Difficulty Choosing Another Language to Learn

tUdAGlaR us United States

Hey, I've been learning Spanish for a while, but lately I've had a strong urge to learn a 3rd language. I keep going through lists of different languages to find the one the interests me the most. So far the languages that are interesting me the most are German, Russian, Hebrew, and Japanese. Out of those 4 languages though, Japanese interests me the most. The only thing that pushes me away is the difficulty it has compared to when I was learning Spanish. The other languages though don't interest me as much as Japanese, so what should I do? Should I go for Japanese or something else? Would love to hear what others think about this, thanks!

November 30 at 01:36
  • pamelamichele us United States

    Hi, Austin, I feel like you have answered your own question but are looking for support in making the decision:) Japanese interests you the most, and therefore would be the most intrinsically motivating for you to learn. Regardless of the language you choose, that intrinsic motivation is what will keep you going when you feel the frustration that comes with learning something difficult. Also, consider how you will feel after having started another language. Will you look back with some pangs of regret for still not having started Japanese? I'm in a somewhat similar situation, where I have been focusing on Spanish for some time, and have decided to start learning Japanese in 2020, along with working on French. I don't expect to reach a super high level in Japanese by the end of next year, but at least I will have made a good start and will have a strong base to build upon. I wish you success in whichever you choose!

    November 30 at 17:42
  • DitzyRobert ru Russian Federation

    Just go for Japanese.

    November 30 at 17:47
  • ftornay es Spain

    Yeah, go for Japanese. Always go for what interests you regardless of difficulty. As a matter of fact, Japanese is not all that difficult, go watch Steve's video about this point. And even if it were: the only difference between a "harder" and an "easier" language is that the latter will take longer to master. Just accept that it'll be a long journey and enjoy the process.

    My advice would be to combine some easy and relaxing (for you at this stage) Spanish study, maybe just watch videos you find interesting with more demanding Japanese lessons.

    Steve's video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59YBKx-0Q6M

    November 30 at 18:15
  • Swedishfinnpolymath fi Finland

    I like to add my vote for Japanese to the two comments (at the time of writing). The reason is quite simple if you really don't have any interest for the other languages it will be hard work with no reward. I might also add that if it turns out that it's to hard at least you tried and you can always go back.

    I really want to learn Japanese but because I have a principal to at least get up to B1 if I start to learn a language it's highly unlikely that I'll learn Japanese. There's also the fact that I have quite a lot on my plate at the moment. I did think seriously about it for a while but opted not, it's my greatest linguistic regret.

    I feel that if I'd started learning Japanese earlier it might have taken a long time to get anywhere but at least once you are past the beginner stage you are in a quite comfortable place, it's still a long way to being fluent or advanced but you can do stuff with the language.

    November 30 at 18:37
  • Joshua9274 us United States

    Learn insert_language_that_interests_you

    November 30 at 20:25
  • stitchel us United States

    Go for Japanese! It might be a little more difficult or take a little longer to learn, but it's worth it if that's what you're interested in. I'm studying Japanese and it's really fun!

    November 30 at 21:28
  • WinterShaker gb United Kingdom

    You should learn Uzbe— wait, this isn't r/LanguageLearning :-P

    November 30 at 22:52
  • LILingquist us United States

    As somone who is in a similar boat (learning Spanish and wanting to become trilingual at some point), I can relate. However, you've got it easy: you already know what language most interests you and which one you WANT to study NOW: Japanese. You are only discouraged by its difficulty. The truly hard part for me has been which language to I study next because I am interested in BOTH Russian and French and likely want to study both in the future. However, there are several others that I have varying degrees of interest in and my efforts were (and will be until I'm done with Spanish and actually have to decide) is how to decide which I am most interested in or how to choose between two or more that you are interested in in terms of deciding which do start at that moment.

    On a second but related point, I think you will find all of your four selected languages to be noticeably more difficult than Spanish. Only German will lean a bit toward Spanish as a just above Level 1 language.

    Good luck!!

    December 02 at 22:44
    • ftornay es Spain


      If you don't mind me chiming in; in your case, I'd recommend learning French before Russian.

      First, it's an "easier" language to learn for someone who speaks both English and Spanish and I think it makes sense to go from easy to difficult because you'll be getting experience and confidence in learning languages along the way, which will help you when you move on to Russian.

      Second, oddly enough I think that knowing French helps in learning Russian. Not that it makes a huge difference but there are more French words in Russian than most people (including Russian native speakers) realize, many of which are very common. Here's a list of examples: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Russian/Loanwords#Words_from_French

      As a third reason that may or may not eventually apply to you, consider this: I am currently reading "War and Peace" on Lingq. I'm taking it very easy: I plan on keeping reading on and off for a long time. It's a wonderful novel and I highly recommend it. If you ever decide to read it yourself, you'll find that reading French helps a lot: large parts of the novel are written in French; those who can't read them, find those parts a real hassle: you need to move to the end of the book to get the translation, if your edition includes it or find some other translation and so on, plus it detracts from the experience because there's a meaning to why those parts are in French that it's totally missed. On the other hand, if you read French those passages are delightful, they basically provide easier to read parts where you can rest a bit, while you enjoy the change in tone and implication, basically you're "in on the joke"

      Essentially, to read the original you need both Russian and French (knowing a bit of German for some isolated sentences doesn't hurt but it's not essential)

      December 03 at 09:20
      • LILingquist us United States

        Muchas gracias, senor! I always appreciate your input and am (now was?) planning to consult your expertise when my time came to decide. The first reason you gave, and the fact that I actually started French in school (before I switched to Spanish) and have periodically considered going back to it, both combined to me me think French first would be the way to go. I also am "only" 8 hours drive from Quebec (especially if I wen to Langfest), have a dream to visit Canada someday, and would probably visit France before Russia anyway. And since it wouldn't take as along, I've often though about "getting French out the way" sooner. Additionally, the international sanctions have stopped the previously steady flow of Russian ladies to my part of Long Island in the summer so my priorities have changed a little on that.

        The French loan words into Russian sounds familiar to me, but I can't remember where I heard that. Perhaps it was in a Steve video or you referenced it earlier. As for War and Peace, I completely forgot about long sections of it being in French! I was required to read that book between 10th and 11th grades and then write a paper about it afterward.

        Lastly, I've been thinking of your advice from last year (or early this one) regarding importing one of the Spanish novels I wanted to read into LingQ. Like you said, it did skyrocket my known word count and did get me to advanced very quickly. I have been thinking of that because I recently used the new LingQ tool and imported ALL of the subtitles from every Spanish NetFlix episode and movie that I have been able to find that I have watched over the last few years. There are still a few I cannot find anymore (I may seek you out again to help me track them down at point). And since I read those Spanish subtitles while listening to those hundreds of hours of dialogue, my reading stats are zooming and coming more into what they are in reality. I'm also piling on about 20+ words to my known word count per episode because, like those novels, I'm moving many blue words to white and coming across a number of previously created LingQs of words I now know. I'm definitely going to hit 40K words and likely even 43,700 (Advanced Level 4) which I never thought would be possible. My goal is to clear the several thousand blue words I have remaining from these imported episodes and see where I end up. if I fall a little short of level 4, I'll keep going to that. At that time, I'll also have between 1400-1600 hours of total learning time overall and think I will be "ready" to move on to the new language.

        December 04 at 08:01
        • Swedishfinnpolymath fi Finland

          I don't know if this is information is of use to you or if I'm stating the obvious but one way to find Netflix shows that you have watched and can't find now is the following.

          Go to account scroll down to profile and click viewing history. And you'll find a list of all the movies and series that you have watched.

          Sadly Netflix does update there content quite often so if you remember the names of the shows and movies you can't find then its probably not in there selection any more. However if you can't find them because you can't remember there names but sort of remember around the time you watched them or maybe you'll remember watching them when you see the name. Then this might help.

          December 04 at 09:08
  • MarkE us United States

    I say learn Hebrew! :) Its such a great Language, there are tons of News and TV Shows on רשת with subtitles in Hebrew, but unfortunately you can't import them into LingQ. If you do decide to go for Hebrew let me know, I have some great shows to recommend.


    December 03 at 02:25
    • LILingquist us United States


      December 03 at 06:43
  • Swedishfinnpolymath fi Finland

    Having read your question more closely I have given it some thought and I'd like to add the following. If you are enough interested in German and Hebrew for it not to be a "I really like Japanese but it's to difficult so I just choose German or Hebrew because of reasons" type of thing.

    I'd say that there is merit for studying German or Hebrew because if you are not really used to study languages, you'll have a easier time gathering momentum. German will expose you to concepts that are different to Spanish and English. I have no idea how Hebrew or German would prepare you for Japanese grammatically other than getting used to new grammar concepts and avoid "biting more than you can chew".

    December 03 at 10:50
    • LILingquist us United States

      Good thought, but he no longer has any say in the matter. We as a community have already decided for him: He's going to learn Japanese.

      December 04 at 15:40
  • ktjoseph vg Virgin Islands, British

    from my experience it's better to learn a language you have interest in rather than one that you might think is easier but have no interests in i have had many friends who choose to learn harder languages like arabic ,chinese ,japanese rather than "easier"languages like spanish, french portuguese , and they don't regret it. despite the difficulties and hard work in learning these languages and they work today as translators in embassies and professors so don't be put off by the difficulties of japanese if it really interests you give it a try

    December 04 at 12:30