You are passionate about languages and want to learn as many as possible. However, how many languages should one learn at one time? I would say from personal experience that 2-4 seems to be the best way to go. I’ve been learning languages for quite sometime. Since I was 13 years old and in depth since I was 18. So I’ve gotten to know which methods have work and what haven’t worked for me when it comes to learning multiples languages.
Does Learning Multiple Languages Slow My Progress Down?
Yes. The more languages you learn at one time, the slower you progress will be. Especially if you’re a beginner at learning both target languages. It’s a good idea to have a strong foundation in one language (at least B1-C1) and then a lower level in the other. That way you’re less likely to mix the two languages up. Especially if they are completely unrelated. It will drive you crazy when you realise you’re not making any progress because you’re constantly moving from one language to another. Slow down Tiger!
Think about which languages have the most significance to you and how you plan on using each language. When you have a basic idea of what you would like to do with each language, then allow that to help motivate you to reach fluency.
Limit Yourself to a Maximum of 4 Languages At One Time
It will prevent you from dabbling into other languages until you learn all four of these languages to fluency. I’m currently focusing on two languages actively (Japanese and German)at the moment and one (Catalan) passively. It helps to have a schedule, to do list or a good general idea with what you want to get out of each language. It could also be beneficial to create small daily goals for languages instead of trying to plan out how you’re going to reach fluency. I noticed that tends to work more than trying to just write:
I will learn language “A” to fluency by this date and language “B” by this date.
Because let’s face it those types of goals are too general to actually be accomplished. Immersing yourself does help but knowing what to immerse yourself in and how to go about it, is what makes it successful. A little grammar referencing here and there doesn’t hurt either. Even if it’s completely in your target language. 😉
Avoid Language Wanderlust
I remember at one time I had at least 122 resources (books!) for learning different languages. I would study for one book and then deviate to another by the time I was 18 years old. The result was not speaking any of those languages past a very basic understanding. It was quite the disappointment. So when I started to make progress in one language, I would get interested in another language and start learning that language. It would keep moving back and forth between languages that the languages I wanted to learn fluently, got pushed aside.
What do you think? How many languages would be too much for you? Can you learn more than 1-4 languages at one time? If so, how many? If not, do you agree with my 4 language limit? I would love to hear your thoughts!