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Beyond the Lone Islands

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Dreaming in English

One morning last week I woke up from a sequence of nightmare-ish dreams, and since I wasn't in a hurry to get up I took the time to jot down some notes about it in a note-pad I keep beside my bed. I did this still in a kind of half-asleep state of mind.

I did not look at the dream notes again until last night, when writing an email to a friend in the English-speaking world. Nothing particular struck me about it until after I had already sent that email off. Then I glanced at the notes again before returning the notebook to its place by the bed... and it hit me:

My original notes about the dream were all in English. Moreover, they contained certain puns and phrases that were quite essential to my understanding of the dream, but that I would have difficulties finding good translations for in Swedish. I can only conclude that the dream itself must have been in English, too, even though I'm pretty sure it very much had its background in my present Swedish life!

Getting curious what the dream was about? Well, part of it had to do with being told (in the dream) to take a course in management, to be able to deal with a new job that people wanted me to take on, but which I myself didn't want and didn't consider myself the right person for. I'm pretty sure this feeling of mine has to do with certain "jobs" that have landed on me after my dad's health started to rapidly deteriorate and mum died. It's all been too much (still is), and I'm not really managing very well at all. In the Swedish language however, we don't have one word that covers the whole span of the English word manage...



rae said...

This post is fascinating! I pay a lot more attention to how my brain processes "language" now that I'm living with two. DREAMING in English must mean even your subconscious is multilingual!

Oh, for the day when I wake up and realize I've dreamed in Spanish!

GB said...

I dream in English all the time, Monica. Nothing odd in that! Mind you if I could speak any second language as fluently as you I'd be over the moon.

DawnTreader said...

The really odd feeling was actually when it hit me that I had not even realized that I had been dreaming in English or that I had made my notes to myself in that language! ;)

I made another comment here (or so I thought) just a little while ago but forgot I was on my email account and not on the blog! I hope it at least landed in the right email box (GB's).

jeannette stgermain said...

That's very interesting, Monika! But your English is very good, so you would understand the concept of the English word "manage."
What happens in the dream does apply to your feelings of what you are expected to do in real life.
Don't be too hard on yourself, no one is exactly prepared for your role right now. You can only do your best:)

Dan Felstead said...

Dawn Treader...fascinating! Years ago when I was much more involved with French...I would dream in French. I always figured that if you get to the point that they dream in a foreign have pretty well mastered it and you no doubt have!



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