Learning 2 languages at the same time

Learning 2 Languages

Many English learners would also love to learn a 3rd language at the same time. Is this a good idea? If you decide to do this, how can you be most efficient? That’s exactly the topic I discuss in today’s podcast episode.

My Experience with 2 Languages

I had experience learning Cantonese a few years ago. I then switched to Mandarin Chinese and naively thought my skill would remain in Cantonese, but I was very wrong. I found that everything I had learnt disappeared almost overnight!

This was because, firstly, Cantonese and Mandarin are very, very similar, and so they are very difficult to compartmentalise (separate) in your mind.

Secondly, this was due to the fact that my Cantonese was still at a beginner level. So I learnt that it’s better to learn a 3rd language once your 2nd has reached an intermediate level (or higher).


1. What you enjoy (If you like both languages, then go for it!)

2. How fast you want to improve. (If you are in a rush, maybe just stick to English)

Tips to Learn 2 Languages

1. Learn the 3rd language when the 2nd language reaches a B1/B2 level.

2. Make each language separate in your mind (eg. different location, different frame of mind, different textbook, colours, etc)

3. If possible, choose languages that are different (Such as English and Chinese, rather than English and Spanish)

4. Study both languages regularly (every day is best)

5. Choose one language that is your main focus (I like the 80/20 rule: 80% of the time on your priority language)

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2 thoughts on “#73 Can I Learn Two Languages At The Same Time?”

  1. Useful episode, if you remember I asked you the same Title and you recommended this episode to me, honestly, I didn’t skip the episodes to listening it, but today finally I reach it.
    Thank you very much teacher.

    1. That’s great! I’m glad you finally got to it. I hope it helped!
      I’m pretty sure my opinion on this topic hasn’t changed much since recording it at this time.
      In short, it won’t be as fast as learning one language, but if you feel motivated to learn two then don’t let it stop you! It’s certainly possible

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