Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Separation: Tips For Studying Multiple Languages at Once

My tips to avoid language confusion when studying multiple new languages.

Greeting cards inspired by henna designs and Indian culture by Felicia Follum Art+. They will be up on ETSY soon.

1. Stagger languages - practice one language for a few months then add another one in.

For me I confused Hindi with Spanish because neither language was at a good enough level to add more. I also confused Spanish and Portuguese at first. Once my Portuguese became stronger it began to hold its own.

2. Separate place, time, people, activity, etc so your brain will associate these things with that language.
For example practice Hindi in the evenings through texting and Portuguese in the mornings. Watch movies in Hindi and use Duolingo for Portuguese. I've also told friends that I can only practice one language with them at a time.

More of my art inspired by language learning and Indian culture.
3. Don't practice mixing both new languages.

Ex don't try to speak in a mix of Hindi and Spanish at first. It will hurt you in the long run. Form a sentence in one and force yourself to  use only that language. Resist the urge to have conversations in a mix of two incomplete languages even when you find others who mix the same to unrelated languages.

4. Learn Languages that are different from one another.

This will help keep language confusion to a minimum. Some people will argue that working on similar languages is helpful because the work off one another. Though helpful, I found that my precious knowledge of Spanish was more of a hindrance than it was helpful. However learning only Urdu or Hindi would be a challenge.

5. Learn one difficult and one easy language.

I realize this is subjective. One strategy is to pick a language similar to one you already know and one that is very different. One strategy would be to focus maybe 60% or 70% of your time on the more difficult language and the rest on the easy language. I typically prefer to practice the language that I am excited about at a given time.
These are just the things that helped and are helping me the most. I am aware that there are more ideas and would love to hear some of yours. What tips have helped you? Did mine work for you? Do you struggle with mixing languages?
Let me know below...