Dreaming in Other Languages: What Does It Mean and Why Do We Do It?
Dreaming in different languages is perfectly normal. In fact, people who have lucid dreams can sometimes voluntarily switch from one language to another during their dreams. There are many reasons why someone might dream in different languages and there are various theories about what it all means: read on to find out more.
Dreaming of speaking another language
Studying the meaning of dreams is an age-old practice and one that took hold in the early 1900s when Sigmund Freud published a book that was destined to change the course of psychology forever: The Interpretation of Dreams.
When studying his first patients, the father of psychoanalysis worked on the assumption that dreams reflect desires that we can’t fulfil in real life.
According to his theory, when we speak foreign languages in our dreams, we are expressing a desire to improve our knowledge of the language in question.
This occurs both when a student is studying a language and when an emigrant moves to a new country. In the latter instance, however, in addition to a desire to master a new language comes a feeling of existing in a new linguistic, social and cultural context.
According to yet another theory, when we study foreign languages and then dream about them, our brains are reviewing the concepts we learned during the day or immediately before sleep.
Is it possible to learn a language while asleep?
Some theories suggest we can learn concepts and information while we’re asleep by listening to voice recordings that repeat information a certain number of times. Theoretically, this could also apply to languages, however, some people advise against this kind of ‘forced learning.’
Recent research has discredited hypnopaedia entirely (i.e. learning during sleep) because the practice disturbs the natural rhythm of sleep and deprives the brain of the deep sleep it requires to function properly.
“I’m smarter in my dreams. And when I’m drunk.”
You might find there’s a significant difference in your foreign language skills when dreaming and awake. One theory suggests that this is because we lose our inhibitions and set aside our insecurities when asleep.
The feeling isn’t all that different from the one we experience when drunk. It’s fairly common to feel more confident speaking a foreign language when you are in a slight state of euphoria.
In conclusion, is dreaming in a foreign language always a good thing? Definitely, and it’s a good indication that you should continue your studies, as you clearly have a desire to improve your skills!