What do I need to do to put this secret into action? I thought maybe I need to listen to lots of Japanese and that would make it easier for me to make the switch. But that does not work. Just listening to Japanese does not make me think in Japanese. I can listen to Japanese all day long and still think in English about what is being said. I guess I am using different parts of my brain at the same time.
Also, I realize that in that previous post, I didn't make clear what I meant about thinking in the language. I'm not talking about getting past the translating before being able to speak phase. People talk about that a lot. They probably think that anyone who has difficulty speaking is translating from one language to the other before speaking. But that's not my problem. When I speak Japanese I create only Japanese sentences in my head. Because Japanese word order is almost the reverse of English, it would be impossible for anyone to translate on the fly.
So when I say, think in the language all the time, I mean use the language as your thinking language always. That will give you 10+ hours a day of using the language. So if you can do it, you will become unbelievably good in the language. Obviously because of all that practice of thinking in the language! (Now I'm just repeating myself.)
OK, so we know what we need to do, but HOW? I don't have that figured out yet. I'm sure that listening or watching TV shows a lot would help to give you the phrases and way of saying things that you need to know in order to think natural sentences. But in and by itself, I don't think it will change my habit of thinking in English. Anyway, I don't like watching TV because it just feels like a colossal waste of time. I have better ways to waste my time!
Right now, the only way I can think of to make the change is by force. I would have to force myself to think in Japanese. I would have to keep close tabs on myself. I would have to become a "thought policeman."
It's not easy to do. Especially when I'm spending a lot of time studying Chinese. Japanese has no place in my Chinese studies. Since Japanese uses a subset of the Chinese characters, it would be dangerous to mix the two. When I'm reading Chinese, I don't want to accidentally read a word as a Japanese word, which does happen.
Well anyway, this is just a follow-up report to say that I haven't been able to make the transition yet. There is quite a bit of resistance to it. Doing something that feels artificial is no fun.
Maybe I need to act as if there will be some great penalty if I don't do it. Jimmymac wrote a great post called, Motivating yourself more effectively, where he said:
3)Write down all the negative things that would become of you or that you would miss out on should you fail with your goal. My personal motivator is the fear of failure in the eyes of the people I care about.And a few people attacked him on this point as well as others. But I think it has merit. When it is difficult to make yourself do something and you know that you don't have to do it, then you are, of course, not going to do it. Like I said, there were others who took the point the wrong way. But sometimes you have to do what it takes. If you give yourself a good reason to do it, then you will be motivated to actually do it. You know you are not going to whip yourself or throw yourself in jail, so something like not letting yourself buy a new computer until you reach your goal is a perfectly legitimate motivator. I'm not sure what that something would be for me since I can't buy anything anyway! But maybe I'll think of something. Something concrete works best.
What are you willing to give up if you don't become fluent in your target language?