If I read in a language I'm studying, or study from a language text, right before I go to sleep, often I'll dream that I'm speaking that language. Usually I'm either translating for someone, or if it's a language I don't know well then I'm struggling with trying to be understood in some situation (shopping, or asking for something, etc). Almost always if I wake up enough to remember the words I was using, they're correct, but often part of the dream involves me being frustrated by not knowing a word or phrase that I want to use and trying to figure out a way to communicate it, usually in some totally ineffective (i.e. dream-like, surreal) way, as if repeating the wrong word over and over when I know it's the wrong word will somehow make it the right one, etc. And usually I'm the only one speaking - I'm talking to someone but the other person's words either aren't part of the dream, or I maybe I just don't remember them when I wake up. I have done this off and on for years and always assumed it's my brain's way of trying to organize what I've read or studied earlier in the day. When I remember enough of the dream to remember what it was that I didn't
know how to say, then I look it up the next morning.
A few months ago I even created a language pun in a dream. I'd learned the Estonian word uhiuus
(brand new or, as one of the dictionaries I'd looked it up in suggested, the idiomatic "brand-spanking-new") earlier in the day. In the dream the word I was using was ussiuus
, which isn't a real word, but the first part (ussi
) means "worm" or "snake" while the second part means "new". So in the dream someone asked me what ussiuus
meant and I confidently explained that it meant "brand-snaking-new."
It's mostly funny just because it came from a dream, but honestly, it's funnier than the wordplay I come up with when I'm awake.