Trying to master French before I learn a new language, but I have Spanish students that need help

Is it wise to try to learn two languages at the sometime? I am a teachers assistant and I have a number of students that speak Spanish and french. I wanted to reach at least 80% fluency in french before I started to really work on my Spanish. But there is a lot of confusion in class for our Spanish students when the translator isn't around. Does anyone have experience learning two languages at once?

December 5, 2017


With the Romance languages, there is enough overlap that it may not be that big of a deal. I speak Spanish, have been focusing on French, but have been pushing Italian along for about half a year. There is some confusion, but also some very strong similarity in terms of construction, verb tenses, and so on. I think the benefits will outweigh the disadvantages, especially if you have a roomful of tutors for both.

Realistically, you won't master French anytime soon (I think Duolingo fluency caps out somewhere around 70%, mine has never gone past 69%). But by just trying and using both, you can help some kids and come out with a better base in both than Duolingo alone can give you. Plus, your example will encourage them to just try their English. Sounds pretty good to me.

December 5, 2017

Those percentage figures are worthless. I have above 60% fluency for one of my trees despite not even being done with it (and it's a short one to begin with) and never having reviewed anything.

December 6, 2017

Hm I learn Norwegian and Swedish. I try to separate those languages. I learn one in the morning, the other one a couple of hours later. Before I start learning I listen to short audios of the target language, I want to learn (which can be a normal listening comprehension, a song...).

Sometimes I try to learn Norwegian from Swedish (sadly, there is not a lot of material out there.). I know more Swedish than Norwegian, therefore I try to learn a bit Norwegian with the Swedish I know. Maybe if you are confident enough you might try to learn Spanish from French.

December 5, 2017

I second this! I learned Spanish first, and now I am learning "French for Spanish speakers". It's a good way for me to practice both languages at the same time. I do make a lot of dumb mistakes - more than I would in a course "for English speakers" and that can get frustrating sometimes but knowing I'm getting to practice / learn two languages at once makes it worthwhile.

Try "Spanish for French speakers" and see how you like it. I will say that I was very comfortable in Spanish before I took up the French course, so if you find it too challenging or confusing then just do the course for English speakers.

Bonne chance et buena suerte!

December 5, 2017

I guess Duolingo is full of people that learns more than two languages at once, as the two languages you're trying to learn are very similar, this might be complicated first, but as you get to learn more of each language it will become easier.

December 5, 2017

Admirable motivation, no harm in working on at least speaking Spanish. Putting effort into it will probably help motivate the students even if you are not very good at it.

December 5, 2017

Thank you guys. I was scared about confusion. But those are some great points.

December 5, 2017

I am learning Spanish and French right now. You just have to practice a lot and eventually you will know the difference. Like we know the difference between English and Spanish.

December 5, 2017

I wanted to reach at least 80% fluency in french before I started to really work on my Spanish.

You cannot reach a "Duolingo Fluency" of 80%

Why? Read this explanation in the Duolingo Help Center

At the moment you have a " Duolingo Fluency" of 55% for French.
That is sufficient to be able to try Duolingo's Spanish course.

Good luck.

December 6, 2017

A while ago I started the "French after Portuguese" thread:

It also includes a link to an older thread "Confusion between French and Italian":

There is quite some useful feedback...

Here are some similarities for French-Spanish:

I am not sure if there is any dedicated thread already hosted on the DL discussion forums about French vs Spanish.

Try google:

December 5, 2017

Thread: "Is it a good idea to learn spanish and french together?"

Try to spend 6 months learning one of them and then you can add the other one.

My reply to this:$comment_id=25448151

December 5, 2017

Thanks everyone. You've given me some great points to consider.

December 6, 2017
Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.