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Is it possible to learn 2 languages at once?
June 3, 2013
01:25
Noah
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Hi. My name is Noah. I am a 15 year old that speaks native English, and very good Spanish. I have been learning Russian recently, and have decided that I wanted to start Mandarin Chinese, without quitting Russian. I would not be learning 2 new alphabets at the same time, as I have already mastered the Russian alphabet.

 

So, bottom line, do you think this is possible?

 

Thanks, Muchas Gracias, Спасибо

Noah 

June 4, 2013
03:28
Raphacam
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Many people from this forum would not recommend you to do this, because it would confuse you, but my opinion is different. I myself think learning two languages at the same time prevents you from getting tired from one of them, and this also means more fun smile

I'd been studying Russian since December, and I've just started Italian. In my opinion, all you need is some organisation.

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June 5, 2013
08:42
Stephanie S
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I think "is it possible to have more than one child at the same time" might be a better comparison. :) People tend to think that having a small family is ideal, because that way you can lavish more attention on your one or two kids. Having grown up in a family with 5 kids, I have to disagree. Our parents managed to love us all, and the experience of growing up with lots of siblings, each with their own particular personality, was a rich experience, and continues to be. I very often meet adults who grew up in houses as single children or with just one sibling, and they envy my experience.

That being said, does the metaphor carry? I think so. Even though it's true that you won't be able to spend as much individual time on each language, your study in one will indirectly help you develop in others. As Raphacam said, it will take some organisation. You will be busier. You may feel overwhelmed at times. But think about a few years down the road from now: will you be happier knowing you learned one language super well, or will you be happier knowing you have a diverse language learning experience under your belt? I think it's worth having a large language "family." 

I think it's helpful to keep in mind that in minority communities all over the world, it's very normal for people to speak 5 or 8 languages, just because the worlds in which they live require them to in order to participate in business, education, local politics, communication with the elderly, etc. With the increase of globalisation, our worlds will become more diverse as well, and the more languages you are familiar with, the more opportunities you will have. Language study is always a doorway to cultural studies too, and even just a rudimentary knowledge of a language or culture can be the difference between landing or not landing a job, or a chance to travel, in the future. 

Good luck!

Stephanie

Elanguest

June 10, 2013
10:38
Falkenstein
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I think it's possible but it takes a lot of stamina, dedication, will power and TIME to do it. Usually you will end up spending more time on one language than the other and sometimes you can get mixed up. Nevertheless you will probably still feel like you learn more than when only focusing on one language.

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June 10, 2013
18:24
JXBean

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Of course you can learn two languages at once.  You never finish learning any language, so any time you add a second language, you are learning two at once.  I have about a million years of formal education and today I looked up an English word whose definition I was not sure about.  I think that it's probably better not to start learning two at once, though, unless you have a lot of time available.  I started Spanish in junior high and added German in high school with no problem. I dropped the German long ago, but have worked hard on French and a few years ago I started Italian.  Since the grammar of French, Spanish and Italian has a lot of overlap, I have an advantage there.  Science says that we store our maternal tongue in one part of our brain and languages learned later in life elsewhere.  I've noticed that when I am searching for a word in Spanish or Italian, my brain offers the French word a lot, but every so often a Spanish word pops out in place of Italian or French.  English, however, is firmly in its own place.  

 

As pointed out above, if you lived in India, you would probably speak at least three languages and possibly more.

June 11, 2013
14:23
Eric Masterson

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Its possible to learn two languages at the same time, last year I was fortunate to learn french and mandarin at the same time. Totally depends on the one learning the language...

July 10, 2013
02:39
aelissa
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Yes it's possible to learn multiple languages at once. When I was at school, besides learning my own mother tongue (the national language, Indonesian) and English, I also learnt an ethnic language of my province. At home, I also learnt, by conversation, my mother's ethnic language because she comes from a different province. So I agree with Stephanie S above, in some communities it's really normal, and expected, for one to be a polyglot.

I can, if I want to, learn Malay at the same time because Malay and Indonesian are very similar - in fact, the latter is derived from the first. I also believe that, now that I'm learning Dutch, I'm indirectly learning Afrikaans. My friends from South Africa who speak Afrikaans can understand me when I respond in Dutch - they just help pointing out the [slight] differences in spelling and grammar.

I've never tried learning Mandarin alongside Russian, though, so only you can know! Good luck!! laugh

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