Could you Help me to Decide to Stop Learning 3 Languages?

Well, I’ve just got back from the hospital. I’ve spent almost 2 weeks hospitalised and I’ve just got back. I had a stroke.

Fortunately, my left part of the body wasn’t completely paralysed and I was able to regain part of the movement that allowed me to make the choice to continue my recovery at home.

That said, I was already doing some considerations before, and even more now.

I have a hard time to LET GO.

The project I had with my languages was already scrambled when I was forced to come back from England due to other health issues. But after few years I tried to readjust part of that project.

Then, in the last two years, I’ve realised that it wasn’t feasible anymore, and I’ve tried to readjust again.

I was been learning German, and I’had decided to maintain French, Spanish and English.

A few months ago, I realised that I wanted to bring my English language to a next level, and made it my working language as well. I entirely changed my previous premises. In this post I had already started to write about my willingness to improve my English writing.

Now, this new health issue came into play bringing with it new considerations.

I believe we only have a certain amount of mental “money” to spend, and I need to focus on what is really important for the next years.

The problem is that I have a hard time to let go on the other 3 languages.

I only do the minimum in these period, like 10/15’ for each language per day, but for German, I have already considered that it is too slow. For the other languages could be ok.

The problem is that:

  • it’s still 45’ per day that I don’t spend in English
  • it’s mental energy/money that I have to use for something else that probably won’t be useful anymore in the future

That said, I still have a hard time to unplug. I have become a slave of the streaks. Keeping up with the German streak for 1383 days, and the other 3 languages streaks for 371 days.

I can clearly say that I’m able to keep my streaks going, even with only an iPhone and without having the left hand working, admitted with a red code at the emergency hospital, and spending 2 weeks hospitalised.

But on the other hand, it sucks to let go, because I will lose German first, as it is not solid yet, and I will give up in increasing my French and Spanish input.
It’s not that I don’t like spending that time with those languages, it’s just that it doesn’t make sense anymore. Or I don’t have enough energy to do everything.

I cannot foreseen the future, and I’ll never know if I will need those languages anymore, but with this logic there is no growth.

It’s a hard decision.

Could you give me some of your thoughts? All the reasons to let go? Or don’t?

I appreciate it.


I’m so sorry to hear what you’ve been going through! I hope you continue to make good recoveries.

Is there a language that you particularly enjoy listening to? It depends of course on individuals and their style of conversation, but I often find myself drawn to certain languages because of melody. It’s fun to listen to people even when I don’t fully understand what they are saying. Since I have no real need to learn languages, I just focus on languages that bring me the most joy.


Sorry to hear of your problems and I hope life improves.

I suppose it depends on your energy levels and free time. If you have the energy, and can set aside an hour or two, then why not maintain three languages by listening to enjoyable content? At present I listen to podcasts and watch films in French which is hardly work. It is more an extension of my spare time. At some stage I will have to be more focussed, but that’s not your worry of course. German is a bit more like work because my level is low. They do say that mental exercise is important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and slowing aging. Exercise, such as gentle walking, if you can manage that, is also good for the brain and body.


Yes, the language I like the most is English, where I would like to focus all my energies. The problem I have is with the others. On the top of my own native language.


Well, that’s the problem: the energy.
I already have enjoyable content on all languages. The content is not the problem.

I consider spending at least 3 hours on English only. Actually, I think I would like to spend all day on English only.


It sounds like you have already decided to focus all the energy on English.
What keeps you from letting the other languages go? The fear of losing progress? Or the streak?
I personally find it not as relevant, just a number, but I can understand it can be an important factor.
I would let them go if, for example, when doing something in French, even for those 15 minutes/day, I could not concentrate 'cause they are not 15 minutes invested in English.
In my case, the language where I want to focus most of my energy is Japanese, but I still do something daily in English. Then I “mess up” with the other languages that are on my wishlist, but with no schedule or priority. I cannot imagine giving up on this approach, though.


I just logged in and saw your post. Haven’t had time to read the whole thing but I mean to come back and read and answer on-topic.

In the meantime I wanted to make sure you know I’m really sorry to hear about your stroke! I hope you recover well, and soon!


It’s a good question. I guess is part of our cognitive dissonances. The streak factor, the time already invested in all those languages, the fear to lose them, the “loss” on letting them go, the “reduced” overall skills.

On the other hand, I should focus a lot of energy on English. Time flies, and there are lots of things to do on a daily basis. Plus, of course, all the time dedicated to work, and the rest of the daily activities. :unamused:


I wish you a as good as possible recovery. Currently I’m studying Ukrainian/Indonesiean. I have reduced Indonesian to reviewing flahsh cards and doing some new texts from time to time. Issue I see with Indonesian I’m slowly loosing what I have learned as there is not enough practise. From my experience, 15 minutes on a langague is not enough. The more you study the more you revive what has been studied during the previous days. Here, with 15 minutes you will forget a lot. If you keep 45 minutes, it has to be for only one extra langague. About streaks sometime I break them to free myself. I may read outside of lingqs, study some grammer, watch some video.



Very smart strategy indeed!

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david, sorry to hear of your health issues. I wish you the best with all of that.

I think you will feel a huge sense of relief once you drop the streak. You’ve made it a year for 3 of the languages. That’s a great stopping point (of the streak). I’m nearing a year streak on German, and as soon as I get it, I’m going to break the streak and not worry about streaking anymore. The German one is quite impressive, but again…you’ve hit several years on that. Well done and then I say good riddance (to the streak). Like I said, I think you’ll feel tremendous freedom once that is over.

If English is the passion then definitely spend more time on that.

As for keeping up the other languages…I think breaking the streak may help with getting rid of the sense of obligation. I can’t say whether it is good to keep going with the others. Maybe stick with the German a bit longer, if you are enjoying it still. If you are not enjoying it and won’t likely use it then drop it. Same with the others. Maybe you could work it out so that several days you are working English only and then on one or more of the other days you could work on the other languages.


Thanks for the tips.

I guess, if I drop the streaks, I will also drop the languages. If I won’t feel the need to do them daily, I won’t probably do them for a long time. Scary thoughts :smile:


Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

I had a long several-year streak in Duolingo during the pandemic. Then they changed their platform and I was annoyed and decided to leave the platform in protest. (I found LingQ and italki as a result! :heart:)

Even though I was mad, it was hard to drop that streak! But after a few days and especially after finding LingQ, that feeling diminished and now I have no regrets at all.

I have made a point of ignoring streaks on LingQ because it just would cause me stress when life happened. I still use LingQ nearly every day and it is still possible to appreciate my progress with the cool stats LingQ collects.

To your concern about losing everything: I took French for 5 years in high school in the 1970s, achieving a reasonable but not fluent level, and then didn’t touch it or use it for decades. When I returned to it during the pandemic it felt like nothing was left, but after a month or two a lot came roaring back! And that old learning provides a firm foundation to this day. So maybe you can worry less about losing those languages you have worked hard at. I bet they will still be in there if you return to them later.


Davide, I wish you speedy and full recovery my friend.

I am also someone who also tends to cram more into my life than my health or sanity will permit. You already know the answer, you have to prioritize for you health. No language is worth sacrificing that.

As nicolas said, let the streaks go, you may forget some words or acquire some rust but you won’t lose it all. Those languages will return to you if you choose to pick them up again. You can spend some time with them as you have time to do it in a healthy way, but relieve yourself of the burden of maintaining the streak.

Cuídate amigo!


While you’re recovering, the idea is to do whatever is fun. Watch some fun YouTubes or movies with subtitles, in the languages that are easier for you. Mix them up a bit, and don’t be too focused on making progress. The mind needs to relax when the brain is healing. Whether you are healing from a medical condition, or simply tired, a bit of happiness and joy can go a long way.

I would have French and Spanish be my languages for movies and YouTubes for fun, with subtitles. Since English is my first language, I’d probably turn off the French or Spanish subtitles on English videos (unless I was really enjoying reading them.)

For German:
Try a little Max and Moritz for now, and call it good.

Or learn a few German poems by heart:


Der Lattenzaun

Take advantage of your recovery time to enjoy some lighter material!
This is an opportunity to learn the words to a few songs that you like, so you can sing them.

It’s fine to “park” a language for a while, and come back to it.
Like my mother the piano teacher used to say, “Learning takes place between practice sessions.”
Or like Russell Means said, “Our elders tell us that we can always come back to the altar.”

When I’m trying to reactivate a dormant language, I like to do 20 or 30 minutes on a single language,
You could pick a language that’s your theme for the day, and go with that.
But just enjoy the cultural and entertainment content for now.

When you’re ready for a challenging course of study again, you’ll know.


Just so you know, and I hope you take it as compliment, I’ve always assumed you were a native speaker.

Fooled me! :slight_smile:


I understand the feeling but I tend to forget a lot with things I don’t repeat or do constantly. I have already lost a lot with writing French and Spanish because it’s years that I don’t write them. I won’t lose the fluency of these two languages, but I wanted to increase my vocabulary and I will have to learn to let go.

My German instead is not solid at all and if I stop I will have to let it go completely.

And I always think that I don’t do anything, that’s never enough, that’s just the minimum. :rofl:

If I’m not focus on making progress, I won’t be interested in any activity a part from the English language.

Joy is a heavy word, it might be worth looking into it again.

Thank you, I’m very critical of myself but in the last period I’ve been learning to change. It’s working actually! However, I know the level I want to achieve, and I’ll get there.


You have your answer here-- you are enjoying the English language the most!

So take this time to watch comedies and fun material in English.

Watch a good video in French or Spanish once in a while, for fun. Subtitles in English if you like. The idea now is to enjoy yourself!

Learn the German poem about the “Lattenzaun”, and read it out loud. The poem is about a picket fence who had an unfortunate meeting with an architect. Saying it out loud is very satisfying, and will give you a sense of achievement.


I don’t really have any problem with material in English. I read and listen to a ton of stuff in this language.

I have nothing for fun in all other languages. I do them for the languages per se, but I’m not interested in consuming specific material coming from those languages. In fact, I read now books I like, that are translated in those languages, otherwise I would read them in English.


Still didn’t get time to read through the thread, my apologies. But I broke my Chinese streak at 365 days today - which seemed like an appropriate end point for that particular streak. Will probably get another streak going soon-ish, but it’s really not bad to free yourself from the chore once in a while. Can always come back to it later!