Studying several foreign languages simultaneously is a challenge, but the results deserve the efforts. International companies are looking for the people who are good in several languages, you feel confident in foreign countries, as you know more than just a couple of words, you can always earn some money making translations and interpretations. That sounds attractive, but how should you cope with the problem of mixing languages when you study several languages at once?
Start with analysis of your languages
How many languages do you study now? Are these languages related to your mother language? Do these languages have something in common? The last two questions are of high importance to you.
Did you notice that Spanish and Portuguese sound alike and Spanish and German have only some common traits? The matter is that Spanish and Portuguese belong to the Romance languages. The German language belongs to the Germanic languages, that is why it differs from Spanish. However, all these languages belong to the Indo-European language family, and it makes them related. But if we talk about Chinese and Spanish, they have nothing in common.
You need to understand these basic things in order to know what you should expect from learning a language. Studying languages from different language families has a strong advantage − you will not mix the words and the grammar, as they have nothing in common. But when you study languages of the same group, you need to be very attentive. Some words sound alike, but have different meanings, some words have the same spelling, but sound differently, etc. For example: invierno, primavera, verano and otoño are winter, spring, summer and autumn in Spanish. In Portuguese, they are: inverno, primavera, verão and outono. German has the following names of seasons: Winter, Frühling, Sommer and Herbst.
Useful tips to learn several languages simultaneously
When you have analyzed the languages, got acquainted with the tips that make studying of the foreign languages easier, you need to discover some useful tips that will help you keep you knowledge organized.
- Find unique patterns
Some languages may sound identical and have common grammar but each language has its own patterns. Try to find these unique patterns for each language you study. For example, use the articles to differentiate Spanish and Portuguese nouns.
- Create your own dictionaries
Studying foreign languages you can create dictionaries which work better for you. For example, you can create a dictionary where you write down a translation in each language you study. You need to define what type of dictionary works better for you: perhaps you should use only one language in your dictionary not to mix up the words.
- Write everything down
This is a trick which works perfectly to master your writing and enhance your vocabulary. A good idea is to rewrite the extracts of your favorite novels translations. In this way, you will be able to compare different language structures, words choice, patterns and the way the same idea is interpreted in another language and culture.
- Study the culture
The best way not to mix up different languages is to understand language background. Study cultures of the countries where people speak this language. It includes not only watching some TV series, but also learning history, economics, political issues, and religion.
- Practise every day
Having regular practice is important for you to learn any language. But if you study several languages at once, it becomes of even higher importance. The matter is that when you do not practise a language, you start to forget it. Another tricky point is that if you pay more efforts to study one language, the second language will be influenced by your knowledge of another language.
Studying several foreign languages is a challenge. If you are ready to accept this challenge, get ready to work hard. Communicate with native speakers, travel to the countries where people speak these languages, keep working on finding differences between the languages you study, and you will succeed with your intentions!