Everybody keeps asking me how to learn two languages at once. And it seems to be the biggest issue in the language learning world, because everybody wants to save time and learn two languages at once, and not just kill time with one language. That’s boring.
The answer to the question of whether it’s possible to learn two languages at once is definitely: YES! There is no problem with your brain, no problem with your memory, or with you mixing the languages up.
But if you learn two very similar languages starting both on the same beginner level, (e.g. Spanish and Italian) that would mess you up.
If you are not doing that, if it’s two very different languages, you can learn them both at the same time. It’s no problem.
Still, I would not recommend it. If we are learning a language, one of the most important aspects that affect us a lot is our motivation to learn. Nothing motivates us more than our success in language learning. That’s why if you have fast progress in the language, if you can learn something very quickly, you feel really motivated to continue.
But if it takes you ages before you even can say anything, that’s terrible. No one wants to learn a language like that, and that’s when you feel demotivated.
So what I recommend to people is to pick only one language to concentrate on during a period of two/three months (or half a year, it depends on your preferences).
If you want to also maintain another language that you learned before, you can, but I suggest giving it only 20% of your learning time.
“The 80/20 principle is key.”
That means 80% of the time will be given to the main language which you want to focus on right now, and 20% will be given to the other language. What does this mean? 20% is for example just watching a series, having a conversation every two weeks or reading a book – something passive. But the main language you want to focus on is one where you combine methods to make sure that you read in it, listen to something in it, speak it, write it – just to be in contact with the language as much as possible.
This is the reason why I recommend learning only one language at a time and to concentrate on it fully. That’s when the language will grow more quickly, and you will feel much better about yourself and your learning. You will want to learn it more, because you’ll see the results, and that will motivate you later on.
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