1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. Learning Multiple Languages


Learning Multiple Languages

I just need advice for this, and I figured this would be the best place to do it. Based off of what you have heard or experience, is it better to learn an entire language and THEN start a new language? Or learn two languages at the same time?

May 10, 2017



I don't know, but be very careful not to learn too much. Luis hates it.


What do you mean by that?


I don't know. Luis said his team did some research which showed that learning too much was bad. They are experimenting with ways to stop people from learning too much unless they pay money. Learning too much is bad unless you pay money, then it becomes good again.


That's terrible.


Yeah, it really is.


It seems like you've misunderstood what Luis said. He was talking about people who binge learning. There are good binge and bad binge. If you know the language quite well and making very little mistakes while progressing downwards fast then that would be no problem. The new health system would less likely to affect you. So anyone can learning as much as they want as long as one has grasp of the language.


What Bocajmil said.

A lot of people just try to run through their trees as fast as possible and then go through more threes. That's not "learning too much," that's just completing without actual learning. The desktop/old app system allows you to get as many wrong until you eventually pass by either getting enough easy questions right or by memorizing entire sentences, therefore not actually learning through rules and patterns. There are no stakes, so what's to stop people from seeing a hard question and not even trying, just so they can see and memorize the answer for that specific question when it comes up again?

I haven't been affected by the new health system but from what I've heard, it doesn't seem like the best solution because does demotivate and it's monetized. However, doing more to slow down binge learners is necessary.


The research you're referring to showed what common sense would suggest: learning too much new material without doing enough revision is an ineffective approach to learning a language.

The health system is designed to prevent that; if you've learned too much new material without doing enough revision, the system will make you earn some health by doing some strengthening, before going any further through the course.


Thank you very much for your popular contribution Hughcparker.


Check my comment below.


Could you elaborate please?


What most people on here do. Learning so many languages at one time, binging doing so many lessons a day like they are going to absorb all of that.


Do not start two similar languages at the same time. If you are more advanced in one already, or if the languages are very different (say Portuguese and Turkish), you should be okay. YMMV.


I'd say stagger the starting times. Do your first foreign language for at least a year or so, before staring another one. And personally, I think it's better to know say 2-3 languages well than just the introductory level from 5-6 languages. One needs to work on a language for quite some time (many years) before being able to really use it semi-fluently. So when I'm facing a decision of whether to start a new language or improve old ones, I rather improve the old ones.


One at least until it's firmly fixed in your mind you don't have to be fluent in the first when you start the second but I think at least finish the tree


Just to add, I am learning Spanish right now and I want to learn French next.


I am learning french and Spanish at the same time. I find that learning them both together helps with my understanding of the languages because I can translate a sentence in one language and then the other to see the similarities and differences.


Wait until you get to B1 or B2 in Spanish before you do French.


Many people have successfully studied two languages at the same time. I know several that double majored in two languages in college: French/German, Spanish/French, Spanish/Italian, all sorts of combinations..

[deactivated user]

    While the prevailing opinion seems to be that it's best to concentrate on one until you get it down, I would mention that it also depends upon the person. For example, I find that after focusing on ONLY one new language, it bores me after x period of time. But after x period of studying, when I switch to another language, I have a new x period of time before I am bored once again. The good thing is that since the price of admission here is free, if you are so motivated, you can feel free to TRY more than one language at a time. For me this keeps me happy and makes learning fun. So try it and see!


    Learn an "entire" language? I don't think anyone has ever done that. I find that if I study three languages at a time, that it boosts my progress and memorisation for all three languages, plus it facilitates the language-learning process for me for new language acquisition in future.


    Im not sure, It gets very confusing after awhile. You would have to practice them everyday. Best thing to do is them at the same time and just try hard not to mix them up.


    Creo que aprendiendo dos idiomas simultaneamente, si los idiomas no estan tan similares, no vas a tener problemas. Например, руский и испанский язьки очен разнье и ты не запутатся.

    I still have a long way to go and my spanish and russian need to be polished way more, but ... basically, what I think is that if the languages are different from one another(not close like spanish, italian and french, for example), you'll have a better time understanding them both, it will be easier to distinguish and remember the words. I personally started with spanish, and until I was already half done with the tree, I started a little bit with russian. A few weeks ago I watched a video on youtube about this russian girl that was probably about 4 years old ... and she could speak russian(obviously), french, german, spanish, chinese and arabic. " Damn " ... I said to myself... so If a 4 year old girl can learn about 4 languages, and propably was learning them at the same time, why wont we, as adults, be able to do it ?


    It can feel embarrassing to see a 4-yr-old speaking many languages while I'm not, BUT children's brains (1yr to 12yr) have greater memorizing abilities than adults. Adults have to put in more effort to memorize. That's why it's so great to teach kids extra languages early and not wait until high school.


    Do not learn two languages at the same time, no matter what the languages are. You'll learn more of the two languages faster if you do it separate than at the same time. You'll even learn slower if they are from the same language tree.

    If you want to learn another language, wait until you are at least B1 or B2 in the current language.

    The ones that tell you to go for it are the same ones who don't know their butt from a hole in the ground about language learning.


    How much learning is bad?


    You can very probably easily learn 2 or more languages at a time. E.g. use time priority, so giving the most important language the most of your learning time, less to the other language(s).


    You should do what you enjoy most. Because that's what will motivate you the most to keep going.


    just learn as many languages as you want it could be 3 or 4 just do the amount of languages you feel comfortable with.


    i think that it is best to master a language than move on to another one.


    Offline I am learning multiple languages. But I did not start them all at the same time. Offline I focus on Japanese & German. I was already a B1 level in Japanese before I started German. I was already a good level in German before I started Spanish. I think it's okay if you give a language ample time before bringing in a new one. My status here doesn't show how much work I've really done in those languages.


    just learn as many languages as you want

    Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.