I'm learning a whole bunch of different languages at the same time, and I was wondering if there was evidence showing that this would be less efficient than learning them one by one. I found other questions asking if it was possible, whether or not it was more "difficult", but none really talked about the pure efficiency.

I found Should Bilingual Children Learn Reading in Two Languages at the Same Time or in Sequence? that talks a bit about reading, but it's a little too specific for what I'm looking for.

My guess is that the effect of learning different languages at the same time probably depends a lot about whether these languages are related or not, but I'm not sure if it would even help or be a difficulty. If anyone has ressources regarding the matter, I'd be glad.

  • Welcome to LL.SE! A good question. You probably did a forward and backwards literature search from the article you found; was there anything there?
    – Tommi
    Commented Aug 24, 2021 at 10:51
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    most studies citing the one I found talk about neural systems or brain networks. The one I found and its references are sadly all focused on bilingual education, i.e. native language+second language starting from a young age. Most importantly, it compares learning L1 and L2 at the same time or L1 then L2. It's very interesting, but only barely related to my initial question.
    – Rilves
    Commented Aug 24, 2021 at 12:30
  • Hi Rilves, could you clarify what you want evidence on? The question title itself says "effective", whereas the question body talks about "efficiency". These are different things. Effectiveness is about whether you reach your goal or not (e.g. whether you can reach a specific proficiency level, e.g. C1 on the CEFR scale). Efficiency is about the time and effort needed to reach that goal (e.g. how many years you need to study).
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 10:08
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    sorry, ESL. I was curious about the efficiency, for example if learning Mandarin then Russian takes 2200+1100 hours, does learning them both at the same time takes 3300 hours or will it decrease the efficacity of the learning and take longer. I'm not espacially looking for an answer in terms of time though, vocabulary retention could be a good start
    – Rilves
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 10:14
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    I bet it would be hard to get a proper study going. It is hard enough to study ONE language, so there would be very few volunteers to study TWO at the same time. But you can learn from the experience of polyglots. To learn multiple languages, they suggest to dive deeply in one language (many hours a day), then put it on "slow growth" and study another one deeply. Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 21:11


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