Linguist and author, Guy Deutscher, in a New York Times article titled Does Your Language Shape How You Think? wrote about new research that reveals our native language’s influence on thoughts:
When your language routinely obliges you to specify certain types of information, it forces you to be attentive to certain details in the world and to certain aspects of experience that speakers of other languages may not be required to think about all the time. And since such habits of speech are cultivated from the earliest age, it is only natural that they can settle into habits of mind that go beyond language itself, affecting your experiences, perceptions, associations, feelings, memories and orientation in the world.
If you have difficulty with a certain concept in English, take some time to research a few ways your own language is shaping your thoughts. I see these problems arise most often when advanced level students revert to translation to convey meaning, but run into a wall when the meaning isn’t clear to the listener.
Maybe you’re having trouble translating. You might be trying to translate a concept that isn’t prominent in the minds of English speakers. Time (verb tenses) and space (prepositions and geographic locations) are common conceptual differences among languages. How are your perceptions similar or different to the native speakers’ perceptions? Is this affecting mutual understanding between you and your listeners?