https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

Should You Learn Three Languages At Once?

I already posted this a couple of days ago on the Spanish stream, but seeing as French is my latest passion, I wanted to share my experience with my new friends here as well ;-)

https://ladyofthecakes.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/is-learning-three-romance-languages-at-the-same-time-a-route-to-insanity/

July 30, 2015

28 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Garrett2015

English with English is hard enough. :-P

Seriously though, this does seem fun. I'm more partial to learning languages in different families, but that's just because of my own internal workings. If this works for you, more power to ya!

As a side note, your language status descriptions "Airily Advanced", "Interminably Intermediate", and "Bare Bones Beginner" made my morning. I have a soft spot for alliterations, haha.

A great read, thanks! Bonne chance! :-)

July 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

I am a total sucker for alliterations... and I've seriously got to watch it at work (I write for a living), but on my blog, I am free to indulge my hankerings for frowned-upon stylistic gimmicks ;-)

And good luck is indeed what I need, so I'll take the, cheers :)

July 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/WinAR6

I don't really get how you guys get languages mixed up. The only languages I ever mix up are one of the languages I'm learning and English. It's somewhat embarrassing when you accidentally say je instead of I or est instead of is.

July 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/theroachoftime

I've just started recently and was attempting Spanish, German, and French at the same time. While i'm sure there are plenty of people who could manage that sort of mix it was proving too much for me. I was having trouble remembering which words and idiosyncrasies went to which language, so I've decided to limit myself to just French for now seeing as I already have a little bit of knowledge there. Once I get French somewhat established in my brain I'll move on to tackling another, which seems to be what you're advising. I think it really comes down to knowing your own limits and pushing right up against them without going so for beyond them that it ends up being counterproductive.

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

Good decision. The French will help a lot with the Spanish, eventually, and also with German. There is more shared vocab between German and French than you'd think. Also, they have a few nifty grammar features in common, like when it comes to the passé composé, where you have to use either avoire or être - the same thing exists in German, so once you've got your head around it in French, you won't struggle with it again in German.

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/mephili

I learned some Portuguese and French a while ago. Learning Spanish then was much easier.

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

I'm finding that now in French... my Spanish and my Portuguese help me a lot.

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AneurinEE

Thanks, this was a really interesting post! In terms of Romance languages, I am doing Italian, French, and Spanish (in that order of accomplishment).

Although Italian and French are the important ones for me, I added Spanish (which I don't really have any intention to learn how to speak) to get a more rounded sense of how Romance languages work, and I must say that comparing and contrasting how the three languages do things has improved my understanding of the linguistics and grammar a lot.

However, probably the most useful thing I've done is Italian for French speakers on Duolingo, which made me think about the grammar of both languages in ways that would never have occurred to me from learning either language from English. I've found it's especially good for bits of grammar English doesn't force you to think about (e.g. gender agreement and so on). It has, however, been quite tough going - I'm afraid French grammar really is as terrible as you've been warned, and doing the IT-FR course has given me a new-found appreciation for the straightforwardness of Italian!

I've never had a problem with interference between my three Romance languages (they feel very distinct from one another in my head), but I've had real trouble with Dutch and German. For some reason, I still see wie and die in Dutch and think how and the not who and that.

P.S. Have 10 lingots!

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

Oh, thanks for the lingots :)

I'm planning to do the Spanish-French tree, eventually, for the same reasons as you. Am still not sure whether I'll ever go as far as being fluent in French. At this stage, I just want to know something, and to be able to understand written French at least to a basic degree. I must say, that at this stage, when I listen to even quite simple dialogues, I understand very little, although I know all the vocab.

BTW, here's a blog produced by an Australian guy who's learning five Romance languages: https://myfiveromances.wordpress.com

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/catthamilton

I think learning Spanish, Portugese and French at the same time is a bad idea. They sound similar to English speakers and are actually similar, because they;re all romance languages. Learning 3 different languages from different language families would be ok (i'm learning Spanish, Finnish and German at the moment) However, if you want a challenge, go for it! But expect to get a bit mixed up :)

July 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

It can be very confusing, I agree with you there, and I have alluded to that in my post. However, I think if you are at very different stages with these languages, as I am, it can actually work to your advantage, I am experiencing a very pleasant synergy in my learning. Starting with three (or even two) at the same time, though, is not something I'd recommend.

July 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Dguy

I am trying to learn every language on Duolingo, but not all at the same time. Bookish.Rose is right about learning 3 different languages from different language families. I do so myself, usually Spanish, Irish, and German.

July 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

I think that's very good advice if you're at beginner level in the languages you are learning. I'm only a beginner in one Romance language, though (French).

As an aside, I'm finding, to my great surprise, many similarities between German and French. I'd never have expected my German to be useful for learning French, but, it turns out that it is.

Irish... one day, I'll have to have a shot at a Celtic language.

July 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Dguy

Trust me, it's really difficult. Not anything like a romance language.

July 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

It freaks me out when the beginnings of words change... I've seen that happen in Welsh... shudder ;-)

July 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Dguy

Yeah, the end of words changing is fine, but when the beginning changes I'm just like, "No. NO. NOOOOOO!!! What is happening?!"

July 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

Rather you than me...!

July 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/savourtardis

You might find German's V2 helpful in making sense of the VSO word order in Irish; I have. (I can't speak for the word changes; I think they may follow sound considerations (I haven't looked at it in a while) rather than grammatical ones, which I think is harder for me to get a handle on.)

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/xaghtaersis

Learning multiple languages at once is going fine for me. It is fun.

July 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

Glad to hear it :) Certainly looks like you're giving it your all!

July 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/G.P.Niers

I would advice against learning Portuguese and Spanish at the same time, they're too similar. Otherwise, knock yourself out.

July 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

But once you're advanced in one of these, it helps a great deal in learning the other. In the beginning, though, the similarities work against you, I agree with you there.

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Phill.Ehecatl

Hey there..so how is it to be the 15th level in portuguese? I still have a lot of things to learn until i get there.. :)

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

I'm nearly done with the tree... but I learnt most of my Portuguese with my teacher and with my Skype intercambios. And I still have a very long way to go before I'll be fluent. It's a work in progress :)

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Phill.Ehecatl

That's great! :) Maybe we could follow and help eachother here ... :)

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

If you're looking for native speaker conversation partners, I found mine on here: www.conversationexchange.com

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Phill.Ehecatl

Obrigado. :)

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/bgrry

I am learning Spanish, Portuguese, French , Japanese, Esperanto at the same time. It's fun. Can't just use Duolingo though, it won't take you very far.

February 25, 2018
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