For adults who are learning new languages, does the research indicate that it is better to focus on one at a time, or to study a bit of each more frequently?

What learning schedule maximises proficiency in several new languages by some point in the future, for adult learners?

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    The actual answer is that adults vary so much in language-learning skills that this would be the best way for some people, and the worst way for others.
    – jlawler
    Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 20:00
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    In my experience it's a function of consistent daily input and output. If you have time in your life for an hour or more of mentally taxing practice in each language each day, I say go for it. I wasn't able to grow as much in the individual languages when I tried this while working full-time! Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 10:47

3 Answers 3


I learned Korean and Thai at the same time and I didn't notice it was faster than learning, say, English by itself.

I think it depends on your personal psychology. If you're the type of person who doesn't get disheartened, I would say learn multiple languages at once(But be careful) I'd recommend learning from different language family trees. Say French and Chinese, as opposed to French and Spanish.

If you need to see daily gains to stay motivated then focus on just one language.

In terms of a learning schedule, come at it from different angles. For my Korean, I used Ling as a base because the app holds you accountable for daily learning. After that, I watched a lot of Netflix, read articles, and had a weekly lesson with a Korean-speaking teacher from Preply.


It pretty much depends on how much time you can spend on learning them. In fact, as long as learning other languages do not reduce the amount of time you initially wanted to/could spend on learning one of them, you can learn as many as you want simultaneously without any problems. Conversely, if you do not have enough time you can spend on learning, then it is better to focus on one language as it is better to focus on quality rather than on quantity.

To sum up, whether it is faster to learn new languages at the same time or one after the other depends on each person, their level of motivation and the amount of time they can spend on improving their language skills.

  • What is your evidence for this?
    – minseong
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 12:11

Structured study (instructed) followed by practising the new language by using it around the objects that you use on a daily basis (e.g. translating objects in your desk/your favorite book titles) is a proven way.

However, learning one language at a time mastering it to a certain level and then starting another language from level 0 will be practical for new learning adults.

For revising and strengthening the acquired language levels I would recommend watching presentations,films in the new language which you are already aware in your native language. (For example you can listen to Justin Trudeau speech on a specific topic in English followed French. If you are familiar with English already and trying to learn French).

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    Is it more efficient to learn two languages at once, or one-at-a-time?
    – minseong
    Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 14:56
  • Hi and welcome to Language Learning Stack Exchange. It seems that only your second paragraph addresses the question that the question asker is most interested in. Moreover, it is a little vague because it is unclear what "a certain level" actually is. If you could expand on this, that would be appreciated.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 15:13
  • Thanks for the warm welcome. By "Certain Level" I meant "A1" level /beginner level. Learn one language to A1 beginner level. Then start with another language learn it to A1 beginner level using compare and learn method between the languages. Then use the same method for intermediate and advanced level. Sorry for being vague just new joiner's enthusiasm :) Commented Oct 19, 2021 at 17:28

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