Is it better to learn a similar language? Or the opposite?
So I'm fluent in English, Chinese and Dutch. (I finished German course but wouldn't consider myself fluent).
My question is that is it more beneficial to learn a language that's similar to the one's I know or something completely different like Romance, Slavic etc.
I've already done quite a bit of Spanish but I'm interested in taking up a new language. If Germanic then one of the Scandivanians. If Romance then probably Portuguese. And if I actually pursue Slavic then I think I would be most interested in Polish, but I'm not sure if approaching a completely new amd unfamiliar language would be a good idea.
There are pros and cons to it (just like everything else in life).
The pros of learning a similar language - it's slightly easier to pick up grammar and vocabulary, it's fun to see just how similar two languages are (for me, at least), and it helps you to understand the other similar language
The cons of learning a similar language - it can get quite boring as you can feel like you are learning the same language (it can feel like a dialect), you can easily get them mixed up, and (personally) it isn't much of an achievement as if you were to learn a language which has no similarities and doesn't come from the same language family.
This is just my personal opinion. I know there will be some who don't agree with me, but I am just stating what I believe. In other words, you just have to choose how you want to continue. Don't let anybody else's opinions sway yours.
Better for what? Do you mean easier? Then similar language are obviously the ones to go for. Do you mean more interesting/fun to learn? Depends on your interests, but a new "type" of language (another alphabet) may be more of a challenge. Do you mean more useful? Say for work/studies? Depends on your location/region and ambitions. As you may realise there are so many factors you can take into account when choosing a new language, but imo it's impossible for us to say what is best for you =)
Try something new. I think learning Polish is a great idea, since it is different from the languages you already know, and it provides a fresh challenge. It also diversifies your knowledge of language. I chose Polish and it has been beneficial to me and my language-learning in several different, and sometimes even surprising ways.
You already know Dutch and German.. Scandinavian is in the same group so maybe not yet ?
If you really want to learn Spanish I don't recommend you learning Portuguese until you get some kind of fluent in Spanish. There are maybe too similar for learning in the same time.
Choose this one you think you would like to know the most - maybe you have a big group of people from the country of the language? or you would like to come to some countries.
Learning Portuguese or a Scandinavian language will be much easier for you, but why the hesitation about learning a very unfamiliar language? Why wouldn't it be a good idea? You obviously have a lot of experience learning various languages including those that are not very similar.
I was thinking about maybe learning 2 languages at the same time? I've seen people try it in Duolingo and it seems like it worked well. And they also said learn languages that are not so similar so you don't get them mixed up which would be perfect for me. What do you guys think?
As someone has mentioned in another post, learning similar languages can be confusing because words will be similar yet different at the same time. Grammar can mess you up by using the wrong grammar for the other languages. Seeing the languages you have listed, you already have learned both Romance (French, Spanish) and Germanic languages so choices in these areas would be a variation on what you have already learned. A completely different language family could be easier as it would be different from what you have already learned. I say go with what interests you the most. I work with Russian because I took it in college and Japanese through Duo (alpha tester) because I have always been fascinated with the country's culture.
You already speak three languages. It doesn't sound like you have any specific, obvious needs for what your fourth language should be, so the world is your oyster. Do whatever you want. Of course, a Slavic language is going to be a lot more work than a Romance or Germanic one, but that's no reason not to start.