Learning two languages at once - how to learn the one that's not a priority?

Hello everyone! I am Beginner 1 at French and I decided that it would be my main language, but I also want to improve my English as much as I can. I’m Intermediate 2 - Advanced 1 level. How much time should I spend on English and what should I do then (besides talking to tutors and watching English language movies without subtitles)?

It is NO ONE method, it depends on the person and sometimes on the language.
If you have not so much time, it would be better to learn one language.
If you have a lot of time and a good memory you can study even 3-4 languages at the same time.
But I believe that all these languages would be better to have in different levels, not all - at the level Beginner 1, otherwise you can sometimes confuse the words from different languages.


Your English seems to be pretty good, so I think you should just focus on French and use English occasionally. English has a lot of French loanwords, so learning French will increase your English vocabulary and make it easier to remember the English words you already know.

The English word “survive” (for example) is derived from the French word “survivre”. Knowing the English word will make it easier to remember the French word and vice-versa, while knowing “preživeti” might not help you remember either of them.

Steve Kaufmann says he does not like to study two languages at once. His latest video on this topic is here:

YouTube multilinguist Deka Glossai suggests you can study a third language by using a second language. His video is here:

Deka (and others) call this method of studying a third foreign language by means of a second foreign language ‘triangulation’ (bad term in my opinion). Steve Kaufmann responds to this idea here:

The topic comes up rather frequently here in the LingQ forums.

Judging by your own self evaluation, I don’t think your English is good enough yet to use it for studying French (but I could be wrong, and I usually am).

I myself have studied two foreign languages at the same time. I spend about an hour a day on each language. I have never tried to study one language by using another. But Deka Glossai gives some very good reasons to try it.

I’m learning French by using English on LingQ because it is more practical and those words in French that I lingq are very common and simple in English. I also use explanations in English for English words that I don’t understand. Thank you for your answers!

I would probably try to keep the two learning processes separate for the most part, but you can have a look at Tatoeba.org which can give you a comparison of English and French sentences (also a lot of other languages). You might find some sentences that would be appropriate for both languages but you can also use it separately for advanced English and elementary French. The big advantage of this site is that these translations are usually written with the proper idiomatic flavor of the language you want to learn. For most languages, sentences are largely, but not exclusively, written by native speakers. The English sentences I’ve read appear always to be written by native speakers. In my opinion, the English sentences have both correct and natural usage. Not sure about French, but I imagine the same as English – that is, you will get good sentences from natives who care about good sentences.

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Deka Glossai taped another video about learning multiple languages at once:

It runs 11:15 minutes.

I haven’t watched all the videos yet, but my resolution is to only learn English on LingQ for about 2 hours before I talk to a tutor, and I talk to them 2 times a week usually.