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View Full Version : Do you think it's a good idea to learn languages simultaneously?


Sam L
Apr 22nd, 2006, 01:10 PM
Has anyone done it successfully? Any tips? Does anyone not recommend it?

I want to learn French and German just purely out of interest. Right now, I know the basics like the alphabet (pronunciation) and some phrases. Should I tackle both at the same time?

I'm 26. I don't know if that means anything for my linguistic potential but I do know that adults languages differently to children?

Any help/advice will be appreciated. Once I can master French and German (if ever), I plan to learn Russian too. I'm not crazy enough to take on three at the same time. :lol:

azdaja
Apr 22nd, 2006, 01:17 PM
Has anyone done it successfully? Any tips? Does anyone not recommend it?

I want to learn French and German just purely out of interest. Right now, I know the basics like the alphabet (pronunciation) and some phrases. Should I tackle both at the same time?

I'm 26. I don't know if that means anything for my linguistic potential but I do know that adults languages differently to children?

Any help/advice will be appreciated. Once I can master French and German (if ever), I plan to learn Russian too. I'm not crazy enough to take on three at the same time. :lol:
it should be no problem if languages are significantly different from each other, so it should work with french and german. and it does not matter how old you are once you get older than 14. children below that age learn languages "better", at least when it gets to pronounciation. just make sure you can practice regularly.

Solitaire
Apr 22nd, 2006, 01:40 PM
I was taking a Spanish and French at the sametime. Since they are both romance languages they have some things incommon and things would get confusing at times. Since the languages u want to learn are so different it shouldn't be too hard.

Good Luck!

Maajken
Apr 22nd, 2006, 02:05 PM
i don't think you'll have much problems with that, german and french couldn't be further apart from eachother

Sam L
Apr 22nd, 2006, 02:09 PM
Guys, I thought it would be harder to learn two languages that are different from each other? :confused:

I thought it'd be easier to learn like say two Romance languages at the same time like French/Spanish or two Germanic languages at the same time like Dutch/German?

No?

controlfreak
Apr 22nd, 2006, 02:13 PM
Yes I think it's a good idea. There may be occasional slip-ups but your brain should be more than capable of handling all the information. The downside is that you have to spend twice as long studying to reach a certain level in each language. The upside is that, if you do it, you will have a real sense of achievement and nobody will be able to call you lazy (not even yourself).

Just out of interest, what method are you planning to use? I would recommend either evening classes or a linguaphone+textbook-type product; you may find it difficult going alone if there is no-one to practise with or correct you. I have heard that French and German are considered quite difficult to learn (well, not as difficult as Chinese or Russian but more difficult than Spanish or Italian)... but I can't really comment because I was taught both of them at a young age.

I am trying to motivate myself to learn some Italian and Dutch but I need someone to stick a red hot poker up my behind.

azdaja
Apr 22nd, 2006, 02:15 PM
Guys, I thought it would be harder to learn two languages that are different from each other? :confused:

I thought it'd be easier to learn like say two Romance languages at the same time like French/Spanish or two Germanic languages at the same time like Dutch/German?

No?
no. the main problem is the similarity in vocabulary, and that can lead to a lot of "false friends". also, if their grammars are very similar you can confuse things.

it could be difficult to learn 2 languages of different types at the same time, because in that case you would need to learn completely new grammatical structures at the same time, and that is a lot of work (french and german are both flexional languages and belong to the same language family). but even that is easier than learning similar languages.

also, it's easier to learn foreign languages if you have already learned one.

yellowcard
Apr 22nd, 2006, 02:23 PM
Sam L, which languages do you already speak?

controlfreak
Apr 22nd, 2006, 02:31 PM
I think if you learned French+Spanish, you would make faster progress, but there would be a lot more potential for confusing elements of the grammar and vocabulary between the two languages.

If you try French+German, the progress will be slower, but there is little chance of crossover confusion.

If it is your first foreign language learning attempt it might be better to start with just one language and then add another after 6 months if you feel that your brain has strong language learning capabilities.

Sam L
Apr 22nd, 2006, 02:34 PM
Just out of interest, what method are you planning to use? I would recommend either evening classes or a linguaphone+textbook-type product; you may find it difficult going alone if there is no-one to practise with or correct you. I have heard that French and German are considered quite difficult to learn (well, not as difficult as Chinese or Russian but more difficult than Spanish or Italian)... but I can't really comment because I was taught both of them at a young age.

Thanks. Classes which will also require me to buy and learn from textbooks.

Sam L
Apr 22nd, 2006, 02:35 PM
no. the main problem is the similarity in vocabulary, and that can lead to a lot of "false friends". also, if their grammars are very similar you can confuse things.

it could be difficult to learn 2 languages of different types at the same time, because in that case you would need to learn completely new grammatical structures at the same time, and that is a lot of work (french and german are both flexional languages and belong to the same language family). but even that is easier than learning similar languages.

also, it's easier to learn foreign languages if you have already learned one.
Thanks. Well, I'm definitely determined to learn these two so it's too late for me to turn around anyway.

Sam L
Apr 22nd, 2006, 02:36 PM
Sam L, which languages do you already speak?
Just English. :o

Sam L
Apr 22nd, 2006, 02:40 PM
I think if you learned French+Spanish, you would make faster progress, but there would be a lot more potential for confusing elements of the grammar and vocabulary between the two languages.

If you try French+German, the progress will be slower, but there is little chance of crossover confusion.

If it is your first foreign language learning attempt it might be better to start with just one language and then add another after 6 months if you feel that your brain has strong language learning capabilities.
I think I'm beginning to see what you mean. Are you talking about false cognates? Like French and English as a lot of them. Like "chance"? I can see where this will be confusing.

yellowcard
Apr 22nd, 2006, 02:54 PM
Just English. :o

I'd suggest you started by French (a lot of words have a linguistic "place of where they come from") and later you could start German (do you already get the cases system?), but it'll be harder, since it's a lot like Dutch (but not the same) and from my experience, English people learning to speak Dutch have a lot of troubles doing so.

jrm
Apr 22nd, 2006, 03:02 PM
I found it difficult

example: writting/speaking something in German i would automatically think how to write/speak in English!

RJWCapriati
Apr 22nd, 2006, 03:04 PM
Sounds tough, Good Luck!!

matthieu_tennis
Apr 22nd, 2006, 03:56 PM
french is very difficult for the grammar and verbs :)
c'est un tres beau langage cependant :)

Il Primo!
Apr 22nd, 2006, 04:06 PM
french is very difficult for the grammar and verbs :)
c'est un tres beau langage cependant :)

Yes,french is one of the most difficult languages on earth!Even my fellow frechmen and I don't always masterize it :tape: Shame on us!
I've been studying at the same time english,spanish and italian(I started italian 2 years ago). There too similarities between spanish and Italian!!It's very tough for me to speak italian cause I use spanish words(I started spanish 4 years ago).
So I think it's doable to learn different languages at the same if they're very different ;)

416_Man
Apr 22nd, 2006, 04:25 PM
Quit the French. There are enough irregulars, and exceptions, that it's nearly pointless to bother calling them "language rules". The biggest thing that threw me off was prepositions. When in doubt add "de" :p ;)

Best of luck!

Sam L
Apr 30th, 2006, 02:06 PM
Hi guys, thanks for the suggestions.

I will be starting formal French classes this week. And I'll start German in about a month's time.

For those who advised to quit French because it's too hard or too idiosyncratic, it's ok, I'm only doing this for my own interest. I don't have any pressure from anyone or anywhere other than my own passion.

I know French will be difficult. But it can't be as bad as English vocabulary. The amount of words in the Oxford English Dictionary is enough make you go insane. There are difficult aspects of every language I guess.

controlfreak
Apr 30th, 2006, 03:11 PM
Bonne chance! Now you will finally be able to complete your username: Sam L'_______ (???)

;)

smiler
Apr 30th, 2006, 03:19 PM
Hi guys, thanks for the suggestions.

I will be starting formal French classes this week. And I'll start German in about a month's time.

For those who advised to quit French because it's too hard or too idiosyncratic, it's ok, I'm only doing this for my own interest. I don't have any pressure from anyone or anywhere other than my own passion.

I know French will be difficult. But it can't be as bad as English vocabulary. The amount of words in the Oxford English Dictionary is enough make you go insane. There are difficult aspects of every language I guess.

Great news, and good luck you you mate! :yeah:

Although my language skills are rather limited, I did learn both French and German at for a few years and I have to say I found French loads easier than German. I guess it's down to personal strengths and weakness's as to which is easier, five years ago since my last language class, although a bit rusty I can still hold a convasation in French, but I can only remember the odd useless German phrase.

When I've finished at uni I'm gonna take up French again I think.

Il Primo!
Apr 30th, 2006, 03:20 PM
Great news, and good luck you you mate! :yeah:

Although my language skills are rather limited, I did learn both French and German at for a few years and I have to say I found French loads easier than German. I guess it's down to personal strengths and weakness's as to which is easier, five years ago since my last language class, although a bit rusty I can still hold a convasation in French, but I can only remember the odd useless German phrase.

When I've finished at uni I'm gonna take up French again I think.

C'est bien!C'est beau le français ;)

MisterQ
Apr 30th, 2006, 03:20 PM
Good luck with your studies! :)

I would say that German grammar is more complicated than French grammar, dealing with four cases and three genders. It can make your head spin for a while! :lol:

I have studied both languages, and it's true that when I was taking German I found it hard to shift to French sometimes. But if you are taking both simultaneously for a while, I'm sure you will adjust. Brains are very flexible! :cool:

Incidentally, learning both french and german is fascinating to an English speaker, because our own language is a such a mixture of old anglo-saxon (Germanic) and old french. :cool:

smiler
Apr 30th, 2006, 03:30 PM
C'est bien!C'est beau le français ;)

Oui, je sais (?!), j'aime bien le français. :)

Kart
Apr 30th, 2006, 07:13 PM
I don't think taking three languages at a time is crazy if you have the time - it might be easier if you're zoned in.

furrykitten
Apr 30th, 2006, 07:16 PM
We British are useless when learning other languages, like myself, I wish I knew others but I'm too lazy to actually do it!. Saying that I work alot of hours in a week and am usually too tired to think of going back to college!.

Princess Sarah.
May 1st, 2006, 01:17 AM
I'm currently learning spanish and arabic and they are my best two subjects so yeah i reccommend it if your up for all of the work

TF Chipmunk
May 1st, 2006, 01:19 AM
I think if you have enough time to focus on both of them, it shouldn't be that difficult :shrug:

drake3781
May 1st, 2006, 01:22 AM
I'm surprised everybody saying yes because I don't think I could do it...... but go with the majority opinion!

~ The Leopard ~
May 1st, 2006, 02:37 AM
From my partly-successful efforts to learn French and my totally-unsuccessful efforts to learn German, I'm surprised that some people think French is difficult for an English speaker. Its syntax is reasonably intuitive. German, on the other hand, has a syntax that English speakers notoriously find incredibly tortured and have great difficultly getting the hang of.

Good luck, Sam!

vogus
May 1st, 2006, 04:20 AM
if, at age 26, you've never learned any foreign language before, why suddenly try to learn French and German simultaneously?

Trying to learn both is a great way to end up learning NEITHER. Pick the one you prefer and try to focus on that one first.

vogus
May 1st, 2006, 04:23 AM
From my partly-successful efforts to learn French and my totally-unsuccessful efforts to learn German, I'm surprised that some people think French is difficult for an English speaker. Its syntax is reasonably intuitive. German, on the other hand, has a syntax that English speakers notoriously find incredibly tortured and have great difficultly getting the hang of.




imo, German is way easier to learn than French (for English speakers). With German and English being in the same family, there are a lot of similarities.

Martian Stacey
May 1st, 2006, 04:36 AM
Hi guys, thanks for the suggestions.

I will be starting formal French classes this week. And I'll start German in about a month's time.

For those who advised to quit French because it's too hard or too idiosyncratic, it's ok, I'm only doing this for my own interest. I don't have any pressure from anyone or anywhere other than my own passion.

I know French will be difficult. But it can't be as bad as English vocabulary. The amount of words in the Oxford English Dictionary is enough make you go insane. There are difficult aspects of every language I guess.
I did French at school, and i'm just starting to pick it up again... the more i study the more similarities i find with English. The main difference is just pronounciation. Once you get your head around the different sounds you should be fine :)

Sam L
May 1st, 2006, 04:54 AM
if, at age 26, you've never learned any foreign language before, why suddenly try to learn French and German simultaneously?

Trying to learn both is a great way to end up learning NEITHER. Pick the one you prefer and try to focus on that one first.
I already know a little of both. Alphabet and simple phrases and pronunciation. I've also started to memorise genders for both languages. I've always wanted to learn both but just have never had the time. Now I do.

So, no I'm not exactly starting off from a clean slate.

Infiniti2001
May 1st, 2006, 05:17 AM
Good Luck to you Sam L, it's fun learning other languages :) I started off learning both French and Spanish at the same time but ended up having to choose only one for the GCEs :o To this day I resent the dumbfucks who forced me to make this choice :fiery: Anyway, I never had a problem mixing them up since I speak a french dialect. For the last few years I've been learning Hindi and I am loving it.

Sam L
May 16th, 2006, 03:13 PM
Hi guys,

If anyone's interested, I've had 5 lessons of French and am thoroughly enjoying it. I'm studying it at Alliance Française and they have these levels that you go up so I might I continue taking it with them if I like it. Hoping to even go to France at the end of the year.

So far I've done the verbs aller, s'appeler, être, habiter in relation to je, tu, il, elle, nous, vous, ils et elles. I'm finding the prononciation hard but overall it is easy to understand how the language is working. And I'm trying to read books for enfants but even those I'm finding it so hard. :( But I'm enjoying it.

Thanks for the support guys. :)

:wavey:

azdaja
May 16th, 2006, 04:11 PM
there are simplified books for learners of foreign languages. they use only the basic vocabulary and simple grammatical forms and they are usually divided into different levels (for example, 500 words, 1000 words, 1500 words etc.). try looking for them. they can help a lot in the initial phase.

other useful tools include dictionaries for learning words. they include the most frequently used words in a language. 5,000 words is enough for most interactions and if you know 15,000 words you speak a language perfectly (provided you understand the grammar, of course). most native speakers don't use more than 20,000 words.

it is also recommended to discard your own language as soon as possible. try finding a french-french dictionary with definitions of words rather than translations into english. you should work as much as possible with it then.

"Sluggy"
May 16th, 2006, 04:27 PM
I think its very hard - its difficult not to mix french and german, i used to have a lot of trouble with it, for conjugating verbs and remembering masculine and feminine