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Is there a mental limit to how many languages we can learn?


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I'm wondering whether anyone has hit a wall on this one? I can imagine in learning seven or so languages you are going to forget a few things. So, is there a point where you become less fluent (I guess I'll put it that way) in the languages you knew?

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I think given the proper learning and immersion to a specific language, the person's brain can learn as many languages as he would like as long as he has practiced them enough to become fluent in speaking it. He would become less fluent if he started to study one language after another but not studying it enough to perfection. So to retain the knowledge learned, after making sure that he is already fluent enough to speak and understand a certain language, then that's the only time that he can move on to learning another language.

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Well, learning a language and maintaining a high level of proficiency in a language are two different things. Anybody could learn as many languages as a lifetime allows I suppose. However, if you don't use a language regularly, you start forgetting it quite easily. To maintain a high level of proficiency in 10 languages, one would have to use those 10 languages on a very regular basis which seems fairly difficult.

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  • 7 years later...

I think there's not really a limitation but more of how many will you retain after a few weeks/months/years. In a way, there's also a technique on how to learn languages fast which will help you if your memory of a certain language was stored in your brain.

According to this guide (the reference is below), here are the best ways to learn languages fast:

1) It’s necessary to listen at a natural speech rate when learning a new language;

2) Start learning a new language by focusing on speech rather than text;

3) The distinction between studying and learning a language;

4) Language learning is possible through comprehensible input, which is an unconscious process.

5) The spaced repetition strategy can help you recall information.

6) Other basic approaches for how to learn foreign languages fast and effectively like taking live lessons or self-study programs that prompt you to speak.

Which one of these tips do you think you can relate or agree with? I think I'm more of number 2 and 4.

Here's the link to the whole article for the source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2is7Vi7WXw (Their documentary video)

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