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How Many Languages Can One Speak Maximally?

I see many people who have finished like 8 trees, or even more. I'm curious if it's possible to speak all of them? Or they just understand most of them, not necessarily speak. So please tell me about yourself. How many of your completed trees are an equivalent for fluency in those languages? Happy Learning :D

April 15, 2017



There's no maximum as such, but different people find that they can juggle different numbers of languages. It depends not just on their inherent ability to learn languages, but also on how much they've used a language, for how long, in which all different kinds of situations, etc.

I find that once you've reached C1 in a language, you don't really lose it, although it does rust a bit if you don't use it. Just doing a Duolingo course gets you to about A2, so there's a fair bit of work left before you get to that stage, but it's definitely a good start.

I'm in a bilingual country and speak a third language at home, so I use those three plus English every single day. It's been 10+ years since I used my German daily, so my active skills in that one is rusting away, but come back whenever I practice it a bit again. Studying four other languages (some here, some on Memrise or by attending a real life course) does make me a bit confused at times, but the more I study the more I learn to keep those "budding languages" in their own silos in my mind. I'd say I'm fluent in five languages, can read in another one or two, and speak pretty well in one of those last two. Learning a language is a marathon, not a sprint... :-)


The exact answer I looked for! Thanks

  • 700

Finishing a tree on Duolingo is not the same as speaking a language. I finished German, Spanish, French and Esperanto here, and now I am at B1 level in German, maybe-A2 in Spanish and on really basic level in French and Esperanto.

But there are polyglots who speak 5+ languages fluently, so in theory there is no limit on languages. But you need to practice more outside Duolingo.


I'm fluent in two languages and I'm learning three. To be honest, even just the two languages are hard to maintain. There will always be words I'll forget by not actively speaking the languages. Duolingo is something to get you started. I think it'll get you to A2. You'll be able to understand passively.


The current record holder speaks 58 languages, I believe. There's not technically a maximum number of languages you can know; however, the number of languages you can keep up your level in without losing ability is probably less than 58 unless you speak them every day.


There are people who speak dozens of languages fluently over the course of their lifetimes, but maintaining more than 10 easily accessible in the brain at a given time seems to get difficult, from what I've read. And this doesn't happen overnight... I find there's a jump for learning your first foreign language, then another to learn your 2nd/3rd and learn to keep them sorted in your head. A friend of mine is working on about 10 and says she doesn't have time in the day to learn/maintain any more.


Though it's hard, heartwarming :D


Well depends on what level you can speak them.

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