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Addicted to Languages!
January 24, 2012
23:55
sabes_17

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What does one do when they have an addiction to learning languages? German is my main priority; its a language I have been obsessed with learning for about a decade now (although I just started learning recently) but I can't stop the itch and desire to learn another one while I'm learning German. Studies and common sense will dictate that the success rate and speed of learning a language is greater when there is one focal point but I can't stop!

 

I was going to attempt to learn Swedish at the same time as German, but I stopped that and put it off until later because I just wasn't that into the language. But now its French, particularly the Québec dialect. However, I feel like I might be a little more vested in French than I was Swedish because I have direct decedents from Québec (everyone on my mother's side other than my mother), I live in Massachusetts so I am very close to the Canadian border and Québec is a place that I have visited often and am considering moving to in a couple of years. If I do move there, my knowledge of French is crucial, as French is the official language of Québec (although most everything is also in English) and I want to speak the official language no matter what country I live in. 

 

I eventually want to be fluent in both German and French (along with a plethora of languages!) but I'm in no immediate rush. My original mission is to be conversational in German by July, and I still think that will be an obtainable goal, even with adding the French. I would *like* to be around the C1 level in German by the end of the year, but if it takes longer, it takes longer, no big deal. 

 

So, in an attempt to end my rambling, I guess I'm asking the people who are just like me and not satisfied only learning one language at a time, if its really that much more difficult to learn two at the same time? What I'm doing now is enrolling in the free Live Mocha French, just for basic vocab, and since there is no shortage of French materials available around here, I will probably be watching French movies and changing the subtitles (and the audio, for certain tv shows and dvds that I own with this capability, such as Scrubs smile). I haven't decided whether I want to spend a little time or a lot of time on it so far, but I'll see 

 

Oh, and another thing about Canada is that its more feasible to visit and maybe even be able to spend a month's time in, to be immersed in the language, as I would only have to worry about gas money (no need for airfare) and hotels. 

 

Sorry for the rambling and maybe incoherent post!

Fluent:  English (Native) Currently Learning:  Deutsch   Up next: French (Québec) On hold: Español (Intermediate)  Interested in: Nederlands Svenksa  Norwegian   Possibly attempting: Irish (Heritage Language)    http://shannonliebtdeutsche.wordpress.com/
January 25, 2012
00:51
Kevinpost
Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

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My advice to you is to take it easy and focus on one language at a time. We enjoy learning languages for personal reasons and that is why we are here on this forum discussing languages. I think many of us have experienced times when we viewed languages as a cultural buffet saying to ourselves, "hmmm I want to try that!" and "that looks appealing" et cetera. Before we knew it we had far too much "food" on our plate and left the cultural buffet with a horrible stomach ache. To keep my analogy going, it turns out to be much healthier and satisfying to eat a well proportioned meal in one sitting that try to fill your plate with a bunch of different food at once that don't exactly mix well. 

Another occurring problem I see with language learners is when the going gets tough they 'take a break' from their language goal and find another language goal because it's new and exciting. This is one of the best ways to procrastinate in a language. 

Best of luck to you Shannon!

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January 27, 2012
02:44
duckshirt
Koblenz, DE

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I can definitely relate to that feeling too.  Right now I'm "fortunate" that I need to learn German because of future plans, so it's easy to stick with just this language, which I believe, for the reasons Kevin mentioned, is the most effective way to learn.  So my advice would be maybe to find some motivation to stick with your current language too?  Perhaps make concrete plans to live in Quebec for a month, or create something in German, or meet Spanish speakers in your hometown?  Like many of us here you have plenty of motivation to learn languages, maybe you just need more motivation to focus on a specific one?

 

Alternatively if you want to learn something completely different you can do something like Polyglotally's 52 languages in a year, which sounds like a lot of fun in its own way, and it might spark your interest in one.

Native: English Conversational: Spanish Dutch Basic (on hold): French

Currently learning: German (mission thread) My German Video Blog!

January 27, 2012
05:46
Kevinpost
Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

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A good Chinese proverb sums it up: "If you chase two rabbits both will escape."  

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January 27, 2012
07:10
sipes23
Chicago, EEUU

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Kevinpost said:

A good Chinese proverb sums it up: "If you chase two rabbits both will escape."  

Can I have an amen?

 

It's true. I'm doing a grab bag style mission right now, but there's only one new part: Old English—and it is closely related to my native tongue. The rest is all improving what I'm already pretty good with. And I would suggest there is a difference between starting out with a language and improving intermediate to advanced skills. 

 

So yeah. Start with one and stick with it through the first hard part. Get good at it. Then move on. Of course, it isn't necessary to spend twenty years on getting good at it: follow Benny's lead.

Native: American English            Advanced: lingua latina From Basic to Intermediate: فارسی Italiano  Español 
I dream: Frysk Sanskrit My blogs: Dead Linguist, Latin, Ancient Greek, Old English My YouTube: sipes23
January 27, 2012
10:28
WillPeach
London

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I know how you feel but my sentiments also lay with the other posters - just focus on one thing at one time. Learning a language is a massive endeavor and one that requires full commitment.

January 31, 2012
03:54
Alasdair
Canterbury, England

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I'm not so sure about that.

 

I mean - learning a language to fluency in as short a time as possible is a big, one-only commitment. But just playing around with a few languages at a time lets me not get bogged down in turning it from a pasttime into a chore.

 

I'm listening to some Hindi, my most advanced language, and I manage to read an article in it. I'm pleased with myself. But as I go along the words are getting more complicated and at this point I'm basically just Google Translating whole sentences. I've learnt new words and I'm feeling great about that but it's getting a big...stodgy. So I pop on YouTube and listen to some glorious Red Army Choir music. I learn a few lyrics and their respective decl[Beware! This is SPAM posted by a third party]s. I sing along a few times. I start reading Russian Grammar articles. After a while I feel a bit bored - I'm not actually learning anything - I'm just laying down some solid foundations for the stuff we cover in the lessons every Wednesday (after which I chat to a Russian vendor in Russian, feel pleased with myself and spend an afternoon in a Russian buzz reading and practicing Russian). Then, on Wednesday evenings, I go to a Spanish meet-up with some Spanish students and Spanish-learning students and we chat in Spanish. I just get by with my limited spanish and come away understanding a few new words and feeling pleased that I managed to survive in an actual, real-life conversational situation. I learn phrases in Spanish all evening. At some point one of my Chinese friends pops up on Facebook. I want to ask him something, so I do it in Chinese. I learn how to tell the time in Chinese so I can ask him when we're doing something. I don't remember the characters but I remember the pinying so I type it up and Google Translate converts it into characters. He corrects my minor mistakes and we talk in Mandarin all evening. 

 

It's the lingual equivelant of channel-hopping and it makes each day exciting and varied. Sure, I'm learning vocabulary at a terribly slow rate and good grief Russian would be so much easier if I committed to sitting down and ramming it into my head I'm sure - but this way everything I'm doing is fun and I'm 100% engaged. Understanding of complicated concepts such as declensions is built up bit-by-bit as I remember small segments of how to say things.

 

I think it's all aided by the fact that I have no pressing desire nor need to learn any of these languages to a conversational level any time soon. I'm not off to China next week and Russia's not exactly down the road. Spanish and Mandarin are the only ones I get regular contact in and in those cases I am learning conversationally, though my Hanzi are suffering for it.

 

I spend each day gripped by a passion that never wilts and, to be honest, I can't think of a more enjoyable way to enhance my horizons.

January 31, 2012
11:10
NKellyEmerald
Dublin, Ireland

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Alasdair said:

I think it's all aided by the fact that I have no pressing desire nor need to learn any of these languages to a conversational level any time soon. I'm not off to China next week and Russia's not exactly down the road. 

I like this post a lot. Languages truly are more of a thing you do out of sheer love than just something you're simply doing 'the most efficient way possible'.

 

In my case, Spanish is a language I'm interested in purely out of love (as will French and Italiain and, if I ever get on to it, Japanese) but Polish is (out of love, of course) my most pressing one as my girlfriend is Polish and I plan to live there for some time this year. Thing is, just because my focus is on Polish does not stop me from dipping in to Spanish aswell from time to time each day, and just because I'm only dipping in now and again doesn't mean I'm learning nothing, either! :)

 

My point I guess is, maybe you have a language that's most important to you, like me, maybe not, but don't worry too much about efficiency so much as doing what keeps your love of languages fresh and interesting. If studying just one language can keep you interested, focus on one, if not, learning more than one isn't a crime, so don't be afraid to! :)

Native:   Gaeilge,  English Studies:  Polish On Hold:  Spanish Next:  Italian
Is cainteoir dúchais Gaeilge mé. Same with English. Zacząłem uczyć się polskiego, y ahora, he dejado aprender el castellano.
January 31, 2012
21:46
Alasdair
Canterbury, England

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A friend of mine recently gave me a wonderful piece of advice (which I'm sure he took from somewhere else but he said it with such conviction it might as well have been his own)

 

"The only person you should compare yourself to is who you were yesterday"

 

It's beautiful.

 

It works so well with languages, too. You go to bed at night - Are you fluent in Navajo? No? But you know more than you did yesterday, even if it's one word or rule (or even a burning desire to do more tomorrow precisely because you did absolutely nothing today). To summarise it all in the cheesiest way I can think of off the top of my head - Life is a journey and every step's taking you further then you've ever been before. 

February 1, 2012
04:45
Kevinpost
Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

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I understand the desire to do your own thing. I get it. However, there are experts out there who have found out what works and what doesn't from years of experience and making mistakes. Learning one language to fluency at a time is one of those pieces of advice that successful polyglots around the world continue to tell their readers is the most efficient ways to reach fluency in a language. 

If you're learning languages for fun and treating them like a cultural buffet then by all means that's fantastic. But don't you look forward to the day when you can say, "I am a fluent speaker in X" rather than, "I am okay in X, I can dabble a little bit in Y and I can talk order food in Z"? 

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February 1, 2012
05:36
Alasdair
Canterbury, England

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I do look forward to that day

 

That doesn't mean that day is going to be anywhere within the next year or so. 

 

It's one thing to, as you say, "dabble" in languages - but it's another to be taking on a half-dozen at a steady rate so it never becomes a chore. I want to be fluent in all of my languages but I don't want it to come quickly or efficiently if it means sacrificing one ounce of the fun I'm having.

February 1, 2012
16:12
NKellyEmerald
Dublin, Ireland

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Kevinpost said:

But don't you look forward to the day when you can say, "I am a fluent speaker in X" rather than, "I am okay in X, I can dabble a little bit in Y and I can talk order food in Z"? 

Fluency means nothing for me, I dream of a day I can say "I am ok in X, I can dabble in Y, I'm ok in Z... but you know what? I can do everything I've ever WANTED to do in all of these languages."

 

Being able to say you're fluent in a language is one thing, being able to say you're truly happy with your achievements is another, and honestly in my opinion much more important. I'm sure I'll learn many languages to fluency as I have the drive, but only as long as I never have to boil my language learning down to "doing it the most efficient way, even if it's not fun that way". ;)

Native:   Gaeilge,  English Studies:  Polish On Hold:  Spanish Next:  Italian
Is cainteoir dúchais Gaeilge mé. Same with English. Zacząłem uczyć się polskiego, y ahora, he dejado aprender el castellano.
February 2, 2012
04:16
Kevinpost
Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

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Good for you guys! Enjoy the journey :)

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Learning to fluency:  
There will definitely be more that follow!
February 2, 2012
13:28
NKellyEmerald
Dublin, Ireland

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Kevinpost said:

Good for you guys! Enjoy the journey :)

Always will! :D

Native:   Gaeilge,  English Studies:  Polish On Hold:  Spanish Next:  Italian
Is cainteoir dúchais Gaeilge mé. Same with English. Zacząłem uczyć się polskiego, y ahora, he dejado aprender el castellano.
February 3, 2012
00:21
Jarvis1000

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I am very much the same way....Right now its spanish, but I my weekends are devoted to getting my Thai from socially fluent to a professionaly fluent level!   Once there I imagine I will move my Spanish(assuming that I am socially fluent in that) to the weekends and add another language, probably mandarin, to week.  I think it actually helps me to take the weekend off and study another language.  But I do agree emphasizing in more than one probably makes things to confusing.

February 4, 2012
01:06
sipes23
Chicago, EEUU

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Kevinpost said:

But don't you look forward to the day when you can say, "I am a fluent speaker in X" rather than, "I am okay in X, I can dabble a little bit in Y and I can talk order food in Z"? 

This has been twisting around the back of my head since you wrote it. It feels a tinge idealistic to me—but also completely understandable. 

 

I'll 'fess up to being a big magpie, but I wish I weren't. I know some of this and some of that, and it meets my purposes. When it doesn't, I work.

 

Would I like my Spanish to be a bit sharper? Sure, but for now I can read the news and do some daily-wear tourist things in it. Would I like to be a bit more conversational in my Ancient Greek? Yeah, but who would I speak it with? I'll settle for being able to read it with some facility. And so on and so on. I'll take piecemeal improvement across my languages over huge strides out of practicality: it's what I can do with where I am in my life. What's more, the piecemeal does add up over time. 

 

I suppose I do look forward to fluent speaker of X, but I find it best to understate skills. Besides, people never believe it when you say "I speak Latin fluently." 

Native: American English            Advanced: lingua latina From Basic to Intermediate: فارسی Italiano  Español 
I dream: Frysk Sanskrit My blogs: Dead Linguist, Latin, Ancient Greek, Old English My YouTube: sipes23
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