1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. Can I learn Spanish and Portu…


Can I learn Spanish and Portuguese at the same time?

Hi, there Duolingo community!

I have been studying both Portuguese and Spanish for the past few months and I have been enjoying it. I have recently started to notice that I'm having trouble to remember the words and I have been mixing the language. So I have read some articles and people say it's not the best idea to learn these two languages at the same time because they are so similar. I wanted to ask if anybody else was having this issue and what they would suggest I do?



June 3, 2017



There is only one way to learn to keep the two apart - practice, practice, practice.

And not just here on Duo. Talk to people conversationally. Don't be afraid to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.


You may find simply practicing them at different times of day helps you keep them separate.


It's very common to mix languages with similar words. I've mixed ella in Spanish with elle in French when doing both trees at once. Even doing the Dutch and French tree at the same time was a little bit problematic because Je means I in French but You in Dutch! (Note that my French and Dutch trees are on another account.)

Although I didn't have a huge problem mixing the languages, I do find that it works best when I focus one Duolingo tree at a time. Duolingo has done studies on this and came to the same conclusion. You might consider finishing one of the trees and practicing for a while, then switching to focus only on another tree and finish that one.

On the other hand, if you really want to do both Portuguese and Spanish at the same time, you can. How much time do you have each day to practice? You might experiment a bit to try doing one in the morning and the other in the evening. Or do one language on one day and the other the next day to alternate. Or do one for 3-4 days, then the other for 3-4 days. There are many alternatives and you might find that it helps you to mix them up less.

I'm probably going to do both Portuguese and Spanish trees myself for the next couple weeks. Although I have a lot more experience with Spanish and have finished that tree a couple times before the last update, I'm going to Brazil soon! I've done a little bit of Portuguese on my phone, which was fun, but I should probably spend some more time with it in the short term. I'm far more serious about improving my Spanish and take lessons every week, plus have just restarted gilding my tree and catching up with the lessons that I haven't done yet.

So, you can do it however you want but might need to try different approaches to see what works best for you. Good Luck in your future studies!


At this moment I decided to try and focus on Spanish and see how it goes if I only focus on Spanish if I will remember better because at this point I switch around Eu and Yo so easily so I think it would be best to put some space between the languages.


Hmm. Difficult for you at your level. I'd drop one or the other for the time being (at least past the second checkpoint, then learn the one you dropped through the one you learned more of. It actually really helps to ladder that way, makes it a lot easier to keep them apart. Of course, if you are using the web or Android instead of IOS you could try that now - learn Spanish through Portuguese and Portuguese through Spanish. If you do so, start at the beginning for each so you have a good review.

[deactivated user]

    I can tell you my experience about learning portuguese after (more or less) one year of spanish. The positive thing is that portuguese is surely easy after studying spanish, because they are really similar so you won't need a lot of effort to study it.

    The bad thing is that you can easily mix them; in my case, i don't confuse the words because they are almost similar, but i confuse the pronunciation because i'm get used more at listening and reading spanish (and being italian doesn't even help ahahahaha, some portugese words are written in the same way, but always with a different pronunciation).

    In my opinion, you should go ahead at least with one language for at least 1 year and more, then you can add the second one, but it is only my opinion ;).


    This is a good plan. I'm thinking of adding a different language like Korean. I'm waiting for Japanese to launch that is the language I can't wait to dig into! Since the articles, I read say you should learn multiple languages but the languages should be very different from another.

    [deactivated user]

      Sure that you can :D! You only need time and good resources and of course, how to handle all of them.

      Japanese pronunciation is easy because it has the same (98%) pronunciations of some languages like italian, spanish and portuguese (but mostly the first two).The only thing that can confuse you is the order of the elements in a sentence where the verb goes ALWAYS at the end, but it is only a fact of practice (thank you german, the years with you helped me to get used at japanese xDD).

      If you want i can give you some sites, resources and so on for japanese, but they can be used also for portuguese and spanish.

      Pimsleur, assimil and Michel Thomas courses are available on the web if you look well.They are available for JP/PT and SP (i'm too lazy to write today xD). Memrise is a useful site for learning vocabularies but also sentences (if you follow memrise's courses).

      If you want to train yourself with hiragana and katakana i suggest you this site:


      About japanese books, i suggest you "remembering the kanji" by Heisig, especially if you have a visual memory (and fortunately there is a pdf on the web). I used this one together with assimil and "Japanese from zero" by George trombley (you have to buy this one,i wasn't able to find any pdf) and i was able to do some section of the japanese/english tree (because at the end i wasn't much in the mood and i stopped xD). This book is perfect if you don't have any knowledge of the language because it is really "light" and easy to read.You can watch on amazon a preview of kindle version. I don't know what is your native language but all this stuff is only in english (except for assimil which it has more languages available).


      Wow this is amazing! I'm definitely going to look at all these recourses since I'm waiting for Japanese to be released in Beta. Thank you so much wow I really appreciate it. I have been looking for similar programs like Duolingo so this is really going to help me! My home language is Afrikaaans but I'm bilingual I study and work in English :).


      Hi! I'd recommend learning kana - hiragana and katakana before getting seriously into kanji. The kana scripts are phonetic and it's similar to learning the alphabet in Romance languages. A few good books for this are "Learning Japanese: Hiragana and Katakana," "Let's Learn Hiragana," and "Let's Learn Katakana." This will help a lot when you start using Duolingo to learn Japanese. There are also many good youtube videos on learning Japanese by a variety of people.

      [deactivated user]

        I'm glad to give you a hand ;).I know how can be "frustrating" to find the right resources so...i know xD.

        I forgot again (duh, my memory DX) these courses i used to learn japanese vocab, they are done so well in my opinion because words are written before in hiragana/katakana and then in kanji (or viceversa, iused both to renforce them faster).But i started to use them after i reached half book of remembering kanji:

        https://www.memrise.com/course/554/jlpt-n5-vocab/ https://www.memrise.com/course/122927/jlpt-n5-readings/

        and of course all his courses seem well done: https://www.memrise.com/user/jlptbootcamp/courses/teaching/

        I started in this way: i tested the language doing some lessons with assimil, i wanted to see how its grammar worked (i reached only the 20th lesson) then i switched to MT course (and it so well done because it explain clearly japanese grammar, probably my fav. japanese course). I only finished the foundation course, in the same time, i made practice remembering 15 kanji for day.Then, i tried with the japanese tree here: i did some mistakes because my knowledge of kanji was terrible....then, i started to use JFZ, always doing Heisig book every day.After that, i started to introduce vocabs...at the end i was even able to read some little books called graded readings (some of them are available on the web) that i was so...satisfied, pure satisfaction @-@!

        [deactivated user]

          I forgot to give you some stuff for korean (if you want to try one day, but i don't suggest you to put korean and japanese together, their grammar is pretty similar) but i don't have much experience so i can only give you two books which they seem pretty popular on the web and a site.

          korean from zero ( the same author of Japanese from zero) and korean made simple:

          http://gobillykorean.com/korean-made-simple/ http://www.koreanfromzero.com/ (the nice thing of this one that you can try on the web the various lessons).

          I have the first book and it starts from the beginning (greetings, like and dislike and so on) the same with KFZ with greetings, numbers etc.(on the web there is a pdf version). This site is really popular to learn korean but i have never tried it:


          Unfortunately i don't have other stuff i mind :/ but they can be a good start point x).

          [deactivated user]

            I think it will be useful to add that you can minimize confusion by studying patterns between the two languages. What I mean is to not only focus on learning word by word but trying to find rules between both languages. Very simple examples are: "-ción" in Spanish usually equals "-ção" in Portuguese; "-ue-" in Spanish usually equals "-o-" in Portuguese like in the words "sueño" and "sono/sonho" or "acuerdo" and "acordo".


            Yes. But you have to be very focused.


            hi. Do u like Melanie Martinez?


            I love Melanie Martinez


            ME TOO!!!! (My profile pic is her)


            I read a lot about people saying you shouldn't study two similar languages because you'll mix them up, but I really think it is just being over cautious. It's actually one of the great things about those languages and other close languages, which is that if you know enough of one, you can make a lot of sense of the other without any major effort. The reflex not to mix them up is more of a fear of being ashamed, but really when you look at the big picture, you are going to make mistakes anyway, so why worry about it. Nobody ever speaks any second language perfectly.

            People who say it's not the best idea to learn two similar languages are just afraid of offending people or being embarrassed. Really the worst that can happen is that you'll mix your words up and people won't understand you right away. You can only be in one country at a time though, so after a few weeks, you'll be hearing so much of whichever language it is around you, that you won't even really be thinking about it. Before I visited Germany, I had run out of German tapes to practice with so I ended up bombarding myself with all sorts of Dutch, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian lessons I found online, a real smorgasbord of interrelated language exposure which should have fried my brain if you believe what people say, but once I actually arrived there I had absolutely no trouble focusing on German because the accent is unmistakable and the pressure of being there forced me to do my best.

            You could have said I would have done better communicating if I had focused only on German, but then... I wouldn't have been able to fully appreciate the word 'smorgasbord' if I had done that.

            [deactivated user]

              In my opinion, it is a different case because you had to speak in german because you had no choice, you were there and you were completely immersed in the language. While in her case, she is studying both (probably at home) and she not in a particular country to make some practice, so she is not forced to learn quickly a language, so i can understand her doubts about the mixing.


              That's the thing about not being forced to learn any particular language though... You end up being curious about all of them. I don't think there is anything particularly bad about that, you have to be able to choose . You'll eventually end up finding the language you want to focus on anyway if you have the freedom to casually study them, no one should force you to stick to one if it isn't growing on you. The smattering of words you pick up from other languages along the way just enriches your vocabulary.

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