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How many languages at once is too many?

Hi, I have been working on my French, and my goal is to attain fluency. Just for fun, I started German today, but now I am concerned that distracting myself with German will hurt my French progress. I am especially worried about mixing French genders up with German genders. Any thoughts or advice? Thank you.

March 16, 2018



You could make one of the languages (probably French) your primary language and set a daily XP goal for that one (for example, 40), then a smaller one (for example, 20) for your other language. As for mixing up the genders, it'll probably happen. I know it has for me, but it eventually goes away and you won't get them mixed up anymore. I wish it could be avoided, but I don't think it can be.


Great advice, thank you!


Well I am currently doing four different languages(German,Irish, welsh and Hungarian) and so far I haven't really mixed anything up. But I mainly do German. I reckon that you should stick to one main one and when you get tired or a little board go to the other one:)


I had problems with mixing up French and Spanish because they were so close since they are both Romance languages, but German is quite a bit different and there isn't any real similarity in genders. However, the advice about focusing on one and doing just a little of the other one is an excellent idea. That's basically what I ended up doing. I finished my French tree and am working on my Spanish tree, but I didn't start German until I was over halfway done with Spanish, and I'm only doing a little at a time on German until I finish Spanish.


Take notes, ask other people to quiz you on certain grammar or vocabulary. It's said often, but constant practice is very rewarding


Hi, you better would have chosen the DuoLingo forum instead of the German sub-forum.

I have been working on my French,

I believe we need lot's of more details.

How long have you been learning French?
Do you have your forward tree completed?

Have you started your reverse French-English tree?

Have you played with French DuoLingo stories?

How did you work on French? Only DuoLingo?

Do you review any vocabulary in 3rd party flashcard spaced repetition (SR) applications?

Can you handle the "extra-load" of German or will you slow down your French progress from 100% to 70-80% or (probably) even less?

If you have not achieved any (upper-)intermediate and speaking level in French I would try to focus on this for the 2nd year ..... instead of starting with a new language from scratch.

If you have already achieved this level and you are just fine-tuning your fluency French level...go ahead! :-)

At least this was one advise I read on a blog from a Polyglot, I think it was Luca.

Achieve your upper-intermediate level, build a language core...before you step into a next language which just slows down this process for the 1st language even more.

Focus on speaking in your first language, instead of being stuck with only the very basics of your 1st language....
Luca has an article about two people learning multiple languages in 10 years with different concepts....one succeeds....one only manages to learn the very basics of all of them.

Learning German won't help you for:

  • chatting in French (e.g HelloTalk, HelloLingo)
  • speaking in French
  • completing your French Duo trees
  • finishing DuoLingo French stories
  • listening to French Podcasts / TV

Isn't speaking the better reward you can get in a language than to start learning a 2nd from scratch, where you - again - can not listen, chat, speak, read?


Thank you for your advice. I finished my French tree at Level 13 in 39 days with 71% fluency. I maintained the gold status of all the skills along the way each day. I had a head-start, because I completed Grade 11 French in high school in Canada in 1984, and I passed a graduate level reading requirement in university in 1993, but that was many years ago, obviously. At the moment, thanks to Duo, my French is now better than ever! I felt good about my reading before (yes, I have enjoyed the Duolingo stories) but now, I feel feel much more comfortable with speaking, and I am better at listening also. An online test put me at level B1. Yesterday, I started the reverse tree from English from French.

As for German, I passed a graduate level reading requirement in 1997, and I knew about 1500-2000 words back then according to the height of my flash card pile, but I don't remember much, because is was so long ago. That being said, I am not starting from scratch.

My goals are to be comfortable in reading books in French and German, and I would like to become a fluent French speaker in the next few years as well. Right now, I am looking ahead to becoming conversational in German in the next year or two, but fluency is far off.


I'd say it depends on your goals for all the languages you want to learn, of course the more languages you learn, the longer it will take to learn them. If you just want to be a fluent reader, it's easier to learn more than one, if you also want to speak and write it's more difficult.

In general it's better to learn languages that are not from the same language family so you don't get confused. German and French are from different families and although the genders of a lot of words are different in French and German you should be fine.

I personally like to switch things up with other languages, just to take a break, without actually giving my brain a break and I might learn the languages more seriously later on.

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