https://www.duolingo.com/Kevin564718

Best Practice/Time Allocation Strategy for Learning Multiple Languages

I am trying to learn Russian and German at the same time and am having difficulty figuring out the best way to allocate my time between them. Because I have a family and work full time, I can only devote about an hour a day between them on weekdays and maybe two hours each day of the weekend.

Since I can cover two or even three times as much German as Russian in a given time and already know a lot of German, I decided to try two days of Russian followed by one day of German. However, I am only in my first week of this pattern so I do not know how it will work out.

I see that many Duolingo users are learning multiple languages. I was wondering what strategies for allocating time to each language have worked the best for people. What works best for you?

11 months ago

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Shadowzerg
ShadowzergPlus
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I would recommend learning each one on the same day. Daily practice.

You don't want to have days without practicing a language you wish to learn.

The majority of your time should go to German. You already know a lot of German so your time will be better spent (more effective). Russian will get 30-40 minutes a day, until you get beyond the basics and start to become comfortable with it.

The rest of the time will go to German.

When German reaches the Intermediate-advance level, you'll feel very comfortable spending more time with Russian because it will be much more difficult to forget what you've learned in German.

Right now I'm learning three languages. Spanish, Swedish, and German. I know Spanish the most (advanced) so I spend most of my time reading, watching shows, and listening to music (consuming media).

The majority of my time goes to Swedish (intermediate) because I live in Sweden now and desperately need it. Most of my time is spent learning vocabulary, listening, and speaking. I've begun taking a closer look at grammar as well.

German (basic) gets the least amount of time because it's at the very beginning level, and so requires a great deal of effort more to learn than the others. I spend my time on Duolingo, learning the first 100-300 words, and Clozemaster.

I find myself allocating more time to German as my Swedish improves. I study all 3 every single day. Spanish is improving the fastest since I can already speak it and am only consuming media. I can now learn words very easily from context. Swedish is improving faster with each passing day and speech is improving rapidly (since I'm surrounded by it). German is slowly becoming more pleasant to look at and read/pronounce.

Daily practice is the key here. On my time scale, Spanish gets about 1-2 hours a day, Swedish about 6-7, and German 30 minutes to 2 hours.

After practicing one, make sure you take at least a 30 minute break (do anything besides language learning) before studying another. This helps you avoid mixing the two languages together and allows your brain to digest what it just learned.

Hope this helped. All the best! Cheers

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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Cheers to you!! How does one find so much of time? Te aplaudo)

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shadowzerg
ShadowzergPlus
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To be honest it doesn't really feel like I'm dedicating time to study because right now, my life is structured in such a way that it feels natural. I always have foreign music playing and I'm watching foreign shows and such, not to mention I've been living in a foreign country for the past 3 months.

Not only that, but my girlfriend is foreign!

It doesn't feel like work because the benefits are immediate. I can apply new words as soon as I learn them because I legitimately need them. For example, after a study session of Swedish, I watch an episode of Jordskott and can hear and understand more words!

The secret is motivation though. How do we become motivated to the point that dedicating 12 hours a day to language seems natural?

Do what you don't want to do, until you can't go a day without it!

That's the best thing about the streak on Duolingo. If you make it to 14 days, you now have a habit that you won't let anything stop you from continuing (though understandably, life sometimes gets in the way).

Daily action, motivates you to commit to daily action ;)

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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That definitely sounds like an optimal learning environment). And thanks for the follow

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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If you're going to learn two languages, try picking an 'easy' one and a 'hard' one. If you look at how they are categorized, German is on that side of the scale with Russian and Japanese, not languages like Esperanto, Spanish, Afrikaans, etc. For example, I'm studying Russian and Spanish simultaneously. (Note, I'm very advanced in Spanish compared to Russian.) It is easier to separate them because they are from two different language families, and the grammar is completely different. One doesn't require much concentration to ace (Spanish), and the other is a bit more vigorous. Personally, Spanish is easier to do on an every other day basis, and I won't forget words and phrases in that amount of time. Not so with Russian. I have to go over things every day as it is not natural for me. Whatever floats your boat), but I suggest picking one to become advanced in first, then possibly adding the other back. You'll be surprised at how much easier it is with a one-track language mind).

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Don_Cristian
Don_Cristian
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I concentrate currently to learn only Chinese on duolingo. There are other languages that I already speak fluently, so I learn more about them by reading news and using lingqc.com, but reaching a high level in those other languages required like many years of classes at school, after that watching a lot of movies and then practicing with natives.

It's really hard to learn 2-3 languages if you start from zero. I tried that with Chinese, Arabic and Hindi, but it didn't work, then I decided to concentrate on Chinese first. I had Chinese classes 1 year, then I worked in Chengdu, Sichuan province for 3 months and now I'm improving my Chinese here, which is still really really bad. Soon I will start taking classes in Arabic and Hindi and at the same time start reaching higher levels in Chinese and start watching some kids tv shows or movies.

I don't know what advice I could give you to learn Russian and German, but this is how I learn languages.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PandaWang3

Do the "easier" language first: that may be the one that you are more advanced in or is closer to English (in your case that would be German).

I for example do more Dutch, as it is extremely close to English and can quickly pick it up. Russian, on the other hand, is slower but I like it that way: I can absorb all the grammar and foreign-sounding vocabulary without rushing through (man is de man in Dutch but is мужчина in Russian: as you can see only the M is in common).

Make sure not to skip any days doing language learning (you can skip a day on Duolingo but make sure to supplement it: I have no streak because I had done Memrise for a couple days to strengthen vocab). Just limit the time, it will keep it fresh.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/anitramwaju
anitramwaju
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I think you should try to study both everyday. It's important not to skip days too often for each language you seriously want to study.

Maybe, since it is more difficult for you, beginning by Russian for about 30 minutes (if you have a total of one hour) and then use the remaining time for German. And if some day you have time for only one of the two, begin by the other one the day after to be sure not to skip more than a day for a given language.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kevin564718

Thanks. This is only my 41st day with Duolingo, but the strategy of doing both languages each day (time permitting) with a break in between the sessions is beginning to show some results. Just staying on the path daily, i.e. the learning process itself, is my goal. Doing days of straight German or straight Russian exclusively did not work as well for me as I had hoped. Although sometimes I think a month or two of straight Russian would do me some good - since my German is pretty solid at this point.

German gets continually easier for me to learn, whereas I struggle with Russian and frequently employ many of its expletives as a result. Sometimes I even feel as if I am moving backwards in Russian as I focus more on grammar. Also, if it were not for my Russian wife, correcting my miserable pronunciation, I do not know how I could possibly learn how to say Russian words from Duolingo alone, which frequently garbles the words or pronounces them oddly. Hats off to anyone who can manage. As an American, words with л, ю, and я are especially hard for me. Also, I r cannot hear where there is supposed to be a ь, so I end up having to memorize how the words are spelled.

11 months ago
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