I´m studying several subjects (especially math, history and biology) in order to get a fancier high school diploma. There´s basically four levels in Germany, I got level 2 as a teenager in Germany, a level 3 equivalent as an adult in Canada and now I´m studying for level 4.
I was wondering if studying the same things in multiple languages would be beneficial or counter-productive.
There´s more resources in English, but I´ve noticed that I don´t know the German translations of English words that I´ve been using for years. That´d be an issue when I have to pass exams in German.
Then again, knowing 2 different words that mean the same thing makes it easier to recall both of them, right?
Does anyone have interesting research or personal experiences?That´d be amazing^^
Yes, of course, I think this is an issue for anyone interested in learning a topic in depth who also happens to like languages. In general, I think it’s definitely beneficial to study something you find interesting in more than one language! You’ll be practicing languages, you’ll double your exposure (as you indicated) you automatically find “compelling” content for reading and practicing languages and you increase the opportunities to find relevant, clearly-explained material.
I do that all the time for every topic I like and there are plenty of them! Recent personal examples are inline skating (I watch all videos I can find in all languages I’m interested in) and machine learning.
Of course, chances are that your vocabulary in one language will be better than in another in a given moment.
Notice that you wouldn’t find that problematic at all if it happened the other way around: if you had learned a lot of, say, maths in Germany and you found that there are some technical terms you lack in English (say you don’t know that “der Körper der reellen Zahlen” translates as "the field of real numbers) you’d consider that as a language issue, you may want to increase your English mathematical vocabulary by reading, flashcarding, etc.
However, if the opposite case happens, i.e. you find that you lack technical vocabulary in your native language that you do know in, say, English, it feels awkward and you may doubt whether you’re getting something wrong.
My advice would be: “Don’t think so!”. This is a very real, concrete example of something we knew all along: You never really master a language, not even your native tongue! I consider it one of the special experiences and privileges of a polyglot to become a learner of your own mother tongue! Learn the topic in several languages, maybe more in English if there’s more material in that language and, as you see fit, go back and learn the German terms, as a (very advanced) German learner and enjoy this brand-new polyglot experience.
P.S. Once again, I elaborated my reply maybe more than necessary?? I know long replies irritate you. Feel free to skip mine
Anyway, interesting question!
“I know long replies irritate you. Feel free to skip mine :p”
Anyway… that was an interesting response, thanks
Don’t you remember? We had a conversation about that when I was new at Lingq, one year and a half ago. Anyway, I was just kidding.