Can you think in a second language?
Do you dream of thinking in English, if it’s not your first language?
Do you believe this is difficult for you?
Do you think you need to go and live in another country first?
I am going to show you a Test that:
immediately reveals your own thinking to you.
you can use with your friends
takes less than five minutes
can be used for English (if it’s not your first language) or for any other language
is free (for your own private use)
has just four outcomes
starts any learner on the path towards greater self-awareness of their own mental processes
is always 100% successful for you
We have all had the dream at some time of thinking in another language.
We have all tried to imagine what this means.
We somehow know that thinking in another language is worth it.
We feel that this is an important stage in the journey to second-language success.
You are right!
When we think in another language we are BEING in another language.
We take on a new identity, without losing our first identity.
We understand faster, respond quicker, and feel more at home.
Imagine a computer.
If a computer runs very complicated software, we know we must shut down all other unnecessary software.
We all learned this very early in our time with computers.
So it is with second-language communication.
Talking with someone in a second language demands every mental resource possible.
It is not possible to communicate in a second language like in our first language.
So mental translation wastes our limited capacity in our brain.
Instead we need all of our brain for the new language, and very little for our mother tongue.
So what is the TISL (Thinking in a Second Language) Test(SM)?
In late 2014 I was working with clients online when this Test simply emerged as a tool.
I suddenly realised that I could test my clients’ brain nearly directly!
Here’s how this Test works:
- Find a partner who can speak your first language to a medium level, and also your target second language (for example English).
- Make sure you have a minimum of five minutes
- If you have time and the ability, try talking for a few minutes in the second language
- Choose one of you to give the Test
- Choose one of you to take the Test
- The test-taker should then close their eyes
- The test-giver should then choose some objects or pictures from around the room. Please do this quietly, so the test-taker cannot guess the object via the sound.
- The test-giver holds the object or picture in front of the other person’s face
- The test-giver says to the person,
“Please notice the first word in your mind when you see the object.
Please say the first word in your mind.
There are no wrong answers.
All answers are correct.”
- When the test-giver is ready with an object or picture in front of the other person’s face, then say, “Please open your eyes and tell me the word in your mind”
- The test-taker says the word in their first language or in another language
- Both participants can then discuss the result.
- The test-giver can ask about the test-taker’s state of mind upon seeing the object or the image.
- Did you immediately know the name for the object?
Then double-check with the participant for the actual language of the word
- NO. Then ask the questions below…..
Did you have to search for a word?
- Did you immediately know the name for the object?
NO, then stop.
- YES, then ask:
Did you search for a word in your first language or your second language?
This normally starts a lot of discussion and the interest to do the Test again!
Repeat at least three times
Swap roles if you have time
There are many people who find it hard to recognise the language of their thoughts.
However this TISL Test works for nearly anyone.
It works the best if you can take some time beforehand to:
- listen carefully to a song in English (or another second language)
- watch a movie clip in English (if you are not a native speaker of English)
- read some text in English
- talk with someone in English
There are only four outcomes possible, but all represent 100% success.
They all show our human ability to notice the state of our own mind – in other words, self-awareness.
The four possible outcomes are:
- The name for the object/picture appears in the person’s mind in one’s mother tongue
- No name immediately appears in the person’s mind, but then they search for it in their first language
- The name for the object/picture appears in the person’s mind in the second target language
- No name immediately appears in the person’s mind, but then they search for it in their target language (for example English as their second language)
Again, each outcome still represents full success.
However the most ideal outcome is not the third but the fourth option.
This result shows the person that they still think in English (or any other target language), even when they don’t know the right word. This is just like in a real conversation which always involves some level of missing words and misunderstanding. We are always busy using other words to explain our intended meaning. This work to achieve shared understanding is a kind of emotional pressure. It’s pressure because we all want to be understood during a conversation.
So ideally we want to respond to that pressure by remaining at home in the second language, without returning to our native language. If we can do this then this is proven ‘Bulletproof Authentic Confidence’(SM) in a second language.
Of course it works the best if you can talk with a native speaker of English, and certainly with a professional.
What are the results?
For nearly every participant this begins an internal process to understand their own mind better.
They understand in a conscious way how their own mind works.
They start to see what state of mind is the best for second-language communication.
This sounds complicated but it’s not. We all know that we are different people when we are talking with a good friend, or when we have to cross a dangerous street. In one we are relaxed and very open. In the other situation we are focused on the goal of survival. Over our whole life we have learned to function differently in different situations. And so it can be with second-language
Using the TISL Test many times over weeks and months has a big result for learners.
Their own awareness of their mind changes and adjusts to the challenge of second-language communication.
This conscious awareness accelerates the learning process.
This is simply not possible if we only think about words and grammar, as something outside ourselves.
Thus confidence in English (or any other target language) quickly grows beyond all previous imagination!
The TISL Test is very new.
As far as I know it does not exist anywhere else in the world.
I am the inventor and the owner, but anyone is free to use it.
Please acknowledge my open copyright.
Please tell me about your results!
You may reach me Mo Riddiford via:
+49 178 522 8110, Skype mo-riddiford,