When should I add another language?

Hey, so I’ve been learning Spanish for a couple of years and lately I’ve been thinking about adding Japanese as a 3rd language.

However, I want to continue to maintain and slowly improve my Spanish though whilst putting most of my effort into Japanese.

My Spanish level is B1 and my goal is to be B2. I find that C1 and C2 are great, but excessive for me in my opinion. Everyone also has their own definition of fluency, but for me B2 is fluent. If you’ve read the blog post “Levels of Language Proficiency: What Is Fluency? - The Linguist” I basically agree with what is said about fluency.

With that being said, do you think it’s a good idea for me to start studying Japanese while maintaining and slowly improving my Spanish over time? Or should I continue to mainly focus on Spanish until I reach B2 then add Japanese?

How much time do you think would be sufficient for maintaining Spanish but slowly improving it until it’s B2? Example: 30 minutes of reading Spanish, and 1 hour of listening each day until it eventually gets to B2.

I don’t want to abandon Spanish, I just want to know if it’s the right time to add another language while decreasing the study time for Spanish.

I’ve heard it’s a good idea to be strong in the language you are focused on before moving onto the next one so it’s easier to maintain. Would B1 in Spanish be considered strong enough to add Japanese?

What do you think is best?

Please let me know what you think, I am willing to hear what others think about this. Thanks!

I am right where you are for Spanish. I added Italian a couple months ago. I spend the same amount of time on Spanish that I did before and I am slowly increasing my time on Italian. If your comfortable with what your doing and what you know in Spanish go ahead and add another language. When I reach a comfortable level with Italian I plan on adding Korean.

Yes, I think B1 is certainly strong enough for you to add another language. In terms of maintaining your Spanish I’d advice you to find a fun activity that you can do as a way of relaxing when your Japanese studies become to intense.

One way could be to watch Spanish TV, RTVE has lots of programming and they should be without any geo restrictions. The good thing about their shows is that they do have Spanish subtitles. Whether or not watching TV shows at B1 with Spanish subtitles is a fun activity that is of course another matter.

Anyway, one TV show that I really enjoy is Cuentame como paso. The first 8-10 seasons are really good although as the show goes on it does jump the shark a bit.

Edit: In terms of time it’s hard for me to give any sort of estimation. But in my experience watching TV has the benefit of being a fairly effortless activity if you are at a certain level.

Cuéntame cómo pasó - Temporada 20 - Capítulo 16 | Ver serie gratis

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I think that if you’re at a B1 level now, and you continue to read for 30 minutes and listen for 1 hour each day, you can reasonably reach B2 in 6 months- 1 year more, at least in terms of comprehension. To speak at a B2 you might need to find opportunities to talk somehow for a few dozen hours

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I think it’s better to move onto a new language only after your current language is useful and conversational.

I believe so because in my view you’re starting to get ROI from the language only at an advanced level. People stay with half-baked languages for years, not having anything in return - no fun conversations, no business-negotiations, no TV-series and books.

So it is in your best interest to go through initial phases as quickly as possible. Starting the next language will certainly delay you, and often it is equal to giving up altogether.

I’d continue to invest in Spanish, and once you are comfortable speaking and reading - add Japanese. And do that using Spanish for translations.


That’s awesome, good luck on your language learning journeys!

Thanks for your thoughts. I really enjoy reading the news in Spanish or listening to Youtubers. I also bookmarked your suggestion!

Do you think it’s better for me to focus 100% on Spanish until I get it to B2?

Yes I’ve been really enjoying Spanish lately, but at the same time I’m eager to add another language because I love languages. Perhaps I’ll just have to focus 100% on improving my Spanish until I get it to B2. Then focus 20% on it after B2, and 80% on Japanese. Or even try to learn Japanese through Spanish like you suggested.

I completely agree, I have been learning languages here at lingQ for a long time now. However I have spread out my time across multiple languages leading me to not really getting a great return on my investment. My Hebrew would have been so good by now, if I didn’t start others languages. But its okay, I have had a lot of fun along the way. I would recommend staying with Spanish.

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I see, yeah it can be tempting to try other languages in the process of already learning one, especially if you have a thing for multiple languages. I’m glad you had fun though along the way and goodluck as you continue to strive with Hebrew! I want to one day learn it haha.

I would say you would reach B2 faster if you only focused on Spanish, but it can be done either way. Whatever you feel motivated to do is best ultimately.

I have been working on Spanish for a long time and I am “ready” in my head to move onto to French or Russian (probably French) since I comfortably hit B2 a while ago. However, I’m working on a few other “finish line” metrics that I selected beforehand that I said I wanted to meet before officially switching and spending 20% of my time (when I do language stuff/get into that mood) in Spanish and 80% in the new language. For your situation, you’ll have to go with what you are actually motivated by and okay with doing. And I think you’ll be fine either way. However, if you really want to hit B2, my personal suggestion is that you stick with your Spanish and do that first. Then, you can move on


I think as far as reading goes, there are three levels and you could have multiple languages going at the same time depending on which stage they are at.

Stage 1: Absolute beginner… Just getting to a few hundred words sounds like a huge achievement. You struggle to even get the meaning of sentences.

Stage 2: Sentences make sense but you have many thousands of words to learn before even getting to B2. Reading still takes effort but things are moving along smoothly.

Stage 3: Reading is effortless. You can actually enjoy reading for fun without it feeling like studying.

I think anyone can have a language at each level without a problem. I’m guessing your Spanish is probably stage 3 by now and you could easily add Japanese. I think when someone reaches stage 3, they shouid do more focusing on listening than reading anyways,
but continuing to add vocabulary through reading.

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