Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Languages in Dreams: A Look into the Influencers of Bilinguals & L2 Learners in the Dreamworld

Languages in Dreams: A Look into the Influencers of Bilinguals & L2 Learners in the Dreamworld

Grace Fusani

It is not often thought about but when we dream, the dreamworld produces language that is drawn from our experiences in everyday life. What occurs in dream speech when an individual knows more than one language or is learning another language is explored and detailed in this paper. This paper aims to explain bilingualism and learned languages and their effects on the dreamworld through interviews with a set of college students as well as extensive literature reviews. Some of the areas examined are how languages influence dreams, the difference between L2 learner and bilingual dreams, and if dreaming in a learned language is a sign of fluency. This research found that a person’s mentality, environment, attitude, and dream setting directly influence the dream language and that dreaming in a learned language is a sign of better comprehension rather than fluency. Also detailed are how bilinguals identify with certain languages, both culturally and emotionally, and how they code-switch in dreams.



April 2, 2018 - Posted by | abstract


  1. How you even got to such a unique research question is amazing. This is something I’ve never considered as I don’t speak more than one language. I’d be interested to learn more about how you define comprehension and fluency and how you came to your conclusion.

    Comment by Haley Scott | April 16, 2018 | Reply

  2. Wow. I know there are studies about the changing personalities of bilingual speakers. Does this have a similar effect?

    Comment by Craig Meiners | April 17, 2018 | Reply

  3. This is an ambitious work that seems able to contribute to the fields of linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, as well as language learning.

    Comment by Jami | April 20, 2018 | Reply

  4. By looking at language as an action, I wonder if you could compare your data with other studies that are conducted on people who dream about something they had done earlier. I remember reading a study about people who played a snowboarding video games having dreams about snowboarding after. Maybe by looking at something like that, we can begin to shed light on how much real life affects our dream worlds.

    Comment by Ashley Johnson | April 20, 2018 | Reply

  5. This sounds really cool. Most of the time, I can barely remember the general direction of my dreams, let alone recall what was said in them. I think it is amazing that people can remember what language they dream in. I also wonder if, at any point in the dream they become lucid and think, “this is strange, why am I dreaming in this language?” or if it just feels like any other dream and it does not seem strange or different until they wake up. I also wonder, at what point people begin to become so familiar with a language that they stop realizing that they are dreaming in a language other than their first language.

    Comment by Samantha Spolarich | April 23, 2018 | Reply

  6. Grace, this is fascinating research. My undergrad degree is in psychology, and I’ve always been fascinated with sleep/dream studies. Your paper got me wondering if there are relationships between the language in the dream and the subject contexts of the dream (e.g., if you are dreaming about something from your childhood, are you dreaming in the language you used as a child?).

    Comment by Robert McCallum | April 26, 2018 | Reply

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