The Multilingual Desire

Ever since I started using Duolingo to study languages, I’ve had a growing desire to learn multiple languages. There are many languages available on that platform, and it continues to grow.

My experience learning languages started in 1986 when I was 9 years old. I studied French in school until 1994, when I was 17 years old. I didn’t take French in grade 12, but instead challenged the final exam and passed it easily, getting full credit for the class. I was good at it. I had confidence that I could learn languages easily.

In university, I took a class in Japanese and enjoyed it a lot. I did very well in that class, and it helped me a lot when I moved to Japan in 2005. I had full intentions to learn the language and become fluent. I studied it on my own. However, I worked entirely in English. My interactions with Japanese people were with friends who spoke English well, coworkers who spoke English, students who I taught English, and people in shops. It was when I went shopping or out to a restaurant that I was able to use Japanese. As a result, I have no problem going shopping or ordering in a restaurant in Japan. My confidence in speaking Japanese didn’t grow at all. I didn’t speak well enough to have a conversation with my wife’s parents, or even with my wife. My listening improved, but my speaking did not. That’s my fault.

I started using Duolingo to relearn French. I also started doing Esperanto, since studying it has been proven to help people learn other European languages more quickly. I also started learning Spanish.

My studying has stalled recently. I’d like to get myself back into it. I’d like to focus on French and Japanese. French will be useful for future job prospects in Canada, while Japanese will be useful for me with my family and my in-laws. And since we plan to travel to Japan often, I can use it there.

But I don’t want to stop there. I want to get back into studying Spanish, as well as German, Norwegian, Russian, and Irish. My family heritage includes German, Norwegian, and Irish. My grandfather was born in Russia, so a lot of research into his family history has to be done in Russian. I think it would help. And I’d also like to learn Tagalog. I have some Filipino friends, and I think it would be fun to be able to understand what they’re talking about.

Are you using Duolingo? Are you studying a language? Let me know in the comments section below. Also, you can check out my Duolingo profile and add me as a friend.

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26 thoughts on “The Multilingual Desire”

  1. I took a French class for 3 years in high school (that was 20 years ago) from a not very good teacher. I’ve picked up more from subbing in french immersion classes than I did in my high school classes. I wouldn’t mind knowing more. The only Spanish I know is what Dora and Diego taught me πŸ™‚

            1. I don’t remember off the top of my head what I was trying to explain, but there were math terms they weren’t understanding in their English form.

  2. After reaching a certain level of language learning, I think it is good to have a focus. As an example,
    I took tests to be a English-speaking guide. For you, I recommend you to take JLPT and Kanji Kentei for Japanese language acquisition.
    (You can take them even in Canada, web says.)
    I passed the first series of the Guide exams!! But, I think I failed at the second exam(interview). (T_T)

    1. I’ve already done JLPT (old 3rd grade test) and passed. I would like to improve, though. I need to get back to studying Japanese.

      The guide tests are difficult, I’ve heard!

  3. By the time I heard of Duolingo I was too far ahead in my Spanish studies for it to be of use to me. However, Memrise was perfect for me and I still use it to this day. Another thing that helped me with Spanish was a program called Synergy Spanish and Say Something in Spanish. Synergy Spanish had me speaking compound sentences in a few lessons and Say Something gave me the ability to speak in an advanced way at a speed I didn’t think possible.

    I would love to be able to tackle other languages but the deeper I get into learning Spanish the more I want to keep studying it.

    1. I’ve been using Memrise for Japanese. Although I lived in Japan for 11 years, my Japanese skills are not nearly as good as they should be (too much speaking English every day). Vocabulary is my big issue. I need more.

  4. I only discovered Duolingo recently, but so far I find it an excellent way to spend a few minutes a day – it is both relaxing and educational.
    I really wish they would introduce a Japanese and Korean course, though!

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