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https://www.duolingo.com/TheCelloman

How many languages can you learn at once?

I'm interested. If you're learning multiple languages would/do you get confused? What would you recommend? Should I become semi-fluent in one then begin the other or can I start both at the same time?

5 years ago

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/buffence
buffence
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I don't think anybody can give you a definitive answer to this question, because we are all unique, with individual learning styles and capabilities. Just try and see what happens. Gradually you'll figure out what works best for you. Eg: I find like typicallyamber, learning back to back results in basically replacing the once just learnt with the next. So I prefer constant learning/practice of all non native languages. Personally I don't get too confused, but I have friends who do, so they try to learn languages very different from their own eg; if Spanish, learn German and English. But like I said, it's down to you and trial and error :)

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lolaphilologist
lolaphilologist
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  • 2023

it's possible, but as Olimo said, time consuming. I do lots of experiments with order of languages so as to limit confusion between two languages, but I'm not as good yet as some other people at keeping them separate. If you want to learn multiple languages simultaneously, you can find a community of polyglots on youtube who have ongoing discussions of strategies. Most of their strategies involve lots and lots of time, but if you play the cello, you know what serious practice entails. I've been learning my languages to varying degrees for decades, and I have had dedicated time studying each language separately, which does help now.

Keeping Italian and Spanish distinct is the biggest challenge: I read once that they are about 75-80% similar. Spanish has 1/5 of its vocabulary from Arabic, otherwise they are mostly different in tiny spelling changes that keep me losing hearts on my lessons. This is a positive in that if you learn something in Spanish, you have a better shot at comprehension the first time you see the similar word in Italian, but it's a bit of a drawback when you're speaking to a native speaker in either language and you start mixing them up a bit. Fortunately people are kind and often give you a pass if they can understand what you were trying to say.

I do have a few sentences memorized in each language that I use to try to get into the right gear, in a manner of speaking.

What is your ultimate goal?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Allinuse
Allinuse
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I think for most people basic fluency should be reached in one language before moving on to the next language.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BobWeisenberg
BobWeisenberg
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This is very interesting to me. I studied a lot of languages in high school and college and always viewed it as a chore, even though I love languages. Now with Duolingo it's all so fun and progress is so reliable that I might get back into learning multiple languages again. I'll be living in Italy soon, and for the first time, thanks to Duolingo (I love Rocket Italian, too), I can envision learning multiple languages. And I have plenty of time because I'm retired.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo
olimo
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The main problem I see is not confusion but lack of time for every language. If you only have half an hour or an hour for your daily studies, it is hardly wise to try and learn more than one language. If you have more time, you may want to immerse into your one language by reading, listening, watching movies, etc. rather than split this time between different languages.

I'd suggest to stick with one language at least for half a year or a year. After you gain some proficiency in it, you may want to add another language, but don't forget to practice your first one as well.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/typicallyamber

Do not start more than one at a time ! I've taken Latin, French, and German, in college, and just back to back, and the proactive interference is ridiculous I forgot so much of the languages it took the semester before and then you get conjugations confused and remember words for a different language when studying another ! If I were you I would focus on one at a time so that you really have it ingrained in you before branching out to others but thats just my personal experience!

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Squoctopus10

i really don't know. right now im learning all of them, but im focusing on spanish, because ive taken that in school for 6 years ( im in 6th grade). I really dont have trouble as long as i know what my priorities are.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Squoctopus10

i do agree that typically you want to only do one until youre comfortable

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Moonraker

If you are worried about getting mixed up, don't worry. Many languages are related at all such as Estonian and French, but then again some, are like Swedish and Norwegian. But if you know the language well enough, then that shouldn't be a problem. Finding time to learn the language is the difficult problem. I typically study an hour per language. I switched my phone into a different language and same with many of my electronics. I switch the Wikipedia articles to another language, and also only listen to music and watch TV in other languages that I study, these are methods that can help you a lot.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GregEdenberg

Personally for me is much better to learn languages one by one. Firstly I learn by myself, then it quite obligatory to travel to a country where the language is native and spend there at least 6 months, because it fixing your knowledge very well and then the language will "stay" in your head forever. If I try to learn two languages t once, it would be mixed in my head and I am sure it is not the best way. At the same time it is very individual, 'cos some people has divided attention and they can do many things together. I am not the case )

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/moramajama

I know it's an old thread, but just putting my two cents in. Of course this depends on everyone's learning style. Some people are innately better at memorizing and won't get languages mixed up, but I find it's easier for me to focus on learning languages that are different enough not to cause confusion, such as a Romance language paired with a Germanic or Asian language.

7 months ago