Learning Multiple Languages
For the past two years, I have been practicing French. I was inspired by some of my family that spoke french. Then, I had a family reunion. I was amazed at the different languages that were being spoken. Italian, Spanish, and French. I suddenly wanted to be able to speak to all of my family and have them understand me, because not all of them spoke english. The next day, I went through some books and pulled out some Spanish kids books. I knew Spanish when I was little, and I wanted to learn it again. Yet, I was a little intimidated by the fact that I would have to take French in school and learn Spanish outside of school. I realized that the languages were somewhat connected, so I would have no problem learning both. As I started practicing, I used my French knowledge to help me with my Spanish. Now, I actually recommend learning multiple langauges, because it improves your knowledge of all of them.
Well, Japanese is pretty hard anyway for an English speaker. But a lot of people will recommend learning languages that aren't related so you won't confuse them. Of course everyone is different though.
You can pair Norwegian with Swedish and (especially) Danish. They are very close, almost to the point that they may be considered dialects of the same language.
USA here too, but I'm the only one in I think all my family and relatives that speaks another language.
I believe the best way is to learn distant languages simultaneously. Learning spanish and french at the same time will give you a lot of confusion because they are close languages. You'll mix up stuff. If English is your native tongue i'd focus on Spanish until an advanced level is reached. Also, it must be way easier than French due to a lot of shared vocab with English, plus the pronunciation that's a whole lot easier to master.
French and Spanish are related but they are so different in so many ways that I'd say they help rather than hinder each other.
My mother tongue is Spanish and the language I experience more close-circuits with is the closest one to mine: Portuguese... and also a bit, but not so much, with Catalan. Almost no problems with Italian or French. Anyway, I find that, as I progress in my study, every language starts getting a "more and more distinctive shape" that little by little irons out those crossovers and mixes.
Anyway, making mistakes is OK; you usually learn from them. The actual problem is getting obssessed with them.
to each his own, but I am the opposite. I am learning both french and spanish right now, and have never once at all felt confused because of their similarities - in fact, the similarities help me learn both at the same time, and I love that! I am so glad I am learning similar languages at one time, it makes things such as grasping the grammar structure so much easier, since I can apply it to two languages not just one! And, no, I don't personally find spanish easier at all, in any way - I find french much easier. and you said that spanish shares vocab with english, but that doesn't make sense - french and spanish both have shared vocab with english, and, for that matter, with each other.
But the shared latin vocabulary with Spanish comes from the French words that English adopted, French has a harder to learn pronounciation but it's not as difficult to learn, nor as hard compared to Spanish.
Some people mix up the languages when they are beginners and for some it's too much to study more than one but there's a point where you can easily tell the differences in writing and pronounciation and I believe you can get familiar with a language enough very quickly if you immerse yourself in the language, but it's a thing that depend on each one's goal.
I find Spanish and Portuguese much easier than French - and I took French in high school and college lo these many years ago. Of the Romance language I've worked on, I'd rank them in the following order for ease - Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan, French. Spanish may be easier for me because I live in the Southwest and it's sort of everywhere.
I think it depends on how many languages, and their difficulty levels, and if they're similar at all, and if you have any knowledge of them to start with, and....and a lot of other factors. It's not as simple as saying 'learn multiple languages at once' - there's a lot of factors. I find I am doing find with learning both French and Spanish at the same time - but they're similar, and I had a little knowledge of both before I started. I started Hungarian, but, no, I can't do it now, no way. I will wait until I finish French and Spanish, in....well, in a really long time. I believe at the rate I'm going, it'll take me a couple years to finish. Hungarian is just so totally different from French/Spanish, plus I have zero knowledge of it, despite my father being Hungarian. Hungarian is notoriously difficult for English speakers to learn - and, after looking into it a bit, learning about cases, etc., I can see that it's going to be be super-crazy hard for me. So I want to wait until I can totally focus on it, cause I will sure need to give it all my attention! By the way, I'm not trying to be rude at all...just stating my view.
Yes, as you say, each has to find their way for themselves. There's no universal magic bullet and individual internal and external factors are so many that the better way is taking it easy and checking your own formula yourself. It's also good to ask others so you can get new ideas and approaches to test until you reach the plan that suits you best.
Good luck everyone!
I started wih learning Swedish. Later I tried to learn Spanish. Both languages are unfamiliar for me. I could not learn those languages on the same day. Now I learn Swedish in the weekend and Spanish every working day. Recently I started Esperanto, what I have tried to learn ages ago. I have no problems with mixing Esperanto with the other languages.
Many years ago, I did French and Latin at school, then two years of Spanish at college (just because I had to choose a minor subject and it seemed easy enough). I finally got a smart phone last December and discovered Duolingo. As I exchange postcards with many people around the world - many of them from Germany and Russia (thanks Postcrossing) - I decided to study German and Russian, and Spanish because of my college years. Spanish is a doddle, German is much harder, and Russian is the hardest. Actually, I've been giving Russian a rest for a while until I can get my head around the fact that vowel sounds change according to stress, and that makes me realise students of English must have difficulties with all our vowel sound changes. Now you're wondering about my Japanese ability. I have been living in Japan for a long time and finished the Tree quickly, but since it was updated in March I've been taking it much more slowly. I'm really looking forward to when Finnish comes to Duolingo.
I think there is a Spanish course for French speakers on Duolingo. You could try that. It will strengthen your French at the same time it teaches you Spanish, and it will really point out the differences.
I am reviewing Spanish from my high school years, but I am learning French and Hebrew for the first time. I am able to keep them separate so far. Hebrew is very different from the other two languages because of the different alphabet.
I learned German in middle school and high school for four years before taking a French class also in high school. I remember sometimes accidently using German word order for a French sentence because it was so deeply ingrained by that point. I would also have trouble coming up with French vocabulary instead of German. My suggestion is to find some way to differentiate the languages somehow in your mind because I would notice this even when speaking my native language; I would be able to think of the word in another language but couldn't find it in English.
I've been enjoying Duolingo a lot since I started multiple language courses. Not only am I finding that the similarities tend to help more than they confuse me, but I'm much more likely to maintain my daily habit if I can spend my time on whatever strikes my fancy. I would recommend trying this for everyone who has trouble sticking to an ongoing commitment. (By the way, league leaderboards count all XP as the same, and your streak is maintained regardless of which language fulfilled your daily goal's XP requirement.)
I have been learning German for some time now but I am taking a break for now and decided to try out Russian and so far it is going extremely easy. Got carried away and tried Japanese but I bit more than I can chew so I will postpone learning a third language.