How to 'Think' in the Language You're Learning! 💡

Sharing buttons:

people say you need to stop translating

from your native language

and start thinking in korean when you

want to speak better korean but

what if you don't know what that means

how it should be done

and why you need to do that then you're

watching the right video

before we start a little bit about me

my name is yeji kim and i am teaching

korean using the

english language here on talk to me in


i was born and raised in korea where

i've barely had any opportunity to speak


but i've learned to speak it at a level

where i can teach

korean using english as a profession so

in this video i'm going to share how i

learned to think in english

when i was learning it and how it has

helped me

and i believe every language learner can

take advantage of the same approach

let's first talk about why we translate


from our native language when speaking

in a foreign language

in the first place it's easy to

understand if you compare how

we learn a foreign language and how

babies learn their

mother tongue you know babies learn a

language by listening to a ton of words

and sentences

right on the contrary we learn a foreign

language through our mother tongue

and by memorizing tons of words while

matching the meanings in our own


so it's kind of natural for us to go

through the translation process

then how can we stop translating and


thinking in the language we are learning

you just simply need to do this

one thing think and talk to yourself

in korean consciously actually this is

the key point of this whole video

for beginners who might think you are

not ready for this

please don't be afraid because you are

ready for this

from now on i'll tell you what i mean by

thinking korean consciously how to do it

depending on your level

and how to make it your habit for


start by saying objects you see in


whether the objects are in your room in

your office or

on your way to work it doesn't matter

for example

here we have some pens pencils

and a desk try to say those

words in korean like pen

like i just said it's always better to

say everything out loud

but if it's not possible at the time


think in your head

the next step is to use adjectives

verbs and verbs with the nouns for


or even

if you're not familiar with how to make


in various tenses start with the present


and there must be some words you don't

know yet right

let's say you didn't know the word for

desk then make sure to write them down

maybe in a notebook or

on your phone just like

this i'm not sure if you can see this

but i just wrote

desk then look them in the dictionary


it's also a good idea to designate a


like when you are commuting to work and

make it a

worth look up time and there will always

be some words

that never stick to your head to give

you a little tip

write down those words on sticky notes

and put them on a wall

where you can see them frequently also

two sticky notes have words that go hand

in hand

next to each other so then you can

practice saying them

together and when you do this there is

one thing

you need to be careful about you never

want to

write down every single word you don't


you know language learning is a marathon

it's not a sprint

if you try to write down like 10 words

or 20 words every day

chances are your adult path will be

nothing more than a

long unconquerable list of words you

don't know so

i recommend you set a maximum number for

words to link up later

like five words a day or even three

or intermediate learners make sentences

about things around you

or situations you are in for example


in this stage you might encounter a

bunch of things you want to express

but don't know how to say realistically


it's impossible to stop in all of those

moments to open the dictionary app so

here is how to stop those moments from

ruining your practice

say the words you don't know yet in your

mother tongue

and then go ahead to complete the

sentences for example

you don't know the word for

highlighter in korean then just say

ee highlighter

and make a quick note of highlighter and

look it up later

make sure to study the word so then you

can say hyungwon pen next time you see

it for advanced learners

practice expressing complicated

situations and thoughts

in korean but sometimes it's hard to

find a complicated topic to talk about

so here is what i do when there is

nothing complex to talk about

i pick a youtube video watch it and try

to summarize the video in the language

that i'm learning

or i think of a funny situation that


a few days ago and imagine explaining it

to my friends in english

and there might be some moments when you

can't think of the best word or phrase

then try to express it with words you

already know

even if they are not the perfect words

you're looking for for example you

wanted to say



and let's say you didn't know the word

then instead of going blank say

word and search for it later

once again be sure to use new words

until you can confidently say them in


so far we've talked about what it means

to think in korean

and how to do it depending on your level

now let's talk about

how to make it your habit designate a


or time and promise yourself that you

are going to think

and talk to yourself only in korean in

that place or during the period of time

i'm going to give you three specific

methods that i've used

method one designate a time period

for example 30 minutes after getting


or while you're doing the dishes in my


i talk to myself in english while i'm

getting ready in the morning

it has become a part of my morning

routine now i think it's also a good

idea to set an alarm for it

until it becomes a part of your daily


method two designate a place

pick a place and promise yourself that

you're going to think

only in korean in that place for


i'm going to think only in korean every

time i'm in a cafe

okay as for me i told myself to think in

english when i'm in the restroom

at work though it might sound funny it


method three describe one place

and move to another let's take your room

as an example

describe things and actions you do in

the room

a little bit each time but every day

when you get used to seeing things and

actions in your room

expand it into the kitchen the bathroom

and to the laundry room if you're

unfamiliar with expressions

commonly used in those places we have a


called my daily routine in korean

this book is a picture dictionary where

you can learn around 400 expressions

related to everyday activities so study

with this book first

and use the expressions when you

practice describing your actions

lastly let's talk about what is going to


when you start to think in korean it

will be

uncomfortable i mean at first that's


you are doing the natural automatic

thinking process that you do in your

mother tongue

but in a foreign language but there are

so many benefits you can enjoy from this


let me go through some of them first you

can improve your speaking skills

that's because you can shorten the time

you need to say

sentences in korean as you can drop the

translation part

and also because you can get familiar

with making sentences

in korean and second you can make

opportunities to speak in korean

without someone to talk to in korean


you can expand your vocabulary as you're

going to come across a bunch of

expressions to leak out

and you know what next time you hear

native korean speakers

saying expressions you are looking for

those expressions will

stick to your head right away but please


this practice will come into effect only

when you keep starting grammar and

vocabulary together along the way

so this is it for today's lesson as i

just mentioned

it's essential to keep studying korean

for this

think in korean practice to pay off if

you are

interested in improving your korean with

a balanced

curriculum and systematic online courses

and books

please visit us at talk to me in

also if you have your own tips for

improving speaking skills

please share them with your fellow

learners down below

in the comment section then i'll see you

in the next one

bye for now