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How many languages are you learning?

Hello, everyone (bonjour a tous):

I started Duolingo about a month ago to learn French, which I haven't studied formally in 20 years. I thought I was making pretty good progress. Then I went on the discussion board and saw that some people are learning 10, or 12, or 20 languages. Is this really possible? Are you really trying to learn so many languages, or are you just trying to learn one or two and are "dabbling" in the others? If you really are trying to learn all those languages, how do you keep them straight in your head?

My second question: I bought a French textbook to use along with DuoLingo, but I notice the publication date is 1986. I know that languages change over time. For example, I'm more or less a fluent English speaker, but I can't read Chaucer because English has changed so much between his time and mine. Will a French textbook from 1986 give me any problems?

My third question: is DuoLingo appropriate to use with small animals (i.e. cats, iguanas, ferrets, rats, or tame squirrels)? I've been trying to encourage my cat to learn French. Here is a recent conversation.

Me: Bonsoir, Madame Whiskers. Voulez-vous apprendre le francais? [She's an old cat, and I think it's polite to be formal]

Madame Whiskers: Eh..bien. D'abord je veux diner. Et puis je vais dormir pendant dix-huit heures. Enfin, je vais faire du hockey sur glace.

I'm a little rusty on grammer: is Madame Whiskers correct to say "pendant dix-huit heures" instead of "pour dix-huit heures".

February 24, 2018



I'm learning 5 with daily practice.


That's really cool! I am just learning French, and I think that's hard!


J'apprends le français, le japonais et l'espagnol. Je me concentre sur chaque langue séparément et essaye, (ce n'est pas facile) de se souvenir de tous les mots.

私はフランス語、日本語、スペイン語を学んでいます。 私は、それぞれの言語に焦点を合わせ、すべての単語を覚えてみてください。

estoy aprendiendo francés, japonés y español. Me concentro en cada idioma por separado y trato, (no es fácil) de recordar todas las palabras.

im learning french, japanese, and spainish. I focus on each language seperately and try, (its not easy) to remember all the words.

(sorry about it being in all four languages i just really wanted to do that)


I decided yesterday that I wanted to learn 2 :-) it sure is a unique experience.


I am working on learning 3 languages. spanish being my most advanced, french being my favorite and italian which caught my interest after watching master of none


Haven't you read Saki's "Tobermory"? I suppose teaching an old cat French might not be so dangerous, but if German verbs pose such a danger, I don't want to imagine what Korean or Japanese might do.



...I'm unreasonably sad that no one seemed to get the Saki reference. I guess he did die 100+ years ago, BUT STILL.


It's sad, yes. But in my defense, I read "Tobermory" nearly a lifetime ago.

  • 1311

Your 1986 textbook should be just fine for standard French grammar and vocabulary, though it'll probably have no translations for "internet", "web", and other more recent things. It obviously won't help you much with slang (which changes with time), but most French texts wouldn't cover that anyway.


Um... Let me count. 9!

But I only do Korean, Chinese, And Italian for main.


I'm learning only French,but I am going to add Italian and German.No more than 5 languages for me.


I'm doing four, but I've finished the Spanish course (just doing practice to keep it gold, and finding other resources to improve my Spanish). I don't find it too hard to keep them straight in my head as they are from different language families (I didn't start French until I finished the Spanish course). I did try to start Portuguese when I was maybe 3/4 through the Spanish tree but they were too similar and I kept mixing things up. I'm also not in a rush to be fluent in anything, I studied linguistics at university and just learn languages for the fun of it!

If you want to do more than one language then I'd recommend choosing one that's not closely related to French (so not Spanish, Italian, Portuguese etc.) but you definitely get more out of focusing on one language at a time. It depends on what your goals are :)


I am learning two languages, English and Spanish. But my native language is English.


Not counting my native language (English), I would break up all of my current languages like this:

  • Moderate fluency in 1 (Español). I don't need to practice it every single day but I use it daily personally because I want to use it professionally eventually.

  • Active learning in 4. I practice them almost every single day.

  • Basic learning in a dozen or so, 2 of which are not on Duolingo yet. I try to practice them at least every week, but it depends on how soon I want to seriously learn them.

  • Dabbling in several, two of which are not on Duolingo yet. This is mostly just side-tracks for when I'm bored or need a break from my other languages but I'm not invested in learning any of these languages yet. I'm just learning the alphabet, pronunciation and a few words in these languages.


LOL! I think ppl who do 10+ languages do a fair bit of dabbling about. Reaching level 12/13 or so suggests that there's been at least a bit of an effort.


well, not if you are trying to set them up in pairs. For example Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and Romanian have lots of structures in common and words as well, it's hard to keep up with the differences, but not impossible. On the other hand, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish are also much alike and some structures are quite easy to learn when you start with English as main language. German is hard and I find Dutch even harder, but try to identify the similarities rather than the differences and build up on them. Russian, Ukrainian, Polish and Czech are much alike despite of alphabet differences. Welsh and Irish are not to be mixed with anything else, they are special. I don't say it is easy but with a little effort and maybe concentration on a set for two days of the week, another set for the following two days and so on, it works.

I was pretty advanced in three of them before starting Duolingo: French, English and Ukrainian


What is the hardest language so far?


Moi, j'apprends seulement norvégien et italien ici sur duolingo, mais je suis encore à l'école et là, j'apprends aussi le français et anglais (et aussi italien). L'italien à l'école n'est pas très bien fait et notre professeur n'est pas très bien et à cause de ça, je le fais aussi ici sur duolingo. Le norvégien je fais parce que c'est une langue très très jolie et j'aimerais habiter à la Norvège un jour. Ma langue maternelle est allemand (ou allemand de la suisse).

Toutes ensemble, je "parle" 5 langues, mais pas du tout parfaitement.


I only learn Norwegian and Italian here on duolingo, but I'm still at school where I also learn French and English (and also Italian). The Italian at school is not very good and our teacher isn't that good (we never do anything during classes and I don't feel like I've learnt a single word) so I also stury Italian here on duolingo. I do the Norwegian because the language is just so so incredibly beautiful and I'd love to move to Norway some day. My native language is German (or Swiss-German).

All in all I "speak" 5 languages (semi-fluently or fluently), but not all of them perfectly.

PS. I highly recommend watching youtube videos in whatever language you may want to learn, it boosts your comprehensive and speaking skills very quickly and efficiently (and let's be honest here, it's also fun).


Most languages have not changed much since 1986. Pedagogy has changed more; whether this is for better or worse is a matter of taste.

I would recommend only seriously studying one language at a time; at the same time you can work on other languages a bit to maintain your level.


I only learn two and practice them every day. I finished all the French lessons and all the stories in Labs but I still learn new words while doing my daily French Strengthen Skills on Duolingo so I will keep doing it. I plan on adding Spanish when I get more fluent in French, I'm at 72%. With only two I can keep them straight in my head, that's four languages for me already since I am not an English native speaker. I just wish I can practice with French and German native speakers.


Currently, I'm learning Portuguese and German. I am also with English, but I've become so fluent in it that I don't practice it anymore. By the way, I'm a native Spanish speaker.


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