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https://www.duolingo.com/erykzim

Making hard choices about the number of languages I study.

It's takes a long time to reach fluency in a language. And there are only so many hours in a day.

I like studying two languages, switching back and forth between them. So it has to be French and something else (my French tree is review). It will be Polish. I'm currently doing Michel Thomas audio lessons while I wait for Duolingo.

If it takes, say, a 9000 word vocabulary to read with minimal use of a dictionary, and you learn 10 new words a day, that's 900 days. Two and a half years. Not bad at all. And this can be done with two languages, in a reasonable amount of time. I won't try it with more than two.

I think I have to make the difficult decision to drop Esperanto, because even if I reach fluency soon, the time I spend reading in that language will take away from time studying the others.

How about you? What are your goals?

2 years ago

23 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/ClarkStephen
ClarkStephenPlus
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My wife speaks eight languages fluently, and a little bit of half a dozen more. Watching her, I have learned a lot. No matter how well you know a language (even your native tongue), if you don't use it, it starts to atrophy. So I came up with a few rules for myself. Let me emphasize that this is what works for me. I'm not trying to tell anyone else how to study a language.

1) I don't have time to maintain a high level of proficiency in more than three languages. I'd love to be a hyper-polyglot, but it's not going to happen.

2) The three languages should be ones that I'm going to use on a regular basis. I define "regular basis" as daily to no longer than once a week.

So for me - an American married to a Russian and living in the US - the choices are clear: English, Russian, and Spanish.

3) Dabbling in other languages is fine as long as "the big three" are maintained. I know some French and Kannada. But I would never invest too much time in them if it took away from maintaining and expanding my three main languages.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bvogel1
Bvogel1
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I am SO impressed with people who speak lots of languages fluently! I have a friend who knows about a half-dozen and he just blows my mind. I have nothing but admiration!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CosmoKaiza
CosmoKaiza
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I want to learn Polish, Czech, Romanian, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, Arabic and Indonesian. But I think I can easily reach that goal with my method which is immersion + speaking the language outside. It worked with German and I can say that I am around B2 aiming for C1 before I am 18. I don't believe in the learn 10 words a day = 9000 words in 900 days. The key of success with languages is immersion with a little bit of mistakes. I do recommend people to read for vocabulary

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LucySalamence

I MUST LEARN EVERYTHING

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anna_Elsa_J.

Dzięki za to, że uczysz się polskiego! - Thanks for learning Polish! 3 My goals... Now I'm here just for the steak because I've got a "test time" in school, but my goal (really distant one) is to be fluent in Ukrainian, to be able to speak with natives without major problems (you know, to don't "block" and say only "eeee... I want to say that....eee...."). For a little close goals it's to be able to say basic things and to be understood (not only about my terrible pronunciation, also I'm shy, so to don't "block" when I say something). After Ukrainian I'll choose another language, because I sometimes "mix" languages (I'm talking about English and German, I learn them in school). Powodzenia z polskim! - Good luck with Polish! :D

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/enidkeaner
enidkeaner
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It's hard because I have such love and respect for words and languages. I know I'm continuing on with French, as I studied it in school and I want to get back into it and make sure that I make an effort these days to actually use it. It's my first language love, so I'm dedicated to gaining fluency.

When it comes to others, it's so hard because, honestly, I want to learn as many as I can! I know that once Czech opens, I'm going for that because I did a semester in college and I did my study abroad in the Czech Republic and fell completely in love. I've started Dutch as well, since I knew a bit already and Turkish because I've always wanted to learn.

I also want to study Swedish, Polish, Romanian and Hungarian too and I'm sure that as more languages are added, I'm gonna want to add more.

I've just decided that I'm gonna take my time and learn what I can and prioritize the most important for me. I'm in my 20s - I've got the rest of my life to learn. I've decided to treat learning languages in a way like a hobby for me - I make time to do other things I really love and to get better at certain crafts, so I can do the same for languages. If I can take the time to become a better creative writer and photographer, I can certainly take the time to learn Swedish too.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ontalor
Ontalor
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9000 words is very intense. You can comfortably survive in a language with 2000 to 3000. It also depends on what you mean by "fluency". For me, fluency is enough comfort with the vocabulary and grammar that you can use it in almost any regular situation in life. You'll always encounter words you don't know, but it's easy enough to ask people what they mean and to explain it. For me fluency would probably be around B2 to C1, but 9000 words would probably take you beyond C2.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jade242576

Thus far, I'm sticking to French and Norwegian. Soon enough, though, I'll go for Polish.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/territrades
territradesPlus
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My ultimate goal is to learn one language for each day of the week, with at least an intermediate level in all of them (so B1/B2). At the moment I have 1 x C2, 1 x C1, 1 x B2, 1 x B1 and 3 x A0 (that is really nothing usable at all). The time frame I have given myself for this 'project' is three years. Let's see how far I will get.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Latcarf
Latcarf
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I suggest you take a look at the following article (in particular "The two students’ race"), it’s quite interesting: http://www.thepolyglotdream.com/learning-more-than-one-language-at-the-same-time/

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/territrades
territradesPlus
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While I enjoy reading such articles, I don't let them influence my learning too much. Firstly I think that overthinking your own learning strategy takes a lot of the fun out of it, and secondly a lot of these articles are just contradictory. One says that you should just go there and communicate with hands and feet if necessary, others say that is the worst thing you can do.

My attitude would be different if I would actually need to learn these languages. But I am doing it just for fun, and I enjoy the liberties which come with that.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/enidkeaner
enidkeaner
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I feel the same!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/erykzim

Great advice in the guidelines.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tessallation

Very interesting article - thanks for posting. I had planned to do one language for six months then introduce the next...I think that strategy might still work for me, although lately I have been thinking I would be better off focusing on a language for a year before starting the next. I think starting two at once right now would frazzle me! The philosophy about working on the two languages for two years every day makes a lot of sense to me.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bvogel1
Bvogel1
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I find two very manageable to keep up with... I won't claim to do it "every" day but I don't miss very many.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tessallation

Thanks for your input! And I see you're doing the two I would probably look at...so that really helps.Greek was originally my second choice, but I think I'll wait for it to come out of the incubator. Trying to do the reverse tree on Greek sounds tough!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a
annika_a
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Your goal is pretty similar to mine: I'm aiming for getting two languages from A0 to B1/B2 per decade. I want to be able to read at B2 level (because then the door is pretty much open to further learning), but in most languages interacting at B1 level is enough.

Currently, I'm doing pretty well by having two years left, with French and Estonian on track to become good enough within that time and Spanish at a well-rounded A2 (I'm having to make up time for a bit of a lost decade earlier...). But I am of course messing with my plans by starting Russian already, instead of focusing on the "current" ones and then doing Russian two years from now... And I don't yet know which other new language to learn alongside Russian for years and years.

Which are your A0-languages? Are you learning them all at once? And what on earth are you going to start doing once this project is finished? :-)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/territrades
territradesPlus
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My A0 languages are Catalan, Russian and Japanese. At the moment I am working on Catalan, which is the easiest of the three in my opinion. I think after I am on a solid ground with it, I will tackle the Russian course seriously. And Japanese .... it's not exactly easy. I once started learning the Kanji and knew about 300 of the 2000 you need. But I have forgotten them all and I need to start again, but not in the near future.

But I am happy with my progress so far. I started learning foreign languages about two years ago with Duolingo, actually I kept my streak from Day 1. In this time I managed to reactivate my almost gone knowledge of French and learnt Spanish from scratch up to me passing the B1 exam a few months ago. If I keep going at this rate, I think my goal is not unrealistic.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a
annika_a
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Wow! You have indeed got your work cut out for you over the next three years, having picked both Russian and Japanese.

While I do love languages, I'm also lazy, so something as different (from what I already know) as Japanese or Chinese would be too much of a challenge -- unless I suddenly felt an urge to move there or something, of course. I've tried learning Russian before, and although the Cyrillic alphabet is only slightly different from the Latin one, it was already a major stumbling block to just picking up words like you can with a language written using the Latin one. Of course I learned the alphabet, but it made everything a tad bit harder, even after a couple of (admittedly very inefficient) years.

We must have started out at about the same time here, since I lost my streak at one point early on. Let's see how far we get in out 2-3 year plans! :-)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GlassBlueBird

My goal is to become fluent in spanish, because I think that it would be so useful. And I am learning swedsih just for fun- my goal is to know just enough to carry on a conversation in swedsih, but I hear that most swedes know english... so yea. :-)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/notdeadluna
notdeadluna
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I'm going to focus on Russian before I start any other languages. Russian is already hard enough by itself; I don't want to distract myself with another language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Don_Cristian
Don_Cristian
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I want to improve the languages that I already speak and learn the basics from the 5 languages that I'm studying to be able to have basic conversations.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bvogel1
Bvogel1
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For me the total will be two plus my native language... I have the time to study and maintain two thoroughly, at the point where I will be able to really use them, and I also have opportunies to use them. I'm currently also doing a little bit of Italian because I'm going to Italy for a week on business... I just want to have some idea of polite smalltalk and what menus say; I don't need to have long conversations with anyone. I just don't find myself very interested in Italian as a long-term thing, although knowing French has come in quite handy for a lot of the vocabulary.

I guess actually it's three plus English, if you count Morse Code which I'm learning on Memrise. That interests me enough to keep going with it.

2 years ago