How to learn?

How to learn 4 language in once time?..
Who knows?.. Tell me🙏

1 Like

I don’t have a good answer, but I’m studying three languages in earnest and three others as hobbies. I find that for me I give a little time each week to focus on one of the languages and then spend a little time each day using apps to stay aware of all of the languages. I find that I can spend time with each of the languages and see progress. However, my goal of fluency is taking longer to achieve. If I could focus on just one at a time, I’m sure I’d be improving faster. I just don’t want to stop working with all of them.
I do a lot of comprehensible input daily, listening to music, watching YouTube channels, reading in my target languages. That way I am exposed to each of them a little each day. I then do some focused study on one each day, using workbooks and speaking practice. So that each language gets attention throughout the week, but I don’t overwhelm myself daily.
I hope this helps.

7 Likes

Hello,

I came across this interesting topic and it got me here.
Thank you Tiffany for your feedback.
As far as I am concerned, I have never learned 4 languages at the same time although the idea’s come across my mind many times (I’ve learned 2 at once) I would only give my opinion, which is strictly personal of course.
First of all, several points need to be dealt with:

  • Would you like to start simultaneously from the scratch in those 4 languages? Or do you already have some solid fundamentals in 1 or 2 and would like to top with the remaining ones ?
  • Do you already know which level would you like to reach in the 4 target languages ?

I guess it all comes down to what your goals are with those languages. If you intend to reach fluency in 4 new languages, it might be very challenging and discouraging at some point but if you spread the learning, meaning starting a new one every 6 months for instance, it could be more suitable this way.
But the most important is to enjoy the process, no matter how long it takes and how many languages you learn, it has to be fun and rewarding.

By the way, what are the languages you’d like to focus on ?

I’d be pleased to have more feedbacks on this “issue of multiple language learning at once”.

Regards

3 Likes

I’ve studied 8 languages at various points in my life, but I only functioned in 5 of them (B1 or better). There will always be the question of “Can I function better in it?” The answer is, of course, yes.

I have never started two languages from scratch at once. I have gone to polyglot meetups and tried having conversations in different languages which I am not proficient at either. For me it gets too confusing, and I find more frustration rather than benefits. I’m sure I can get better at code switching, but it’s not what I want to practice.

I currently spend my efforts on Spanish (10 hours a week of youtube videos, 1 or 2 group classes, and the occasional reading). For the others, if it just happens I want to watch a video in Russian or Italian, I will do so. But I don’t set aside time out of my day like I do with Spanish.

2 Likes

Hi there,

For my experience, I’m French native speaker adopted from Colombia and after years, I’ve drawn something around cultural an idioms origins to learn several languages at the same time. My first point was to better understand foundations of languages and select the ones that have the same roots with for instance Italian Spanish French Portuguese (latin origins).

Since English is today a kind of standard, some researches lead me to find out the Germanic roots of English to better prepare myself learning German for instance.

My vision (personal opinion) is that having a first historical review of languages enable us the better apprehend both cultural and linguistic aspects of these languages. Then, when you feel ready, you have so many ressources on the internet that can help starting. One of my favorite way to improve language are bilingual-written books.

To sum up :

Why do you want to learn languages ? (And Valentin well highlighted it)
From where these languages come from (History, culture) ?
What the cultural aspect and construction of the language ?
What are the available ressources I have to start my learning sessions ?
Do I feel good learning languages :slight_smile: ?

I hope you’ll find answers to these questions that can give you an other visions of how we can reach languages goals.

Regards,;

4 Likes

So, I personally think that your philosophy of language is of absolute importance when you ask the question: How to learn?

So here’s my philosophy of language:

I generally believe that meaning is universal, but that the different sounds of words and phrases are not universal.

Thus, in starting out to speak your next language, you generally never learn a new meaning each time. No, you only connect a strange sound to an already known meaning that is inside of you.

I hope this makes sense.

Explaining this differently:

If you believe in the reality of a human soul, let’s imagine that meaning resides in the human soul, and that your task is to connect or “glue” the strange sound of any new word to the meaning in the soul that is “soundless” but nevertheless real. Remember multiple sounds of different languages can be connected to the same meaning in your soul - if you will.

Does this make sense?

Maybe not, but that’s how I think about the language learning process.

The most important implication of this philosophy of language, is the following:

When starting out to speak any new language, I assume I alreading know 50% of that language, since the meaning of most of the words are already inside of me, I only need to connect each strange new sound to its specific meaning that is already inside of me.

Answering the following possible question:

But aren’t there words, or strange new sounds that have meanings peculiar only to that specific new language you are learning? Of course, each language has such words, but I find them to be in the minority.

Hope this helps someone.

5 Likes

@John_FK I like your point your view and in fact I agree 100% of you in terms of vocabulary acquisition: a same linguistic sign (semiotics) with the same meaning but with different ways to say that linguistic sign.
But, every language has its own nuances, and in that sense we must not let that behind.

Dear hoopstats!

Concerning your words “every language has its own nuanses” - yes I also fully agree with you on this. In another question that I answered on how to keep languages from “leaking” over to the next one I mention the “personality” of each different language. Preserving in a way the personality of each seperate language in my mind, helps me to distinguish between the different nuances between them.

4 Likes

I know that. We are Hyperpolyglots.

1 Like

Hey there!
I feel that it is best to get a good level in a language before learning another one. Of course this is a personal choice. There are people who learn 2, 3 or even 4 languages at once.

But it goes back to the question of what do you mean by “to learn”?

Learning 2-4 brand new languages at a time is much different than trying to improve 1-3 languages that you have already learned in the past, and starting just one from scratch.

In my opinion, if you are starting from scratch, you should learn 1-2 brand new languages at once, and it would be best if they were really different. For example, Arabic and Portuguese.

But if you focus on just one, you would likely progress faster.

If you have fun learning a lot of languages at once, and are doing it as a hobby, then you can do that too :slight_smile:

It all depends on what your goals on. Language learning is very personal.

4 Likes

I normally don’t learn more than 3 new languages together. It’s time consuming and your progress will be very slow and you might feel upset and lose confidence and interest in learning them. What I usually do is I’ll learn 4-5 languages of different proficiency together. I’ll still be learning 4-5 languages together, just that I can have different focuses and the amount of time needed for each language is different.

Take my current learning situation as an example, I am learning Norwegian and Swahili as an absolute beginner, with Thai at a low beginner level and Japanese at a high beginner level and Vietnamese at a high intermediate level.

I will spend more time on Norwegian and Swahili since I have almost zero knowledge and learning from scratch.
For Japanese and Thai, since I have the basics, I can spend my time on integrating them into my daily routine and less “book studying”.
For Vietnamese, I am already at a B2 going to C1, so I’m “learning” the language through reading the newspapers, novels, articles and actually consuming content for native Vietnamese.

In this way , I am learning 5 languages together but most of my time learning the languages are integrated in my daily life and routine with very little time spent on studying the language. If I had learnt 5 completely brand new languages together, I wouldn’t have the capability and the choice to what I’m doing now.

5 Likes