If you speak only Spanish, do you think in Spanish?
My mother was born in Segovia, a region in the centre of Spain.
Her parents were Segovian as well.
So were the parents of her parents, and the grandparents of her grandparents.
We could go up my Spanish lineage until the 15th century or so, probably.
In any case, she grew up in a small village, during Franco’s era, and had very few chances for education.
The elementary education she received was taught in a small school where the alumni were separated by gender, but not by age, which meant that there were two classes (one for girls, and the other for boys) where you could find kids of ages six to ten all together in the same group, with the same teacher.
They only used one book, the Enciclopedia Álvarez (nevermind learning another language that wasn’t Spanish).
The highest education she could access to afterwards was a Vocational Training curse in Administration.
Before marrying my father, she lived in Sevilla for some months because of her job.
Then, after marrying him, they moved to Madrid.
They had their second son in Ribadeo, Galicia, and lived there for five years or so, and although Galicia is a bilingual region (people there speak both Spanish and Galician), she never learned the language, except for a few words (for example, she often calls me affectionately her filla, which means daughter in Galician).
After that, they moved out across the sea, to Bolivia, and lived there for another four or five years.
My family came back to Spain before I was born, and that’s where we’ve been since.
Apparently, during the time in Bolivia, she tried to learn French in an academy of L'Alliance Française, but she soon quit it, and the only remains of that are the textbooks that we still have around the house, and that she’s never touched again.
As you’ve read, my mother grew up in an environment where people spoke only Spanish (the Castillian accent, by the way), never had the chance to learn a second language during her childhood and teen years, always lived in places where she wasn’t forced to learn another language, married a Spanish guy, dropped French when she had the opportunity of learning it, and therefore only speaks Spanish.
But, of course — how could she not? —, she thinks in Russian.
Joking aside, if you speak only one language, may that be Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, or Icelandic, you think in that language.
Just like my mother, because, although I’m not inside her head, I assure you that she thinks in Spanish (as I did before learning English; now my mind is a chaotic mix between the two).
It’s not about speaking only one language, it’s about knowing only one.
How in hell are you going to think in a language that you do not know?
In the case that you speak only English, do you think in Swahili, German, or Japanese by any chance?
On first thought it may seem your question is a little silly, BUT actually it is a very interesting and profound question that has vexed many language researchers for years.
Some theorists maintain that language is a requisite for thought, that is to say that without language humans would have never evolved higher order thinking, their theory is called “lingualism.
However, Chomsky and other scientists posit that language is only one of several cognitive traits or cognitive systems and that thought indeed has no language per se, but rather is manifested through language only partially (as many others have pointed out, when you are fluent in several languages you learn that some thoughts, feelings and emotions are better expressed in one language or another, whereas there are certain ones that are very difficult to be expressed in any language).
Being bilingual myself, when I read Chomsky a light-bulb lit in my head, and I knew I wasn´t crazy believing that “behind” the internal dialogue in which one one normally carries thinking activities, there is another stream of consciousness who thinks without words or perhaps there is another, lower-level language of the mind that is translated, parsed through higher-level languages as part of the process of human expression (lower and higher level in the sense of being closer to the innerkern of the brain or further away from it).
I dream in Spanish or English, but I truly believe I think in neither.
It´s late and I have to take an early flight tomorrow… but I suggest you lookup Noam Chomsky and his ideas, you may be surprised.
No, we remain in a vegetative state until a compassionate doctor teaches us English, or any other proper language.
This usually happens around the adolescence.
Until then, we remain secluded in huge hospitals, where we are fed intravenously.
This is why there are so few pictures of Hispanic children, and why Spanish is the native language for only half a billion people in the world.
I don’t have pictures of the process at hand.
But this image from The Matrix may give you an approximate idea of the appearance of the hospitals where Hispanic children are secluded until the adolescence, before a compassionate soul teaches us a language that allow us to think.
The previous answer is obviously sarcastic.
But in case the question was asked in good faith, a real answer would be: Yes, you think in any language you have learned.
In a way, for humans the native language is the software that allows the thinking-hardware (the brain) to fully work.
Without a language, you can still “think” in the strict sense of the word, but in a very limited way, mostly by associating past experiences and imitating other beings (