My Roadmap to Learning Languages

Having started studying various languages at Duolingo, I have to make sure I don’t get myself in over my head. I need to pace myself and limit the number of languages I learn at one time. Duolingo isn’t the only thing I’m going to use, of course, but it’s one of the best ways to learn core vocabulary and grammar for free and efficiently. What it doesn’t help with is speaking and listening. Those can be learned in other ways.

At the moment, I’m working on French, Spanish, and German, and I’ve taken a look at Irish. French is what I’m focusing on, as it’s mostly a refresher. Since it isn’t new material to me, I’m tackling another Romance language at the same time, Spanish. I’ve heard Spanish is easier than French to learn. And then there’s German, which is my third main language to learn, but I’m not working on it as much as the others.

So, for now, I will concentrate on French and Spanish. As I finish the language tree for French, I will then change my focus to Spanish and German. Spanish should finish soon after French, so I’ll then switch to German and Irish. But what do I do next?

I’m thinking that after German, I may work on either Italian or Norwegian. However, there is another language that’s starting up in the next few days, Russian. It’ll be released into Beta soon, and I’m intrigued by it.

So, why would I learn Russian? My grandfather was born in Russia, and some members of my family are trying to trace his roots and find as much information about his ancestry as possible. If I learn Russian, it may be useful if I ever try to communicate with anyone in Russia or even visit my grandfather’s hometown to do a little searching on my own. I’ve heard Russian is a difficult language, and it’ll be my first Slavic language to study. Up until that point, I will have worked on mainly Germanic, Romance, and Celtic languages, as well as Japanese. A Slavic language means learning a new alphabet. That should be interesting.

There is one other thing I may work on while I’m doing the other languages, and that’s Esperanto. While it’s not a widespread language that has a home country, it has been found that if you study Esperanto, it can be easier to study other European languages. I think I’ll give it a shot.

In the long-term, there are other languages I’ll work on, including Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Dutch. Those are all available on Duolingo now. In the future, I’d love to try Greek, Welsh, Polish, Arabic, Hindi, Korean, Finnish, and Mandarin Chinese.

Too ambitious? What do you think? Do you have any language ambitions?

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17 thoughts on “My Roadmap to Learning Languages”

  1. What on earth is Esperanto? Never heard of it before. Sounds interesting!

    I think your list of languages certainly is ambitious, but the learning of another language usually lends itself to the learning of others, so I think once you gain some momentum, it shouldn’t be too difficult.

    What a wonderful way to expand your mind. I love your reason for Russian. It’s similar for me and Spanish, except in the only one in my generation who can’t speak it very well. I’m hoping to take a trip to Colombia with my family to trace back our roots as well, and Spain for the same reasons.

    Okay, I’ve spent long enough on this comment, and my husband is complaining that I’m not eating my breakfast, so let me end here haha. ^_^

    1. Esperanto was created to be the international language before English became that. It’s a very easy language to learn and understand.

      I’m wondering how difficult Russian will be. I have to learn Cyrillic first. I’ve heard that it’s a difficult language to learn.

        1. I didn’t learn this in school…well, actually I found out about it in high school. My French teacher showed us some Esperanto, and asked us to read it. We found that we could actually understand a lot of it without actually studying it. If you know a Germanic and a Romance language, you could most likely understand it.

  2. More power to you! I’m guessing that the more languages you learn, the easier the process becomes. Some would be especially easy to add. For instance, Italian would be very easy to add if you already know French and Spanish. (Over thirty years ago when I was in college and studying schema theory, I wrote a paper about third language learning, although there wasn’t a lot of research about it. I wonder if anyone has done work on it over the years?)

    1. I’ve heard the same thing. Also, it seems a lot of people are saying that learning Esperanto can make it easier to learn pretty much any European language. I wonder if that’s true.

  3. Absolutely not too ambitious! I have always been a lover of languages, and I find it hard to focus on just one at a time…there are so many out there that I just cant wait to delve into! Right now, I’m working on improving my third language, which is Brazilian Portuguese. I’m very excited to however take a leap into a language that has nothing in common with English, like maybe Russian or Arabic. I really enjoy reading your posts!

    1. Thanks!

      I’ll eventually be studying Portuguese, and it turns out that the version on Duolingo is Brazilian. The Spanish there is mainly Mexican Spanish, as well. But even so, you should be able to speak with people from Portugal and Spain without much difficulty.

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