https://www.duolingo.com/vlaxerd

What is it with learning like eleven languages all at once?

vlaxerd
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I'm not trying to sound rude, I'm simply curious because I can't understand how can people be learning so many languages at a time. I'm mostly interested in russian, french and japanese and I even sometimes end up mixing them up. I would really like to know what is the reason why.

no hate pls also english is not my first language don't kill me

1 week ago

45 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Proginoskes
Proginoskes
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I can't speak for everyone, but for me I'm here for a handful languages. I'm mostly focusing on German and Russian right now (and German by itself on other sites and such).

The excess is to see what other languages are like, to help me understand my target languages and for something to do to keep my streak alive when I start burning out on my target languages and need to take a break from them.

I never delete them because even though I'm going them for fun and curiosity, I don't like doing the same lessons over and over again, and because I like looking at flags, so it's nice to have a small wall of flags next to my user name when I post on the forums. :P

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Yes, they appear to want to become one, da? I can relate to the sentiment and appreciate your profile picture.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tranklements
Tranklements
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[Waving my little flags around]. Some of us are old and have lived and studied in a number of different countries. Languages are like puzzles, and Duolingo can be addictive. Once you know Norwegian, Swedish and Danish are not hard. Having studied Latin, Italian is fairly straight-forward. If you've learnt several European languages, Esperanto seems familiar. If you've lived in Japan, Chinese characters might not be hard. One language leads to another, and Duolingo makes it easy to explore.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Secret.Platypus

Well, you'll find a lot of these people in discussions. Sometimes they just enjoy learning languages. Sometimes they do it for educational purposes, but most of the time, it's that they'll want to learn the basics (a certain level) of a language. After a while, it all adds up, and then it looks as though they are learning multiple languages at once.

Hope this clears things up a bit! :)

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/quantmeyer
quantmeyer
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After a while, it all adds up, and then it looks as though they are learning multiple languages at once.

For this reason, I delete a language if I haven't studied it in a month or two.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Secret.Platypus

Same here. This is the same reason that I am currently only learning German. I did French a few years back for a year or two-ish (not on Duolingo, and have lost the knowledge since), but I don't understand when people have so many languages even though they don't ever use them. I wish Duolingo had an option to gray-out a language so people know that you aren't using the language currently because then there are discussions like this about people learning a ridiculous number of languages.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/quantmeyer
quantmeyer
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Or when someone is a level 10+ in one language and then a level 2 in 20 more languages. Level 2 is literally 6 lessons! Why do you want the United Nations next to your name every time you post? lol

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Personally, my lower levels are languages I prefer something other than the Duo course for. I like to keep them on just to ensure that I have access to the Duo course if I want to use it without losing progress. Though, I don't imagine this applying to the people who have what looks like every course by their name. ;)

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Secret.Platypus

I know, right? I think sometimes it's for followers, and to look like a Duolingo veteran, I guess. I think they just want to look important sometimes. I highly doubt they'd actually ever use/care about half the languages in their profile, especially when it's level 2 or so...

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ryanaissance
Ryanaissance
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I think it would be interesting to see a language that hasn't been studied in a given time period, perhaps a month, grey out automatically. It might be an extra motivator like streaks to either practice it or drop it.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vlaxerd
vlaxerd
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yeah makes sense

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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It's not hard.

By this I mean, it's extremely hard- different grammars, relearning every single word, learning a new set of pronunciations.

But it's easy to get past that. If you've got good enough reasons for learning your languages, and you spend at least some time on each one every day, nothing can stop you.

I learn each language for a different reason. Giving up any of them would be giving up an important part of who I am. I work hard, keep them separate, and never stop. I find that practicing my languages enough each ensures that I keep a good level across the board.

Of course, I occasionally give one or the other more attention. But as long as I make progress in each, I'm fine. And you will be too!

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/quantmeyer
quantmeyer
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I only want to be proficient in German, Spanish and Russian. I only want an academic understanding of Swedish, French, and Esperanto. I mix up words in German and Swedish occasionally. I also do this with Spanish and French. When the languages are from different families, I very rarely mix them up.

I admit though, studying many languages at once can make it difficult to focus and become good at one language.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Secret.Platypus

That's one of the reasons that learning multiple languages at once can be quite frustrating. With languages that are similar (eg. Romance Languages), then it's very easy to get mixed up with the different languages, therefore slowing you down.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/carbsrule
carbsrule
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It's fun to see how different languages work. One day I want to speak a dozen or more languages. Right now I've got Japanese and Esperanto down (to a certain degree, at least), and am starting to make headway into Russian and Spanish. Next year I'll finish the Indonesian tree but I'll spend most of my Duolingo time going German. I won't take on any new languages, at least not seriously, until I'm comfortable in those six.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Christina314785
Christina314785
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Ok, I have to weigh-in on this. I am learning 11 languages all at once. It actually isn't hard. The brain creates separate new pathways for each new language. The more new synapses you create, the more plastic your brain will remain as you age, rather than deteriorate. You have to practice each one every day, even just a little or you will forget. If you don't reinforce the synapses they will fade. I do this because I love languages. To paraphrase Duo, 15 minutes on Duolingo is hugely better than 15 minutes on social media or mindless games. Any questions?

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

They are not learning them - they are collecting flags. If you want to learn a language in a reasonable time you need to put in the hours. An hour a day is light (two hours would be reasonable; those possessed sometimes put in 10 hours/day for six months). So by any real definition of "learning", 11 languages means 11 hours/day. I don't think so.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KagiSoraci
KagiSoraci
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Some of us have that much free time, need to use it up, and enjoy learning languages. Doing something productive as opposed to mindlessly watching tv for 10 hours a day is much to be preferred. Just because it's not your experience doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

Hard to know. I think I watched television back in the 80s but I have never owned a set having more than enough to do without wasting my time with it.

No doubt there are people who do spend solid time learning languages (I have met many in person). And DL can be part of that. But spending 10 hours learning 10 different languages means you have none to fluency. Spend that time on one or two languages - with resources beyond DL - and you have something useful in under a year.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RobDePense

Interesting thread :) I have never owned a tv-set but ironically I've been watching a lot of tv in recent years because the quality of some new shows has been exceptional. I waste time on many things everyday and I agree with KagiSoraci that duolingo is probably a better waste of time than most activities. Personally I just want to learn spanish and I think, even if you reach level 25 here, there is still a long way to go, but until then I'm just trying to focus :)

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheGreatTitan

I am in the same boat as you, but i understand that some people are very passionate about learning languages. It is just what they love to do.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/betarage
betarage
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I just hate it when i can't understand something so since i have a lot of free time i decided to try to learn as many languages as i can

I started with spanish after a few months i could understand it but i could not talk well but it was way faster and easier than i expected i started doing Portuguese and a few months after that Russian (Russian takes way longer than those 2) and so on

I found ways to study and not get bored once you know the basics of a language you can learn more by just watching videos and playing games and doing other things you like but translated into the language you are trying to learn

Another thing that helps is when you have learned Spanish italian and Portuguese will be way easier so learning languages from western Europe is very simple for me now but from other parts of the world is way harder im struggling with russian for over a year my german is already way better than my russian after a few months but its slowly getting better.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aydee_peperoni

I remember that i wanted to learn english because i think it is a very useful lenguage, so, i decided to learn the basics and now everyday i watch videos of people speaking english or read english books and then reading it again with other lenguage. it is very funny and it makes me happy to understand others too!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Secret.Platypus

The thing is, for people in your case... I'm going to assume that you don't learn all 17 languages frequently (maybe you do, I don't know). That's why people should have an option to gray-out (as stated above) their languages so people know they don't currently use them.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/betarage
betarage
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I try to do a Little bit or learning every day but im only using duolingo for Chinese and french right now all the languages that are level 11 or higher right now i'm not doing on duolingo anymore but i'm doing a lot of Greek Russian and polish with different apps and youtube

The other languages i only passively study with videos and things like that the languages that i have a low level in i have given up on but i will try them again later When i started duolingo to tried to learn them all at once but now to use duolingo for 2 languages at once until i completed the tree.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Secret.Platypus

Makes sense. I understand why you wouldn't delete them though, because of how much work you've put into them. Especially if you would come back to them later...

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RobDePense

I just drifted into a number of languages out of curiosity, but eventually had to cut myself off and focus on Spanish :)

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Secret.Platypus

That'll happen! :)

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Reichsritter14

Most of the people with a lot of flags are not learning the languages represented by them "all at once". At least, not on Duolingo. The flags stay regardless of how long it has been since one has studied on Duolingo. Remember, Duolingo has been around since 2011. The Incubator was launched in 2013. People have had years to accumulate knowledge of various languages on here.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kathy336369

Polish show up on mine because I was curious about it. But I am not really learning it. I may look at Russian which I have studied before and if I do just a few lessons the flag will show up. I suspect that lots of people with lots of flags are just dabbling out of curiosity in many languages, but are really studying only a few or even just one.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/judyholzwart
judyholzwart
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Learning keeps the mind sharp. I've also read that being multi-lingual can help fight Alzheimer's.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

But it isn't the learning that keeps Alzheimers at bay - it is using the language. (They think it is the code switching in the brain) If people are just learning a bunch of words that is no better than learning any other collection of objects (names of flowers, capital cities or whatever). For that reason better to work on one or two languages and find opportunities to communicate with them. (The lower levels of DL don't give you the ability to communicate beyond a few greetings and trivial observations)

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/judyholzwart
judyholzwart
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I am learning.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/judyholzwart
judyholzwart
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I spend two days on each language. Breaks up the monotony.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ryanaissance
Ryanaissance
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I'm only doing 17, but that is after many, many years of bouncing around from language to language because I had it in my head you can only do one. I'd do two years of French, for example, only to second guess if that was the language I really wanted to master, and then switch to Russian.

Eventually I realized that I had different goals for each language, and only a few of them involved mastery. I realized that if these languages were to eventually be a part of my life, why do I have to wait until I'm fluent in them, whatever that means.

All of these languages are now in my life. I have a single language that gets roughly 50% of my study time (Norwegian), and the rest of the time is divided among the others, a number of which are already at a decent level, particularly German, French, Russian, and Italian (all of which I can read physics books in and understand like 80-90%). When I have things to do that don't require concentration or interaction, I'll put on music, podcasts, audiobooks, etc in the background, just absorbing the sounds. There is no rush for me, they are all always improving.

I'm also not convinced of the standard arguments against learning multiple languages at once. Maybe they apply to others more, I don't know. But for myself, its working just fine. I have had zero problem mixing up languages, even similar ones, as they all sound so different from each other (spanish/italian, norwegian/swedish/danish). Maybe because I spend a lot of time on physics problems/programming in the day, my brain seems to have limited energy left by the time I study languages. Because of that, it's not really much slower to do lots of languages vs. just one, as I'm learning about the same number of words/structures/etc on the days I just do Norwegian vs. the days I do several languages. At the same time, all the passive media I consume gets me very familiar with the sounds of the language, so when I put in some active study time on say Finnish or Hindi, I can reproduce what I've learned much easier. Spanish is fairly easy for Americans to learn because its everywhere here and we're all used to hearing it. I'm just applying the same idea to other languages. It seems to be working all right.

For example, I just started Norwegian about 3 and a half months ago, and my anki deck now has over 1400 unique words in it. This is with between 15-60 minutes per day, 4-6 days/week. At the same time, other languages grow at nearly the same rate, even with less study time. At least for me, I seem to have a limit on new words per day in a single language, but that limit disappears with multiple languages.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RobDePense

My opinion about this is that:

  1. Even reaching level 25 in any language on duolingo is not going to get you very far irl, and if that matters to you, you really need to focus.
  2. With the 'gamification' and bona fide content on duolingo, it's never a waste of time to explore multiple languages.
4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Crissyra21

ikr that would be so difficult

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SpiritAnim6

I was in like 8 languages here at once previously, and I found it too difficult to remember all the different terms. Like how I would be doing Norwegian, then move onto practicing Italian and still be thinking in Norwegian and I'd be so confused because my brain would be set in Norwegian but I would be doing Italian skills while still being fluent in only Norwegian. Instead, I cut down to just focusing on Norwegian and doing some German in the background but that's it.

Also your English is very good for an ESL person ^.^

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arcsec
arcsec
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I don't think anyone who is "studying" so many languages at the same time here is taking them seriously or progressing past a beginner level in each. I have been learning just one language for several years now, with 3-4 hours of study per day on multiple platforms outside of Duolingo as well, and still I can barely understand people speaking the language at normal speed. I can't see how anyone could spread themselves so thin with many languages and have enough time to devote to each one.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wingardium12

well i'm learning portuguese and spanish at the same time and they're kinda similar and sometimes i mix them up!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hxvan.
Hxvan.
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Hi, I am studying almost all languages on Duolingo because I often had the crazy idea of doing that, but this time I finally put it in practice.

Besides, English is the only second language that matters to me, and I already get advanced skills on it. And I am still studying it in order to improved it.

Also I have a good foundation in phonetics, so I am studying my favorite part of languages, the phonology.

But in the end I am conscious that I cannot achieve fluency on them, only get to a basic level, and I am fine with that.

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/29515061

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HerrArbo
HerrArbo
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I'm only really learning 2, the rest are just for fun. On top of that Duolingo does get a bit boring if you stick to the same language for too many days (it's hard to know which part of the tree to focus on sometimes) so to keep the streak going a bit of beginners Japanese will do the trick!

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

If you are growing out of DL - add some other resources. Try a harder course, or watch films or TV, read books, speak to native speakers. That way you can make more progress - going around and around if you already know the material doesn't take you on.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tatonka71
Tatonka71
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Holy cow, so many people keep asking this. Can they not learn however many they want at a time? They may be dabbling but it's not our business as long as they enjoy it. Some people seem exceptionally upset (not you, OP) like it's bruised their ego that somebody is learning more languages. Can we just learn what we want and not worry about others?

5 days ago
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