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7 Tips for Learning Multiple Languages Simultaneously Posted by on Oct 29, 2014 in Language Learning

Oh, hey! Nice to meet you. I’m not from around here. My name’s Lindsay and I blog over at Lindsay Does Languages, make language videos over on my YouTube channel, and teach languages via Skype. Phew.

Today, however, I’m here on the Transparent Language blog to share some tips about learning multiple languages simultaneously. Over the summer, I ended up learning four languages at the same time! Not on purpose, you understand, but it was a pretty crazy time. I like to think I managed to stay sane…I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Image by Lindsay Dow

Image by Lindsay Dow

1: Plan.

Even if you learn a language and never ever get the chance to use it, one thing that will be a useful skill to come from your efforts is your organisation and time management. Hooray! This doesn’t mean that if you’re always being teased for being late and messy then you can’t learn multiple languages. Of course you can! Your time management and organisation will improve. You know the saying ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’? Well, one man’s late is another man’s on time…kind of. As long as you’re happy with your organisation then you’ll get stuff done. Boom!

2: Be realistic.

In writing this, I’m not saying that learning multiple languages at once is an easy task but it’s definitely achievable if you’re realistic. You’re not going to perfect your French in 6 weeks if you’re also trying to learn Arabic from scratch at the same time. Set yourself realistic goals and don’t worry if you find yourself studying one language more than the other at any one time. Personally, I’m totally guilty of this! I feel bad for a language if I don’t study it as much as others – like I’m neglecting it – poor language! Slowly but surely, I’m learning that there’s not enough hours in the day to devote equal time to all the languages I’d like to. And I’m learning that that’s ok.

3: Keep it fun.

Language learning shouldn’t be a chore. The moment something becomes boring, find a new way to learn it – mix things up and keep it fresh and interesting. Find a YouTuber in the language you’re studying or look for a local conversation partner to talk in the language about stuff you’re interested in. Also worth noting here is that although I haven’t yet tried it myself, I heard recently that double subtitles are a thing?! This could be mind blowing in a good or a bad way but it’s definitely worth a shout!

4: Pick good ‘uns.

If you’re learning a language for fun, then pick languages you know you can learn together that won’t inflict upon each other. For some, the best thing ever might be to learn Spanish and Portuguese at the same time, but for the majority of people this will be ridiculously confusing and counter productive. Save the Portuguese for a later date and replace it with Korean, for example, and you might well be more successful in all three.

5: Make it the norm.

Integrate your languages into your everyday life in a way that suits you. The more languages you learn at once, the more important it is to make time spent on everyday tasks useful. Pop a little book in the bathroom for when you’re brushing your teeth, invest in a little MP3 player or copy a CD for the car to play on the commute. Whatever you do every day, think of a way to language-ify it. And then make up a word like language-ify to describe it.

6: Find what works for you.

This one is definitely closely linked to the last point and you’ll have to experiment a bit to see what works best for you. For example, you could try putting one track from a language learning CD in each language on your MP3 player. Or you could try listening to the whole thing in one language for a week, then swap languages the week after. Although most people claim to prefer sticking to one language at once, this is definitely something that varies person to person, so take some time to find what you prefer.

7: Reward yourself.

Don’t punish yourself if you don’t study “enough” or if you deviate from your schedule. It happens from time to time. You may be awesome but you’re still human, and sometimes humans need a break. Give yourself one. Even if that break involves watching a double subtitled film. Enjoy it!

Are you learning multiple languages at the moment? Did you find these tips useful? What would you recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Learning multiple languages simultaneously takes serious time and commitment. Feel like you can’t fit them into your routine, or don’t even have a routine to fit them in to? Our eBooks have expert advice to help you make it happen.

10 Ways to Make More Time for Language Learning

10 Ways to Make More Time for Language Learning

15 Habits of Successful Language Learners

15 Habits of Successful Language Learners

By the way… want more free language learning resources, advice, and news from Transparent Language? Sign up for our newsletter!

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Transparent Language is a leading provider of best-practice language learning software for consumers, government agencies, educational institutions, and businesses. We want everyone to love learning language as much as we do, so we provide a large offering of free resources and social media communities to help you do just that!


Comments:

  1. Lou:

    Great read! At a point during the summer, I was doing two languages at once, but I felt it almost unbearable because I was soooo disorganized. It’d be good to pick up another language at the same time because I don’t want to feel as if I’m losing fluency in one. Will try out these tips, thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lindsay Dow:

      @Lou Hey Lou! Thanks for stopping by! Let me know how you get on using the tips and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions via email or social media! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Erin:

    I found this very helpful and encouraging. I am studying multiple languages but because of school and work have gotten way off schedule and was feeling bad about it. However this article was very motivating. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lindsay Dow:

      @Erin Yay! I’m glad the article motivated you Erin! Let me know how you get on using the tips and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions via email or social media! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Seth:

    This is basically what I’ve learned since starting my semester this year. I’m continuing with Chinese and French and then I decided to do Finnish for fun. I definitely have had some struggles in the beggining especially because I’ve solely been studying Chinese for two years and haven’t had anything to do with French for a long time! At first my primary language in my head was Chinese. That’s all I could think slim and that’s all I wanted to speak. I’d understand what was going on in the other languages but my answer wanted to come out Chinese. It took a good month to train my brain to compress the Chinese thoughts and focus on the target language at that time. Definitely putting yourself in your target language helps; movies, music, talking to other people, anything helps! Now I don’t have much difficulty seperating them but I find if I’m stuck I can talk about it or explain it in another language and go back and try to do it in the target language and sometimes that helps. Unfortunately there are times where I get mixed and can’t think of terms in my target language but all the other ones pop up in my head! Sometimes I want to talk with a mixture of all the languages which is beyond comprehension of anyone who doesn’t know all of them haha. I agree with you that similar languages although easy to learn simultaneously, you can run into mishaps and get confused with them, so learning different languages is a good idea. I get asked why French, Finnish and Chinese? That’s the worst mixture ever! But not really, since they are different from one another it’s easier to keep separate. I’ve also learned that if you learn a language for what it is and not analyze every aspect of it you gain a better grasp of the language quicker. Not saying that you don’t need to pay attention but don’t over think, let it flow. Lastly, if you don’t use it you lose it! 100% true!! There are times I focus on one language more than another and. I forget things.

    • Lindsay Dow:

      @Seth If you don’t use it you lose it – so true! ๐Ÿ™‚ And Chinese, French and Finnish sounds like a great combination to me – all so different so giving you branches into other different languages should you wish to do so in the future! Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Mercedes:

      @Seth Hi seth, my name is mercedes and im from Argentina i found very interesting you comment because i have been learning chinese for two years now too and i learned finnish a few years ago and i would like to continue with that( because my sister lives there so its always useful).
      I dont really know if you know spanish but i have no problem helping you with that so if you would like to become my penn/mail friend hahah i think it would be useful to share some thoughts about the languagues we are learning

  4. Milo:

    Thanks for the article, these are some good tips. I’m going to go check out your blog after this. It’s nice to hear that there’s someone else who feels bad for a language if they don’t study it as much.
    I’ve been studying two languages for a couple years (French and Latin) and just took up a third last week (Esperanto) and I realized that I’m going to have to be more strategic about things (a good chunk of my free time just turned into Esperanto-time, not that that’s a bad thing). Fortunately all of these languages have a pretty good amount of similar roots so they can play off of each other, but being somewhat similar is also their downfall sometimes; I just learned that the rules for the subjunctive aren’t the same in French as in Latin.
    I think that I’m going to start putting up color-coded post-it notes around the apartment to label everything.
    Do you think that a person’s success in learning multiple languages at once depends on the varying levels of proficiency in those languages? For example, I seemed to have a good deal of difficulty starting French and Latin at the same time. I would constantly mispronounce words in both languages and it would take me upwards of 30 minutes to be able to successfully switch my brain between the two languages. Then, I stopped studying Latin for a year but continued French. This year, I decided to continue learning Latin so that now I’m learning the two at the same time again, but because I have an extra year of French over Latin I’m noticing that switching between the two languages only takes a couple minutes and I rarely confuse the two (I can now teach people about Latin in French). Have you experienced something similar?

    • Lindsay Dow:

      @Milo Hi Milo! Thanks for your comment! ๐Ÿ™‚ In response to your question…
      Do you think that a personโ€™s success in learning multiple languages at once depends on the varying levels of proficiency in those languages?
      My opinion: Yes definitely! For example, I mentioned in the article that I studied 4 languages for a bit over the summer as there was some crossover in my studies. French was one of these which I’ve studied since childhood (it was my first foreign language in fact!). The headstart in French meant that I was learning different stuff in French to the others which were newer to me. Also, thinking about it, I started learning Dutch and Portuguese at roughly the same time and so even though they’re quite different, I found it took me a while to separate them and I’m not as proficient as I would be if I’d chosen to study one. So it depends on your goals I think. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Milo:

        @Lindsay Dow Wow, starting Dutch and Portuguese at (about) the same time, that’s brave! haha
        That makes sense that studying different aspects the languages that you’re studying simultaneously would cause less interference than learning the same thing twice in different languages at the same time (blegh! That was a mouthful, even in English). I never really thought about that. Thanks for replying!

  5. Marit:

    Double subtitles? As in, one movie subtitled in 2 languages simultaneously? Can’t say I recommend it. In my experience there is just too much stuff going on at the same time, it’s hard to decide where to look and I end up missing everything. And this is when I’m fluent in both subtitle-languages. I would much rather read a bilingual book.

    • Lindsay Dow:

      @Marit Yeah..it sounds kind of crazy! I’ve not figured out how to do it myself yet and although I’ll give it a go, I agree it could definitely be too much! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Hertia Wahyuni:

    Thank for good article and tips. As my experiences multiple foreigner language, it was quite difficult when learned them together. I learned english and japanese at first then english, japanese and french after and finally japanese, frence and korean. i felt my head going to explode at that time. but it was fun moment when i can make difference and comparasion easily. That’s why i though that it’s not bad experience. i love to do it till. I think i can begin it again now. I hope that your tips could help me a lot. THANKS

  7. Mike:

    These helpful hints have been a great relief, and reassured me that I am not being impractical. I am doing German (where I am already pretty good, but want to become fluent), French (likewise, though not so advanced as yet), Welsh (should be my first language, but have not spoken it for yonks, so it’s a relearning process), and Spanish (beginner). I tried Italian as well, but found it too similar to Spanish. So I shall stay with four, but with more confidence than previously, thank you

    • Lindsay Dow:

      @Mike You’re welcome, Mike! I sometimes feel kind of like it sounds you are – with some languages being quite strong but wanting to improve them at the same time! I understand where you’re coming from1 ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. cindhy:

    Hi Lindsay!

    How many time did you sped learning 4 languages?

    Regards!

    • Lindsay Dow:

      @cindhy Hello Cindhy!
      I was learning 4 languages quite intensely over the summer this year for a few months but I’m now back to focusing primarily on one language with as much passive exposure to the other languages I’ve learnt as I can fit into a day without going crazy! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Eileen Duncan:

    Interesting! I have always been interested in other languages but didn’t have the opportunity to learn them when I was young. Other than school French. I started learning Swedish in my 20’s having a private lesson each week. I went to Sweden five times and enjoyed using what I knew! Later that decade I went to Saudi for three years to work and spoke Arabic. Now at 61 am learning German with duolingo and loving it. I also tried the Spanish, Italian and French because well, I couldn’t help myself!! I tend just to do German as the main one and when I need a break I do Spanish. Languages are facinating! I also find that a Swedish or Arabic word will slip into a sentence if I’m not careful! I entertain the local Poles with my few Polish phrases also. It seems one is never too old if you have an interest.

    • Lindsay Dow:

      @Eileen Duncan Hi Eileen!
      That’s really cool! I agree with you completely – you are never too old! It’s the interest that is more important. You could give a child, who’s at ‘prime age’ for language learning, all the books, lessons, and languages in the world but if they don’t have an interest it won’t be as effective as an older person with a passion for it.
      It sounds like you’ve had quite a few language learning opportunities in the past! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Chahid MANDร‰:

    I like vocabularies

  11. Zara:

    Thank you, Lindsay! I just decided to continue studying Korean after reading this. I lived in Korea for a year and really enjoyed learning the language, but after coming back to Brazil I thought Korean would never be useful to me and decided to (re)start learning German. But part of me didn’t want to forget what I’ve learnt. Even if I never go back to Korea again, it doesn’t matter, learning languages is my passion anyway!

    • Lindsay Dow:

      @Zara Yay! This made me so happy! ๐Ÿ˜€
      It’s so easy to think that you have to focus on one language only at a time but I’m so glad that you’ve decided to keep the Korean up at the same time as German! Good luck!

  12. Geluck:

    Hello Lindsay! Thank you very much for this post. Learning some langauges simultaneously gives a lot of energy and fun even if the day is too short to take care of everything… I’d like to ask you about one thing: how to deal with switching from one language to another, for example when you’re training your “active” skills like writing or speaking? We can train our brains to do it quicker, for sure, but how to avoid mixing them all together?

    • Lindsay Dow:

      @Geluck Thanks Geluck!
      My advice would be to use the “switching” time and take a little break – go and make a drink, have a snack, take a little walk. Then when you’re back and ready to switch languages don’t throw yourself in – maybe try listening to a song first in the language you want to switch to or reading a short article, then get into your studying. Hope that helps! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Miriam:

    Great article! Didn’t necessarily learn much new but definitely motivating!

    I study German and Spanish full time and just picked up Arabic in my spare time, plus if I have a free evening I might revise some basic Portuguese/Bosnian – I’m definitely guilty of the ‘realistic’ thing…more posts like this please! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Lindsay Dow:

      @Miriam Thanks Miriam! ๐Ÿ™‚
      I’m glad you enjoyed the post – if you want more like it be sure to take a look at my blog! ๐Ÿ˜‰
      You sound like me – studying some languages but picking up others along the way! I just can’t help myself!

  14. Daniel Anzures:

    This will be helpful for my current situation. I study my bachelor degree in Prague, all my classes are in English and I also study Russian, German and Czech.
    I’m gifted at languages, but sometimes it’s crazy when you have to speak 5 languages a day (English, German, Russian, Czech and my first language, Spanish).

  15. Andie:

    I was just searching for an article like this to make myself eased a bit. ๐Ÿ˜€ For me the most comforting thing that reflects in your article, that it’s indeed not so easy with more languages at the same time. I am not learning more at the same time now, but I have some very annoying experiences. I moved to Sweden as a native Hungarian who’s strongest foreign language was German, to take a masters in English. And then I began to learn Swedish. In English. After almost 2 years my Swedish is pretty good, but lately I noticed, that every given time I try to say something in German, it just comes out in Swedish. No control over it! I have it in my head, I know what I want to say in German, but a perfect Swedish sentence comes instead. Terrible! ๐Ÿ˜€ Now I decided to begin to write down words and sentences in all the 3 foreign languages I should use, maybe it helps. Do you have any similar experiences?

  16. Mercedes:

    This year i have been learning chinese and portuguese, this tips were incredibly useful! i will totally put them into work next year when i continue my studies! im a spanish native speaker but i have a proficency level in english and italian so things get mixed up in my brain but those tips seem pretty useful.
    In my personal experience im findying it hard to learn chinese not only beacuse it is a completly differente language, but also beacuse i couldnt really find any music to hear while im on the bus or movies with subtitles. Im planning on going to a scholarship there thouh…
    Well, the point is that i want to thank you for those tips! good luck!

  17. Tiffany Vargas:

    I’m not necessarily starting multiple languages at once, however I’m a native English speaker who has been studying Spanish most of my life (I’m of Hispanic ethnicity) and was studying Italian throughout college. Now recently I’ve been learning how to speak Japanese, but have been worried that my lack of using Spanish and Italian in recent years has made me much less fluent in them. I appreciate the tips because they could also be used to help maintain fluency in languages while learning a new one. =]

  18. Ross:

    Thanks for your input! People always thought I was crazy studying two, sometimes three different languages at once but now I’m glad I’m not the only one!!! This has given me hope and a renewed sense of energy and vigor to conquer these languages. I appreciate the article to give us polyglotophiles hope to know we’re not alone despite the strange reactions from friends and family! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ; knowing that this core group of people exists is extremely encouraging and hopefully we can help keep each other stay encouraged

  19. Michaela:

    Hi! Thanks for the great article. I’m also learning more languages simultaneously and I really enjoy it. It’s good to know there are many people learning more languages at the same time ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Natalia:

    Hi! Great article! Actually I’m learning four languages and I must agree that time management is the most important thing! I’m from Poland, but I’m studying in English. I speak fluently Italian and three months ago I started to learn Spanish and Chinese. It’s a big challenge, but for now, I really enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Marta:

    THAAANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE POST, I really needed some motivation tips for language learning. Currently I’m studying Japanese and German while struggling not to lose my (precious) French nor forget how to properly speak my own native languages (Spanish & Catalan), so sometimes it is nerve wrecking and discouraging to see that you make the same mistakes or you don’t seem to acquire new vocabulary or grammar. My main struggle is time-management as I’m studying a degree in translation at uni and I also have a passion for reading and watching YouTubers, so time flies!
    When I’m studying Japanese or German vocabulary, I tend to either write it down on a paper (easy but a bit messy at the end) or create flashcards at Anki or any other flashcards site on the Internet.
    BTW, you have a new subscriber Lindsay, I don’t normally find people who love languages AND are studying Japanese and German too! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Marta

  22. Batofu:

    Using a dictionary on he languages being studied helps a lot. If you are studying both English and Japanese, then you should use English-Japanese and Japanese-English dictionary. At the start, you might find it difficult but it pays back.

  23. Fredrik Davidovich Chang:

    Very well summarised! I’m having a similar situation here. I’m learning Russian and Portuguese, and recently have just added Kazakh because of a good friend of mine. My plan is to have a focus on only one. In my case, as I’m leaving for Potugal in a couple of months so Portuguese takes up a large share of time without a doubt. And also I found out that I remember much better at night and therefore I spend the whole evening learning Portuguese. As for Russian, I decide to go to Russia to watch the World Cup in 2018 so I have plenty of time. As a result, I slow down my Russian learning to gradually maintaining the basic. and about only half an hour a day. Kazakh has just been added on the agenda and as I’m learning the Arabic-based Kazakh alphabet with no audio materials, I learn only the grammar and vocabulary and the whole process is very slow and even stops sometime. And I separate these languages by learning in the morning, after lunch and in the evening, so that none of them can inflict each other. Should they inflict each other, I can remove Kazakh at any time as it has the least focus and there’s no request of me being able to speak it.

    Right now I can converse in both Portuguese and Russian at different levels.

  24. Boris:

    Hi! I have a question regarding learning words with the flash cards, if you are using the space repetition techniques – is it ok to learn the words of different languages in two contiguous sessions or is it always better to postpone and learn them separately?

  25. Meera:

    Hello Lindsay! These are really great tips! Right now I am doing way to many languages! I have to take Arabic&French at Uni but on my own I am learning Hindi and Japanese. I am the most advanced in Hindi. I am still a begginer in Arabic and Japanese. Sometimes I feel like my head will explode from studdying all these languages lol

  26. Yol Kev:

    Thanks for the useful tips !!

  27. Johnson:

    Not to be disrespectful, but I found this devoid of any useful information whatsoever. My polite suggestion is to take time to research and collect information before you decide you have something to say. Don’t write just to write and then publish it.

  28. Micaela:

    I more or less do what you say (I find trouble with number 5, but I am working on that) and I think it is working good for me ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m currently learning German, Czech and French (all with different levels) but I already know Italian and English (Spanish is my mother tongue). So, keeping it up! ๐Ÿ˜›

  29. yasi:

    This is so encouraging!! And reading the comments also! I thought i was insane for wanting to learn 3 languages at once (though i have so much fun with it). I wasnt sure if I was just complicating things for myself.

    The thing about focusing more on one language than the others is so true! I do feel guilty!
    I have to learn japanese cause my sis in law is japanese, and the language always interested me. I met a cute russian couple this year and I got interested in russian, and they were studying swedish, so that peaked my interest too!

    They are all so different from eachother, so it helps. Im spanish and i found italian learning very confusing (i understand it, but i confuse them all the time while learning!).

    Russian is my favorite of all! Im so in love with it xD. I didnt think it was possible to fall for a language, but there it is!

  30. selle:

    Since I was a kid, my aunt would always teach me Japanese but I didn’t become fluent because first of all, I am not that devoted yet so I kinda ignored her (lol). On my fifth grade, our school required a Mandarin class so I totally forgot about my Japanese but I only had it for two years + I don’t do research that much too, I rely on what our teacher gives us so I didnt become fluent too. After that, I got into the Kpop fandom so I badly wanted to learn Korean. I am still studying it to improve my skills but I can say that I can communicate in Korean now so I decided to go back to studying Japanese and Chinese. Is it okay to study three languages at a time?

  31. albrecht:

    hey lady mmmmm ok only for fun and for kill the time or hobby ok.

    BUT STOP IF YOU WANT TO BE A POLYGLOT OR HYPERPOLYGLOT STOP!!!!

    with all respect … IF YOU DO THAT YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TIME AND ENERGY YOU ARE NOT FOCUS IN ANYTHING, YOU ONLY CAN CONVERSE IN ALL, BUT YOU NEVER GOING TO REACH FLUENCY.

    FOCUS 1 ONE AT TIME, THEN LEARN ANOTHER LENGUAGE IF YOU WANT JUST B2 LEVEL, AND AT THE SAME TIME YOU CAN MASTER THE OTHERS THAT YOU HAVE AND NOW YOU CAN SPEAK A LOT OF LENGUAGES VERY WELL.

    EXPERIENCE.

  32. Elisaldo Makoto Leal:

    Hello I’m Brazilian and currently I’m studying English Language in UK . I’ve started study english 5 months ago but now I’m interested to learn Korean language as well. I want to know if it a good idea to learn Korean at the same time ! maybe it isn’t a good idea .
    so, could someone tell me if i can do it ?

    Thank you. And I’m sorry about my poor english.

    • Transparent Language:

      @Elisaldo Makoto Leal Hi Elisaldo! First, your English is very good, so don’t ever apologize! As for learning English and Korean simultaneously, it depends on your motivation and schedule. The tips in this post are written to help you, but at the end of the day you just have to make time for both languages and get in the habit of learning both. Boa sorte!

  33. Jackson:

    I know you made this a year ago but i still want to try asking; would it be a bad idea to learn bothe Japanese and Spamish at the same time? I really want to learn Japanese but for schooling I must study Spanish. Should I just stick with Spanish and hold off or go for both?

    • Transparent Language:

      @Jackson It really depends on the person! If you’re motivated to learn both, definitely give it a try! Many people find that learning linguistically different languages is easier, since there’s much less risk of mixing them up (like if you were trying to learn Spanish and Portuguese at the same time.) Be sure to follow Lindsay’s tips and make time for both languages.

  34. asha:

    waw that was helpful ๐Ÿ™‚ well at this time am learning Korean “well I have reached a decent level” but still need to study more ..and Turkish ..well I moved to turkey so am really desperate to learn it fast but still am studying both ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope that i learn Turkish really fast …

  35. Albert Deko:

    Here is a tip I use. Je me sers de Nouvelles Google comme moyen de renforcement de langues. Ik lees naamlijk Google Nieuws in het Engels, Frans, Nederlands, Duits, Spaans en Russisch. Ich habe Google Nachrichten leicht zu lesen.

    So my suggestion is to read Google News in all the languages you know and are learning. You do this by personalizing Google News, keeping the sections you are interested in and finding foreign edition equivalents in the languages you want to learn and/or reinforce.

  36. Shaun Roselt:

    So I started learning German like 2 months ago and I am currently fluent in Afrikaans and English, but now I want to learn Dutch and German at the same time. I am not sure if this is a good idea or not, but I definitely found this article interesting. Thanks.

  37. Ali M.:

    Thanks for the tips!!! This makes sense to me, I speak fluent Arabic and English and comfortable to have chinese conversations (spoken chinese only) recently im learning German because since months ago I moved to Germany from china, working in a company with 31 nationalities now , makes me hungry To learn additional languages like french and Russian, so up till now I was learning 4 languages simultaneously (1. German, 2. improving my chinese and learning to write, 3. Italian (my wife from Italy) and french (learned it for 3 years in high school but neglected it afterwards) but after reading this article ill drop the french for Russian since its gonna conflict with my Italian and Russian seems a hot language now for me.

  38. Tiffany:

    This was such a great read! The tips and info were very helpful! My issue has always been beating myself up for not being 100%, so then I’ll stop, causing another issue…Consistency! Lastly, I could not decide on which language/languages to focus on because I love quite a few. This caused confusion, then quitting. But I’ve finally made the decision to focus only on Spanish and French this year. I’m pretty proficient at Spanish already, and have a few French basics down, so that was the best decision for me. I will pick up Italian and German next year. “The Godfather” fan in me will have to wait. Lol Thanks for the blog!

    • Diane:

      @Tiffany I feel the same!! It’s wonderful, awesome, confusing, and sometimes defeating all at once!! I never lose the desire to learn, even so…

  39. melz:

    Hey! thanks for the post! i speak 2 languages fluently because i started very young, and i constantly use both (so no chance of forgetting them), now I’m in my late teenage years, and i want to spend the next 2 years taking on french in school, and also learning arabic at the same time! what do you think? any advise? Thanks in advance!

    • Marine:

      @melz Hello ! I’m French so if you want I can recommend you some good movies or french artists ๐Ÿ™‚

      To Lindsay thanks for sharing this tips, I’m learning in school English, German and Italian and I try to learn by myself Spanish. So, I think this will be really useful to deal between all this languages that I want to learn or improve.
      Have a nice day !

  40. BabyDill:

    I am interested in the idea of parcelling time each day for each language. For instance, from waking until Lunchtime thinking, etc in Spanish, from lunch until 6 thinking etched in French. Any thoughts about this? Or every other day switch? When I was first learning Spanish I had a mental rule when I was home, that when I went into the kitchen or bedroom I would mentally shift to Spanish for sure. Has anyone tried something similar?

    • Diane:

      @BabyDill That’s an interesting concept! I’ll try it out!
      Me, I just study/concentrate on whichever one is on my mind at the moment

  41. Diane:

    Ha!! So I’m not the only one!!
    I’m studying Hindi/Urdu (starting last year) and French and Spanish (starting and stopping for years!) Now am studying all three on a regular basis. Your 7 tips on learning multiple languages really hit home- do you know me ??
    I toy with the idea of adding another, but man I think my brain will blow up!!
    I’ve thought of double-subtitled movies, but didn’t know they existed. What I’m looking for is the language the movie is spoken in, written in the subtitle, with the English subtitle below it. Maybe there’s hope!! I’ll start looking now!!
    Shukriya, Merci, y Gracias!!

  42. Amina:

    I am in a real problem. I’m taking classes to learn sign language but for the last few months I have been working on Japanese and also decided to learn Korean and Spanish. I haven’t started much of Korean and Spanish and I don’t know what to do or where to start because it feels like a huge haze

  43. Raz:

    Thanks for the amazing tips. I am planing to learn Turkish and French simultaneously and I wonder if it is a good idea at all. I believe thse 2 are two different languages where at the same time turkish adopted many french words though it is pronounced differently.
    My mother tongue is Farsi and I’m quite good speaking English.
    I would highly appreciate any advice.

    • Melia:

      @Raz This is my number 1 tip:
      Throw yourself in the-language-you-want-to-learn speaking community for maximum results
      Good luck!

  44. Melia:

    I’ve seen a few films with *double subtitles*, not because I chose to but because they were there haha. You tend to just stick to the one you’re most comfortable with (I associate watching a movie with relax time so my brain will switch to the easiest language). I know it sounds crazy, but it’s not that scary, your eyes just follow one language line. I remember going to the movies in Luxembourg while on holiday and the movie was in English, with Dutch and French subtitles. I liked it, and it’s useful for 3 language groups of people. But then again I grew up with subtitled tv, not dubbed like in many countries and also in a bilingual household which helps a great deal.
    As for the simultaneous language learning: I didn’t seem to have a problem when I was younger and studying French, German & Spanish in school. I loved languages and I never struggled (except for German! But we learned this language more ‘academically’ than anything else so I never mention it). As I got older and was working in different places, I noticed I had to choose between French and Spanish (my love for Spanish was a little bigger) and the neglected languages traveled to deeper spaces in my brain needing more and more time to get ‘into it’ when I had the chance to use it. Before you just had to drop me in France and it was as if I had never left. Then at one point I found myself struggling with a French phone call while working in Spain, and even using Dutch or English expressions to English or Dutch speakers while those are my native languages. Now I am learning to speak Polish because of roots on one side of the family. It is such an amazingly complicated language. I understand it but can’t speak it.
    The brain is a mysterious thing and languages are amazing! It really is personal, so for me at this moment I have to focus all my energy and thoughts on one language learning experience at a time for it to have good results. I wish it were different but I have accepted it and try to enjoy it to the full. Also, hearing and speaking the language is everything for me. Throw yourself in the-language-you-want-to-learn speaking community for maximum results! Mucha suerte allemaal ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. Viola:

    This article kinda motivated me ๐Ÿ™‚ good job
    I actually studied spanish and italian at the same time for a year (4 hours at school every week… even though spanish got canceled a lot…), after I finally dropped french after 4 long and hellish years…
    After I canceled spanish (way too many people in that class) I also lost the will to study italian any further, so I guess I’ll pick spanish up again to go with my italian (and russian) because I don’t really think they are THAT much alike. I mean, sure, there are a lot of similiarities but the feel/vibe they give off is nothing alike…


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