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learning multiple languages?

Does anyone have any tips for learning more than one language at once without feeling like they are going insane?

June 29, 2017



Whether you are learning one or seven, take it slow. Also, confusion is fine. It usually works itself out eventually anyway. In actual conversation, I have rarely mixed things up and if I have, people are kind and you can correct yourself or they help you out.

It is often a good idea to have learned one language reasonably well before trying too much else. I see you are up to level 15 in German. How comfortable do you feel?

Also, delete nothing. You can always come back to a language later even if you take a break from it now. You don't have to start over from scratch. I find I usually retain something even if I just briefly dabbled in a language.


ah thanks! yeah I am pretty good with German but lately I have been focusing on Russian (it's my favorite language), so my German recall hasn't been the best.


How long had you been studying German before you started Russian? Often I find if you leave a language for a period after studying it properly, your passive skills (reading, listening) will be retained more strongly than the active ones (speaking, writing), but the other skills are mostly just rusty. Getting them back up to your best will still take less time than if you had never studied it at all and started from scratch by a fair amount. It does depend on how long you studied the language 1 before making more time for language 2 though. That said, there is nothing wrong with dabbling. So often I find people act like learning a language is all or nothing, either you become 'fluent' or it wasn't worth it, while even knowing a bit of a language can be useful in some situations. I would say I speak Spanish, Portuguese and Italian quite well as second languages, i.e. well enough to use in some types of professional situations and definitely most situations where I would need to get around a country that speaks one of them. That said, speaking some German, French, Dutch, Polish, Catalan, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish has been useful at various points in my life even if I was nowhere near fluent i.e. advanced. Learning a language isn't an all or nothing thing and even when you feel fairly fluent, there is always more to learn. I mean, even in our mother tongues, it's not as though we know all the words we could possibly ever need or want to use.


Actually I technically started Russian when I was around 10! (I'm 16 now) but obviously until duolingo released Russian I didn't have many proper ways of learning it. That being said, Russian is actually kind of easy for me compared to German. As for how long I've been learning German I started in 2014 so going on 3 years. I'm aware I should probably be completely done by now but it's been an on and off struggle trying to keep languages balanced. Also I really agree with the thing of we aren't even fluent in our native languages! I just have trouble balancing all the others


There is no time when one should be completely done by :) I have been on Duolingo for a long time. I had a 120 day streak before this one and then a year when I used it on and off. I have been doing German on and off since I started and I only finished the tree maybe a month or two ago. That's OK though. I am sure we both got something out of the German tree even if other things are striking our fancies at the moment. For the record, the German tree is one of the longest trees here. It is a very complete course, so that it's taking you a while is no surprise to me. It sounds like you are doing what makes sense for you at the moment, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. If anything, I find as long as I am learning something, any language, I stay in the right mindset to keep learning language in general and that makes it easier to come back to any language I want to. Perhaps take a break from German and come back to it when you really crave knowing more. I have taken breaks from many languages, long ones even, and still nearly always come back. Even if I didn't, I just look at it as getting a flavor of X language. For instance, I doubt I will study Esperanto again, but I have an idea of what it's like now, and that's enough.


Pick languages with very different sounds. I do German and Spanish/Portuguese, they sound different.


excatly, ive picked french and german. they both sound different, though im focussing on french mostly


I started french first then Spanish, at first it helped to do them at different times of day. Now I can switch fairly easily. After completing both trees I started Spanish for French speakers and French for Spanish speakers. A worthwhile effort.


one after one is better

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