https://www.duolingo.com/MajoBeno

Learning 2 or 3 languages at the same time. Bad idea?

MajoBeno
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I am slavic native speaker, and my english is on B2 level maybe :D

I want to learn Dutch and German. And maybe Norwegian.

Is it good idea to start learning this languages AT THE SAME TIME? I dont speak them! Only english B2 german A1- & Dutch A0. norwegian nope.

3 years ago

12 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/alexinIreland
alexinIreland
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Since these languages are fairly similar to each other (especially German and Dutch), I would say it is not a good idea to learn these 3 at the same time, because:

  • You face a lot of confusion by doing so! The languages are so close you might confuse words or pronunciations.
  • Learning more than one language at once slows your overall progress in each individual language (because you have to divide your time). If you learn Dutch only, and then learn German, and then Norwegian, you will make more progress per week/month in that language rather than dividing your time in three.

Here's what I recommend:

  • Don't start learning another language until you have a decent base in the one you are currently studying. Aim for maybe A2 or B1 before starting a new one. This will minimise confusion, and will ensure that you are not learning the same stuff (the basics) in two languages at once.
  • For best results, don't focus on more than 2 languages at once. I know it is tempting to LEARN ALL THE LANGUAGES but you the more you try to learn at once, the less progress you'll make. I like to focus on one language at a time (note the word focus. I might focus on Dutch, but that doesn't mean I'm completely ignoring German or French) before learning another. I think 2 is more than enough to be trying to learn at once!
  • If you are going to learn two languages at once, try and choose two that are not closely related. This will require looking at language families to see what languages are closely related to each other. Maybe try learning one Germanic language (German, Dutch or Norwegian in your case) and learn a language from another family too, like a Romance language (French, Italian, Portuguese), a Slavic language (Polish, Czech, Russian), a Uralic language (Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian), etc.

The best advice I can give is try out different combinations of languages and different schedules of devoting your time to see what works best for you! Remember, there's plenty of time to learn lots of languages, so you don't need to feel pressure to learn several all at once.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Cours_toujours

You can however you would have to practice both languages often.

My experience : I was learning Spanish (lvl A2) when I felt in love with German. I then started spending most of my free time on learning German. Poor Spanish barely got anything. Result : after about 8 months I am B1 in German however I lost all my Spanish. I can read and understand pretty well but when I want to say something, the words come out in German.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/almusinsajo
almusinsajo
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fell* because felt is the past of feel haha, by the way i totally feel you, like i was trying to learn more than 8 languages at the same time xD but i left it cause i didn't make much progress and got a lot of confussion xD so yeap, i learned a lot of dutch but i can't remember almost any of the words of the rest of the languages xD, and my intention is learning them in ''parts''

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Monsieur_Bovary
Monsieur_Bovary
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It's hard to say... much depends on your personal motivation; yet I think that learning three languages which are so closely related to each other may be risky.

I think you should try the one you like the most/you find more useful... once you've become proficient in it (let's say German), you can add another (let's say Dutch), and so on.

That's my advice, FWIW :)

Edit:

I've just read alexinIreland's reply... his is much more articulate than mine, but similar in spirit :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/xMerrie
xMerrie
Mod
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Personally, I wouldn't learn German and Dutch at the same time, because you speak neither of them and the languages are pretty similar in some ways. Norwegian is more different, so you can combine it more easily with Dutch or German. I don't recommend it though.

If I were you, I would start with German, and if you are more comfortable with it, combine it with Dutch or Norwegian. The German grammar can be tricky, but it's not impossible and you'll get more used to the Dutch (and I suppose the Norwegian) grammar.
Starting with Dutch or Norwegian is no problem either of course. :P

Edit: I am getting slow! :O

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
flootzavutPlus
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It depends... and what works for someone else might not work for you. That said, three languages from the same language family might be making your life more difficult than it needs to be!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/nitedemon
nitedemon
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I am learning multiple languages myself, but I tried to not do languages that are too similar at the same time.

As for German and Dutch, I finished the German tree and am working on gilding it; and I also just started Dutch not long ago. So far I feel like being familiar with German really helps with Dutch, at least in learning new words. A lot of the time when I see or hear a new Dutch word, the corresponding German word would pop up in my head.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KinanHabbal
KinanHabbal
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I am learning German French and Dutch together . My problem was with Dutch and German . I am now at final parts of each tree . But i will not repeat this experience with the coming languages I AM SO TIRED

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gusbemacbe
gusbemacbe
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It depends on your brain, on your time and your limit.

I am fluent in 9 languages and I am studying other 9 languages at the same time and I didn't suffer the confusion. I don't know why I am able. But it depends on each person.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ngarrang
ngarrang
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I believe that if you have time and determination, you can learn any number of languages at one time. The negative to learning too many at once may be slow progress.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tina_in_Bristol
Tina_in_Bristol
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I'm doing three at once: Dutch, German, and Russian (the German is not through Duolingo, which is why you don't see it on my profile).

I'm not strictly a newcomer to German, as I first studied it at school, an embarrassingly long number of years ago. So really, it's a refresher course for me.

Even so, I agree with the points others have made about studying languages that are too closely related to one another. You might think it would be a help, but instead, it's often a source of confusion.

Dutch and German are similar enough that they share a lot of the "same" words - but spelt differently. I find that often, I remember the right word (the sound of it), but spell it the wrong way - the Dutch way in the German course, or vice versa. Example: "House" in English, "Huis" in Dutch, "Haus" in German - all three pronounced pretty much the same (native speakers will argue there are some subtle differences, but to a learner, all the same).

However, I keep calling a German house a huis, but a Dutch one a Haus. And note the difference in capitalisation - I'm starting to incorrectly capitalise my Dutch nouns, because you have to in German.

Also, Dutch verbs (in general) don't go as far back in the sentence as German ones do, so I've started to get my word order confused.

The only area it helps (sometimes) is with gender. In general, German "das" (neuter) words tend to translate as Dutch "het" words. So if you're not sure of the gender, but can remember what it is in the other language, it's sometimes a hint.

Russian is far enough removed that it doesn't seem to conflict with either of the other two, although very occasionally, I can only think of the Russian word (which is not much help!) when I'm studying Dutch or German. Russian does have a few words in common with German, but not really enough either to help or to hinder.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis
Klgregonis
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Yes, there can be a lot of confusion with words that sound the same but are spelled differently. House in the Germanic languages is one. Coffee - across several languages, elephant, perfect, etc - any words where there has been extensive borrowing - and when you do several languages you realize how much borrowing there has been - are problematic, because each language has its own idea of how to spell the word. One ADVANTAGE to English spelling is that we tend to hang on to the spelling of the language we borrowed the word from, even if it can drive you crazy when explaining English spelling to non- English speakers. However, that is a problem more with writing than with speaking. And I've been wanting to capitalize Dutch nouns also, also Swedish, and sometimes German nouns, I've pronounced entre in the French way when speaking Spanish, etc. etc. People still understand me.

3 years ago
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