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Learning 2 languages at once vs one at a time?


pdxchristine
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I don't have any research to prove it but in my experience it was difficult to try learning two foreign languages at the same time.  If you've ever tried learning more than one at a time have you ever confused the two languages?  I am a native english speaker and I have inadvertently substituted Japanese words when trying to speak Spanish - very embarrassing!

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Yeah, I once said a word in Russian while speaking in an Italian oral evaluation in College. Pretty amazing, considering I wasn't even studying Russian anymore by then.

It definitely can get confusing, specially with similar-sounding words. I think it's best to focus on one language, but I guess depends on each one's abilities.

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I would assume it would be easier to learn one language at a time, rather than learning two at one time. I mean that would put such a strain on your brain lol. I don't think I would be able to think straight trying to learn two languages at one time.

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Two is definitely harder than just one. Although it is possible to study more than one at a time, it'll take much longer compared to just one. I found a link with a good explanation here: http://www.thepolyglotdream.com/learning-more-than-one-language-at-the-same-time/

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I personally think learning one language at a time is much easier than learning two languages at once. It is easier to focus on the language rather than piling two languages at at once. I can't image myself learning two languages at a time. I can speak two languages at a time, but learning two new languages at once is extremely difficult, not to mention the focus will cause further confusion.

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I have never tried to learn two languages at a time, because learning one language at a time is hard enough, so learning two would prove to be such a challenge, plus this approach is not the most efficient one!  I believe that when you want to learn a language you must focus on that language only.  Right now I'm trying to learn Dutch, but I'd also like to learn Hebrew.  For now I'll just focus on Dutch, because even tho I have no real desire to learn it (I have to tho, because I might be moving to the Netherlands soon) I must focus on it. 

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I once tried to learn two languages at once: French and Spanish. Spanish I was learning at school and French with an online course. I found that I quickly lost motivation for French as I had nobody to speak to. I suggest learning one at a time, but two has pros too, such as learning similar words and such.

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I would have to say that learning one language at a time is the better option. Just like that old proverb: "slow and steady wins the race". If you concentrate on one language at a time you won't mix up meanings, pronounce wrong, etc. It's basically multitasking and you don't really concentrate when doing that.

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it's better to concentrate on one language at a time. you cannot do two things at a time, u'll have to do one thing now and the other one sometime later.So, learn one language first and then go with the second language. It's easier this way rather than learning two languages at a time ;):P

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As someone who has tried this in the past, I would suggest learning 2 languages at a time is not a very smart thing to do. As you are faced by two languages who you are unfamiliar with you start confusing the words from the two and end up not learning either of those very well.

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I can't imagine the benefit of learning two languages at the same time is.  Granted your native tongue is something you never stop "learning" so to speak as you continue to read and experience books, movies, etc. and learning a second language would not be as hard.  Seems though, in essence learning two languages in addition to your native tongue, would have you thinking and learning on 3 levels.  Seems it would be quite confusing.

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  • 3 months later...

Oh I'm guessing that would be very difficult. Even if the two languages were similar, like for example portuguese and spanish, it would still be hard not to mess up. I haven't tried learning two languages simultaneously although I have tried learning a new one while trying to hone an old one. That kind of multi-learning seems more sensible to me since you already know more about one language compared to the other and will be less prone to confusing the two.

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Personally I would think learning one language at a time as opposed to two or more at a time would be better mainly because, your brain and mind can focus on one far better than when you learn two at a time.

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I learned Chinese and English growing up and I got both lessons pretty much side by side and I feel like I learned it just fine, but to be fair, it did take me years to be fluent in both. I think it's a lot easier when the two languages are totally different from each other so there will be less chance of confusion. I agree that it probably is way easier to just focus on one nonetheless, though.

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I would think it would be easier for a child to learn more than one language at one time but the capacity to learn a language fast decreases as one ages. So for younger language students, it's possible to learn two languages at one time [without any complications arising]  but for older language students it would be better to learn them one at a time.

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I am considering this option, but after reading everyones comments I think I may just stick to learning 1 language. I a learnt French in high school but wasn't too great at it. I've been learning Portuguese for a few months now and wouldn't mind learning French again also. But, I am worried about getting words mixed up, as some can be quite similar.

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I'd say it depends on the languages. For example, I think Spanish and French are pretty similar (haven't learnt them so I'm not sure, just a guess) so I wouldn't learn those two at the same time since you could easily mix up the words.

However, I don't see a problem with learning two different languages such as German & Arabic because they're completely different. No way you could get mixed up  :grin:

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regardless of weather there will be clashing with learning multiple language, the problem is that you will achieve fluency slower as you will not devote all your time and attention to the main language. I suppose if you want to attain conversational fluency do them together, but the fastest way to gain fluency is with sole focus on one language.

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I've often wondered if it was just me who struggled to learn two languages at the same time. I am currently studying French and have found that to learn it alone has been the best thing for me. I wanted to learn Spanish, as I saw that it would be very useful in my daily interactions, but it was way too difficult to learn simultaneously with French! I would constantly swap out words that belonged to a differing language than the one I needed at the time. Not to mention, the accents differ quite a lot too so I would sound absolutely silly using a Spanish accent while speaking French words...

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