Marian has been frequently talking in her sleep, and funnily, she talks only in English when she does this. But it got me thinking - what language are my thoughts in? Or my dreams for that matter? Are thoughts really processed in words, languages, sentences, and even subject to (God forbid) grammar? Or is thought not restricted to such rules or attributes at all but we just think they are because when they are processed and ready and we get them out they are in the form of words and sentences?
But if it were, are you aware of what language you think in?
And when you dream, even when you remember exactly what you said or heard in the dream, do you ever remember if it was in any specific language the next day? For me, it's always just conversation that I remember, talking, exchanging ideas, communication, but language? I never remember.
There's this one dream I had - a little kid that hung on to my arms and when I told him to let me go, he kept chanting "Not unless you promise to take me home with you!" I told my sister about it the next day, and when I told her that part, she jokingly said "So you dream in English!"
But to contradict this, I had another incident to prove that I don't dream in English. At least not always. I was sharing a hotel room with a colleague, and one night I was sleeping and dreaming (hazy dreams I remember), and my friend was watching TV. I woke up at some point, and asked her what the time was. "What?" she said. I repeated the question. "What??" she said again, I asked her again, to which to again asked me back "What??!" I was pretty mad by this time, and asked her what was wrong with her, and if she'd gone deaf. She, equally angry, shot back "How the hell would I know? You're speaking Mizo!" So I must have been dreaming in Mizo...
I think the way the brain works is so complicated that sometimes your tongue and your dreams can't catch up. I often suddenly use Mizo words with my friends who don't understand a word of Mizo. Some of them are quite used to words like 'Chuan,' and 'Mahse' now. When I talk too fast, I think I mix up words without even realising it. So what's the one failing to catch up? My tongue or my brain?
Then there was that time I was buying something from some small shop in a tiny village in Mizoram, and without thinking asked "Kitna?" :-)
I also had a friend who didn't really speak anything other than Mizo. He was trying hard to study English, French, and Hindi all at the same time and I think his brain worked the same way as mine does now because whenever he wanted to say "My name is Kima" in French, he would always end up saying "Je m'apelle Kima hai" - notice the Hindi hai?
And he was a sleeptalker too, and always talked in English or Hindi when he talks in his sleep. But in his consciousness, he never spoke anything other than Mizo.
Sometimes I think we may be we are more brilliant in sleep than we are awake.