Any suggestions to stop bouncing around multiple languages?

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one but I hop back and forth between different languages a lot. From French to Russian to Japanese and so on. Does anyone have a method to focus on one or two languages a least? I already try pulling two languages from a hat (Russian and Spanish) and out of nowhere I’m doing Portuguese later in the day after doing the LingQ lesson of the other two. My motivation to learn is strong although the self-discipline department is lacking.

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I have realized that most successful polyglots avoid starting two languages from scratch, not to mention more. Their approach is to reach at least B1 and only then start a new one. For each subsequent language you need to create new pathways in your brain and this requires so much energy and time. So even I have been tempted A LOT to start a new language, I’m following that rule and just dreaming of the future :slight_smile:
Also, in my opinion the trick is to meticulously select such a language that you really enjoy.


choose the oneyou have the most affinity for and block out the rest until you get a good level at it i know it’s difficult they are acouple if languages i really want to learn too ,but it’s better knowing one language very well than knowing a lot not so well

In my experience, it all comes down to the reasons you have to learn the language.
We, language enthusiasts become interested in many languages. I think there’s a huge difference in motivation when you’re interested in the features of the language (grammar, family, relationship to languages we already know, how cool or exotic the language is, etc.) as opposed to when you’re interested in particular contents or activities you want to be able to do in the language (talking with people you’d like to get to know better, reading books or watching moves you’re very interested in, living in the country where the language is spoken, etc.)
Let’s call the first kind of motivation “language motivation” and the second “content motivation”.
Well, in my opinion language motivation is very weak. It hardly can keep you focused during the extended period it takes to really get fluent in the language. It is all right in order to know about the language, but usually not enough to actually master it . There are many languages that I have learned something about, out of interest for the language (basque, modern Greek, Mandarin, Japanese, …) but I entertain no illusions that I will go on to learn them any time soon, not until I get interested in some specific content, etc. That certainty helps me stay focused on the language (no plural, in my case) that I really want to learn at the moment.
Those who focus on learning based on “language motivation” tend to wander from one to another or just lose focus after a while.
I think there are only two exceptions to the rule that you only learn languages when you have “content motivation”:
a) When you have a lot of free time in your hands, it sometimes happen when you’re a student, for example (or if you’re in prison or unemployed, …)
b) When you are learning the language “professionally”, that is, you’re either paid to learn it (you’re in the foreign service, have a grant, …) or you’re a semi-professional polyglot, the kind that have popular youtube channels or sell methods, etc. Even in that case, I think the best polyglots go out of your way to get interested in specific content in order to keep the motivation. I’m under the impression that this is what Steve does, focusing on reading Tolstoy when he’s learning Russian, understanding the Ukrainian crisis from the perspective of both sides, and so on. He may like to comment on this point.

So my advice would be:
Find something you really like to do (visiting a place, reading literature, watching movies, getting to know some specific interesting people, maybe have an affair?, …) and choose your language according to that goal. That is your main language at this moment, focus on those goals. All other languages are languages that you want to know about, not really learn/master. Keep that difference clear in your mind.

That is the soul of the polyglot who is been gotten attracted by different languages from the beauty of romantic Spanish and French to the serious of Russian to the curiosity of Japanese. All you need to do is just two things, one of them is focusing in reading and listening in Russian or Spanish and write the topics of the grammar of other languages that blow your mind and every day read and listen to your target language and read a part of grammar of the other languages or watch video about them.
Now you can focus in one language and irrigate your curiosity of the others until you finish the target languages to hit the others.
Good luck.


Well, I’m the same as you – I can’t stick to one language at a time, no matter what - no matter how hard I try, am motivated, passionate, informed or how interesting the material is. Even keeping myself thoroughly busy if possible with one language doesn’t work. I’ve been bouncing around over 3 years, so all the sensible advice doesn’t work for me :slight_smile:

Accepting myself for the way I am, I’ve tried a new tactic. I joined the March French Challenge (3 weeks late) AND the April Polish Challenge (because one Challenge doesn’t work) – and haven’t missed a day. A first for me. Even with Japanese and Mandarin beckoning, trying to seduce me.

I make sure every day to make enough LingQs to keep my flames hot and my streaks going (currently 17+ for French and 8+ for Polish). Who said gamification doesn’t work? :)~
[Edit: Now 26+ & 17+ streak days]

Aside from the beginner stuff, I’ve imported dramatised book chapters into LingQ. I use laptop and iPad, and both Chrome and the LingQ App when using iPad.

Then there’s the Challenge listening stats, which I usually do from a playlist via Bluetooth headphones whilst doing chores (because there’s only so many times one can listen to the same lesson).

To avoid ‘too much’ LingQ, I work offline with Michel Thomas or Pimsleur for both languages, or a beginner book – but only after I meet my LingQ stats for the day.

Oh, and I made a commitment to myself to see French and Polish through to at least the end of the year – so if anyone sees me poking around another language, please kick me up the backside, pronto :slight_smile:

Good luck.


I don’t intend to start my second language until after 4 more years (total of 5 on lingQ). When I was A2 low B1 I was really tempted to start another, but the more I got to know my first target language the more I wanted to focus solely on it. So I think if you give it a little time you will reach a point where your main target language is able to hold your attention. I think it is extremely important to keep challenging yourself with more advanced content, i.e native novels, podcast, movies etc. For example my first book was Steve Kaufmann’s biography here on LingQ, then a dual language book of short stories, then a YA english novel translated to Spanish (Ready Player One) and then finally a spanish language science fiction novel (11,4 Sueños Luz). Listening has also taken a similar trajectory. All along the way I am constantly being challenged, surprised, and rewarded. If you are wanting to stray to another language it is likely that you’re not getting those things. Personally I feel that if I’m no longer being challenged I’m either doing it wrong or I’m at C1-C2 and ready to start language 2.

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