View Full Version : Learning two languages at the same time

February 12th, 2009, 22:44
anyone got any general tips for this?

I'm trying to build up some basic Korean as well as pass JLPT 2k.

February 12th, 2009, 22:52
Basically, I had an on/off switch in my head. Keep the two languages completely separate when studying. Easier said than done sometimes.... mixed things up a bit once in a while. :p

February 12th, 2009, 22:57
Not a problem. I've always done it in the past and I'm doing it now with two quite similar languages. You just need to be organised and it's possible. Going for 2q again in the summer I'd say after my disastrous listening section performance and I study Chinese as well which I'd call myself intermediate at. I also try to keep up my German which just gets shittier every day.

Being organised is the key.

February 12th, 2009, 23:14
It should pose no problem at all.

February 13th, 2009, 07:07
Study them at different times - don't do Japanese for an hour and then immediately start Korean. Try doing one in the morning and the other in the evening or have at least an hour in between the two.

The main thing to do is to avoid getting the two mixed up.

February 17th, 2009, 11:07
See, here we have again the question of specialization or not. Ask yourself this: "shall I halfass another two languages, or master another one?"

February 17th, 2009, 21:52
I disagree. If you're dedicated and learning for the right reasons there no reason you cannot master several languages.

There's a lot of people who have. I myself would only call myself fluent in one, advanced in one and conversational in two others but I could use this as a basis to be advanced/fluent in all four and that's what Im trying to do in the long term.

February 18th, 2009, 09:04
Lots of people speak several languages. I`ve heard from a few that it gets easier each time you start a new one. Not sure if that`s actually true or if those people are just naturally gifted when it comes to learning languages.

February 18th, 2009, 09:06
My friend has learned 3 languages fluently. And he learned them all at the same time.

February 20th, 2009, 06:53
When I was in Europe over Christmas I was surprised at how many random people in the street are completely multi-lingual. Some random at a train station scrolled about 4 before we were in one that we could mutually understand.

People from Australia - you're lucky if they can bust out a few sentences of schoolboy French.

February 20th, 2009, 08:34
I agree that it is important to keep them as separate as possible in your head. As in, not trying to mix the two when speaking. (Though, I would encourage mixing your native language and any foreign language you are studying. Not as a habit of normal conversation, but it can help the learning process.)

But keeping them separate in your head doesn't mean they need to stay physically or temporally separate when studying. I think it can be very powerful for your second language to begin studying a third language through it.

My goal is to start studying Korean with a book I purchased for Japanese people studying the language. This will require me to use my Japanese skills to advance my Korean skills.

I think some people can manage two foreign languages that are at similar levels of fluency, but it can be difficult if both are first attempts at learning a foreign language. The whole idea of a foreign grammatical system can be overwhelming. Even more so if you have two to deal with and even more if they are very different from each other as well as your own language's system. I think having even a slight bit more proficiency in one can help reduce crossover when starting up that third language.

But all advice is really dependent on your attitude, organization, and motivation. These three things are keys to success in just about anything. Good luck!

February 20th, 2009, 09:04
I couldn't do it unless the languages sounded different. Would get all mixed up in my head. At least that's how I imagine it. Whenever I try to think of something in Spanish now it comes out in half Japanese. Then again, I've never tried. Personally I'd just concentrate on one at a time. Why spend a year becoming mediocre at two languages when you could become good in one and then move on to the second?

February 20th, 2009, 09:11
One time a Japanese friend and I walked past a group of asians who were talkign and my friends looks at me and says, "Korean." but they were Japanese because I knew the people we had just wakled past.

February 20th, 2009, 09:15
Lots of people speak several languages. I`ve heard from a few that it gets easier each time you start a new one. Not sure if that`s actually true or if those people are just naturally gifted when it comes to learning languages.

A second foreign (or third and so on) is easier than previous ones for several reasons.

After studying one foreign language, you know what tricks work for you so you can make a concerted effort in what works for you.

Second, you have a deeper understanding of grammar, even one's that are very different.

Also, in some cases, you can take advantage of overlap in languages - learning Italian after Spanish is rather easy and quick.

February 20th, 2009, 11:26
Italian and Spanish are practically the same language.

But yeah, simply knowing how to study properly is going to save you at least a few months of study time alone. I'm 7 months into studying Japanese and my methods are still kind of crappy.

February 20th, 2009, 21:31
I didn't start all at the same time, but I've studied four languages at once. It really does get easier each time... though I kinda went through an "oh no I'm in kindergarten again" period with each one. Would only say that I'm mostly fluent in the first one I started... French.

I found that if I spend too long of a period of time focusing on one or the other, my abilities in the others start to decline... So it's good to keep up with studying both languages at once and making sure you stay focused on studying them separately.