What are your experiences in learning more than one language at a time?

I’m considering adding another language, but I’m worried about getting confused and mixing the two together. I have roughly the same comprehension level in both Italian and French, which is to say, not a whole lot.
I’m curious about other people’s experiences when learning more than one language.

I believe that as long as the languages are different its ok, or you have one language that is considerably better than the other, for example, my German level was intermediate one, still is, when I started Spanish so I don’ t get confused between the two due to the difference in level and they are easily recognised as different when you hear them, also I did a little Chinese (basic greetings) at the start of my Spanish studies and that didn’t confuse me due to the fact that the languages are completely different, I hope this helps

I dabble in six languages without any problems related to input. As to output: at first I used to speak French to my Spanish tutor, especially if I had had a French conversation shortly before. That has now settled and French and Spanish have their own little space in my little brain.

I wondered about that, whether French and Italian are too close and that might mix me up. Still, it’s good to know that it’s doable. I think once my Italian improves a bit I’m going to go for it!

Sanne, SIX languages!!!??? That’s great! It’s encouraging to know that after a while the languages sorted themselves out, even if they were muddled at the start.

Thanks both of you!

I’m also juggling half a dozen languages, three here at LingQ (German, Russian and Mandarin), and a couple of others on the side (Spanish, French, Esperanto… plus a few others on a very sporadical basis).

Jeff, how does your daily/weekly language learning schedule look. Are you learning or maintaining?

Learning/maintaining/forgetting… The schedule is pretty much identical each day (for my LingQ languages):

1 I save LingQs while listening to and reading the same lesson, usually I save ~15 LingQs (if I don’t find that I can manage to save them within the first 30 minutes during which I’m listening). Unless all (I mean ALL) words have been saved by people before me, it’ll take forever to save 50-60 (and more) LingQs in one sitting. I have the audio on repeat for that half hour. If the text is particularly long (and thus has more words than I feel I have the time to save in one go), I get back to it the day after, and the day after that etc.

2 I have a quick look at the words I’ve just saved, and see if there is any word I should upgrade to level 2 (in some cases I want to save a word although it’s already somewhat familiar, hence the minor upgrade). I leave the rest to the Daily LingQs email.

3 I listen for another half hour/hour throughout the day (per language).

I have a Swedish-German language exchange partner here in town, but occasionally I write or talk to a tutor (mainly German). I also read and listen a lot outside LingQ.

Although I don’t always feel that I’m getting anywhere with (mainly) Russian and Mandarin, I don’t want to “give up”, because I’ve already done that with German a couple of times since the mid-90s. I’m not in a hurry. All in good time.

I also employ the (in-)famous L-R method for Spanish, French, German and Chinese. No Russian yet, but the day has only 24 hours…

Those of you who are learning multiple languages, do you study more than one language per day or do you study one language one day and another language on the next day?

Lyco, I spread my three out like this, first I separate them into 2 categories, majors and minors.
My majors are German (intermediate) and Spanish (beginner)
My minors are Chinese (very low beginner) and when its added at LingQ I am going to start learning czech.
Ok so here’s how I do it, four languages at the same time is hard, especially when 3 of them are at similar levels, every day I study a major intensively, the other major minorly and then a minor, for example:

Monday: Major = Spanish, read and listen to articles on LingQ whilst creating lingQ’s for 30 minutes, listen to spanish dialogues for 30 minutes, speak with a tutor for 15 minutes a day, write 120 words in my spanish diary. This takes up 1 hour and 30 minutes in total, then I will read some German for 20 minutes (other major), then I will spend 30-45 minutes on chinese, LingQing words and practising writing the characters, on tuesday I would switch Spanish and German around and switch Chinese for Czech, so I study both majors every day, but one more than the other.

I hope this helps

Signed the aspiring polyglot Harry :slight_smile:

I study a lot of languages and whenever I feel like it :smiley: And I think too much of a strict schedule is not good… it’ll ALWAYS get boring, or at least not different or challenging enough, no matter how much you like languages. I feel like the most important thing to remember everything I learn is that it is all fun, and I have a habit of studying enough cause it’s fun (but NOT a necessity, just a good habit), and I can study more whenever I want… But there’s no pressure, and if I want I can take a break but usually I won’t do that.

I grew up speaking English and Tagalog. I started learning Japanese in high school. When I started learning Chinese, I was able to engage in simple Japanese conversation, my level was probably lower-intermediate…I was learning Japanese and Chinese at school so everything was structured and paced so I felt it was easy. However when I finished my degree I was pretty much on my own and both my Japanese and Chinese proficiency was pretty high. My listening and reading comprehension is still improving but I feel my speaking and writing has plateaude. The trick is to be patient and try to have as much input from all the languages you are studying everyday.

I think the best way to avoid “confusing” languages is my getting used to the pronunciation of words. I can’t speak for French and Spanish as I haven’t studied either but in the case of Japanese and Mandarin the two sound completely different, even the cognates.

Thanks everyone. I am now officially inspired! It’s really helpful to read about your experiences. It’s also nice to see such a supportive community here!

I think you should give it a go. I’m learning Italian here and I dabble in French (though that’s mostly because I love French music and want to figure out what the songs I’m listening to are going on about) and I think they reinforce each other well. The grammar is pretty similar, so a lot of what you learn structurally in one can be applied to the other. And for me, at least, they sound different enough that I don’t get them confused.

The caveat is that I started with Italian and then branched out into other romance languages after my comprehension was fairly good, so I don’t know how it would be to learn both at the same time essentially from scratch.

That’s a positive way of looking at it, that one language will reinforce the other. Being from Canada I see and hear a lot of French, and I learned French in school, although I lost most of it over the years. But now my daughter is in French Immersion school and I’m finding it coming back to me, slowly, as I help her with her homework.

So I guess I’m already learning French, just more by osmosis. I may as well start to study it. Pretty soon my daughter will surpass me!