my ability, and he answered in carefully chosen, easy words
so that I could understand him.

Now that I'm fluent, I frequently have dreams auf deutsch. However,
if a mixture of English- and German-speakers is present in a single
dream, I speak one or the other, depending on whom I am conversing
with.

Dreams are incredibly complex sometimes. How, then, can language be
superimposed upon a myriad of (often unconnected) occurrences
afterward? I can remember entire conversations from dreams, even long
ones that switched back and forth between Ger. & Eng. It's as if it
all happened in real life.

> me. I've dreams that I was talking, in German, about the policitcal
> situation in Germany to someone from Germany. I don't know nearly
> enough German to do that. There are simply words I know I've never
> learned that I was "using."

I find that fascinating -- to my knowledge, it's never happened to me,
but (as has already been mentioned) if our dreams originate in the
subconscious, it would make sense if words from this "hidden" mental
lexicon popped up now and then. We may think we have never heard such
words, but where else would they come from? And if the suggested
"superimposition theory" were true, how, upon waking, could we
immediately apply those same words we haven't "learned" to the
abstract communication in the dream? Are we that much smarter when we
wake up a few minutes later?

Or do we just fool ourselves into thinking we were talking in language
that exceeds our ability?

Laura Snyder
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Message 4: L2 and dreams

Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 09:59:31 -0500
From: Elizabeth M. Bergman <embergmanearthlink.net>
Subject: L2 and dreams

There are reports of dreams in which people are able to communicate in
ways that would not be possible in the waking world. And other dreams
in which communicative ability is much greater than it is in the
waking world. It might be helpful to differentiate between "dreaming
about L2" from "dreaming in L2". How different is dreaming about L2
from, for example, dreaming about flying?
 
************************************************************

 Elizabeth M. Bergman
 Comparative Literature Department
 Joe Brown Hall
 University of Georgia
 Athens, GA 30606
 phone: 706/542-3955
 fax: 706.542-2155
 email: embergmanearthlink.net

************************************************************
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