Why I learn so many languages

I know a few of you have asked me or others who also are learning all the languages currently available on Duolingo why we learn all of them. I don't know about others, they are bound to have different reasons than me. But these are mine:

  1. It's fun. When you spend too much time on one language, you start to get annoyed by it. When I get annoyed at French, I do a lesson of something else, mostly Spanish. It keeps language learning fun, fresh, and interesting.

  2. They help me with the other languages I learn. Spanish and French are different. Way different. But from French I learned 'to drink' and 'to eat' (boire and manger). Then on Spanish, I drink was 'Yo bebo'. It isn't exactly like French, but it was similar enough that what I had learned in another language gave me a slight idea what it was is this language.

  3. You are learning languages!!! Does this one need to be explained? I will anyway. :P Maybe you won't get fluent in all of them, but the little you learn is helpful. Who knows when it will come in handy? My dad forgot most of the Spanish he learned in high school, but on a bus in Disneyland a Spanish man was asking the bus driver a question. The bus driver didn't speak Spanish and the man didn't speak English. My dad could understand at least some of what he said, and translated. Cool or what?

  4. Bragging rights. This one isn't the most important reason, but still...."What do you speak?" "Oh....just: English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian....."

  5. ForgedbyHistoria reminded me of this one. Why stop learning? If I stopped learning, I would pop. And languages are a great thing to learn more of.

Here's some tips for learning whatever language/s you are learning (from my very limited experience, they are simple points that I have sometimes not done, and regretted later):

-Practice your lessons until you are confident. If you pass a lesson only by your amazingly good guessing self, you should do it again. I have been guilty of not doing this, and it is a lot of trouble later.

-No matter how frustrated you get, believe me you will get frustrated, hang in there. Remember: When in doubt, go back to the basics. Basics 1 Lesson 1 is a great place to go when you are stuck on a level.

-There will always be people better than you in the language you are learning. You aren't competing against anyone besides yourself.

-Don't be afraid to do research. If Duolingo just isn't explaining something in the way you understand, search it. I go to all the time for help. There's other [insert-language-here] 's, and of course find stuff online yourself. Even books at the library can be of help.

If you have tips, feel free to post them below. :)

June 23, 2014


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The reason I like learning so many languages is because of two reasons.

  1. I challenge myself.

  2. I get to brag to my friends.

June 24, 2014

Even better than bragging to your friends is speaking a language to let it "brag" for you! I find it much more enjoyable to see the impressed look on my friend's face than the get-over-yourself look they have when bragged to.

June 25, 2014

Exactly. You have bragging rights -- impressive. You don't mention it, you just use it firsthand -- very impressive.

June 26, 2014

¡Me encanta tu discurso! Je dois dire que c'est vraiment excellent et je suis d'accord avec tout! And as I said we before we all speak a language already so no matter which way you look at it words are going to be mixed up a little bit anyway so why not just go for it and take em all on!

June 24, 2014

:P That's a way to put it.

June 26, 2014

(Clapping hands wildly)! Bravo! Great advice!

June 23, 2014

:) Thanks.

June 23, 2014

I learn languages because I have a never-ending thirst and curiosity about the world. I spend much of my time studying the histories and cultures of other countries region by region, culture to subculture. I like a good story. Languages are a way to get deeper into the culture and to speak with the people. Motivation for my Spanish and Portuguese comes from reading the histories, especially colonial histories of Latin America. So many marginalized stories of Africans and Natives that most we will never truly know.

All the talk about Dutch is increasing my curiosity about the Netherlands and their history. I'm going to have to study them now, there's no choice. I agree with you on the frustration point. The most difficult aspect of language learning for me is not comprehension, vocabulary, or speaking; the difficulty is taking your mind out of your native tongue and becoming Dutch, Spanish, Italian, whatever people's tongue you are learning. However, it all comes together eventually.

June 23, 2014

I love how you described it. :)

June 23, 2014

Excellent tips. Worth a lingot, for sure.

June 23, 2014

Thanks, Irtward. :)

June 23, 2014

What I am often curious about when I see a string of languages someone is learning is how much time do the advanced or multiple language learners put in. I know everyone will have a different answer, I am just curious. I put in anywhere from 1 hour to 3 or 4 a day.

June 23, 2014

For Spanish and Portuguese I review vocabulary cards 2-3 times a day back to back. I am reading a book from a Peruvian writer and one from a Brazilian writer. I try to read both everyday but this is difficult. On my commute to school I am listening to my Spanish podcast, on the way home it is Portuguese. These podcasts are crucial for me. I try to watch either a string of news clips or a documentary in Spanish one night, and then Portuguese the next night. I also talk in both languages everyday.

I don't measure the amount of time I study both languages. This system is difficult because I lack discipline and am a full time college student. Fortunately, both languages are like brother and sister and I already have a year of study for Spanish. I'm also curious how people learn 4-6 languages at a time because I will likely be adding a third romance language to my studies. As if I wasn't exhausted enough..

June 24, 2014

I don't time what I do. I do a number of lessons per day. Right now I am working on putting what I've learned so far on Quizlet, and I've finished all of it besides Portuegese and French of what I have learned so far. As soon as I finish putting both of those completely on, French will take longer because I started it first and am farther in it. As soon as I finish all of that, I'll continue putting the lessons on Quizlet (for extra practice), at least one lesson of each per day. I don't like to limit myself, so I just set a minimum.

June 24, 2014

I like to be careful with number 4. I could totally ask for the way to the restaurant and then order something there if I were in France*, but I'd never say that I speak French. What if the other guy does too and then thinks I am fluent and switches the language? Awkward

*This will be put on the big test next thursday. Flying back home from Brazil via Paris, I'll have quite a long stay in CDG. On the way to Brazil I had a friend with me who spoke good French (while all I understood was « Depechez-vous ! »). This time I'll be alone...

June 24, 2014

I didn't say fluent, just said speak. ;)

June 25, 2014

Really good advice! thank you.

June 25, 2014

You're welcome. :)

June 26, 2014

I am currently learning Polish, but keep my feet wet in French because I am living in Germany and find German radio so annoying, that I would rather listen to French. I know it is subjective, but there are so many annoying "young girls" presenting on German radio, and of course the topics are ever so curated into "right thought," the Germans having a very small Overton Window, and liking to be collectively "right." ,-)

(Don't worry, I am equal opportunity misanthropic.)

I understand very little of French radio, but it is so much more varied and interesting than German. I also watch 28 Minuten on arte tv with German subtitles, because the French report on a much broader variety of world news than German reportage, and from a different perspective.

Polish is my main focus but it is so beyond belief difficult. Meine Gute!

June 23, 2018

I LOVE languages! :) There are 28 all together I want to learn BUT, I take a few at a time, a little bit of each at a time so I can grasp them easier. I love the diversity. I'm wanting to learn from Ancient Babylonian (Akkadian) to conlangs like Quenya/Sindarin Elvish. I LOVE listening to music in the languages and hope to one day sing in them. A few are my nationalities. I love the way they sound and I'm excited to learn them. I listen to music in the languages as that is the BIGGEST motivator for me. French I've taken for years, so now, on Memrise, I'm taking Sicilian ( as I'm planning to take Italian in January) they will help me learn both. I'm also learning Assyrian (Syriac) Aramaic, Slovene, West Munster Irish, Ancient Language of Elves from Inheritance Cycle (Paoilini's movie "Eragon") but I wish there were sound for it :( So, it's a good start. I just have fun learning them and feeling out the flow of them. :) It's just so wonderful to have the world open up through culture and music and people! :) Good Luck in your language learning journey! :) ,

October 3, 2019
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