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Aspiring polyglot!

Hello everyone, I want to be a polyglot! Any tips for not getting languages confused? Thanks!

May 20, 2015


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I can only think 1 thing: Don't let your native language dictates the logic of what you learn. When you read here about "why is sie or ihr, el or ella, он or она? in English is this way or that way..." Just forget your roots.

May 20, 2015


This is probably the number one tip. Try to learn as if it existed in its own little bubble. You'll save hours when you're not attempting to tie every feature/grammar construction back to English.


That's why I never learn new languages from Polish. I don't know how to explain it exactly but when I learn in English, English is like a tool I use to learn and it's not affecting what I learn. When I learnt German at school I was always like 'this is too different/this is weird/ how am I supposed to understand that?/etc' because I was naturally comparing it to things I'm used to as a native Polish speaker, while using English, on the other hand, I just see it as it is, I can make myself distant from the things I'm used to. I hope that makes sense ;)


Hey, cool concept! I've recently picked up French, and I find it helpful to compare between French <-> German much more than English, my native language.

I will be conscious of this in future with my mnemonics :)


I agree. F572D297's tip is probably the most important one. Practice, immersion, and communicating with native speakers are also essential.


Yep, our native languages always keep a special place but especially when learning languages that are very different, you have to leave them behind for a while. Other language require other thinking patterns and other phrasing... For me, Japanese was a very good teacher for leaving German logic behind while English is a lot more forgiving xD


Tip 1: Practice. Practice practice practice. Practice! The more comfortable you get with the different languages the less you will mix them up.

Tip 2: Many will tell you to focus on one language at a time when doing new lessons. I will say I generally agree with this. New words and concepts are in a very fragile state in the memory when first introduced and if you're always jumping around between languages it can be very easy for things to fall through the cracks. If you want to switch to another language to do new lessons, make sure you also continue to practice the other.

Tip 3: Many will also tell you to stick to languages that aren't similar to one another until you are more comfortable with them (e.g. don't try to learn Spanish and Portuguese at the same time) to avoid mixing up words that are similar but not the same. This hasn't really been my experience, as I personally find cognates to do more good than harm, but that's just me and I know it certainly doesn't hold true for everyone.


Really try to immerse yourself in the language that you are learning, by listening to songs, reading newspapers, radio broadcasts in that language, don't just rely on duolingo. I'm afraid I can only help you with French and Italian but;

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVGo10hbyIyD6cbz3Jm3aoQ OneworldItaliano, a collection of videos teaching you Italian through immersion, I've probably learned as much Italian through these as I have on duo

http://www1.rfi.fr/lffr/statiques/accueil_apprendre.asp Click "le journal en francais facile" to hear today's news in (relatively) slow French, they also have a script so you can read along.


I like to watch the polyglots in Youtube to see if I can use their techniques. The book Fluent Forever is interesting, I like Tim Ferris, Kaufman and The Irish Polyglot.


Have you read Fluent in 3 Months by Benny Lewis (The Irish Polyglot) ?


yes I have, it is a good book


I really enjoyed it. : )


I like to learn one language from another. I've been learning French from Spanish which is great, I write more in Spanish and it helps me remember the vocabulary, grammar and gender for both Spanish and French. The other piece of advise is to not learn more languages than you can practice daily. Buena suerte et bonne chance.


I read as much as possible in my languages, since that is my ultimate goal. I listen to Spanish and French movies so I can learn to understand spoken language for future travels to Spanish- and French-speaking places.


Avoid studying closely related languages together, though if you really want to, wait until you're fairly comfortable with one of them before starting the next. I haven't had any problems studying French and Spanish together, and they're in the same language family. Though, I don't think I'd like to study Spanish with Italian or Portuguese, or German with Dutch for example; and I had already been studying French for one year before starting on Spanish anyway. I find that I don't ever get languages mixed up when studying them together if they are distinct enough from each other.


I have different buddies - each one speaks a different language. When I am with each person, my brain makes the transfer. Sometimes it takes a few minutes for pesky words from one language to stop intruding on another. But doing this and really focusing in person on person situations will eventually perfect your ability to change off. You need to cleanly immerse yourself into each language situation and just let your own instincts and mind take over.


Thanks everyone, very helpful! :)


Don't get a poly-clot!


I'm also an aspiring polyglot. I speak Norwegian (native), English (C1/C2) and Italian (B1), and I have recently started learning Russian. Here are some tips on how to become a polyglot: https://www.becomeapolyglot.com/2019/04/25/10-tips-how-to-become-a-polyglot/

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