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Learning Multiple Languages

To all of you learning more than one language at a time. How well can you guys retain all the information you learn, and does it slow down the rate at which you learn each language?

2 years ago

10 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/matfran2001
matfran2001
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I guess each person is unique. In my case, I really enjoy studying several languages at the same time.

I started here on Duolingo, three months ago, with German. I got a bit bored quickly, so I added French after two weeks. Then, I also got a bit bored of French (in fact I felt French and German were both quite difficult to me).

So about 9 weeks ago I added Italian and Esperanto. I felt these two languages were easier for me, I enjoyed them a lot.

About 3 weeks ago I also added Catalan. And 3 days ago I added Swedish.

Now I am studying all these languages, changing all the time (few lessons of French, another few lessons of German, some more of Swedish, still some more of Catalan, some more lessons of Italian....).

This way I cannot get bored, because I am changing languages all the time. But the most curious thing is that now I feel I understand each one of these languages much better than when I had only one or two languages (i.e. during my first month).

But as I said, each person is unique.

I have read some papers saying that most people learn much better and faster studying just one language at a time.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anthoni876

I find that once the languages aren't closely related its easier since the chance of mixing up words is not as great. I would imagine Portuguese and Spanish to be a bit tough because of their similarities..

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lea.1717
Lea.1717
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I'm learning German (Duolingo), Mandarin (ChineseSkill), Spanish (school) and English (C1). (My mother tongue is Portuguese)

In my case, I would say it helps if the languages are not closely related (or not related at all), like Deutsch and 中文 .

It depends more on you and your personal/school/work lifestyle than on the amount of languages you're learning.

Personally, I love languages and by learning multiple languages I never get bored of them. Tired of all those complicated cases and terminations in German? I have Mandarin waiting for me, with its glorious lack of articles and tenses ;) I find it refreshing :) But yeah, sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming. Find what works best for you. If you are a language lover like me you will find a way :)

And don't worry about mixing words, I'm a native Portuguese speaker and i still mix spanish words and even english sometimes. It goes with practice, maybe it would help if you watched movies in those languages to get a better taste of them and dont mix them as often.

Boa Sorte!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/susanstory
susanstory
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Yeah, I'd get bored with only one language. Yeah, I think you do forget and it slows down how fast you learn the languages. For instance, I've been on Duolingo two, maybe three years and I haven't even finished one tree yet. I'd have finished a tree by now for sure if I was only doing one language.

Even if you make mistakes, don't worry about it. Just do lots of practice.

Yeah, it would probably be easier and simpler to learn one of the similar languages only, such as only Norwegian and not Danish and Swedish too.

As well, it's so exciting watching the percentages in the incubator and waiting months and even years for a language to graduate to beta, that it's like getting a present and not opening it and using it when a language gets out into beta and I wouldn't learn it.

In fact the other day I was watching a video on the news of the Syrian refugees and a woman was saying "Merhaba". That means "hello" in Turkish but they were supposedly speaking Arabic.

If I hadn't been doing the Turkish course on Duolingo, I'd never have known about "merhaba".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/brittalexiswm

I find it pretty easy! Take it one step at a time, and learn from your mistakes! I find that not giving up is really the best option. Even if your two languages are near identical. You will get it eventually!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Esatia
Esatia
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When I first started Duolingo, I was doing French and Spanish, but I began getting French words mixed up with Spanish words. But I find no matter what program I use, I get words mixed up if I try to do two languages at a time.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PfifltriggPi
PfifltriggPi
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I actually find that related languages inter-mesh. I also really enjoy learning them, but I cannot study one for too long so I move through them throughout the day.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/swingbeatnik7
swingbeatnik7
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Make sure they are separate enough for you to memorize. Also, a lot of successful polyglots compartmentalize their days, French in the morning, Spanish in the evening (unless they are at lunch with a French and Spanish friend ;)

Example: I don't try to learn Portuguese while I'm studying Spanish. Another example: I don't study Polish or Ukrainian while studying Russian.

My personal example Romance language = Spanish (French is distinct enough for me to study two romance languages.... but I wouldn't study Spanish with Italian or Portuguese.) Semitic = Hebrew Slavic = Russian Celtic/Brythonic: Welsh

Remember everyone is different but everyone is capable of learning a new language, or two or more simultaneously.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KristenDQ
KristenDQ
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I find it easier actually to learn similar languages, except when it comes to spelling. Even then thought, I'm only off by a letter.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis
Klgregonis
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Second question first - yes, it slows down the rate somewhat, because of time. If you have a limited time to learn languages, spreading that time out among many languages slows each down a bit. Like taking one class three days a week for a month versus taking several classes one day a week for three months. As far as retention is concerned, I find that comparing the languages I'm learning helps me to remember their differences better than just comparing them to English. Laddering (learning a third language through your second language) does this even more. Actually, each language you learn makes the next a little easier, you are learning how to learn languages.

2 years ago