studying multiple Languages
It seems to me that it is better to separate the study of two languages, it is better to do one thing well than several but badly, my friend once started learning English and German at the same time, but when he started, he realized that nothing would have happened and he decided to start learning English and now he knows it quite well, communicates well and writes good essays in English, and although I know English, I never learned how to write essays and usually order them from https://studentshare.org/essays/new-topic-nature-of-business-of-restaurant . By the way, now my friend has already started learning German
I think the biggest issue might be time. How much time can you realistically dedicate to language learning per day?
I agree time is a massive issue. It takes several hundred to a couple thousand hours per language depending on the distance.
Compounding the time factor is that there might be some interference from one language to another.
That said, Steve Kaufmann does multiples at the same time.
I personally try to stick to a single language with only teensy bits of investigation into other languages so I can more quickly get to the x hours and tick the check box.
I think Steve mentioned in a recent video that he considered studying both Arabic and Persian at the same time as a mistake? As in, if he were to go back, he wouldn't do that again. I've heard a few other people, who have tried learning multiple languages at once, also say they wouldn't do that again. For this reason, this is why I'm only touching Italian at the moment. It was a tough decision, but priorities needed to be made.
There is no one true way to do things other than putting in the time every single day. It comes out in the end down to how many hours of effort you have put in.
You will notice, for example that in the statistics it has "hours of listening" and "hours of speaking".
That is the secret sauce right there.
Many of us (multi-linguals like me) and those with a couple more languages (polyglots) start out with the assumption that you can beat the FSI's estimates.
The FSI says it takes 500 *hours* to get competency in a close-to-English language (like French, Italian or Danish) and up to 2,200 *hours* to get competency in a far-from-English language like Mandarin or Arabic.
In the end the FSI turns out to be right more or less.
What that's got to do with learning more than one language at the same time is this:
You try to do two easy languages at once it will take 1,000 hours, not 500.
And since you don't hit the intermediate threshold till about 3/4 of the way in, that means it will take you 750 hours to get to intermediate if you're doing two languages.
That's near enough two hours a day for a *year* before you start to feel you're understanding.
How many folks have got that kind of resilience and determination?
The issue here is that if you are a noob you don't really know if you can do it, so you really don't want to go down the rabbit hole of "can I really do this" because you're not getting the results you expect and end up quitting. You're setting yourself up for psychological failure.
Long story short: focus on one at a time.
Do what makes you happy. Happiness=motivation. Don’t let others tell you what you “should” do. If you have the itch to learn many languages scratch it instead of wasting your energy trying to choose and trying not to let it stress you out. Have fun!
It takes a ton of effort to get to the stage where you don't need much of a crutch to function in it.
As in, about six months of serious focused hard slog 2-5 hours a day. You do that you'll just about get to intermediate at which point you can in theory learn just by using the language.
Just from the math, I reckon that if you tried it with two languages you'd need double the effort or double the time to get there.
I can't speak for you but I have zero motivation to take an entire year to get to just the barely functional stage. I'd rather put the time and effort into the single task and get it across (the first) finish line in six months.
That said, I suspect that *in theory* once you have done two hard six months slogs sequentially, then it ought to be possible to continue the easy part. For example: I could in theory just watch youtube videos in french to top my french up now that I've done the six months hard work.
But it might interfere with my Russian, which although I'm also at six months, it's much shakier than my French.
Who knows. That's my 2c. Plenty of others have their own opinions. This is how it is for me.
What I would do is watch Master Steve's videos from a few yeas ago and ignore the fact that he is/was doing Arabic and Farsi at the same time.
I personally would not want to learn more than one new language at a time unless I was forced to.
It takes a lot of time, effort and energy to get through the first phase of the language learning process, till you can begin to function in the language, i.e. till you can use interesting non-pedagogical material and interact reasonably effectively with others in the language. You only have so much time and energy to put into language learning. Learning two languages at once would cause you to take twice as long to progress in each of them. And why on earth would you want to drag that beginner phase out much longer than necessary? At least in my opinion, it’s far better to really concentrate on one new language and make really good, noticeable progress in it! (Honestly, I really don’t understand the eternal popularity of this question!!!)
On the other hand, if you’ve gotten a few languages to a good level, you will need to do things in those languages on reasonably regular basis if you want to maintain them. This is where you’ll need to balance and rotate between working with multiple languages.
(P.S. Personally I have one new language (Hungarian) at the A2 level, which I’,m learning via lingq and other methods, and I also have 3 maintenance languages (French, Spanish and German), all in C2 territory and all integrated into my life).
This. Your first paragraph said it more succinctly than I did.
I like learning languages. Ever since I was in high school, learning languages was easier than anything else. I know English, German and Spanish. I would like to learn Chinese, it's quite difficult, but I find it interesting. But right now I don't have time for that at all. I'm a student and I'm trying to do well in my studies. https://www.rush-my-essay.com/write-my-essay/ helps me with that, especially with writing essays. I've never liked writing assignments. That's why I found myself a reliable helper.
I'm learning Spanish though high school and German on my own time, and I was thinking of tackling another language soon (still between Russian and Icelandic). Have any of you guys learnt multiple (3 or more) languages at once? How'd it go? Should I try it? Or shall I wait until I'm proficient in Spanish and German before taking on another one?
Most definitely possible! I am 50 and started a year an half with 3, added Chinese 6mo ago. To my bewilderment it is working wonders. I don't study, I have no time, but I speak using all 4 almost every day. So I speak 3 hours a day on average.... I am always too tired to study but I never ever was tired to enjoy conversations. I find the cheapest people on iTalki and/or new instructors helping them to start and just talk about everything in the world with google translate help in the beginning.
I think that learning many languages is a great advantage because it helps make communication better especially when you're travelling. I sometimes test my knowledge of languages when I play in online casinos. I often play with the different languages and see if I can read and understand those that are written there. Reference: https://livecasino.io/blog/live-dealer/macau-casinos-warned-to-change-to-get-japan-licenses
Study multiple if one is at a higher level than the other (I am working on 4 at the same time). Don't start multiple from beginner level. Or if you need to progress fast in a short time.
I don't believe in this idea of languages mixing or things becoming confused. If you're scared of this you'll notice that it does happen, but after a while the languages will get mixed less and less, because we learn things in context.
The question is more do you need those languages. If you. want. to talk with. family and you talk with them weekly or daily you could add that language to the one. you're learning.
I'm mainly learning Arabic. All the other languages I'm learning for fun and I don't really NEED to finish. What happened is that I care more about learning Russian and French, but still the language I want to finish is Arabic, but that doesn't mean I spent most time in that language it only means I try to spend time every month in learning Arabic. Maybe in 2 years I'll spend more time in Arabic.
This is how I think about learning multiple languages.
I think it is certainly possible to study multiple languages at once. However, try to find languages that are sufficiently different from eachother to prevent mixing up the languages. Also, it worked better for me to have one language as main focus where I spent most time and dedicated study at, whereas for other languages I was mainly maintaining my level through reading and listening, still picking up a fair share of new words through these inputs.
I personally spent a lot of my time learning German and French at the same time. I feel like it was kind of a mistake looking back now. But everyone is different. I think focusing in on one languages is the most efficient way to spend you time. But maybe not as fun.
If your goals are short term (3-6 months) or medium term (1-2 years) - learn one language at once.
If your goals are long term (3-5-10 years) and you can stick to them, then you can learn 1, 2 or more languages at once. In 2026 it will not really matter how you started, if you stay on the path.
I agree with this. Unless you have a pressing need to learn a specific language, I think it doesn't matter how long it takes to reach whatever level you're trying to reach. Some of the languages I'm learning represent a part of me that isn't going anywhere. None of the languages I'm learning were chosen for practical reasons. Some part of me resonates with that culture, whether its part of my heritage or an adopted culture. It doesn't matter how well or how poorly I can use their language at any given point in time. They are like family to me. I don't choose them, but they are constantly with me, and always growing in their own time. Each language is a family member that has its own demands and rewards. This is why I learn multiple languages at once, because there is no satisfactory alternative.
This is spot on.
Key being "and you can stick to them".
But yeah, don't try to learn multiples in a short time frame unless you have 10 hours a day available.
It is certainly possible, but it will be much more effective to learn just one language or to focus on a single language.
absolutely you can. Do whatever you feel would suit you best. However as somebody who has done that you won’t progress as much with studying 2 languages as just sticking to one.
Speaking from experience on this, probably not.
It can be done, but "should" is going to be directly related to your goals and needs.
short answer if you're talking about STUDYING: no.
I agree with evgueny. Also, Master Steve recommends that, if you do that, you should devote about 80% of the time to your main language and the other 20% to the other one/those who are maintaining.
It depends on your wish. But yet the one language must be 'the main language' which you study for several months more than other languages. But after that you can change your main language.