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Too many Languages

How many Duolingo-ers can relate:

You're diligently learning a language, enamoured with the culture and sound of that language, but then.... Through YouTube or some other source, you discover another language with an interesting culture and want to learn that language as well, only adding to your never ending list of languages you want to learn.

Has this happened to you? Are you addicted to language learning? Let me know in the comments...

August 15, 2016



Definitely addicted. Unlike most, I don't care if I ever have use for any them. I just want to know them. I like learning things simply for the sake of knowing them. It's one of the reasons why I'm pursuing a career in theoretical astrophysics.

Edit: I should add though that I know my limits. I may have many flags by my name, but I know how to focus my attention. I'm currently focusing on German and Spanish only and contemplating adding Dutch to that since those are the three trees I've finished.


Addicted? Yeah. Out of control? Not anymore.

I was only slightly younger the first time I found Duolingo and I'll admit I went wild with a newfound passion the first time I connected with the community. Learn all the languages, there's never too much to learn, the usual stuff. I'm still impulsive like that at times, but I've been controlling it better as I grow and learn, and to be honest, impulsiveness is the bane of social interaction and language learning; not only was I getting very mixed feedback from others when I was this new, impulsive kid on the block, I found I couldn't stuff all these languages in my head at the same time.

I think I'm as addicted to Duolingo as I am to linguistics. I mean, I'm here when I have the chance and Internet to do so (which depends on a lot of things). Duolingo is a great site that actually works and it was the first signal that I can make my dreams come true, be it travel the world or be a hyper-polyglot. But I realized at one point that in order for dreams to be true, you have to not only stick to it but be realistically aiming for a goal, even if you desire more than you can reach.

I deleted the courses that I wasn't as interested in as others and with some experimentation found a good, interesting mix of languages to focus on. I made short-term goals for myself and chose languages that were my highest priority (based on motivation, resources, usefulness and other factors). I decided if I was going to be addicted to a website, I should be logical and receive actual results from it.

I still have a huge physical list of languages that catch my ears with a natural song. Heck, I even found how to write the name of each language in the language itself and put that name on the list. But to be honest, more than half of them I might never get the chance to actually use. But it's not a list of every language in the world; of course there are some that sound very plain or seem uninteresting to me and I really have no reason to learn, and they're not on my current list.

But I am constantly revising it and asking myself "do I really want to learn that? Why? How much do I want to learn it?" And I also promised myself to not go above the number 59. 59 foriegn languages to love, in order to gain knowledge in 60 total languages (since my native is English) It used to be, like, 150 something give or take a few to compare (yup, I was crazy). Now my goal is not fluency for all of them, just some workable use in most of them and fluency in only my absolute favorites, and learning a dozen at a time. It seems like too much to any normal person, but I'm not normal at all and it motivates me to see this large list of languages whose names have been written in their original script and spelling. It's beautiful in each flaw, detail and perfection. And much more realistic than over 100. I think, based on what I read recently, very few if any people in history have reported working use in up to 100 languages. Several people in history could use around 60 give or take, though, and I think that I myself can manage a number like that when given the time to do so. Even small amounts of it, like five minutes. That's enough time to learn a word.

As unrealistic as my dream is, working up to it is a joy that distracts me from my feelings in times of emptiness and hardships. Something to look forward to and get realistic results from despite it being only a huge dream. Everyone has a past time and I chose mine to be this never-ending learning trek. Because I have the motivation and tools that makes it enjoyable for me.

So yes I'm addicted to learning languages and Duolingo, but I've been finding ways to actually get results from it. Real results that's useful. The secret is prioritize for the long term and get results in the short term and keep asking yourself the question "why?". Even if you're an impossible dreamer, there is some way you can make the "close enough" mark happen. Just know that to get there, it will take an insane amount of dedication, but it's possible.


I can definitely relate... but then I also sit there and go, "When am I actually going to use this language?" If I can come up with a reasonable thing that I'd need it for, it goes on a list and I check back every so often to see if I'm still passionate for it as I get a slot in my learning.

It's like looking at a newer version of anything you own. Everything's fantastic, until you have to consider the cost of ownership. ;)

  • 1488

Definitely addicted! I am addicted to learning languages, traveling and exploring new countries and cultures. I am not going to be a polyglot, far from it. But I am so happy when I am able to order food in a foreign restaurant or discuss very basic items with the native speakers. And like LupoMikti in his brilliant comment, I know my limits and I know how to focus my attention :)


Not a polyglot? I don't believe you. :-D


(This is probably a really unpopular opinion, but hear me out.)

I used to be, but then I started looking at things in a realistic way. I realized that because English is the only language I'll ever need in my life (Spanish is certainly useful, though), I should slow down and focus on the languages that actually matter to me, instead of just learning 5 words in every language that I try.

Honestly, I think that languages are like diets, rather than single-serving dishes. People should spend at least a few months to focus on each new language, while solidifying their learning in the previous ones, as well. In my opinion, in order for learning a language to have any practical value, you should be able to order food and write a paragraph or two about yourself.

Honestly, I get irritated whenever someone at level 4 or 5 in a language asks what language they "should add". They don't have even basic comprehension of the language they're learning yet, so why split their attention between two languages? I'd be really surprised if any basic language learner gets more out of learning two languages at the same time than if they sat down and dedicated themselves to just one.

The mentality of trying every language that you find interesting is, at least in my opinion, not very practical for learning languages in the long term. I used to think that way, but I found that my Spanish suffered every time that I tried to do so. Now, whenever I get enamored by a language, I'll read about it and its grammar, appreciate it, and then put it off to the side. And I don't mean "off to the side" as in, I'll practice it for a bit and then quit. I mean "off to the side" as in "it's interesting, but I probably won't learn it".

Look, people can learn languages however they want. But if people are aiming at learning this number of languages by this year (as a lot of people do on Duolingo), then they aren't aiming at practical success in learning and using languages. They just want a number that somehow signifies success. Languages are beautiful, from the flow of their sound to the curious intricacies of their grammar to the people that speak it and the culture they belong to. What I think, though, is that people should show more dedication to one or two languages so they can stop and actually appreciate each language fully.


I think it depends on the individual and also very much on previous language experience. Yes, for the average beginner, adding more languages when one is barely competent in the first is (usually) silly, but there are an awful lot of Duolingo users (especially those enthusiastic enough to hang around on the forum) who are either much more competent than the flags by their name suggest, or who have enough previous experience learning languages that delving into a new one doesn't automatically make the others suffer terribly.

As someone who's basically fluent (far from perfect, but fluent in producing and understanding) Russian, completing the Ukrainian tree and (to a lesser extent, because it's more difficult/more distantly related) the Polish tree was 1) a lot of fun and 2) if anything was of benefit to my Russian, because the vocab and grammar are similar enough that comparing the languages to one another and seeing the similarities and differences is good brain exercise.

I'm not one of these people who can zip through a Duolingo course at high speed, retain it all, and instantly move on to more advanced study; however, considerable experience of learning languages makes me more efficient than the average beginner in a given language, and a wide exposure to a large number of languages is a leg up when tackling a new one.

Obviously this is something that varies wildly from person to person, and equally obviously, the average raw beginner is not going to do themselves any favours by emulating someone who already speaks more than one foreign language, but a lot of the forum goers really aren't raw beginners.

Also bear in mind that what is 'useful' will differ from person to person. Living in rural England, I am absolutely sure I could (if I wished, which I don't) go the rest of my life without speaking a single word of a different language except on holiday. In fact, 99% of the time I hear foreign languages in an average month, said language is coming it of my mouth! In that case, having the ability to say the very basics/be polite in a large number of languages is very helpful, unless I plan to repeatedly visit the same country.

For example, my French isn't perfect, by a long shot, but it's there and it's more or less natural to me, and I can readily make myself understood even if I make plenty of mistakes. If I planned on living, working or regularly vacationing in France, then sure, it would be 'useful' to get it better, but I haven't been to France in fifteen years. I seldom use French, and never in a milieu where my grammar foibles are critical. (Not to mention that I've been 'taught' the language until I was blue in the face, so I'm unconvinced I'm going to suddenly grasp grammar issues that have eluded me for decades unless I suddenly discover a passion for the language.) I have no reason or motivation to be perfect; able to muddle along, communicate, read, etc, is plenty. The level it's at is just fine, and I'm finding it much more enjoyable to do things like completing the French tree for Russian speakers or doing the German tree for French speakers, both of which are more interesting and better practice for me than attempting to perfect my French.

Yes, that likely means that I don't 'appreciate' French the same way someone who's fully dedicated to the language does, but honestly, I don't feel the need. I have a reasonable exposure to the language, the country and the culture, and I could happily get by on holiday. For me, in my current situation, anything more just isn't worth the effort in a language for which I have no passion.

In my experience, it's a lot easier to find reasons to use a language for which I have a passion than to find passion for a language for which I might have some use.

Yes, one can go overboard - which is why Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Danish and Vietnamese currently don't appear on my profile, even though I tested out or studied some of each of them, and why Italian is just me testing out out of curiosity to see where intelligent guesswork would land me (Catalan was me and my very poor Spanish just wanting to get the flag, because I love the area) - but I don't think that learning one or two languages is inherently better than learning a dozen. Different strokes for different folks, and what works for one person might be very different from what works for another.

I do take care about what I'm actually studying seriously - a language like Hebrew that is hard for me has become my priority. I'm mostly studying Hebrew at the moment, and besides that I'm mostly just working on revising/gilding my Slavic trees and Esperanto (the languages in which I am most competent plus the easy one which has a lot of Slavic influence). If I need a break I'll dabble in something easier/gild something on another tree/complete a German/Welsh/Norwegian skill, but Hungarian, for example, is basically stalled because there's no way in the world I can manage Hebrew and Hungarian at the same time. For the most part at the moment, most days all I'm doing on Duolingo is Slavic languages or Hebrew.

(Remember also that for a lot of people, this is a hobby, this is fun. I'm not learning Norwegian because it's useful, I'm learning it because it's fun, and if I come out with the ability to pick a little Norwegian out of, say, a TV show, or if I one day go to Norway and am able to make a shopkeeper smile by using his or her language to say hello and please and thank you, then, for me, that's definitely a good use of my time. Slavic languages are my priority, but even those aren't 'useful' to me in every day life. I study because I like to learn and because I'm enjoying myself.)


I agree. Many of the languages that I'm learning I might never "need" in life (unless by some miracle I am able to visit each of these countries), but I learn these languages because they're fun, it's good mental excercise, and who knows, I might run into an Israeli someday!(this has actually haplened before, I was once able to impress an exchange student with my basic knowledge of Swedish)But I certainly have narrowed it down to three languages that I want to become fluent in before I die: Spanish, Irish, and Hebrew. These are my main focus, but every now and then I'll take a quick break and refresh my knowledge in another language.


It's good to have aims!

I definitely prioritise different languages at different times, and depending what I'm concentrating on, I'll have different languages to use as my 'breaks'. For me, Slavic languages are what I'm most familiar with and where I feel most comfortable, so they're my comfort zone and where I go to play when I'm studying Hebrew (which is tough, for me!). When it was Esperanto that was my main focus, I was much more willing to tackle non-Slavic languages for my downtime.


Yeah, I'd have to say my standpoint is more along these lines. I certainly agree with flootzavut that some of the forum regulars with fleets of flags are "language people" who have several languages well in hand (which might or might be revealed in said fleet in any way) already. But I think there are a lot of people who seem to be spreading themselves somewhat thin: folks who are a long way from any functional grasp of their first foreign language branching out and branching out. Of course, a lot of it is vague aspiration: "I'm learning Spanish, but I think it would be great to learn French one day." Duolingo does, I think, bring those vague aspirations into (the halting beginnings of) reality a bit faster than is frequently optimal. I am trying to get over my involuntary side eye at the folks with ten-odd flags at level, say, 5 and below. I know people experiment. I know people search for a language that appeals. But I kinda like to have a slightly easier time figuring out what your real linguistic ambit is when I read your comments! It's a work in progress. Don't ask me to really explain why Hungarian is hanging around for me—and my level isn't really even all that terribly low anymore. In short, there are languages in my conceptual queue. I just don't want to even touch the door until I'm at a place I want to be with Russian.

I must say I am extremely grateful for this thread, as it provides what is probably the most fleshed out vision I've seen of the contrary tendency, for which I do, indeed, have the utmost respect. When people have the ten flags with levels that represent more time spent than a couple action movies, I just doff my hat. I, too, am fascinated by the structure of languages. And the more comfortable I get in Russian, the closer grows the low hanging fruit for yet another whole language family. I'd had vague designs on Ukrainian and Swedish before I joined here. But no notion of how to actualize them. It's not like there are all that many materials available compared to languages I've studied before. Now they have reasonably secured places in the top tier of my "to learn" queue. And Serbian/Croatian/whatever you want to call it, which I figure will get its tree eventually, might be sneaking up, when I'd never given it the slightest notion before.

But the doing-trees-by-the-dozen thing: definitely not my style. Russian's still too tough. I've been at it for too long to divert my attention until it's, at long last, well in hand [by which I suppose I essentially mean I'm spending my Duo time in Immersion, to and from Russian; I think reverse tree immersion is far and away the most undervalued part of this site]. Who knows? After that maybe things will be different. I don't know that I've ever gotten intrigued by a language because of a culture. But I've gotten intrigued by Macedonian just seeing its declension tables on Wiktionary when a word happens to overlap with Russian. Maybe the time will one day arrive when racking up Slavic languages is as straightforward a matter as it has become for me for Romance languages. I wouldn't be willing to bet much I'd long resist the temptation (I clearly couldn't for Catalan): learn enough to get concretely useful results with essentially de minimis effort. Do more if a concrete use ever happened to arise.

Certainly, I know that people with many languages in play tend to focus on only a small number at a time, but I've definitely read comments from people who said the seemed to get to level 8 and then sort of glide to a stop for lack of sufficient interest. I think such folk would certainly be better rewarded to track down the language that really does spike their interest and then focus on that. Definitely agree with flootzavut that everything just woks better if you have the innate drive for something, from wherever it might come.


Excellent point. I have spent a lot of time trying to learn too many things at once only to get frustrated that I wasn't making progress. Now I'm sticking with 3 max. Even that is a little OTT but I'm pacing myself this time. Irish, Russian and German. When I can do those to a really good level, I will try something else. But, I admit I'm itching to learn Welsh.


I don't mean to belittle other peoples efforts on a multitude of languages but it definitely is not my thing.

If I learn a language, I intend to be at least able to read average texts of it. Maybe with difficulty, but I must be able to.

If I don't achive this, I consider my effort failed. Duolingo will not provide me with success, just with a good starting point. And since I intend to pursue that goal, I don't have the time or energy to switch to other languages and learn them also.


I intend to be able to understand the spoken language and to be able to read in an enjoyable fashion - ie sans dictionary and at a decent pace. I have achieved this so far in German, French and Spanish. I intend to review every tree I have done and practice elsewhere until I reach this point. I am working on Italian and Swedish atm. How many I will actually manage is the question that intrigues me. I am not as bothered about being able to speak the languages, although I can get by quite well in French and German. In my view the more languages you are familiar with the easier this becomes.


If I learn a language, I intend to be at least able to read average texts of it. Maybe with difficulty, but I must be able to.

The thing is, the step between completing a Duolingo tree (actually having learned everything it teaches, not just barely scraping through) and getting to this level of reading ability isn't huge. It's certainly a significant step, but a very realistic challenge.

(At least for the trees I've completed. There does seem to be quite a difference in how much the different trees cover and how effective they are -- certainly as some trees get updates and are extended.)


Wow... I completely agree with you!!! I also noticed this since joining Duolingo a couple weeks ago. A lot of people are doing so many languages and that's great for them! But in my personal opinion I don't see a practical purpose in it if you can't comfortable read, write, or have a basic conversation in it. I hope to be able to understand / speak / read 3 languages over my entire lifetime: English (my native language), German (which is why I joined Duolingo and my family is German) and French (I already know some French because we were required to learn it in school from age 9 - 14 but I would like to continue with it so I am able to understand it well). Again, it's amazing if you want to learn all these awesome languages... but I definitely see your point (and agree with it) about just learning one or two languages and focusing your time on that.


But in my personal opinion I don't see a practical purpose in it if you can't comfortable read, write, or have a basic conversation in it.

I don't really want to talk to people, so just learning to read is good for me. A Duolingo tree takes you almost far enough to start reading children's books, and after that you can move on to books for adults. It's been an amazing journey doing this in French -- the other ones are still on the way.


Yep! Nice to hear you have a similar opinion.

[deactivated user]

    Yeah, I can relate. But then again, I always wanted to learn languages. When I was little, I had a list of all the languages I want to study. There was 60 on that list! I've actually made a fairly good dent in that too. I have started and stopped many languages but there are only a few that I felt I really floundered at--namely Arabic and Persian. The nice thing about having studied a language a little bit at one time is if I ever get the chance to study it again, I actually do pretty well with refreshing what I had studied previously. If even I'm not practicing it daily, that past exposure helps. This is how I am with Japanese. If you asked me right now to say something in Japanese, I'd be at a lost, but get me around some Japanese speakers and things start coming back to me. It's nice. So I don't think it's a complete waste of time. It may not be to most efficient way to learn languages, but I'm enjoying myself.

    But helps to have some core languages you are really devoted to. For me it's Scottish Gaelic and French. Those are my priority, so I know if I ever have to cut back, there's not much waffling. Gaelic and French stay, and second place would be keeping up my momentum with Irish which is pretty important as it was very difficult for me to get motivated to study it in the first place--anything else can be set aside it I get too stretched thin.


    So I don't think it's a complete waste of time. It may not be to most efficient way to learn languages, but I'm enjoying myself.

    Yes! This!


    The Duolingoist's mantra: At least it's not Candy Crush. :-D

    I had a list when I was little, but it was only about 5--10 languages. I only remember two of them, though: Dutch and Hebrew. Well, one down..


    I still have a list... And it keeps growing.... And the only one of them I'm even close to having down is French...


    At least it's not Candy Crush

    Hahaha, exactly!

    Strangely, the languages I remember wanting to learn when I was small were French (kinda down - as good as it's ever likely to get, anyway!) and Spanish (in which I now cannot convince myself to be interested). The ones I'm interested in now, I'm not sure I was every particularly aware of for much of my childhood.


    Oh, and as a child and teenager, I was determined never to start learning French (because of the strange French teachers I had encountered and because of thinking the world didn't need yet another person speaking French badly). Never say never!


    I was thinking about this, and I suddenly remembered I did, for about five seconds, consider studying Dutch at university. Given I've studied a little of it here and on FutureLearn, I guess that's one that I had some yen for that I'm now studying. Still not from childhood, though.


    It happens to me all the time, I study Spanish mostly, that's the language I want to learn first but I have to stay focused.

    On Saturdays I work at a tourist destination, there's a lady from Italy that came to work there last year with a beautiful thick Italian accent, so now I have to learn Italian. Another guy that works there had a French mother so I want to learn French just so we can speak it together. Every week I meet someone from Africa or Israel or India or China or somewhere and I wish I could speak to them in their language. So all of the sudden I think I'm a language learning genius and I go home and download a bunch of stuff to learn whatever language I heard that day.

    I have to keep reminding myself that Spanish comes first and I can just dabble with the rest until their time comes.


    Absolutely. Most of the languages I've done on here I did not come here to study. Since the two languages I wanted the most were not on here I decided to explore and discovered Swedish. Then, of course, Norwegian and Danish.

    Since I've been a bit intimidated by German and I've heard a lot about Afrikaans that made me add it to my too try list I decided to try out Dutch. I tried Vietnamese because I have a client who is Vietnamese and I would love to surprise her with some basics. And Irish and Ukrainian both sounded awesome so I had to try them out. I may never go back to either of them. Then again...

    So I guess I am a bit addicted. But I have priorities with my languages and different goals for them.


    That's me. I diligently learned German on Duolingo and other sources for one year without even considering learning another language. Then one day I decided Portuguese would be pretty fun to try and it just snowballed from there. I have at some point tried nearly every language on Duolingo but now I have narrowed it down to a manageable amount. Norwegian is currently on hold although I will definitely go back to it. I am focused on Portuguese and German as I want to know both of these languages very well. Hungarian and Esperanto are just for fun. I am tempted to learn so many other languages such as Korean although I am trying to resist because I know from personal experience that learning too many languages at once isn't worth it. At least I am young so I have my whole life ahead of me to learn languages.


    That is exactly what has happened to me so many times... The problem is, I always do a bit of the language and then I can't stop....

    • 1558

    I've been interested in foreign languages all my life. I joined Duolingo in order to learn some basic Italian before going there on vacation. Then I disovered Romanian in the incubator, a language I've wanted to learn forever, and decided to wait for it. In the meantime I wanted to refresh my French + Spanish (studied these back in school). By then Duo had me hooked LOL I'm still waiting for Romanian, and in the meantime I've "checked out" a couple of other languages...

    • 1771

    Just looking at the flags above, you can guess my answer :)

    I do have a list of priorities though, the only problem is that I find some of the languages that are more useful to me to be a bit more boring to practice than some new ones. I am, however, doing my best to stick to German though. Welsh and Vietnamese can wait.


    Not me, no. Not even a little bit. I could stop at any time. Really.


    Don't worry, we won't challenge you to do that. :-) That would cruelty towards bookrabbits!


    Heaves sigh of relief that she doesn't have to start sneaking down to the bottom of the garden to indulge in elicit language learning on an anonymous account...


    My goal is one new language a year on Duolingo. I still try to improve the ones that I've learned but I use other methods to practice, like reading and Memrise. This year I'm doing Russian, I've finished the tree and have got almost 3000 words down with Memrise but starting to read it is still a bit intimidating to me. But hopefully, that will come soon.

    My next languages that I want to learn are Korean (because I'm addicted to Korean dramas) and Japanese (because I have a Japanese sister-in-law). But I absolutely refuse to start either of them until they come out on Duo. I've tried learning languages before without Duo and in my opinion it is simply a waste of time to start any other way. So unless Korean speeds up considerably when the new year starts I'll likely start laddering by doing French-German or the German-French tree.


    My goal is one new language a year on Duolingo.

    Wow, that's impressive! Mine is to get two new languages to about level B1/B2 per decade. I'm a bit behind on Spanish at the moment, but have cheated and started with Russian a bit early.

    You're ahead of me regarding Russian as well: I've almost finished the tree, and have 1,500 words down in Memrise, but do feel that reading anything but very short children's books (with effort, and a dictionary) is still beyond me.

    But I absolutely refuse to start either of them until they come out on Duo. I've tried learning languages before without Duo and in my opinion it is simply a waste of time to start any other way.

    Yes, yes, and yes to this! Languages are challenging on Duolingo, but much more so without it. I'm only learning one language that isn't on Duolingo, and it's one I started before Duolingo existed, and which isn't very hard for me anyway (Estonian).



    In addition to those I have here, I'm learning Japanese, Indonesian, and Toki Pona via resources off the site.

    I think I need help.


    I call it learning to forget. I did that with French, Swedish, Japanese, etc. I would study them to travel to the country, waste a ton of money, only to do it again. Now, I'm determined to learn Spanish and maybe ancient Greek, but that's it. I want to master both.


    I do like many languages and add some to my list if I'm intrigued ,but unfortunately I have a fear of failing at all of them at once if I study multiple languages,many members here are good at it ,but I'm sticking to french until I am level b2.


    This has happened more times than I want to admit.


    Yes, I came here eleven months ago, because I wanted to learn some German.

    Little by little, I started adding other languages because I started to feel curious about the structure of languages in general.

    After completing thirteen trees, I have had to stop with some of the last added languages (Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Hebrew), but maybe I will resume them in the near future.


    I've been focused on Dutch for most of my time on Duolingo. I started Dutch way back in December of 2014. The site only had about eight languages and three were in beta. I stopped after awhile and rediscovered it about three months ago. I spent a week strengthening the skills I already knew. I learnt new content and I continue to do so each day.

    I wouldn't say I'm addicted though. I've only had interest in two languages during the duration of the past year. Those languages are Estonian and Dutch. I gave up on Estonian since I can't roll my r's (I'm still learning though) and there weren't enough resources. I'm doing Dutch now and I'm satisfied...for the time being that is.


    Just want to point out: some of the massively long play streaks many of the users have here! Holy koe!


    It takes more than a single video to make me want to learn a language, but my to-learn list is still large.

    I want to speak English almost like a native, Russian and Dutch fluently, know well Japanese, German and Esperanto, be able to hold a basic conversation in Spanish and Hungarian, get a decent grasp of Czech, French and Ukrainian, and speak at least a little of Korean, Arabic, Chinese, Lithuanian, Romanian, Slovakian, (Serbo-)Croatian and Norwegian. Plus learn to read Latin and Old Church Slavonic. Including my native Polish, that's 22 languages.

    Also, I wouldn't mind Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Finnish, Hindi, Indonesian, Sranan Tongo, Sanskrit, Turkish and Danish.

    I really doubt I'll ever manage to achieve those goals, but one can dream.

    And if that list is not a proof of addiction, then I don't want to know what is.


    Why Sranan Tongo out of curiosity? That's not one that often makes such lists.

    How do you differentiate among "know well", "get a decent grasp of", and "fluent"?

    I must admit to having never given any particular consideration to levels of desired knowledge of languages I would like to learn in the range short of "conversationally fluent" and am intrigued by your schema.


    I grouped the languages by the desired fluency level in the descending order: fluent > well > basic conversation > decent grasp > a little.

    "Fluent" means being able to use the language in most circumstances, both passively and actively. These are languages I've been learning the most, after English, so I want to see some effects.

    "Well" means being able to use the language passively in most circumstances and actively in at least some. These are languages I haven't spent much time on, and I don't feel an inner need to speak them fluently, but I want to understand them when I see or hear them.

    "Basic conversation" is being able to use the language in controlled situations, for example having easy access to dictionaries, being able to ask for clarifications etc., while being able to actually talk to people – not without errors – about a variety of non-advanced topics. Something you'd call "speaking a language".

    "Decent grasp" is like above, but only passively. I want to understand many written and spoken texts in those languages. It's roughly equivalent of doing a Duolingo course with a lot of strengthening and adding some extra beginner-level learning materials.

    "A little" is, as it says, a little. Enough to ask for directions, say hello, read a simple text, things like that. Those are languages that would either require too much work to get to higher levels, or are of less interest for me.

    Why Sranan Tongo? Well, it's because I speak Dutch, and in Suriname they speak Dutch, but they also speak Sranan Tongo. Not the best reason, but hey.

    You'd also want to know when I stand with languages right now, don't you? My English is at "fluent", Russian is at "well", Dutch and Esperanto are between "well" and "basic conversation", German is at "basic conversation", Japanese, Ukrainian and Spanish are barely at "decent grasp", Hungarian and French are not even at "a little", I know few Chinese words, and the rest is at practically zero. So there's a lot of work before me.


    Ah, make a tremendous amount of sense. Your categories are intuitive. I think I was thrown off because "decent grasp" could mean a lot of different things (and out of context I guess I presumed it must be above "basic conversation"). I should have figured you listed them in descending order of knowledge.

    Hey, who needs reasons for languages? The notion of creoles is an interesting one, and it would seem they're on the easier end of the challenge scale.

    Best of luck with your awesome list!


    I treat languages like I treat my books. I get a whole bunch of new ones then keep rearranging which ones I want to learn/read first in a list then eventually just go with the one I'm most interested in at the time, which changes often, until I have a bunch of books/language courses only half done


    I know the feeling! I have FINALLY come down to all the languages I want to learn without wanting to add anymore. That being said, there are about 29 not including a few of dialects off of others. So, the list would be, with added "dialects" : 1) Aramaic (Assyrian from Maaloula, Syric, Galilaic ( or Galilean) 2) Ancient Egyptian (Demotic, Heiratic, Coptic, Hieroglyphics, etc) 3) Ancient Babylonian (Akkadian) 4) Dutch 5) Esperanto 6) French (I've been learning Parisian French for 8 years and I want to also learn Quebecois) 7) German 8) Greenlandic 9) Hebrew 10) Hindi along with Punjabi 11) Icelandic along with Old Norse 12) Irish Gaelic (West Munstrer Dialect-I'm learning on Memrise) 13) Italian (I'm getting back into in January with a tutor) 14) Japanese along with (Kyoto-ben dialect spoken only in Kyoto and Ainu Dialect) 15) Indonesian 16) Korean 17) Maori 18) Polish 19) Russian along with the "Tatar" from Kazan and Tatarstan not Crimean 20) Sicilian (Palermo, Syracusan and Calebrese dialects) Learning Sicilian on Memrise now) 21) Slovene 22) Luxembourgish 23) Ukrainian 24) Quenya/Sindarin Elvish 25) High Valyrian 26) Ancient Language of Elves Inheritance Cycle ( Paolini's movie "Eragon") this is ALL the languages I want to get "into" a few perhaps one day I could really grasp, at least the one's that I REALLY want to do this with.The others I want to learn, to get by. I'm doing some on Memrise and I hope to do some on Utalk.com and a few, eventaully I will take on italki.com to learn at a more "fluid" pace. It doesn't matter how many languages you want to try or get into, if it's your passion go for it! :) You'll never know til you try. Everyone has a "passion" for one language or other and THAT in and of itself...is good enough right there. :) Good luck to ALL on your language learning journey! :)

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