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lots of languages?

I'm learning two languages on duolingo and i think that is more than enough. I find it difficult to keep up my daily practice for two languages but i've seen people learning about fourty languages. This might seem a silly question (feel free to downvote me), but do these people learn all these languages at the same time, or do they only study on two or three and then get to the next one. I just wondered what people do when they've got about forty languages, as I can barely cope with two!

September 27, 2017



I actually don't know most of the languages I'm doing right now very well. I'm focusing on German, because I'm taking it as a class in school. The other ones are just so that I can learn a couple words, and recognize what language someone is speaking in.


Duolingo teaches a mere 29 languages. The 40 mark is a ways away yet :)

There are very few users with significant levels in more than 10 or 20 languages (the levels of 2 and 3 much more commonly seen are obtained in an hour give or take so are hardly worthy of comment; there are even entire trees that can be finished in not too many hours). Many such people are longtime language learners for whom exploring additional languages is a primary pastime.


Some of us are going for extra credit. :P


i know it seems hard, but after a while you might get used to it. If you practice both enough.


Just ignore what others are doing, and do what you feel comfortable with.

Your Duo "level" will never go down (although your "fluency" percentage will!) even if you don't practice one of your languages for months. You've probably finished your tree or are getting very close. In my opinion, slow and steady is the right way, as eventually you instinctively pick the right gender for the noun, for example.

People may have different goals, but the tree isn't the be-all-and-end-all that some people think.

Fyi, as I'm concentrating on French and German too, I found French much harder as I remembered more of German grammar and it simply feels closer to English. So I have concentrated mostly on French. Now am more confident in French, I'm working more on the german. And Welsh is just for fun.


It's IMPOSSIBLE to speak, let's say, 20 languages fluently unless you have won the lottery and have all the time in the world. But it's not as hard to "speak" 20 languages as it sounds. Tim Doner (who could speak 20 languages by the age of 17) admitted that he could probably only speak 4-5 fluently. He knew the rest only at a decent/beginner level.

Don't worry if you can't cope with two. I can but that's because language-learning is my favourite thing to do and I'll spend 1-2+ hours per evening doing it. I like to get one language at a good level (in my case, Spanish) where all I have to do is review some new vocabulary and improve my speaking, writing etc. abilities. Whereas I spend quite a bit of time on my French doing the Duolingo course.


With concentrated effort, I bet a person could get to 20 at at least a "low" level of fluency. There are 20 languages in just the Romance, Germanic, and Slavic families without even needing to get to ones as divergent within those families as Romanian and Icelandic. If a native English speaker fairly early on learned any Slavic language to a high level, then a decade or two of dedicated hobbiest-level effort could probably get you there. By the time you're rolling up to Romance languages 3+, the marginal effort per language has really, really decreased. And the situation for Slavic, which diverged from Common Slavic a millenium later, and Germanic can't differ much.


It's much more difficult to learn your second language than to learn more after that, at least that's how it was for me. Once I had learned Latin (through Cambridge, sadly Duolingo doesn't have it yet), that familiarity with conjugations and declensions made learning French and Spanish far easier. Learning two simultaneous languages to begin with (if this is indeed your first try) seems like it would be extremely overwhelming - I'm impressed you've made it this far.


I am spending most of my time on Duo doing German and only reviewing Spanish and Greek to keep up my knowledge. I am waiting until I finish the German tree so I can focus more on the others.

Most people only seem to study a few at once then move on when they are complete and the language count will build up over time. Although I have heard some people do 7 languages and focus on 1 each day of the week.


I don't work with all them every day. I started with one (french) to bring back a language I had learned before. Then I added 2 other languages I had also studied. The others, I learn from time to time depending on my other activities. The interest came from having the ability of trying out new languages and seeing the similarities and differences between them.


I'm interested in languages in general, and not even trying to become fluent in any particular language except for those I have learned in school. I love linguistics and want to see different features of languages in practice. It's fun to compare related languages, and in the other hand learn some languages from language families unfamiliar to me. I often concentrate on one or two languages at a time, then I get interested in some other language and forget for a while the ones I was learning before that.


Currently it is not noticed here(I have only one flag), but I am studying 14 languages(Five of them as reverse trees). Having English as my priority language. I've recently reseted all my languages except English, because I was already studying 12 and I added two more: Japanese and Thai. Making me to come up with a new strategy to learn 14 instead of 12.

So here is my strategy or study method: I divided all my languages into three groups. The first group is for my priority language(En). The second group is for languages with no latin alphabet(Ru, Ar, Th, Ko, Zh and Jp). And the third group is for languages with latin alphabet(Ge, Fr, Vt, It, etc). I must study the first group first and everyday. About the second group, I can study it after studying the first group, only if I have time or if I feel like studying it. And about the three group, I can study it after studying the second group, only if I have time and etc.. Each of these languages must be maintained at the same level or "xp", within its respective group.

So that it's, I am studying all of these languages at the same time. but not without problems. I constantly feel like I am forgeting those languages each time I study them because with this strategy I can't practice them daily(with the exception of English). So with this strategy I can only afford approximately a weekly practice of those.

So in conclusion. I am studying 14 languages at the same time but I am advancing very slowly.

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