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Study multiple languages?

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Do any of you study multiple languages? I am hesitant to begin studying a new language before mastering the current foreign language I am studying. I would like to become fluent in several languages and am frustrated with how long it takes. For those of you who have learned multiple languages at the same time, what did you do to become fluent? How did you allocate your study time?

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I do. German and Russian.

It's not bad. It's good that you can choose what to learn. Sometimes I feel more like doing German and sometimes Russian. On the other hand, these languages are very different so there's no mixing involved. Also every language means different culture and different books ;-)

What languages do you have in mind?

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Ooh that's a tough one. I've had to learn a few languages simultaneously but I always concentrated more on one. It's often because I get interested in a new language before I've really mastered the other one. For me, it's actually better if the languages are completely different rather than if they were similar. The reason is that I get confused with similar sounding languages and tend to mix the words up.

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Some years back I tried juggling French and German together but due to lack of motivation and enthusiasm lost interest in both. I don't think it's difficult for those whose eagerness to learn stays alive, they would enjoy having the choice of more than one language at their disposal when sitting down to practice.

That said, taking on too many at a time might prove futile and exhausting. Personally, now I would rather take up one language and get a decent hold over it, enough to be able to make small conversations and write basic sentences, before moving on to another one. Right now I'm eyeing Urdu, but only after I get some information on the difference between that and Farsi or Arabic.

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I am simultaneously learning Korean and Japanese, but in a very relaxed manner.  I do hear both languages in music and dramas almost every day and can distinguish the two by sound.  Learning them together works pretty well for me, though I have more exposure to Korean than Japanese in music and dramas.  It's nice when I have a song that has a Korean and Japanese version.

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I am simultaneously learning Korean and Japanese, but in a very relaxed manner.  I do hear both languages in music and dramas almost every day and can distinguish the two by sound.  Learning them together works pretty well for me, though I have more exposure to Korean than Japanese in music and dramas.  It's nice when I have a song that has a Korean and Japanese version.

Do you know www.hangukdrama.com? It's a blog exactly about Korean and Japanese. And Shana, the owner, is REALY great girl. I don't learn these languages but sometimes I read her posts anyway.

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Do any of you study multiple languages? I am hesitant to begin studying a new language before mastering the current foreign language I am studying. I would like to become fluent in several languages and am frustrated with how long it takes. For those of you who have learned multiple languages at the same time, what did you do to become fluent? How did you allocate your study time?

I've always had that very same mentality with languages and that is why I haven't gotten very far with them :P  I know people who are learning several languages at once, and I honestly can't understand how they keep motivated and learning.  I personally think I'd get confused if I learnt several languages at once, that is not my cup of tea and some languages are very hard to learn already like for example the weird word order of dutch!

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I have already tried studying multiple languages such as Japanese and French. However, I have never became fluent in each one them. I just know basic greetings in both Japanese and French. Well, it really depends on a person whether studying multiple languages would work for him/her or not. As for me, I think I have to focus and master one language first before going to another one.

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I too wouldn't be keen on learning more than one language simultaneously, especially if the 2 languages in question are completely different. Maybe it could work say with Italian and French. I would become frustrated and probably lose interest.

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I have already tried studying multiple languages such as Japanese and French. However, I have never became fluent in each one them. I just know basic greetings in both Japanese and French. Well, it really depends on a person whether studying multiple languages would work for him/her or not. As for me, I think I have to focus and master one language first before going to another one.

I am the same way :)  I tried studying several languages at once when I was young and naive (18 or so) and that was when i found out that didn't really work for me. I'm not really good at multitasking in general, let alone when it comes to learning languages.  For me it's better to only focus in one language (which is hard enough since i suffer from ADD).

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Not me. I'm the kind of person who prefers focusing on one language at a time - it's very time consuming, but I'm afraid that learning multiple languages at the same time would just screw everything up and I'd be putting a tremendous amount of effort for an ineffective way of studying, just because I'm trying to save some time. But hats off to those who could.

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I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but I just can't get my head around learning multiple languages simultaneously. The one thing I wanted to mention is that I feel that the quality of the languages learnt would almost certainly be compromised. I feel strongly that doing this would probably be possible if someone already had some knowledge of their chosen languages, if they already had the basics onto which to build their skills, maybe, just maybe it would be possible.

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I am actually studying two local languages at the moment. One is a very unique language from Mindanao, an island in the Philippines which is a cross between Spanish, Visayan and tagalog and is often referred to as broken Spanish. Another language that I am learning at this point in time is Maguindanao, another one of the many local and unique languages of the Philippines. It has lots of new and weird words but there are also tagalog and visayan words in between. I am learning these two courtesy of my girlfriend who was kind enough to teach me first hand because she knows the two languages quite well and maybe considered a native speaker.

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For me, I highly discourage studying multiple languages all at once.  I always prefer to take one language at at ime, as focusing on more than one language will result in me losing interest in both.  I don't mind learning multiple languages as long as they involve the basics, but if I really want to achieve some fluency, I have to concentrate on just one specific language.  Language multitasking is not worth it.

Edited by AExAVF

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@ Filipe....OMG I don't believe you're learning some of the languages that I consider the most difficult alongside each other! I can only take my hat off to you!  I wish i had your courage LOL

Edited by lushlala
spelling correction

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I faced the exact same problem as you - languagelover.

I tried studying and juggling two at the same time but it went horrible for me...But then one day I met one polyglot. The first and so far only guy who knew so many languages - he's at 8 languages? Not sure if all of them are native speaker level but he is fluent in all of them I think.

As luck would have it he knew all the languages I was (am) interested in learning. So I asked him to give me some tips. I had to ease his mind first; that my interests were purely, academical(?) and that my enthusiasm was related to the languages he is able to speak. After he understood that I am indeed not trying to pick him up he shared some of his strategies with me.

So let me share the love and share some it with you here (for the sake of the example let's say you are trying to study 2 languages(L)):

1. You can study one L one week, and the next week the other L

2. As you get used to learning two Ls at the same time you can start learning one on one day and the other the next day

3. Ultimately you study both the same day. One in the morning the other in the afternoon...or however you want really...just make sure you have at least 2 hour break in between!

This will train your brain in being able to switch between the languages. You won't be as confused then and Spanish words won't be popping up when trying to speak Italian for instance.

Oh one other thing. Make sure you don't translate in between the languages during your studies. Have one master language. Here is what I mean:

I'm studying Japanese and Chinese. I'm fluent in English.

When I learn a new J word and I note it down then I will write English translation for it not C. If I did not do this I might have issues with misspellings. Like writing J word with C characters.

This is more of an issue if the languages are very similar to each other. So it depends on what you are going to study. Still it's a good habit to get into!

Hope this was useful info for you!

Richard

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For me, I highly discourage studying multiple languages all at once.  I always prefer to take one language at at ime, as focusing on more than one language will result in me losing interest in both.  I don't mind learning multiple languages as long as they involve the basics, but if I really want to achieve some fluency, I have to concentrate on just one specific language.  Language multitasking is not worth it.

I agree with you. I know a guy who is learning several languages at once, and he doesn't seem to show that much fluency in any of the many languages he has learnt... even English!  His knowledge seems so shallow, I think he is the best example of why taking on several languages is a bad idea.  You just can't reach an optimal level of fluency if you are taking on 4 or 5 languages at the same time, unless you are a true language learning genius. 

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I haven't tried this approach of learning multiple languages at the same time. I've always been OC and organised so I don't think learning two languages at the same time will work for me. It will just hinder my learning or make me confused. I am very driven but very obsessive. I have to finish one task before I jump unto another. It's just the way I am. If I am learning Korean, then it just has to be Korean. If it's Japanese, then it has just to be Japanese. I cannot master both at the same time.

 

Some people who are great at multi-tasking can do this though. There are people who easily get bored with just one language. So jumping from one language to another is a must for them. Again, personal preference is in the works here. Whatever works best for you, you decide on that!

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Some people who are great at multi-tasking can do this though. There are people who easily get bored with just one language. So jumping from one language to another is a must for them. Again, personal preference is in the works here. Whatever works best for you, you decide on that!

That's exactly my opinion on this.  :smile:

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I think it would depend on the languages being studied and the person.  Some find that studying two languages that are similar can help them learn.  Others feel it's good to learn two languages that are completely different.  I also have known people that have a hard enough time learning one language, let alone two! 

If you want to try multiple, then by all means, give it a shot.  But if it seems to be too confusing then maybe you should stick to one.

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I haven't tried studying multiple before, but I imagine that you would want to learn them at the same time. If you learnt one then another you might become less fluent in the first as you forget many things, especially if you don't speak it for ages. Allocating Study time for me, I just allocate an hour a day, however sometimes I just feel lazy and leave a day out.

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It can complicate things if the languages you are learning are very similar. If they are very different it might be easier not to mix the languages but at the same time that would mean that you have a larger amount of vocabulary you will have to learn. I personally have never done it, if I want to learn one language, I normally don't feel tempted to learn another language at the same time.

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I agree there are probably some people who can learn multiple languages simultaneously and do it effectively. BUT how many of those realistically exist? I bet it's a very negligible number, definitely the exception to the rule, not the norm.

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