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https://www.duolingo.com/akopaluetze

Learning two languages simultaneously

Hello you magnificent community!

I see a lot of you people are learning two or more languages simultaneously. I am German, my English is pretty good I guess and I once have learned French but I didn't use it and forgot. But I think it might be easy for me to re-activate.

I'm only learning Spanish at the moment with Duolingo and Memrise. I'm doing the skill tree pretty slowly and only move on if I really know what I've previously learned.

I'm hesitant regarding reactivating my French because I fear I'm getting confused and mix up the vocabulary or genders.

What's your experience with learning two languages (especially if they are kind of similar)? Do you think I should at least finish the Spanish tree before starting French or is separating the two languages part of the learning process and it just needs to grow on you?

Danke/merci/gracias/thanks! :D

5 years ago

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/liamtbrand
liamtbrand
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I think it's best to tackle one language and master the basics before taking on another one. Once you can read each language and instantly recognize that is is Spanish, French, German, Dutch, you name it, then you can pick up the next one and you shouldn't get too confused. Learning two languages that are completely different is very easy, so ignore the first piece of advice for something like German+French, but for French+Spanish, it is similar and therefore I recommend you master the basics of one of them before continuing. - The separation of the languages is also part of the learning process thats why I would say master the basics, and then you can pick up the other.

Note: The languages above are just examples of languages that are similar/different

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ced1310
ced1310
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It is possible to learn two languages simultaneously even if they are related, e.g. French and Spanish. However as a native English-speaker, with French as a second language (which I use daily) I found German difficult to retain, but Portuguese relatively easy, and have no problems confusing it with French. So I would encourage you to go ahead. You may have to reflect before using a word or two, but that is all part of the learning process. Duolingo has made the German learning process much more fun. I have retained more in the past two months, than in the years previously. Perhaps it is the audio combined with the visual. Great work guys. Bonne chance.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/razzazzika

Yes, It is possible. I learned multiple languages at a time in high school, usually at the very least German + something else (either japanese or russian) and since they were so vastly different, I had no problem not confusing them. But trying to brush up on two romance langugages at once (spanish and french for example) can get very confusing. They have a lot of similar looking words but with different pronunciations.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cloclo15

I learned French at school till i was 16 but didn't ever use it after that (so 15 years of my skills depleting!). My original plan on discovering Duolingo was to learn Italian and refresh and improve my French. However, I found that this became too difficult as my natural inclination in my head is to always favour the French when trying to translate. I wanted to build up my Italian to be more 'natural' to use if you see what I mean, so have decided to leave the French for a little while, at least until i finish the Italian skill tree.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/akopaluetze

Replace Italian with Spanish and this is EXACTLY my situation. Even the years match, haha.

So my initial thought was to finish the Spanish tree first as well. On the other hand FrankySka's got a point. It might be a good idea to learn to differentiate the two languages in the process.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Niteglass

For me, it is more difficult to learn two Latin based languages at the same time. For example, I would say I've maintained French on a basic conversational level and am trying to become fluent. I've decided to begin learning German as well. Because French and German are so different, I haven't had any problems learning them simultaneously. Now, I've gone and added Spanish to the list of languages I'm studying as it will help me professionally. Spanish and French are easily confused in my head! However, I do think that some of the vocabulary or grammar concepts are more easily remembered when I have to think about how it is different from French to Spanish. So I would say give it a go and if you absolutely just find yourself frustrated, then perhaps take it one language at a time. Best of luck! Cheers!

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chilvence
chilvence
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I jump between studying different languages all the time. Maybe because I am greedy, maybe because I can't focus, but whatever the reason, I like to be able to read everything I see, and I find the best way to keep them from clashing is to pay attention to the accent and the character of each language.

French, Spanish and Italian are very closely related, and you can learn alot about all of them from studying one, but they all have a wonderfully distinct character when spoken, that if you listen to often enough, you should have no trouble keeping them seperate.

I heartily suggest finding and religiously using internet radio stations, in order to give yourself a passive influence that you can turn on and listen to at any time of day. The music is the strongest demonstation of the different styles of those three languages, and frankly I think it counts as study time, even if you don't have to actively do anything ;)

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/xstorm

I'm in the same situation like you. Sometimes when i try to answer a question and Duolingo tells me that's wrong, i realise that i answered french. For me, it's a problem.... I think you got to find out by yourself ;) Maybe you try it and if it doesn't work, you choose one language...

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrankySka
FrankySka
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I am native German speaker too and am learning Spanish and French simultaneously. I learned french at school and tried learning spanish afterwards and got massively confused by it. So now I do them pretty much in parallel and whenever I realize differences between the languages I look them up explicitly and make sure I get them. Just yesterday I made a list of words which are similar in French and Spanish but which might or might not have the same gender. I personally think if you learn one after the other, that is going to weaken the first one. It is always better to integrate information, so both languages benefit.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VikingRunner

This is a really interesting thread! I'd been wondering the same thing, as I'd started trying to refresh my high school French with Mindsnacks, which I found to be a really helpful app. Then I stopped practicing any language for a while, and decided to tackle Spanish with Duolingo (there are a lot of Spanish-speakers in my area, so it seemed like a good idea...) I'd like to start practicing the French again because I don't want to lose any more of the progress I'd made, but I've been similarly worried about confusing the two languages. Maybe I'll tackle it again after all, though. I think Duolingo and Mindsnacks will make a good team for me.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/helenvee
helenvee
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I'm currently doing French and German and have no difficulty in keeping them separate. I have previously studied three languages at once and had no problems then either. For me it comes down to fixing things firmly in my mind by taking notes and revising thoroughly and frequently.

5 years ago