I'm very curious, I see so many people on here learning two or more languages, how does that work? do you get in a muddle? I would rather concentrate on just one language and learn that well but does learning one language help you learn another?
I fully agree with Janey. It is crucial to plan your learning. But, I don't learn for nothing, I don't want to learn only to learn, but I learn something, to be able to use it. So, before everyone starts learning, has to think very long if it is really needed for him or her. It is the same choice like with choosing your education, exactly the same. Some people know whom they want to be and they plan their education, career, etc, for example doctors. They work in their profession for the whole life, from the very beginning. Some others, don't know, they change professions, but for them even lack of good education is not the problem, because they flexible enough. The 3 rd group has the worst situation, some people change their mind too fast and not to flexible. They would like to do something from very begining to the end, but in the middle or in the 20-30% of the completion of the process, they change their mind. I have such problems with everything I do, thankfully I always think that "if you said A, you have to say B, then C and so on".
With education, career, life is just like language learning, better choice wisely at the beginning, before any next choice, think twice, before you make a desicion. Learning something, wasting time only to forget about it is really annoying.
I am learning 3 languages right now but I dominate most of my time on Spanish but I still keep doing a little of Italian and Dutch everyday. It's good to learn few languages at the same time only after you're already being able to converse in one language. For example, if you are already in an intermediate level of Spanish, you can also start learning Italian or other language but then you will still have to spend most of your time on Spanish. And when you're already fluent in Spanish, you can then proceed to spend more time on other languages you are learning. Learning at the same time provide you basic structures of other languages you are learning so it's going to be easier to learn afterward when you have more time.
Idiom you used "get in the muddle" is perfect description of my current linguistic situation. Since I began learning French, I have even problems with English. Maybe it is the fact, that I don't travel to France, England and Germany is the cause. Last time I've been then, about 2-3 years ago. When I travelled between Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Scotland I had much smaller problems.
Maybe this is the cause, stay in the environement when languages you learn are used. So for a French-German learner or speaker, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg or even Alsace-Lotharingia is the best place to stay for some time. Living near Belarussian and Ukrainian border, travelling from time to time, to Ukraine, I have absolutely no problem with bi-linguistic Russian/Ukrainian mess there.
If someone learns German and Italian, should choice South Tirol/Alto Adige.
Wise choise of the places you visit is also a good decision for multi-language option.
It is tricky, but possible to be done efficiently. However, I definitely prefer to concentrate on one language, especially in the beginning and in the middle of the process. I though that learning the second foreign language is hard (in my case, it was German, about 15-17 years ago). That's why I tried to learn English as much as it possible, then I started Russian, then I changed it to German. And I must say, everything was fine, when I went to Germany, my German was very good, so I was pretty fluent in 2 foreign languages and have strong rudiments in the 3rd (Russian/Ukrainian). But when I started learning French, due to my professional need, everything collapsed, to be frank. Starting the 3rd foreign language (I don't consider Slavic languages as completely foreign)was a nightmare for me and to this very day I have problems with French. Especially, in situation when I don't use German (I returned from Germany and Austria about 3 years ago and I use it rarely). I had feeling that I don't make any progress in French and my German fluency has declined very rapidly (In fact it is not as tragic, since I speak with fellow Germans with no dictionary and no bigger problems).
So, everything depends from one situation. In my opinion, women are better in learning foreign languages and more capable to do many things in the same, so learning 2-3, maybe even 4 languages in the same time, should not be as big problem.
What is very helpful - learning languages from the same linguistic group. If you learn French, don't learn German, but Spanish or Italian, if you learn Polish, better start learning Russian than Turkish, etc. I made such mistake, because all languages I learn are parts of different Indo-European linguistic groups. But I learn them, because I need them and use them, this is more important for me.
Thank you Sheila. Problem is, that my both languages, English and German were better, much better. Until I focused on French, which created a complete confusion in my head. I use foreign languages on my daily dasis, during my work I was using both English and German nearly all the time. Maybe this is the problem, now I don't use them and I want to learn French as fast as possible. My contact with German speakers, which were my clients and business partners for some time has ended at least for now. I have contact with French speakers but I have to start from the basics I had no rudiments of it, all (unlike with German which I knew in the past).
For an English-speaker who wants to learn Turkish to the direct contacts with Turkish people, you should have no problems. Because Turkish is completely different language than any of Indo-European group, just like Hungarian or Finnish. It is an agglutative language, with completely different creation of words and phrases. I though that Hungarian, Turkish are tough, but it's not true. Personally I think that learning one hard to learn, language (like Turkish, Chinese, Hungarian, Japanese, Arabic, etc)is easier than comined group of couple, different from each other languages of the same or similar group. (like Polish, Swedish and Romanian).