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Fri Dec 26, 2014, 11:11 AM

I have a question: What is your opinion of learning two different languages at once?

I'm contemplating it now, so I could use your advice.

36 replies, 5649 views

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Reply I have a question: What is your opinion of learning two different languages at once? (Original post)
whathehell Dec 2014 OP
Turbineguy Dec 2014 #1
CurtEastPoint Dec 2014 #2
whathehell Dec 2014 #5
hlthe2b Dec 2014 #3
whathehell Dec 2014 #6
Lydia Leftcoast Dec 2014 #4
Starboard Tack Dec 2014 #7
whathehell Dec 2014 #9
Starboard Tack Dec 2014 #10
whathehell Dec 2014 #11
valerief Mar 2016 #26
Igel Dec 2014 #8
TuxedoKat Mar 2015 #12
whathehell Mar 2015 #13
TuxedoKat Mar 2015 #14
whathehell Mar 2015 #15
vasco Jul 2015 #16
Elessiana Feb 2016 #23
dofus Aug 2015 #17
whathehell Aug 2015 #18
dofus Aug 2015 #19
whathehell Aug 2015 #20
glitterbag May 2016 #36
Elessiana Jan 2016 #21
whathehell Jan 2016 #22
happy wendy Feb 2016 #24
whathehell Mar 2016 #29
happy wendy Mar 2016 #31
whathehell Mar 2016 #32
whathehell Mar 2016 #33
MemphisMoocows Mar 2016 #25
whathehell Mar 2016 #28
patrick23 Mar 2016 #27
whathehell Mar 2016 #30
Tab May 2016 #34
whathehell May 2016 #35

Response to whathehell (Original post)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 11:14 AM

1. When I was in school

in the Netherlands, I took English, Latin and French at the same time. In the following year they would add Greek and German as well. It's normal in some places.

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Response to whathehell (Original post)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 11:14 AM

2. I learned French and Spanish together in JHS and HS and college.

But then again, I was younger and brighter then! Have you learned another language by itself, other than English, of course?

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Response to CurtEastPoint (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 01:21 PM

5. Yes, I've learned Croatian,

Last edited Mon Dec 29, 2014, 08:34 AM - Edit history (1)

though I don't speak it fluently. It's was originally called Serbo-Croatian

and is similar to Russian, but with a the Latin Alphabet.

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Response to whathehell (Original post)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 11:15 AM

3. Some might make sense... Ex) if you were going to N. Africa/Morocco French & Arabic

would makes sense--plus French being a romance language, is so significantly different from Arabic that I think it would work. More problematic would be two very similar languages with lots of overlap in words, but with very different pronunciations. Portuguese and Spanish come to mind.

Not sure what the neuroscientists say about this, but I suspect if the intensity of study is going to be high, that learning two might might well help "rewire" the brain even more quickly--to the extent that is possible in an adult.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 01:25 PM

6. Yes, what you are saying sounds right..

I was thinking of trying Spanish while I continue studying Croatian -- They are fairly

distinct, one being a Romance language and another a Slavic one.

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Response to whathehell (Original post)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 12:21 PM

4. It is common in many countries to study two languages at once

but usually, they start with one and add another one a couple of years later.

I took German (which I had a head start on, having grown up among German-speaking relatives) and Spanish (which I had had a brief exposure to in an elementary school class) at the same time in high school and also studied French (which my school didn't offer) on my own.

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Response to whathehell (Original post)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 05:29 PM

7. Great question

I'm currently studying 5 languages on Duolingo. I already have a degree of fluency in 3 of them, Italian, French and Spanish, but I'm learning Portuguese and German from scratch. The more Romance languages you know, the easier it is to learn others, despite the occasional confusion. I'll keep you posted if my head starts to hurt.

I'm looking forward to Duolingo's new programs where you will be able to study Spanish from Italian, for example, rather than from English, which is the base language at present.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 28, 2014, 07:38 AM

9. Thanks..

I haven't heard of Duolingo..Is it anything like Rosetta Stone?

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Response to whathehell (Reply #9)

Sun Dec 28, 2014, 10:53 AM

10. I've never used Rosetta Stone

Duolingo is free and more community based. Check it out at www.duolingo.com

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #10)

Sun Dec 28, 2014, 11:14 AM

11. okay, thanks for the info..

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #10)

Tue Mar 15, 2016, 01:05 PM

26. Thanks for the tip about duolingo! nt

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Response to whathehell (Original post)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 06:54 PM

8. Depends.

Don't study languages that are too closely related. It's easy to learn them passively, but when you start using them actively they turn to mush and it can take a lot of hard work to separate them. My Russian and Serbian got badly mixed for a while.

Once you know one of a closely related set of languages well for active use, it's safer to branch out. My Spanish was okay, French wasn't too close, but Italian and Portuguese don't affect my Spanish. If anything, the stronger language affects the weaker ones (and will take some time and effort to sort out).

Same for alphabets. Iranian and Arabic, not closely related (unless you like time depths for things like Nostratic). Still, you don't want to learn two entirely sets of values for the symbols if you're learning the alphabet for the first time.

The only real issue is time: Do you have the time to work at them equally, or do you have different expectations for learning times? Are they languages that are roughly equally hard to learn, or is there a built-in differential?

Even if you're able to keep them straight most of the time, every once in a while it can be overwhelming. When I was studying simultaneous interpretation for Spanish/English while taking an advanced Russian conversation course and a couple of literature courses taught it Russian my Spanish and Russian would sometimes collapse into a heap--it wasn't like mornings were in one language and afternoons in another. No, they alternated and by dinner time I had to just sit in silence and let the babble in my brain settle down. I'd stick Russian verb endings or prefixes onto Spanish verbs, or vice-versa. Word order was scrambled in Spanish from time to time. And let's not even talk about Russian vowel reduction in Spanish or Spanish stress patterns in Russian. Just ... no.

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Response to whathehell (Original post)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 10:21 AM

12. I took French and German

at the same time in high school. I started with French and added German two years later though. I wouldn't hesitate to learn two, three or more again concurrently if I had the time. Choosing languages that are disparate from each other would be easier I think.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Reply #12)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 06:13 PM

13. Wow. You're ambitious.

I get why people say to study two disparate languages if you are doing

two or more at once, but I tried learning Spanish and Croatian -- one Latin based

and one Slavic and I still saw similarities that confuse me. I think I'm just

a one language at a time person.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #13)

Wed Mar 11, 2015, 06:05 PM

14. Thanks!

Probably an Asian language would work with either of those two -- as they are sufficiently different. I would suggest Mandarin if you are interested. It is not a hard language grammatically as the verb form stays the same for all persons and doesn't change with tenses either. The hardest part about Mandarin for me is that there are so few cognates and the ones that there are don't sound that much like English to me to be instantly recognizable.

My best tip for learning any language is to play/listen to songs in the target language. You don't even have to pay attention to the lyrics get the benefit, so play them in the background and even while you are sleeping. When I was a pre-teen my mother was constantly playing music all day long by a French singer she loves, Charles Aznavour. My siblings and I used to run outside to get away from the music! But about two years later when I was struggling to make C's in French class (my mom forced me to take it) something clicked one day and from then on -- straight A's in French. Then as an adult learning Mandarin I would play Chinese children's songs for my kids in the car and something similar happened -- my Mandarin speaking was very choppy and hesitant even when reading from printed text. But again one day something clicked and the words were just flowing effortlessly.

Good luck with your language learning!

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Response to TuxedoKat (Reply #14)

Thu Mar 12, 2015, 12:39 AM

15. Thanks for your interesting information

and good advice!

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Response to TuxedoKat (Reply #14)

Fri Jul 31, 2015, 01:01 AM

16. good advise

The best way to learn is with songs. I come from a country where you have two languages in schools from the beginning, and then depending on the high school you have three languages.
I myself had english and french, although I was bilingual living in Argentina I took English so It meant no work for me, teenager lazy but then you have to change after three years to another language so I chose Italian And it was easier with songs, i used to get the lirics, so I could sing along and obviously learning what it meant , it helped me a lot.
I am thinking inChinese right now, not sure yet. Imlove Japanase too .If you know of japanese songs ,let me knoe.

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Response to vasco (Reply #16)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 08:03 PM

23. I Agree With Your Point.

 

Last edited Sat Feb 20, 2016, 03:53 PM - Edit history (1)

Now I'm studying English and Italian at the same time. I often listen to songs and watch movies, by this way I make a great progress. About studying Japanese, I just learn a little, haven't speak. But I know a Japanese song is very nice. I would like to share it. 【Form 01:42:05】
[link:?t=1h42m27s|

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Response to whathehell (Original post)

Thu Aug 6, 2015, 11:43 AM

17. It would depend a little on how old you are,

and if you already know any other languages.

This is the only major country that almost always postpones learning a foreign language until high school. In Europe they start in grade school.

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Response to dofus (Reply #17)

Thu Aug 6, 2015, 01:10 PM

18. Could be, but

laying two foriegn languages at a time on a young kid seems a bit much. That being said, I DO believe they should start learning at least one before high school.

As for myself, I've decided learning a slavic language is, by itself, difficult enough without attempting double duty









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Response to whathehell (Reply #18)

Thu Aug 6, 2015, 02:28 PM

19. Young children are amazingly adept

at learning several languages at once. Raising a child bi-or multi-lingual is exceptionally easy if the kid is being exposed to native speakers, preferably on a daily basis.

Even as late as 5 or 6, typical start of formal schooling, the vast majority of children will learn multiple new languages very easily. Depending on when you first learned a foreign language, you may think it is always that difficult. Not for little kids.

Why do you think it is so many Europeans speak multiple languages, mostly with a high degree of fluency?

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Response to dofus (Reply #19)

Fri Aug 7, 2015, 06:08 PM

20. I'm aware of that

I also know that many Europeans are multilingual. None of it means, however, that

multiple languages are easily learned if taught simultaneously.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #18)

Wed May 18, 2016, 11:45 PM

36. Two languages

I think 2 languages in a classroom setting could be daunting, but I've been working with a family of Polish immigrants who came here about 15 years ago. The mother, have become more comfortable with English, her oldest son speaks with a slight accent, the younger son is fluent (you can't tell he ever lived anywhere else), her daughter is also fluent and about 8 years ago she married another immigrant from an Arab country (just don't know which country he's from). So in the daughters house, three languages are spoken, the adults struggle, but the 5 year old boy shifts easily between the languages. Of course, he's 5 and has been hearing all three since he was born.

I'm not sure why you want to learn 2 languages at once, however, I suppose a lot would have to do with necessity. An urgent need would be much more motivating than a desire to study languages. I'm not criticizing the desire, I just know how languages studies have affected me. I find it's easier to read foreign languages than to properly spell the words. I was ok with French and English until I studied Romanian. I think Romanian is lovely to the ear, but I make far too many mistakes in French and English, I'm constantly checking dictionaries. Perhaps because Romanian was the last language I studied, and I'm getting old.

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Response to whathehell (Original post)

Sat Jan 23, 2016, 07:33 PM

21. My personal thoughts:

 

I think it would depend a little on your free time, your interest. If you have enough time, at the same time, you really want to learn two different languages, then whether you encounter any difficulties, but you will overcome it.

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Response to Elessiana (Reply #21)

Sun Jan 24, 2016, 02:13 AM

22. Thanks

for your input .

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Response to whathehell (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2016, 06:48 PM

24. Don't Be Shy, Just Try!

 

Last edited Sat Feb 20, 2016, 08:31 PM - Edit history (2)

I learn Spanish and English at the same time. I really like learning languages. I think whatever languages you want to learn, you should be bold and try your best to speak and practice these languages.Then I think the environment is very important because you have the chance to speak to others in those languages which you are learning. For me, I like to speak with those people who speak Spanish and English. When I want to look for a job, my first choice is the one which can give me more chance to speak and practice Spanish and English.This is my way to learn two languages at the same time.
Don't worried about being laughed at when you can't speak well. Don't be shy, just try! I often say this to myself. Well....my English is not well, but I try my best to speak to you. Hi friend! If there are some mistakes in my English, please tell me. It will be very useful to me.
So,don't be shy,just try! Fighting! Fighting!

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Response to happy wendy (Reply #24)

Fri Mar 18, 2016, 05:08 PM

29. What is your native language, Wendy?

I've decided to learn one at a time, but I admire your ambition!

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Response to whathehell (Reply #29)

Fri Mar 18, 2016, 05:46 PM

31. My native language is Chinese.

 

Hi, friend. How are you doing? May you have a good day today. By the way, Which language have you decided to learn?

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Response to happy wendy (Reply #31)

Sat Mar 19, 2016, 06:58 AM

32. Hi Wendy!

Chinese.....I am imagining it would be hard learning European languages, given the Western alphabet and such. -- I'm thinking what a difficult endeavor it would be for me to learn Chinese or any Asian language. -- even Arabic, for that matter, as it has a different alphabet. I admire your ambition in tackling it!

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Response to happy wendy (Reply #31)


Response to whathehell (Original post)

Tue Mar 15, 2016, 12:54 PM

25. Concentrate on one

The ideal thing would be to get immersion in one language, and concentrate on learning that as well as you can. When you start as an adult, attaining anything close to fluency in one foreign language takes years. You could try two at once, but you may be doomed to mediocrity in both.

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Response to MemphisMoocows (Reply #25)

Fri Mar 18, 2016, 05:05 PM

28. I think that is best...

One thing at a time.

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Response to whathehell (Original post)

Fri Mar 18, 2016, 08:16 AM

27. Just learn them!

Be the tortoise. Language learning is a slow marathon that takes time, quality work, and patience. Every language is an adventure. I usually suggest learning one thing at a time, but there are no set rules. If you decide to embark on multiple adventures, contemplate the conditions you will face. If you think you can make it, keep in mind the above-mentioned five tips. And good luck!

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Response to patrick23 (Reply #27)

Fri Mar 18, 2016, 05:11 PM

30. Just do it, huh?

I've decided to go the one at a time route, but I appreciate your encouragement.

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Response to whathehell (Original post)

Sun May 1, 2016, 05:08 PM

34. My brother (English-borne) lives in Germany with his German wife.

Last edited Sun May 1, 2016, 08:04 PM - Edit history (1)

They raised their daughters to be bi-lingual. When they they converse with him, it's solely in English (although he's fluent in German). When they converse with her, it's solely in German (although she's pretty decent in English herself). That way they just learn to do a mental switch depending on the speaker they're trying to communicate with and are doing it automatically, not just trying to translate on the fly.

It seems to work; the girls can switch flawlessly from one to the other. The only drawback, not that they can help it, is - since they live in Germany - the opportunities to converse with non-English-only speakers is limited, so they don't have as wide a variety of accents to navigate so they talk to their dad just fine, but there's always a little bit of hesitation when talking with someone from a region they're not as familiar with.

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Response to Tab (Reply #34)

Sun May 1, 2016, 06:04 PM

35. Thanks for that interesting example..

I have no kids, but I've always heard that children learn languages easily.

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