You always wanted to learn French? But you like German, too? Oh, you also want to learn Chinese? Whoa, that’s ambitious. Do you want to take that ambition further? How about learning multiple languages at once? Yes; that’s possible.
Before you start this journey, you have to make a decision: do you really need and want to learn multiple languages at once? If you decide to do this, you’ll need a consistent strategy.
Here are 7 tips to support you along the challenge:
1. Make Sure You Have What It Takes
There are few things you need if you’re willing to learn multiple languages at once:
- Willpower. You’ll come to a point when you’ll think it’s better to give up. If you keep your willpower strong, you’ll overcome those obstacles and you’ll keep learning.
- Time. You’ll have to learn and practice on a daily basis, and we’re not talking about 10-minute sessions. Do you have the time it takes?
- Experience. If this is your first time dealing with foreign language learning, it would be best to focus on one language at first. If you do have experience, you know how the process goes and you’re ready to tackle two or more languages at the same time.
2. Choose Distinct Languages
You might think it would be easier for you to tackle multiple languages from the same family, such as Spanish and Portuguese for example. You’re wrong! When you’re trying to learn languages with similar words, grammar and emotions, your head will be a complete mess. In that case, it’s better to start the second one after you master the first one.
If you’re learning multiple languages at the same time, make sure they are distinct. You can handle Turkish and Spanish. Greek and French. You get the idea, right?
3. Tackle Both Languages Every Day
Maria Roberts, a linguist from Best Essays, shares a tip from her personal experience: “I found that studying one language for a week and another one for another week before I went back to the first one was not the right way to do this. When I started studying both languages (Italian and German) every day, I achieved great results.”
Make a schedule! Turn learning into a routine. Take brief lessons in all languages you’re learning every single day. We told you this challenge would take a significant portion of your time, didn’t we?
You know what the best way to master a language is: immersion. In other words, it’s best to travel to the country whose language you’re trying to master. But it’s physically impossible to be in two or more countries at the same time.
You can still immerse yourself in the languages through TV, radio, music, podcasts, audiobooks, and YouTube videos. Find content created by native speakers and hear them speak!
5. Pick a Focus
It’s best to make one of the languages a priority and devote most of your time on it. The primary language should take at least 70% of your focus. However, you’ll still keep the second language as an important goal and you’ll spend some time on it every day.
This method will help you master one of the languages much faster. When you get to a higher level, you can make the other language your priority.
6. Experiment with Study Methods
You don’t need to stick with the same study method for all languages you’re learning. Pick one method, such as speaking/reading/listening, for your priority language. Then, try something different for the second language. For example, you can focus mostly on listening or reading.
That will prevent boredom and burnout. Just find your creative soul.
7. Translate Between Languages
The easiest way to practice two or more languages at once is to translate between them. Get your favorite short story. Read it in your native language. Then, translate it into the language that’s your primary focus. Take the translated version and translate it into the second foreign language you’re learning.
Are You Ready?
Do you have the willpower, commitment, time, and experience you need to handle this challenge? Then you’re ready. Pick your languages and start the learning adventure!
About the author:
Karen Dikson is a tech-savvy teacher and blogger from New Jersey. Her works have been published on several education resources, including HuffingtonPost. Karen finds her inspiration in traveling and helping her students succeed. Connect with her on Twitter.