Another thing: so at the end of the interview, when the examiner was reviewing my errors, she said to me, ‘I understand that you’re thinking in English and then translating…’ and that got me thinking, because I didn’t think it was quite accurate. I wasn’t thinking in English so much as I had a mess of meaning (apart from language) that I wanted to communicate; the thought itself (or the meaning) was not in any particular language, and when Armenian failed, my brain supplied German,3 and when German failed, only then did my brain revert to English. It felt like I was dipping into my pool of language knowledge to find the means of communication, and due to the limits of what I have been able to learn, was coming back dry, in Armenian at least. Thus if I were asked, ‘what do want to say,’ I would have an English response, not because the original thought was in English but because English was the means by which I was able to express it.4
Footnote 3 says “The situation requiring a ‘foreign’ language, that is the one my brain rather stintingly supplies. Greek and Latin remain in the passive understanding, sadly,” and footnote 4 “I feel as though I have unwittingly fallen on one side of a theoretical debate I know nothing about and which frankly doesn’t interest me at present.” Whichever side it is, I think I’m on the same one.