Hi there Melkor,
Melkor wrote:Welcome to the forum!
You have a long list of languages there! Please may you explain how you "got there" (ie, in what order you learnt them and for how long before picking up the next language) and how much time you spend per day on each language. Thanks in advance.
Now that is a question I really am happy to answer. But before directly doing so, there should be an introduction (not as in: "introducing myself" this time, but as in: "clarifiying something") that hopefully makes the actual answer even more understandable.
My first foreign language was English. Getting started is generally not considered too difficult when someone is a native of another Germanic language. Like Dutch, one of three specific Scandinavian tongues, or, as in my case, German. As we know, they all share the same heritage related to both words and grammar.
As for Dutch and German, I somehow consider them distinct languages, but only somehow. From another perspective, they are like two ways of telling the very same story to me. There is a large degree of mutual intelligibility. And this makes understanding the remaining parts (like words only used in Dutch without a German counterpart) easier, because there is less work that still needs to be done.
And it's the same thing about Swedish/Danish/Norwegian. In a certain way, they are three distinct ways of expression. But people of those three countries can talk to each other rather easily. Also, when someone isn't a native speaker of them, but already knows English and another related language, there is some ground to build on. These three seem more familiar to me than most others. But still, writing would be more difficult than reading. There is both grammar I need to look up, and words that I sometimes would recognize passively, while not being able to recall them actively yet.
Then there are the Romance languages (ES,FR,IT,PT,RO). As it is no secret, both English and German contain a vast amount of Latin loanwords. As for your
native language, there are even much more of those. Because of something historical you probably already know. More specifically, the previous rulership of the French over England. So for reasons like this one (i.e. a very high amount of Romance loanwords in those two languages), it is also easier to have a certain understanding of those five.
But as I mentioned in the inital post, the progress that already has been achieved isn't all the same. Nowhere near, not even close. This is related to several reasons. Among them are: the time already spent with them, the presence or absence of silent letters, the degree of not-even-intented exposure, and some others.
Now what exactly does "not-even-intented exposure" mean? This one could become more clear by providing a practical example. It goes without saying that Italian food is very popular in many countries. So even by not having done anything else but visiting a pizzeria sometimes, there already was some exposure. Like reading the menu, or possibly also by talking to the waiter who sometimes drops some Italian words.
If you compare that to the presence or absence of, for example and for that matter, exposure to Portuguese, you could come to the conclusion that the degrees of familiarity to this and that may vary. I am very sure that Portugal's cuisine, just like Spain's, has its own unique merits. (Also I want to let its native speakers reading my post know that I do not
consider your country Spain's little brother at all, like some others possibly do when they would talk to you en Español without asking first. The example I provided serves the sole purpose of explaining the reasons why the degree of progress with some similar languages can vary.)
And finally, there are languages like Japanese. Some people possibly wouldn't be really genuinely interested in every single
aspect of the culture of some countries, including, but certainly not limited to, Nippon. However, they still can be very interested in some of these aspects, and often, they also actually do so, as in my case. In addition, someone extremely likes the sound of it, and the sound of a few other languages he didn't mention by name in this post. So in case I have some real passion for them, there is hope that this fact also facilitates accumulating at least a bit of knowledge related to them.
Now, after this introduction-y explanation, it is time for a direct answer to your question. You asked about what order I learnt them, and for how long before starting a new language. And you also asked about the amount of time spent with each one daily.
As for the order, English was the first foreign language. But it isn't that easy to fully and entirely recall the exact remaining order. Now why is it like this? In order to tell you the reason, I'd like to do something I usually wouldn't, namely, asking sort of a counterquestion.
In the initial post, I didn't mention that I am looking for
language exchange partners. Instead, it was and still is about offering
Now if you wanted to do so, you could ponder a bit upon that one before continuing to read. Why exactly did I choose exactly those words, and not others ("looking for")?
Simply because I am not really actively searching
for language exchange partners, but maybe my offer will be found by someone instead.
And the way of learning languages, in my case, wasn't entirely different, speaking of "searching" vs "being found". (But before I go on, I'd like to double-check or even triple-check that whatever I wrote isn't perceived by anyone like ... you know, boasting and stuff.
The reason why I am here is related to languages and using them. If I theoretically was someone who was striving for some spotlight instead, there would be other means that are more "efficient" (sort of a misnomer) than what I am actually doing, like uploading one's photo for example.)
So... the reason why I cannot recall the exact order after English is that it wasn't a stricly linear process. Not like one single quest and then another one. It was more like working on several side-quests from time to time, partially finishing this, then later that, and later returning to the first one once again.
I hope that what I tried to say right now makes at least some sense to others. Either way, I like include some additional clarification in order to show how it was like. For example, at a certain point in one's life a person could decide to familiarize himself a bit with one of these languages. It could be Italian, or Dutch, or another one. He or she could learn ten or twenty words, or something very basic about the grammar. Then, months later, there could be a similar contact to another language. With or without actively trying to learn, and with or without a textbook. Then again, after some additional time has passed, he or she could decide to return to the first one in order to go on, however small or big the next step may be.
This part of the answer also tells you something about "and for how long have you [SGP] been learning one before continuing with another one". Because it wasn't really like finishing one thing and then turning to another one. There is no doubt at all that I didn't start learning all of them the same time. But as soon as one of them, so to say, found me, it had the possibility of being here to stay. The possibility of being returned to after some time of not being learned. And this is the way I still do it today.
I couldn't possibly give all of those languages the same attention (how?). Sometimes I was more interested in Swedish, then French, for example, then Portuguese because it also has those nasal sounds, and so on. The largest amount of progress concerning them that has been made possible for me was related to Dutch and Spanish.
But even speaking of those two, there certainly are some gaps, and there are some blanks in my understanding that haven't been filled yet. And this isn't only about not
knowing them at a really advanced or even native level. It is also about not having reached the level of relative
mastery that would be possible within the limits of upper intermediate. It neither has been reached when it comes to speaking/listening, nor when it comes to reading/writing.
Finally, about the time being spent each day with each one: it possibly already become clear, somehow at least, by all of these (verbosity-dense
) paragraphs above. In short, I try to proceed with whatever is possible easily, without forcing myself to allocate a certain amount of time for one specific language.
SGP / SomewhatGeekyPolyglot