Learning six languages simultaneously (well, sort of)

I will post every week to keep my motivation high.

I am using Lingq to learn Russian, Ukrainian, Dutch, Swedish, Catalan, and Romanian. I have been tracking my progress based on “known words”, as well as by judging my ability to converse and watch videos.

I speak, at least at a B2 level, French,. German, Spanish, and Italian. My Portuguese needs a lot of work but for that I mainly need to practice speaking, not reading.

For the last month I have been reading about 50000 words a week in Russian, 15000 in Dutch, and a few thousand in Swedish, Catalan, and Romanian. Ukrainian I only recently started.

My main goals right now are to

  1. get conversational in Russian and Dutch by putting in hours speaking and listening to youtube
  2. Improve my ability to read Swedish and Romanian until I don’t need to click so many words to see their translations.
  3. Get a basic grasp of Ukrainian and Catalan, and better differentiate them in my head from Russian and Spanish.

Good luck!
You can use a lot of my Russian podcasts from Beginners 1-2 to Advanced levels in the Russian library in Lingq.
Больших успехов!
Из моего опыта: я тоже изучаю 6 или 7 языков, но все равно приходится, по крайней мере, на месяц или два выделять один-два языка как главных, уделяя им 75% времени, а на все другие только 25%. Уделять всем языкам одинаковое внимание - менее эффективно, по моему мнению.


Very impressive! Where do you get the time to work so much on your languages?


Quarantine means not really having any other hobbies, I guess. Also keep in mind most of the study time is dedicated to only a couple of the six - the other four will advance very slowly.

Thank you Evgueny - I have done over 200 of your lessons already! I am focusing on Russian at the moment - most of the others are only a few minutes here and there.

Very impressive and inspiring. Good luck!

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Week 2 Update

Russian: I still cannot properly follow youtube videos or native-speed audio. With subtitles it is easier, but the words come by so fast that when a semi-unknown word appears, I don’t have time to decipher it before the speaker has gone on to the next sentence. Lingq’s accompanied texts, as well as generally slower talking speed, really makes it easier.

Ukrainian: I looked up the conjugation types and it is fortunately very similar to Russian. Besides that, I did only a bit of reading.

Dutch: Reading is fairly easy now, even for difficult texts. I did a lesson with an Italki tutor and constantly struggled to not used German words. Sort of like with Portuguese, i still don’t “have it”, i.e., I can’t reliably turn a thought into a sentence.

Swedish: Reading is slightly easier but I keep forgetting simple words I should have learned a while ago. Spoken Swedish is still a mystery to me.

Catalan: Even while only reading a bit, it is so similar to other languages that I catch on quickly. I went through verb conjugation this week.

Romanian: Very similar to Swedish, in that I still forget simple words. At some point I’ll have to switch focus to this one for a while to make real progress.


Week 4 Update

Reading Swedish and Romanian has become quite a bit easier. In Romanian I have a better grasp of the case system as well appending the determiner. In Sweden I am slowly digesting all the common words that are different than German or English. The more I read, the more the “new” words showing up tend to be words I recognize from one of those two aforementioned languages.

Reading in Russian and Ukrainian is difficult, as I have yet to build a wall between the two to differentiate them. Hopefully this summer I can speak a bit of Ukrainian and make sure it occupies a unique place in my mind.

Dutch is going well and at this point I can catch a decent amount of native-level audio without subtitles. Still not enough to watch without them, though.

Catalan reading has become quite a bit easier. I find it easier to distinguish from Spanish than Ukrainian from Russian.

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Very impressing, I wish you to reach your goals.

I struggle to focus too much on one language only, you’re able to read a lot in Russian. For me, after 20 minutes in German I’m already tired and I need to change with other stuff. But I’m working on it. I have to start counting how much I read per language every week too.

A long update after not posting for 8 months.

I have still been learning the languages though - just didn’t think to update this thread in a long long while.

I have improved my dutch a fair amount - I can follow well-spoken people talking about serious topics like politics or the pandenic, with a bit of help from subtitles to go from 90 to 100% comprehension.

I also improved my portuguese a fair amount - I can generally understand without subtitles, and can read very easily.

My german and spanish regressed a bit - Hopefully when the lockdown ends I can start finding more opportunities to use them.


Congratulations on your progress.
I’m sure you find lots of similarities between Dutch and German vocabulary. How much similarity do you find with English in Dutch?
You must find similarities between Spanish and Catalan, as well as Romanian. You don’t mention keeping up with Russian and Ukrainian. I’d think it could get confusing simultaneously studying languages that are too similar to each other – especially if there are a large number of “false friends”. What’s your experience in that regard?

I am amazed to see such learners like yourself who can tackle so many languages at the same time and not mixing up the sound system in your head for each language. Commendable job. On the other hand, to make some sort of noticeable progress in my target language which is German, I have to cut down on two languages that I already know and kind of functional (that is my native language Urdu and English that is my second language). I am totally devoted to learning German in order to see some sort of progress and I have done 1500 hours of active listening sure my listening ability has improved a lot but still I need to learn cover a huge sea out there and need more dedication and discipline. For me , I can not tackle so many languages at the same time. For me one language at a time. Seriously, you guys come from a different planet altogether. Anyways, awesome job!

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Modern, “hip” Dutch is increasingly similar to English. In general of course the two languages are quite similar.

I listen to a bit of Russian each day, but haven’t done any active work on it. I still need to better my grammar before I feel comfortable with the language - something I didn’t need to worry about with, say, Dutch.

Ukrainian has somewhat dropped off the map - I stopped reading it and hope to start again once my Russian is at a higher level.

Spanish and Catalan are so similar it is fairly easily to jump from one to the other and immediately start reading or listening. Speaking is hard - I should mention I am not actively practicing all of these languages with tutors. With a language like Catalan… I’ll need to pay someone at some point to help me when I decide to take that dive.

Even if your English is perfectly fluent, you may be at a slight disadvantage compared to a native speaker like me when learning another Germanic language… I get jealous when romance language natives jump really easily from Spanish to Italian to Portuguese…

How are you doing with your goals? I am considering adding a second language to break up the learning rhythem.