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What is the maximum number of languages a 16-17-year-old can learn before they are considered ready for entry into the professional world and what are the skills needed to become fluent in those languages by the time they are 18? What languages should they learn, and how should they start? Can they learn all of these languages at once, or should they take one language at a time? And, if so, which language should they begin with?


I am a 16-year-old Indian girl from India. Hindi and Urdu are my first and second languages, respectively. I go to an English medium school (Indian English) and have a basic grasp of Arabic. I started learning Spanish on Duolingo around 3-4 months ago. But now, in addition to Spanish, I want to learn Latin, Portuguese, Hebrew, Arabic, Telugu, and Sanskrit. Can I learn all of the languages at once, or should I learn them one at a time? And, if so, with which languages should I begin? Which should I start with? If I learn all of the languages at the same time, I feel I will become confused regarding vocabulary, syntax, and so on. Will it be a success? Perhaps I should study languages that are related (like Spanish and Portuguese) together, or do you have a preferred sequence for learning languages? I started learning Telugu and Sanskrit last year, but I quit and gave up since I didn't have time and couldn't locate resources to learn. Can you help me review my goals to learn, revisit the language, and pick up where I left off? I was wondering if you have any suggestions about where to look for resources and where to begin my studies. I would like to improve my language skills to help me in life. Please advise. Thank you!

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I don’t think that there is a maximum number of languages a person can learn in general. Of course, if we are talking about efficiency, quality is better than quantity. Even so, everyone is different and unique and the same goes for their learning speed, in addition to how much time they can spend on learning.

As for your question, since you have already started studying Arabic and Spanish, I suggest you focus on improving your knowledge of those two languages in particular. As for the other ones, it depends on how much time you can spend on learning them without negatively affecting the time you actually spend on learning Arabic and Spanish. In other words, do you think that you can create additional time slots for other languages in addition to Arabic and Spanish without affecting the time you already spend on learning those two? Maybe you can give it a try and if you notice that this is what is happening, you can stop the learning of the other languages. All in all, I think that your learning will be effective as long as you can manage well the time you spend on learning each language.

As for your last questions, it is true that learning similar languages can have its pros (for example, if their structure is similar it is easier to memorize it). However, the other side of the coin is that if they have similar words you may start to confuse them. Therefore, maybe at the beginning it is better to avoid learning two similar languages together. However, at the end of the day it depends on you. In fact, if you are very enthusiastic about learning a language and have some time to spend on it, give it a try and see how it goes. In the end, you are learning it because you like it!

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Can I learn all the languages simultaneously, or should I learn them one by one?

Yes, you can. Do you want to learn them all simultaneously? It's easier and I think faster to learn one language first, then learn another after finishing the first.

Maybe I should learn the similar languages (like Spanish and Portuguese) together, or do you suggest an order for learning languages?

Spanish and Portuguese are two different languages. They don't sound the same. I don't think they have the same idioms. What languages do you want to learn first? You don't have to learn similar languages first just because they're similar. Order? Which language has the highest priority to you?

it is true that learning similar languages can have its pros (for example, if their structure is similar it is easier to memorize it)

Yes.

However, the other side of the coin is that if they have similar words you may start to confuse them.

The similar words might refer to the same thing. If not, then it should be memorized in order not to do a mistake.

In fact, if you are very enthusiastic about learning a language and have some time to spend on it, give it a try and see how it goes. In the end, you are learning it because you like it!

YES.

You can learn a language effectively online and by meeting native-speakers of the language in your area/country. One language at a time I suggest.

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I'm from China, and I've met people there who speak no other language than Mandarin and are worth millions of dollars... If you're from a country with an economy that is not doing so well, then I think it would certainly benefit you to learn a language with more speakers.

To become fluent in a language isn't as difficult as people think. Half the battle is simply having a good learning plan and sticking to it. I learned English much the same way I learned History or Geography.

It's possible to learn multiple languages at once, but I'd recommend studying languages that are very different. For example, it's easy to get confused with Spanish and Italian. I'm currently living in Thailand and learning with the Ling App, but at the same time I'm learning Korean because I hope to move there one day.

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