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Learning Multiple Languages

Hey guys, I've been doing languages for a while now and just reentered the field with zeal! Been a few years since I've studied seriously but I recently moved to Sweden and am now learning Swedish. Whilst brushing up on my Spanish and learning German. At the same time.

So far it's been working out rather well. I just split the times between the languages and do something in between each learning session.

I have a question for the more experienced polyglots here.

What are your thoughts and views on learning multiple languages at the same time. Approve, disapprove? Do you have tips or advice?

I know that as long as the languages are at least a little dissimilar you don't have to worry about inter-lengual confusion (mixing words, concepts, and grammar).

It's just so fun! And right now it seems very time efficient. I know that you can learn one language much faster than you could learn two at a time, yet the split practice ends up leading to knowing two languages in half the time. (1 language 2 years, 2 languages 2.5-3 years).

Well, that's what I've read anyway. Thanks in advance guys!

November 30, 2017



I see no problem with it. If you want to learn two similar languages, laddering is available, and you are more advanced in one, ladder them - it helps to distinguish them. As far as those borrowed words are concerned (elephant, coffee, etc.) unless you're carrying on a correspondence about them remembering the spelling is only important when doing Duo. I think in some ways learning more than one language at a time helps you to remember both languages better, your mind automatically compares the two with your native language and cements the differences better.


Thanks for the response. Interesting that learning more than one at a time can actually aid retention. I'll keep your advice in mind!


I have no general suggestions, but below are some thoughts about learning Swedish and German.

Swedish and German vocabulary can be quite close. Whilst obviously not as close as the Scandinavian languages are between themselves there is still a large overlap. Often the words are not the same, but it is possible to make an educated guess what the word will be in the other language if you know the word in one language (to pick a few from a memrise course I am taking: utrusta <-> ausr├╝sten, utvandra <-> auswandern, bada <-> baden). It might therefore be a good idea to try to learn German vocabular via Swedish to get a feeling for how the words translate between the language. More often than not the Swedish and German words will share a common background whilst the English word is inherited from French.

On the other hand, when it comes to books on grammar etc. it is probably best to find ones in your native language. I tried to learn French whilst living in the UK (I am a native Swedish speaker) and in general found it quite tricky to use English books. To grasp concepts I not only had to understand what the French concept meant in an English context, but also what the English concept meant in a Swedish context, which made it more tricky. It was similarly hard to read about pronunciation of words (though obviously that is less of an issue when you can hear them pronounced).

There are quite a few language meetups (www.meetup.com) in Stockholm, it might be a good idea to attend one of them.

Best of luck!


Really appreciate the response! Very useful advice and yeah, I'll have to check out the meetups while I'm here. Looking forward to holding the polyglot title (and of course more culture, music, art and so on!). Thanks again!


You can learn multiple languages at the same time, if you are disciplined enough. It's also helpful if these languages are not too much related to each other.

Lycka till med svenskan!


i learned french and portuguese at the same time last year and i have no regrets!

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