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https://www.duolingo.com/QueenEurope

How can you learn multiple languages without mixing them up?

QueenEurope
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2 years ago

12 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/SteveLando
SteveLando
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How do you read two books at the same time, without mixing them up? How can you know two people at the same time, without mixing them up?

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Reply2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KevanSF
KevanSF
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Thank you, Steve!

Something very similar to your answer is the first thing I think of every time I see this frequently asked question. (Seriously, this question comes up 3 to 5 times a week, every week, ever since I first found Duolingo!)

One example I gave a few months back was this — imagine you have a conversation with your mom about school, and later you talk to a friend about a movie, and then someone else about shopping and then somebody else about what another friend did, etc. etc. etc. — maybe you talk to 20 people about 20 different things all day.

How do you keep from mixing it all up? Shouldn't you only talk to one person a day to avoid confusion? Or maybe at least make sure the people you talk to are very different, like one older woman and a young boy so that you are less likely to mix them up. Give me a break.

Human brains are quite capable of learning and using multiple languages without any great difficulty.

I think the problem is that Americans and Brits have historically been very lazy about learning languages and so someone who speaks two is special and someone who actually speaks three languages seems really exceptional, and we can hardly conceive of anyone knowing more languages than that, when in fact it really isn't all that hard.

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Reply22 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/QueenEurope
QueenEurope
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Thankyou for the advice:)

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Reply2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maurice314
Maurice314
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1) Practice

2) Get a good basis in the languages you are already taking on before you move on to new languages.

3) Make a point of finding the key differences between two given languages. Does one language prefer the use of certain letters or symbols over others? Are there any false friends?

Here are just a few tactics you can use to avoid mixing up languages.

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Reply2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jimwatana
Jimwatana
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It is ok to get mixed up a little bit. Just relax and keep on moving forward.

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Reply2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jessica4201
Jessica4201
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One common idea is to avoid studying languages that are closely related at the same time. Swedish is easier to mix up with Danish than it is with Portuguese, for example. But if you want or need to study related languages(as I do), get a good basis for each one first, and emphasize your studying of the differences between them.

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Reply2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DaleFavier
DaleFavier
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Well, you do mix them up sometimes, especially if the languages are similar. The longer you study the languages the stronger your sense of -- "oh, that just doesn't feel like Spanish (or German, or whatever)" will be. Especially if you take some trouble to get the pronunciation really down. My brain fetches up a word from the wrong language sometimes, but it's almost always obvious to me that it's wrong. I was groping for the Spanish for "toothbrush" yesterday and my brain served up Zahn­bürs­te. There's a dozen reasons why Zahn­bürs­te could not possibly be a Spanish word, so I wasn't fooled, but it still kept bobbing up and getting in my way, so that I had to look the Spanish up (which I knew perfectly well! Cepillo de dientes.) If you don't really need the languages all at once, it might work best to work up one at a time till you have a strong feel for it. But after all, it's not a disaster to mix your languages up a little. I'm always fascinated by my Filipino friends on Facebook, who chatter along shifting from English to Spanish to Tagalog to their local Ilocano without slowing down or even noticing. If someone doesn't understand something, they just ask :-)

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Reply2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aanaaaa
aanaaaa
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Just learn all the basis from one language before going to another one.

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Reply2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tonisgerman

Don't worry since I was a little girl I've always had this happen.

I speak Spanish fluently and speak many words in French and Italian, my grandma used to speak all three and would constantly pull words from them when talking. I just got used to it. Butter was Beurre instead of Mantequilla, sugar was sucre instead of azucar.

I just got used to it. I have to really think about my words though when I'm communicating to other people.

You'll be fine! :)

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Reply2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JackoQ

If you are trying to ask a question in English, you would phrase it "How can you learn..." or "How do you learn". Also, you need a question mark at the end, to indicate that it is a question.

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Reply2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/QueenEurope
QueenEurope
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Thank you for the advice. I will fix it:)

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Reply2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Galapeo
Galapeo
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Hello,

A lot has been said already. But I would like to ask you how many English words you know about “rain” (just an example, pick any word). Deluge, drizzle, precipitation, shower, pouring, cat and dog weather, sprinkle, etc. etc.

I am not saying they mean the same, just that you know tons of words about “rain” and don’t mix them up.

Knowing a few more words meaning “rain” in a few more languages is the same.

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Reply2 years ago