When you want to learn every language

Have you ever had that crazy dream of learning every language or at least all of the most popular ones?

Do you think it's even possible to do? Why or why not?

If yes, how would you go about doing it? Would you set strict times and goals? Would you start with easy ones or hard ones?

If no, how many do think it's possible to learn?

Apr 27, 2017 2:11 AM
Comments · 6
@Gabrielle Thank you for your comment. That is an interesting view point. Do you think you could only ever learn two languages though, and not stop and maintain them while you learn another?
April 27, 2017

Yes, definitely! My main target language is Korean but I get these moments when I want to learn tons more - French, Russian, Italian, you name it! Of course, in reality my language limit is two. I'm learning Spanish and Korean right now. What I do is make Korean a priority, since my level in it is higher. I consider learning Spanish as a "hobby", and it has second priority, so I study it much less. This helps me focus on one important language and not get overwhelmed with learning too much information.

I chose Spanish because it's a much easier and more familiar language than Korean, which is a lot more difficult. This gives me a good balance and if I ever get tired from my Korean learning, I can just switch to Spanish for a bit. It's also completely different from Korean so that will help me not mix any of them up. I really want to learn French too so I might learn it after a few months of Spanish to see which one I like best.

Ultimately, I think it depends on each person, but in my opinion, learning two languages is enough. Any more than that and you'll get exhausted.

April 27, 2017

Thank you all for your comments!

@Mr Zhang Yes, It is such a bitter sweet dream to have.

@Anouk Yes, I can see now how time constrictions would be an obstacle after you've learned several languages. Though I'm not really sure one ever stops learning a language so that would make it more difficult. Perhaps you could assign a day of the week to each language or maybe half a day to a language depending on how many you have to maintain. I've found having strict goals helps but also doesn't help. It helps me on those holidays or days I'm really tired to study anyway, but at the same time I learn two or three times as much when I'm inspired and have that enthusiasm. I guess I just need to find a good balance.

April 27, 2017
the dream is very cool!
April 27, 2017

Hello Rachel,

I've been dreaming about learning ten languages, at least. And my experience is rather positive, yes, you can learn quite a lot of languages, especially if it is your only hobby. Tecnically speaking to learn a language you need 2-3 years. BUT! The most difficult thing for me is to maintain them afterwards. Because our brain is cleverly built to forget what we don't use, so once you have leaned, let's say, 5 languages, you need to spend 20 hours per week maintaining them. That means for me that I do not have time to learn any new ones. I would say that unless your work is directly related to using these languages it is extremely difficult to maintain the knowledge of 6 or more languages. So, my answer is that unfortunately there is a limit, especially if you are also doing other things in life or have friends and family. I think that this limit is different for everyone, 5-6 is mine, sadly.

As for the strict goals, hmm hard to say. Probably if you are passinate about languages, you don't need to force yourself into goals. I tend to learn quicker when I am inspired and driven by enthusiasm rather than by discipline. Some people work better when they set up rigid rules. Try different ways, and see how you feel about them. Do not allow perfectionism or rules to ruin this noble disire to learn! Good luck!

April 27, 2017
Show more