Jump to content
Linguaholic

What do you think of those learning 5 languages at once?


Recommended Posts

I have met a lot people who are trying to learn as many languages as possible, all thanks to Speaky and other web sites to find language exchange buddy.  I've met kids as young as 15 years old who already speak 3 languages or more and are interested in learning many more! To be honest I don't see this as something odd at all, because I went through the same thing when I was 16-17 years old. 

I don't quite understand why I had that fascination with learning as many languages as possible. I guess I saw hoe english had opened so many doors for me, so I thought that by learning more languages more doors would open up for me. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wished I was able to speak several languages but learning five all at one time doesn't seem that cool to me. Maybe three the most since I didn't have a problem doing two. I just think anything over that would get me confused and I wouldn't like to be embarassed with combining the languages.

Link to post
Share on other sites

While I believe that to be a remarkable ability, I find that to be cheating the system. I believe that if you're going to be learning a language, you should figure out how the language works in relation to its culture and the history of how this specific language came to be. Especially if the language does not derive from Latin roots. For those who are learning more than one language at a time, you're not getting the full experience of the language(s) that you're learning!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think if someone wants to learn all the languages they can, then there isn't a number to be worried about as far as how many goes! The fact of the matter is that they've taken an interest in so many venues that could open up so much more about the world for them. Sure, in a few years they might calm it down to one or two languages as they find needs and so on, but learning as many languages as possible is wonderful and I would suggest it to anyone who can handle all that memorization and correct placement at the drop of a hat.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Scribendi: World-Class Editing and Proofreading

If it works for them, why not. I don't think I could do it, I would get confused between them. I learned French for 5 years at school, and after 4 of those years I took up Spanish, and it wasn't ideal. They were too similar, I constantly got them mixed up. French and Hebrew are a good combination for me right now because they are nothing alike, and I'm much more advanced in French. Maybe it wouldn't work so well if I was just starting out with both.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

That's really interesting. I find it hard to study 5 languages all at once. You don't get much benefit from spreading yourself too thin. I tried learning Korean and French around the same time. And I lost the will to continue with either. I think it was because I was also doing other things than that, and I got too busy and lost focus.

But that's just me, there are people intelligent enough or determined enough to learn different languages together at once. If there are people learning 5 languages all at once, then I'd like to know their secret and where(program/website) they're doing it.  :smile:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm I can believe young children learning 2, maybe 3 languages simultaneously. But a fully grown person taking on 5?! Wow, kudos to them. I personally couldn't do it, plus I just wouldn't be interested in doing it, anyway. I'd have to quit work and totally focus. I don't know how my brain would cope. I think it would just over complicate my learning process and even slow me down as I'd probably be confused. I think learning 2 together is already a lot LOL

Link to post
Share on other sites

As others users have mentioned, learning a lot of languages at the same time can hinder progression. It is impressive if you can pull it off but learning how clauses are put together, the correct pronunciation, the culture behind the language etc is time-consuming and requires a lot of studying and practice. More often than not, people learning lots of languages simultaneously will only be able to pick up on the basics of each language instead of deepening their understanding of a single language as a whole.

So I believe that if someone wants to really learn a language, they should study one language at a time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As others users have mentioned, learning a lot of languages at the same time can hinder progression. It is impressive if you can pull it off but learning how clauses are put together, the correct pronunciation, the culture behind the language etc is time-consuming and requires a lot of studying and practice. More often than not, people learning lots of languages simultaneously will only be able to pick up on the basics of each language instead of deepening their understanding of a single language as a whole.

So I believe that if someone wants to really learn a language, they should study one language at a time.

I've actually notice that when this guy uses english (not his mother language) he makes a lot mistakes I don't.  I blame it on the fact he is studying several languages at once and not taking proper care of learning the language properly.  As you said, I think most of the languages he knows are ''half-learnt'' and makes a lot mistakes!  He thinks he has mastered english, but not at all... he still needs to learn more words and learn more about slang.

Link to post
Share on other sites

While I believe that to be a remarkable ability, I find that to be cheating the system. I believe that if you're going to be learning a language, you should figure out how the language works in relation to its culture and the history of how this specific language came to be. Especially if the language does not derive from Latin roots. For those who are learning more than one language at a time, you're not getting the full experience of the language(s) that you're learning!

I feel the same way as you, plus I have noticed very few of those persons manage to dominate all those languages. This guy in particular, he speaks english and other languages, we both have spanish as our mother language.  But I see him still making some huge mistakes in english, he thinks he has dominated it, but is far from it.  If only he focused in only one language at a time, or only two at a time I think he'd have a greater progress :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

If it works for them, why not. I don't think I could do it, I would get confused between them. I learned French for 5 years at school, and after 4 of those years I took up Spanish, and it wasn't ideal. They were too similar, I constantly got them mixed up. French and Hebrew are a good combination for me right now because they are nothing alike, and I'm much more advanced in French. Maybe it wouldn't work so well if I was just starting out with both.

Hahaha, same here.  I've always feared to mix up the languages so badly, that is why I was so hesitant to learn a language like french, because it looks and sounds a lot like my own mother language.  For some reason that also put me off, didn't find that so cool at all!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Children have a greater desire to learn many things and acquire more knowledge, and this includes learning a language.  Also, it depends on what particular language the child desires to learn.  In my case, I still retain some basic Arabic phrases and greetings as well as vocabulary, despite the fact that I no longer wished to learn Arabic.  I just recently completed my basic Nihongo classes, but I still have problems with writing the kanji.  I also agree that learning too many languages, all at once, will be very difficult if not entire impossible.  A professor once told our class that it's better to have "more of less rather than less of more."  In short, don't try to be a jack-of-all-trades, but rather focus on your desired specialization/s.  This very well applies to languages - you can learn some or most of the available languages around the world, but you can't learn ALL of them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally would not want to but I do not mind if someone else wants to.  To me, if someone has the time and the desire then it is a good ambition.  I do not hinder myself in anything and I do not begrudge other people either.  If I was in a class and each of us only new one language, I would be tempted to learn a lot of languages all at once.  The human desire to communicate is strong and speaking to someone in their native tongue is very powerful and heart touching. :grin:

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

If they can actually follow through with it, that's definitely quite the accomplishment and I applaud them. However, if they're running around saying they know five languages when they only know three words of the language, that's another story... If it does work for them, I must say I'm jealous. I've tried to keep French and German going at the same time, but unfortunately I kept getting them mixed up whilst trying to learn them both at once. I had to drop French and pick up German, seeing as Canadian French isn't as useful in other countries. Learning more than one language fluently would be amazing for me, let alone five.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So far the people I have met who are learning several languages at once seem to have a very sallow knowledge of the language.  Very few of them can actually talk most of them fluently. Like this guy I know, he is learning god knows how many languages, but I have noticed he still makes a lot mistakes when using english,  he makes more mistakes with other languages he is learning.

This leads me to believe his bases are not solid enough.  Which makes me think trying to learn all those languages at once is not a good idea if you want a solid base.  Still I am not trying to diminish this guy's achievements, but it's obvious he should focus in just two or 3 languages at the time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally would not want to but I do not mind if someone else wants to.  To me, if someone has the time and the desire then it is a good ambition.  I do not hinder myself in anything and I do not begrudge other people either.  If I was in a class and each of us only new one language, I would be tempted to learn a lot of languages all at once.  The human desire to communicate is strong and speaking to someone in their native tongue is very powerful and heart touching. :grin:

You do well :D  I don't mind it either if someone wants to learn a lot languages, some of them actually are very successful, but others don't seem to have a very solid base in most of those languages.  I have noticed with some people, like this guy I know who is learning probably more than 6 languages at a time. He uses only the internet... he practices with people from all over the world on Skype :)

  A professor once told our class that it's better to have "more of less rather than less of more."  In short, don't try to be a jack-of-all-trades, but rather focus on your desired specialization/s.  This very well applies to languages - you can learn some or most of the available languages around the world, but you can't learn ALL of them.

I couldn't have said it better! It does feel like those people less of more!!!  This one guy who inspired this thread doesn't seem to have any solid base in those languages he has learned, not even english.  Is english is not all that bad, but is not good either, I mean, you can easily tell he is not a native... he makes mistakes not even the native speakers make, hehehe.  It's better to focus in just one or two languages max at a time... I have no idea how he has time to go to school, have a girlfriend and study those languages. i admire the guy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So far the people I have met who are learning several languages at once seem to have a very sallow knowledge of the language.  Very few of them can actually talk most of them fluently. Like this guy I know, he is learning god knows how many languages, but I have noticed he still makes a lot mistakes when using english,  he makes more mistakes with other languages he is learning.

This leads me to believe his bases are not solid enough.  Which makes me think trying to learn all those languages at once is not a good idea if you want a solid base.  Still I am not trying to diminish this guy's achievements, but it's obvious he should focus in just two or 3 languages at the time.

It's obviously difficult to achieve total fluency in any language. However, many of us aren't aiming for total fluency in our studied languages. As long as you can speak all of them well enough so native speakers can understand you and not think, "what an idiot", then you have achieved the goal of communication, which is ultimately the point of learning a new language. Fluency would be great, but we only have a limited amount of time and effort, and sometimes it's better to spread yourself thinner.

Link to post
Share on other sites

OMG there are people who can do that?! Wow, I can only take my hat off to them because quite frankly, there's no way I could do that. I mean, even just learning French on its own was hard enough for me LOL -and to think French is considered one of the easiest languages to learn! I would get confused and probably not learn much, my learning process would probably slow right down!

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's obviously difficult to achieve total fluency in any language. However, many of us aren't aiming for total fluency in our studied languages. As long as you can speak all of them well enough so native speakers can understand you and not think, "what an xxx", then you have achieved the goal of communication, which is ultimately the point of learning a new language. Fluency would be great, but we only have a limited amount of time and effort, and sometimes it's better to spread yourself thinner.

Talk for yourself ;)  My aim is to speak all the languages I learn with fluency, then what is the point? If you don't speak it with fluency you might make some huge mistakes, like a friend who didn't speak English fluently... he went to a cafeteria and tried to order something.  It went something like: ''I want a coffee black''.  The guy threw at him a death stare... I clarified my friend wasn't fluent in English, so he got the order wrong.  Then the guy just laughed... that could have escalated quick, you know?

Sometimes little mistakes like that make a huge difference... if you don't have time and you just learn languages as a hobby (like this other guy I was talking about does) then why not take the time to focus in just one language and polish it til near perfection?  Makes more sense to me, but then again we all are different and see things differently.  I personally see no point in half learning a language without becoming fluent...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Learning 5 languages at a time seems seems very challenging. Maybe some people can manage it, but I don't know if I could! I think that if you're learning 5 languages at once you may not be able to achieve full fluency in the language, and if I'm learning languages, that's really my aim. I'm finding it pretty hard to manage French and German at the same time, forget taking on three more new languages!

Link to post
Share on other sites

turtledove, this is what makes me nervous about that! I would probably end up learning the basics to all the languages and be stuck at that level and not be able to progress beyond that. That's why I admire anyone who's able to do it, if they're not a young child. I say kudos to them :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I say if you want to do it, and think you have the time, then go for it! I am currently studying 4 languages, although I started hem all at different times, so I'm at different levels in them all. I will most likely add a fifth (and sixth, and seventh :P) at some time in the future, as the mood strikes me. But since I just added the fourth one very recently, it will probably be at least several months to a year before I add another....

Link to post
Share on other sites

I say if you want to do it, and think you have the time, then go for it! I am currently studying 4 languages, although I started hem all at different times, so I'm at different levels in them all. I will most likely add a fifth (and sixth, and seventh :P) at some time in the future, as the mood strikes me. But since I just added the fourth one very recently, it will probably be at least several months to a year before I add another....

Really?  What languages are you currently studying and how many can you speak fluently at this point of your life?  I'm just curious.  I'm not good at multi tasking, so I doubt I will be learning a new language anytime soon ;)  Other than dutch, but I must say I admire those studying several languages who also seem to find time to do other things as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Learning 5 languages at a time seems seems very challenging. Maybe some people can manage it, but I don't know if I could! I think that if you're learning 5 languages at once you may not be able to achieve full fluency in the language, and if I'm learning languages, that's really my aim. I'm finding it pretty hard to manage French and German at the same time, forget taking on three more new languages!

Yeah, same here.  I care too much about fluency, and that is why I'd never dare to learn 5 languages at once (or try to learn).  You just can't reach complete fluency on all those languages at same time, because if you study 5, then your least favorite language or the one you don't study as often or with the same enthusiasm ends up being the least fluent.  Not for me, I'm old fashioned and lime to focus in only one language.  I respect those learning 5 or more language at once though, no idea how they find the time to do anything else.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that taking on so many languages all at once would compromise some of them. I appreciate that there are people with a very high aptitude for languages, but I just feel that you'd be taking on way too much. You may end up disgruntled and demotivated to go on as progress would be seriously affected. You would seriously have to live, breathe, eat and sleep language learning, taking the fun out of it. For this reason, I wouldn't attempt it. The most I'd take on is maybe two, and no more.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...