https://www.duolingo.com/HexManiacSarina

How do you stand to learn 2+ foreign languages???

I'm feeling attracted to a few languages even though I keep telling myself to learn only one, Spanish, to make things easier and let me have more time to get better in the one language. But every time I learn some new idiom or dialect-specific word or phrase or grammar point, it reminds me how much work learning just one language is and then the thought of learning a whole other language again makes me feel nauseated.

How can I get over this? I just don't want learning new languages to mean I won't be as good at all of them if I just learned one forever.

2 years ago

12 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Lelieblad

Take comfort in the fact that once you know two languages well, a third language will be much easier than your second one was to learn, especially if it's in the same family. :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DPP1ENG
DPP1ENG
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YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel
chirelchirel
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So do I understand correctly: You want to learn many languages, but you are also afraid of the amount of work?

If that is the case, I would suggest you focus on the reward: learning in itself. Find ways of learning that are first and foremost just fun. Have a fun goal, just out of your reach, and celebrate when you reach it. The less you focus on what lies ahead, the more you can enjoy the process itself. And when learning becomes fun, you'll naturally feel like doing some more, starting to learn another language.

On the practical side of learning more than one language at a time, I'd suggest you space them so that you start the second one after you've covered the basics and have some sort of understanding of the basic structure and vocabulary of the first language. This way you can do different things with each language: one language you are actively working on and the other you are putting to use (talking, writing, reading) and eventually a third one you might be perfecting.

This is how I do it, at least. I've learned English at school, and although I do think I know it well, there's always room for improvement. Swedish is the one I'm actively learning at the moment, I try to spend as much time as I can to immerse myself in it and to use it in many ways and also to learn more vocabulary. French is on the backburner right now, I work on it if I have time. I hope that early next year I can start actively learning French and add German to the list as my weakest language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HexManiacSarina

That's kind of it. It's not the work itself that I'm afraid of, it's the fact that all the work would take away from other things I'm doing. I learned Japanese for 3.5 years and then realized I'll never actually need it, and I ended up losing all passion for the language and culture; I could have spent those years learning Spanish and now I'm thinking of all the work that could go into other languages that could be put towards focusing on Spanish, or other important things in my life. I know I'll need Spanish for work someday, but it's just so boring and leaving me unsatisfied which is why I'm kind of wanting to learn other languages, and I'm also worried about spending years on a language again and realizing I'll never need it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel
chirelchirel
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What if you thought about it like this: You don't have to do anything you don't want to do. No one is forcing you, no need to force yourself, either. If you think learning Spanish is worth the effort even though you are not very motivated, then you can choose to do it. But choose it freely, not because you feel you should. I hear a should in the way you describe your situation, but good decisions are rarely if ever based on should. Is learning Spanish worth feeling bad about it? It can be, only you can know this.

You say, you need Spanish at work. Can you get by with your current skills? If so, then maybe you don't need to put in time and effort especially towards learning Spanish, you'll learn more naturally at work. Or if you can't manage with your current skills: Think about what is the level of fluency you need at work. You don't need to know everything, so maybe you don't need to spend that much time learning the few things you need to get by.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HexManiacSarina

Yeah there definitely is a should in there. So many job applications in the area say "Preferred bilingual English/Spanish" and even" Required language: Spanish". I don't want to be passed up on a job opportunity just because other applicants speak Spanish and I can't :(

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Balaur
Balaur
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Believe it or not, a simple change of attitude could fix this. Try to always find meaning in your language learning journey, no matter what language it is. I strongly agree with chirelchirel's reply that suggests that you should always make the decision freely to learn a language, and that your motivation should always be personal, never external. I don't want to try to change your mind or make you feel bad or anything, but if it were me, I feel it'd be a shame to study Japanese for so long only to abandon it later. You must have had some motivation to study it before, otherwise I assume you wouldn't have chosen it. You said you realized you'll never actually need it. Technically, you don't need any foreign language at all. You don't need Spanish, either. But no matter which language(s) you decide to learn, they all will be useful, if you make them useful. For example, you could find yourself moving to Japan later in life. You might make Japanese friends or meet a Japanese co-worker or even a Japanese girlfriend or boyfriend. Or not. Maybe it's as simple as taking enjoyment from reading manga or novels in Japanese, or listening to Japanese music. Whatever it is that makes you happy. If, even after considering your personal interests, you still lose motivation and passion for the language and culture, then I guess it makes sense to drop the language. By the way, I'm just using Japanese as an example you can relate to here, but it could very well be the case with any language. My main point here is that you shouldn't choose a language based on the its objective 'usefulness', but rather to choose a language that you personally find interesting and make it subjectively useful to you.

As for how many languages you should study at once, I would advise against studying more than one or two languages at once (I wish I'd taken my own advice, but I've always found it hard to exercise self-control when it comes to learning languages). Anecdotally, it seems to be the consensus that it's more rewarding to learn one language to a high-intermediate or advanced level before moving on to the next, and it'll be easier to retain the stronger language in your freetime, while spending the majority of your personal time focusing on the new language. I hope this helps!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HexManiacSarina

Yeah, the time I lost with Japanese was a shame. There is a story to it, but not that I would like to share (so long). I just don't want to repeat the same mistake.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BrookeLorren
BrookeLorren
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There are a lot of words, that is true. It's also true that your second, third, fourth, etc. languages are easier.

One possible solution to your language wanderlust would be to have one main language that you're learning, and then allow yourself to practice other language(s) after you've met a goal in your main language.

Although I'm sort of doing this backwards, this is an example of what I'm doing. The languages that I have in maintenance/slow learning are Spanish and German. For Spanish, I keep my tree gold. Then, I move on to German, which suddenly turned color all sorts of ways, so I do five strengthens per day in order to try to get that tree gold again. After that, I work on Russian, which is the main language that I'm doing at the moment. I'm also doing a Spanish challenge, so sometime during the day I will read several pages from a book or a magazine (El Retorno de Los Dragones or National Geographic En EspaƱol at the moment), and I will listen to Spanish podcasts or Spanish radio for about an hour, usually when I'm doing something that doesn't take a lot of concentration.

Since I'm spending a lot of time on Russian and Spanish at the moment, I don't really get around to French, Irish, and Danish a lot, but if I were to figure that I was done with those languages and I still wanted to do some more language learning, I would go work on those. I'm not likely to work on those languages very much until I'm finished with the Duolingo Russian tree and I finish the Spanish challenge, which ends at the end of the year.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

People have been learning two (or more) language simultaneously for centuries. A 'classical' education in England included Latin, Greek, Hebrew (as did seminary) and I have known many university students that double majored in two languages: French/German, Spanish/French, and so on.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HexManiacSarina

The first part makes me feel better, but the second part does not, about majoring in languages since I know I have other things to worry about learning unlike people whose school work is devoted to it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jhacker
jhacker
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I am working the Esperanto tree as well as the German myself.

2 years ago
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