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How hard is it to take two languages?

Just wondering

November 21, 2017



I think it depends on the person and their learning style. Personally, I don't consider myself gifted in languages (some people seem to pick them up seemingly effortlessly, language learning is not effortless for me and requires a measure of hard work.) I am also not very good at multi-tasking. Hence I tend to focus intensely on one language at a time. I got to level 25 in German before focusing on my French. Both of these languages I already had some experience in from school, so I had a head start in both.

I dabbled in Hungarian while doing French, but it is so different from what I am used to I really couldn't get it to stick. I'm job-hunting in Europe, but I am very unlikely to end up in Hungary (though I love Budapest) so I tend to be more intent on languages which I might need for my job hunting. Hungarian is now on hold for me, possibly a language I'll try to learn more formally (with lessons) when I retire - to help keep my brain sharp.

I waited until I got to level 25 in French before starting Norwegian, which I am focusing on exclusively for now. (I have reached level 11 in Norwegian in two weeks. It is effort!)

If I know that I am going somewhere French or German speaking (which is not so unusual for me) then I recap these languages before my trip, I use Babbel for my German (as I am still far from fluent) and read Harry Potter (in French) for the French, as my fluency is not so bad with French. This is to try and get my head back into French or German mode, once you arrive and everyone is speaking in the language, getting back into it is much easier.

Like I say, I'm not gifted in languages, I put a lot of time in to compensate.


Hello, it depends really on your motivation, the time you have to spend on them, your way of learning the languages and how much they are close of your native language ( Ex : for a Japanese speaker it will be much easier to learn Korean than English).

I'm learning Polish, Dutch, German, Greek and Japanese (not on Duo though) how I manage to do that ?

I focus mostly my study on Polish, it is a Slavic language not that much related to my mother tongue which is French. When I started to learn it, it was really difficult, the spelling, the grammar, all the exceptions (Polish loves exceptions), the new sounds...

It was hard to assimilate all those things. After 1 month I started to learn Greek but well laziness came out and I wasn't focusing that much on it. I guess it was too early to start Greek which is also an obscure language to me BUT the learning of Polish helped me to understand grammar cases and how to use them because Greek use them too. Now that I'm more comfortable with Polish, I can learn Greek properly and struggle less to learn a bunch of concepts. Learning a second language will obviously help you to learn a third one.

Now I've started German which I think is not really difficult. I've learned Dutch during my high school and I'm still practicing it almost everyday, because German is a Germanic language (you'll never guess it I know :D), both languages are really close. I was also accustomed to listening to Rammstein, Oomph, Megaherz and watching some German tv show so I don't spend that much time on these languages but in the future I will.

TL;DR : Be familiar with the first foreign language you pick, it may takes a long time but it is worth. Then when you are familiar with you can always pick a second one but be sure to still practice the first because memory is like a muscle, and like a muscle, it needs to be maintained.

Enjoy your language learning ! :)


Depends on your time per day, motivation, and what languages you're learning.

You should dedicate time to both languages every day so you don't fall behind in one. And if the languages are too similar, you may begin mixing up vocab and grammar rules.

Unless you've got two distinct languages and ample free time, I would recommend getting to a good, intermediate-ish level with one before beginning another (and definitely don't stop reviewing/learning the first one. Even once you reach a certain point of fluency where you feel you aren't struggling and use it with ease, you should keep brushing up on it by incorporating it somehow, through media most likely, so you don't get rusty!).


Learn one second language to fluent first.

You're brain actually holds second languages in a total different part of the brain as you're first language. Like working out a muscle that part of the brain becomes a lean mean language learning machine once you learned another language making other languages easier to learn.


I wouldn't say actual fluency, but yes, there should be quite a difference in the level of proficiency between the two (or more) languages you want to learn.


Also, if you are really interested in doing two or multiple languages at once, you might want to look into the concept of laddering; it means you learn one language on DuoLingo, then use this as base language to learn another, and so on. To take me as an example: I completed the Italian-from-English tree, but to maximise efficiency, I am now doing French-from-Italian, and later plan to do German-from-Italian and possibly Spanish-from-French (not sure yet). But in your case, you might want to first finish the French tree before engaging in this method.


depends on the language. ^w^


and on how good you are at learning languages, also @Lizzilrvin, since youre only at level 7, i dont recommend trying another language until you reach level 12.


Because Level 7 means minimal vocabulary and fluency. So, you should work on the language and make sure you are pretty good at it before you practice something else. Level 6 is a beginner level. Level 7 is not that advanced.

When you are at Level 12, the XP needed to get to the next level increases, so Level 12 is actually already quite fluent, and you are most likely to have quite a high vocabulary and be able to communicate and have simple chats.


You will probably be level 16/17 once you complete your tree after ~1year (without reviewing 150-150XP/day).

Level 12 is still quite low...


Pretty hard, depending on which language. Since you're level 7 in French, I recommend you advance to level 10 before you start another; the second language being similar to French so you can rack up XP easily and learn it better.


It depends on which languages you chose. I am learning Greek and Hebrew and it is not that bad, other than I sometimes forget to read left to right in Greek lol. I also seem to pick up things really well with repetitiveness so that helps. Its fun, but I wouldn't recommend it if you feel like you can't handle it. It also depends on the person too and how they learn. It just depends :)


Much harder than taking one - only for people as smart as you probably are. And you will definitely be smarter as a result.


It's not too bad. Unless you want to learn one language very quickly, it is pretty easy to take your time learning a few. It is usually pretty easy if the languages are related, or you speak a similar language. In my case, English (native language) is related to German and shared many similarities with Romance languages (i.e. Italian & Spanish). With languages like Japanese, I have had to invest a good amount of time practicing kanji, learning the hiragana & katakana, figuring out the grammar, and memorizing words. But it's not too hard regardless. If you have at least 30 mins of free time a day and are in no rush to learn a language, you can easily handle 3 or 4 languages depending on the difficulty.

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