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  1. #1
    Zodpa is offline Newbie
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    Question How native English speaking people think, when they write?

    Hello everyone. I have a question:
    How does one think, when he/she write in English? I mean when you write word "patience" for example, you don't write it like it sounds: [peishens](or something like that).

    When I write in English, I pronounce in my head every letter. You can say that I map English letters to letters from my native language. And I don't separate every letters, I say it like a whole word.

    For example word "measured".
    Youíll say it like [`mezed],
    but when I say it in my head to write it down, it goes like that:
    I say [measered].
    Or word "define".
    Youíll say it like [defain],
    but when I say it to write it down, it goes like that:
    I say [define], and I actually pronounce the last e also.

    And thatís my problem: when I write in English, I pronounce words in my head incorrectly, and then it starts to interfere with how I pronounce it out loud.

    How do native English speaking people think when they write something?
    Last edited by Zodpa; 22-Feb-2010 at 15:32.

  2. #2
    tyalla is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: How native English speaking people think, when they write?

    Hi,
    Well I'm absolutely sure that no native English speaker thinks about pronunciation when writing, since even (let's say advanced) EFL learners don't do that (anymore). You should try to omit this as soon as possible. Perhaps the best way is to read and listen to English texts as much as you can.

  3. #3
    Zodpa is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: How native English speaking people think, when they write?

    But there should be something they think about while writing. I mean nobody can write with empty head. I just have to know whatís going on in their heads so I can do the same thing.

  4. #4
    Linguist__ is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: How native English speaking people think, when they write?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zodpa View Post
    But there should be something they think about while writing. I mean nobody can write with empty head. I just have to know what’s going on in their heads so I can do the same thing.
    (Not a teacher)

    Unfortunately, yes, it's almost exactly like that. Native speakers of a language which has orthography mostly write without thinking about it. At most the person is thinking about what meaning they wish to convey, and how they wish to do so. As for the writing/typing part - it's almost automatic.

    This isn't too hard to understand. You speak Russian, so I assume if you can write Russian then you do the same thing. If you want to know what a native English speaker thinks when they write English, then see what you think when you write in Russian.

    Older children, and certainly adults, can (or should be able to) write something whilst speaking something completely different, or write something whilst listening to something completely different.

    How words are spelled isn't a thought process like language is. It is learned, mostly by rote learning, and applied seperately. Also, how a word is spelled and how a word is pronounced is stored completely seperately in our brains.

    I don't doubt that you could learn English spelling by making up rules - but there are so many ways to spell the same sound that it wouldn't be worth it really. A much better way is to have a dictionary at hand or use a spell checker, and read as much as you can and just 'get used' to how English words are spelled.

    I'll leave you with a poem about how ridiculous English orthography is compared with pronunciation. (I don't know where it's from, I got it from a phonetics lecture)

    I take it you already know
    Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
    Others may stumble, but not you
    On hiccough, thorough, slough, and through?
    Well done! And now you wish, perhaps
    To learn of less familiar traps?

    Beware of heard, a dreadful word
    That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
    And dead; it's said like bed, not bead;
    For goodness sake, don't call it deed!
    Watch out for meat and great and threat,
    (they rhyme with suite and straight and debt)
    A moth is not a moth in mother.
    Nor both in bother, broth in brother.

    And here is not a match for there.
    And dear and fear for bear and pear.
    And then there's dose and rose and lose --
    Just look them up -- and goose and choose.
    And cork and work and card and ward,
    And font and front and word and sword.
    And do and go, then thwart and cart.
    Come, come, I've hardly made a start.

    A dreadful language? Why, man alive,
    I'd learned to talk it when I was five,
    And yet to write it, the more I tried,
    I hadn't learned it at fifty-five!

  5. #5
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: How native English speaking people think, when they write?

    Depending on how fast you type and the way you write, you may well mistype words that are homonyms of what you mean to write.

    All the time, I'll find I've written "hear" instead of "here" and "your" instead of "you're." This is certainly not because I don't know the difference, but because the inner voice that is narrating what I'm writing simply says the word and my fingers make it come out.

    Sometimes my eye will catch the error. Sometimes it's my my editor who does.

    I think the fact that you're thinking in English as you go is actually a huge step. Getting the spelling right is just the final step!
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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