Learn Multiple Languages at Once

Is there a shortcut to becoming a polyglot? 🧠 Let’s see.

Learn Multiple Languages at Once

Can you learn two languages at once? If you asked the World Wide Web this question, you must be a language lover. And a brave one too! Many people ask whether they can learn German in a year. You, on the other hand, raised the bar high. You don’t want to learn a language. No. You want to learn multiple languages at once. Good for you!

Considering your bravery, we’re honored to answer your inquiry. As a matter of fact, we’re a language learning app ourselves, so we have a lot of experience with learning (and teaching) multiple languages. Here we go!

Can you learn two languages at once?

The short answer is yes. If you set your mind to learning two languages at once, you can do it. However, before taking on this task, there are a lot of things you should consider.

Many will either give a hard yes or a hard no. But, in reality, the situation is far from black or white. It all depends on you and your abilities and limitations. You can do it if you are determined and stick to it until the end. If not, the entire process will prove extremely laborious.

Our biggest and most important advice is to choose two languages that are different from each other. Forget about trying to learn Spanish and Italian at the same time. The whole deal could end in you speaking “Spalian” and we don’t want that.

No, the secret is to balance things perfectly. So, choose two languages that share some similarities, but they are distinct enough not to cause confusion. Take English and German, for example. Their similarities will help you make beneficial connections, but not to the point where you mistake one for the other.

Is it recommended to learn two languages at once?

Now, this is a whole different language. You can learn two languages at once, but is it recommended to do so? Not really.

Let me explain.

Despite what your boss says, multitasking is not good. It is indeed a cool word, but research has shown time and time again that multitasking is not productive. When you multi-task and learn multiple languages at once, it’s very hard to enter a state of deep focus that allows you to make connections and learn the language in an instinctive way.

Instead, it is easier and maybe even faster to learn the languages one after the other. This way, you will focus on only one language at a time, avoid confusion, and give your brain time to cement the knowledge before moving to a new lingo. That is if you’re serious about reaching fluency in two languages at once.

If you want to learn multiple languages for fun at a basic level, go for it. But again, it’s best to choose completely different languages so you can switch easily between them and not mix things up.

Take it from us, a language learning app teaching 41 languages. We would love for you to learn multiple languages at once. However, we know better than to recommend something that is not guaranteed to make your life easier. Therefore, our advice would be to learn one language now and maybe make it your New Year’s resolution to learn the other one next year.

What are the benefits of learning multiple languages?

Language learning, in general, has many benefits. We can all probably agree that the most important are the cognitive benefits. Moreover, if you learn new languages, you will also become more culturally aware, which is one of the best things you can do for yourself. And the list goes on. Learning a new language is a true gold mine for you. Here are some of the benefits of language learning:

  • career advantages;
  • improved communication skills;
  • boosted self-confidence;
  • personal satisfaction;
  • networking opportunities;
  • and more.

Now, imagine what happens with all these benefits when you learn multiple languages at once. They double or maybe triple.

The winner of this equation is, undoubtedly, your brain. While it is hard to focus on learning multiple languages at once, if you manage to do it, it has loads of benefits for it as the process encourages the brain to form new neural connections. In turn, this leads to the grey matter becoming denser, which is good! Very good, in fact!

TL;DR: The benefits of learning multiple languages are many. However, the most important one is that it results in the enlargement of the hippocampus and cerebral cortex, enhancing your brain’s health.

How difficult is it to learn multiple languages at once?

Difficult, but not impossible. Probably the most challenging part is to differentiate the languages you’re learning. For that, we recommend choosing completely different languages and creating unique study routines for all of them.

The difficulty of learning multiple languages at once also depends on how good you actually are at learning languages. We all know people who learn languages very fast and in a very natural way. These people probably have two very well-developed areas of the brain: Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area. One is responsible for the generation of articulate speech and the other is vital in the comprehension of written and spoken language.

For example, Ziad Youssef Fasah is a polyglot born in Liberia, brought up in Beirut, who also lived (and maybe still does) in Brazil. He claims to be able to speak 58 languages and be fluent in approximately 15 of them. A great feat, no doubt! Considering the astonishing number of languages he speaks, it’s safe to say he probably learned some of them at the same time. If he did it, it means it’s not impossible.

All in all, the difficulty level of learning multiple languages at once depends entirely on your capabilities. The more gifted you are at learning languages, the easier it will be.

can you learn two languages at once?

Tips for learning multiple languages at once

If you really want to learn, let’s say, two languages at once and cannot be convinced to leave one of them for later, these tips may come in handy.

1. Choose languages that are different from each other

To avoid confusion when learning two languages at once, it’s best to choose different languages. And when we say different, we say different. Not Swedish and Danish and definitely not Spanish and Portuguese.

As you yourself know, these language pairs are very similar and learning them together may result in mix-ups. “What kind of mix-ups?” – you ask. Well, like using several Portuguese words in a Spanish sentence. For this reason, it’s best if you choose languages from different language families.

2. Immerse yourself in the languages as much as possible

Different languages reflect different cultures. By immersing yourself in them, you’ll not only be able to clearly differentiate between the languages you’re learning, but you will also get fluent faster.

3. Create a smart study schedule

When learning multiple languages at once, it’s important to organize your time wisely.

Avoid studying both languages during the same study session, as you may get confused. Instead, create different study sessions for each language to help you have a clear separation of what you’re trying to learn. Maybe study one language in the morning and the other in the evenings. Or, even better, split the days of the week evenly between the languages you’re trying to learn. If you’re learning two languages, you can have three days for each and one day to let your brain rest.

4. Try a different learning method for each language

There are several learning styles you can use to study languages: visual (spatial), aural (auditory-musical), verbal (linguistic), physical (kinesthetic), logical (mathematical), social (interpersonal) and solitary (intrapersonal).

If more than one works for you, great! This means you can also use different learning styles for the languages you want to learn. For example, learning logically may work best if you want to learn the Korean alphabet.

In addition, some areas of the curriculum might be better fitted to study using a language learning app such as Mondly. So, try to mix things up. For instance, while you’re studying German grammar using textbooks, you can do conversation practice for Spanish with Mondly.

5. Keep going!

Studying multiple languages at once can be hard work. If you feel like you aren’t making any progress, don’t fret. Change your routine and try again. Or take a break and try again. If you set your mind to it, you surely have what it takes to make it happen!

Can you learn two languages at once? What do you think?

Before giving your opinion in the comments, make sure you check the following FAQs.

Can you be a native speaker of two languages?

Yes, it is entirely possible to be a native speaker of two languages. This usually occurs when a child is exposed consistently and naturally to both languages from an early age. This can happen in bilingual families, where each parent speaks a different language, in multilingual communities where several languages are part of daily life, or through early educational environments that emphasize bilingualism.

How can I become fluent in two languages?

To become fluent in two languages, you need to immerse yourself in both languages through consistent practice. This can be achieved by engaging with fluent speakers, consuming content in the target languages, taking courses, and using language learning apps and other resources. Regular practice in speaking, listening, reading, and writing is crucial, along with setting realistic goals and being patient with your progress.

How to learn multiple languages?

To learn multiple languages effectively, focus on immersive learning and consistent practice. Start by building a strong foundation in each language through structured courses or self-study, then enhance your skills by regularly engaging with native speakers, consuming media like films, music, and books in those said languages, and using language learning apps for daily practice. Balancing your time between languages, setting achievable goals, and immersing yourself in the cultures related to the languages can significantly boost your proficiency.

Learn multiple languages with Mondly

Do you want to learn two languages at once? Nothing easier with the award-winning language learning app Mondly!

Instead of tiring yourself for hours with inch-thick textbooks, slip a 10-minute Mondly lesson into your routine and make language learning a breeze using:

  • practical topics;
  • hands-on, interactive language lessons;
  • intelligent suggestions and instant feedback on pronunciation;
  • crystal-clear audios of fluent speakers;
  • real-life conversations and so much more.

Start using Mondly for free on your computer or download the app and learn languages anytime, anywhere.

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Diana Lăpușneanu - Linguist at Mondly Blog

Diana is a Linguist at Mondly by Pearson. Learning English as a second language early on fueled her lifelong passion for language learning, leading her to pursue a diverse array of languages as a hobby alongside her academic endeavors. With a Master’s Degree in advertising and a fascination for historical linguistics, she brings a unique perspective to her role, making language learning fun for readers worldwide.

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