Starting learning a new language while still practicing an other one

So… right now I know 3 languages: Hebrew- mother tongue, English- high, Spanish- medium. I am interested in learning my fourth which will be Italian, targeting to a low-medium level. By that I mean to be able to have a conversation about anything with a relatively short vocabulary, a few mistakes, and some pauses to think. The dilemma is that given that I still want to practice my Spanish, I am afraid that starting Italian will negatively affect my other languages and that I will get confused between them or even forget them, concerning especially regarding my weakest one (Spanish), which is also similar to Italian (same romance family).

  1. What do you guys think about it?
  2. In case I should go for it nonetheless, plus I still want to practice my Spanish parallelly- is it better to practice each one separately on different days/weeks, just to not get confused with them both? and what is the recommended ratio of time i should place on each one? i guess it is not 50:50.

Thanks a lot !!! :slight_smile:

I believe most polyglots recommend learning one language at a time until you reach this B2 level (high intermediate).

With that in mind, it really depends on how good your Spanish is at the moment whether you should start Italian, and what your motivations for having both languages are.

I wouldn’t worry about Italian negatively affecting your Spanish, if anything it will boost your Spanish comprehension because the basic grammar in both languages is very similar, and perhaps when you go back to Spanish you will notice that it is easier.

If you’re wanting to learn two languages at a time, I would recommend doing Italian for 80% of the time, and Spanish for 20%. You probably will confuse them if your Spanish isn’t at that solid B1/B2 level yet, but with time they will separate in your brain.

Good luck.

1: You can. I study Russian and Serbian and they’re related. It works just fine. Although I recommend not trying a new language while you are still studying the grammar of Spanish because grammar study in my experience is the most tiresome activity.

2: I practice both daily because frequency is the key when learning languages. Granted, my Serbian vocabulary is much smaller so I prioritize that language, trying to read as much as possible about Kim Jong Un’s antics and whatever else interests me in the news every day. I wouldn’t get hung up on the ratio of time spent on each language. It simply boils down to how quickly you want to improve and only you can decide that. But of course you have to get your work relating to Italian done every day as far as it’s feasible to keep improving. As for confusing languages I don’t do that too much. I imagine you could get the personal pronouns and word endings confused if you started Italian before you truly knew the Spanish ones but disregarding that I believe you learn from making mistakes. If you still have major problems with the basics of Spanish I suggest you wait a while to avoid confusing them.

Right now i am in the high B1 in Spanish. I want to work on it a bit more and than starting working hard on Italian, aiming A2.
You helped me a lot, thank you both so much!