smallwhite wrote: PeterMollenburg wrote:
FSI wrote:Learning a language also cannot be done in a short time. [...]cannot be shortened appreciably. FSI has tried to shorten programs, and it has not worked.
So if it cannot be shortened, where's the 'cut off' between efficiency and time wasting?
FSI talking so they probably mean "cannot shorten below 1000 hours to learn French" so if you're taking 5000 hours then yes 5000 hours can be shortened to 1000.
I took the cannot be shortened
to mean that the FSI course could not be compressed further while the overall hours would remain the same. Meaning that 1000 hours would remain 1000 hours, but it would be done in less overall days thereby increasing the daily study amount and reducing the overall duration in days of the course. This is why I started to wonder where their conclusion came from.
Was it that 8 hours/day was/is enough (I have no idea how many hours/day their courses are/were) because fatigue increases substantially, or is it that distraction becomes an issue, or downtime is needed for sanity or consolidation of learned material? Then I wondered, well is it better then to learn just one hour/day of three languages or 3 hours of one? Or, is it actually better to reach 5 hours a day. As many members here have already touched on, it's likely to be highly variable depending on the person (their experience, personality and so on), but surely we could find a general rule or average rule of what's most efficient. This doesn't mean we must follow this and sometimes theory might be great but realistic application is another story.
iguanamon wrote:I can only attest to what I have done and what I have observed. I didn't set out to become a polyglot. I backed into it. I started out with Spanish. Through the help of the old HTLAL forum, I was able to advance it. I then wanted to learn Portuguese... and I did. I wanted to learn Ladino/Judeo-espanyol and I did, after the first two. I learned Haitian Creole after Ladino. I learned Lesser Antilles Creole French, after HC and Catalan after that.
There's a pattern here. I didn't try to learn multiple languages at the same time. I'm sure my method is not very efficient... but it's what has worked for me. I know, speaking for myself, that I cannot deal with learning two languages simultaneously... especially with both being at a beginner level.
My observations after reading the forum on an almost daily basis for almost 11 years now are that extremely few people who start off with a list of multiple languages to learn as an adult monolingual beginner ever manage to learn even one language to a high level. There are a number of reasons for this, I think- outside of a structured enforced routine like school has, it is very difficult for people to allocate their limited time adequately to juggle multiple-language learning with a sufficient enough time period for studying each language to allow the brain to make connections. It's hard for the mind to absorb multiple language pathways simultaneously as a beginner. Oh yeah, life often gets in the way of the best language-learning plans as an adult.
So my conclusion, for me, is that the best pathway to polyglottery is one language at a time (speaking only for myself!). Yes, other people can learn multiple languages simultaneously. Related languages are easier, certainly. Learning multiple languages is easier after a learner has learned their first second language (again, speaking about adult monolinguals here). Certainly we have people here who are learning multiple languages simultaneously and others who have done so successfully. Now that I have a few languages under my belt, I could probably take on two or three at the same time... but is that the best use of my time? I'll leave that to others who have been successful at it. I have found what works for me.
I appreciate your and everyone else's for that matter, feedback that is. Your experience in language learning is invaluable to many a language learner.
While you say you studied your languages sequentially. I have had periods of multiple language study and generally have been quite okay with studying two or three at once no matter the level. Still, I probably would steer clear of two very closely related languages such as Spanish and Italian as I'd suspect I'd find it particularly challenging. Mind you, I've never wanted to study these two languages simultaneously as I've not been interested enough in Italian to attempt to learn it. Should I suddenly feel the need to learn both of these languages, I'd probably go against my own unspoken rule and attempt it anyway. We learn what works through trial and error, right?
I went on my massive several year French only mission because I had 'failed' to learn three languages simultaneously. Failed not due to confusion but due to not sticking at it long enough to get far enough and this is perhaps the greatest issue with studying multiple languages at the same time - time! With one language you can have slack days and still learn something. With three you have a slack day and you miss a language or two. That's not great for consistency, especially when time is already limited being divided between three languages.
So as my French mission has floundered in the last couple of years due to several understandable reasons, I still wanted to see what the general consensus in theory
was on the topic of efficiency. (And while I say floundered, I must clarify that I use French practically every day and feel very comfortable in the language the vast majority of the time.) Should it clearly be that you'd get there (three languages at an advanced level) more efficiently learning three languages simultaneously then I might have just decided to do so with an extra degree of commitment as I feel one could succeed at such a mission if one just stuck to it long enough (theoretically). It seems that the balance however tips as suspected towards a single language at one time and thus it seems as I recently concluded again with iguanamon's insights for reflection that I ought to continue onto resitting the Dalf C2 at some point. Question is, do I want to? Yes and no. I'm so close and yet so very far and this decision is not set in stone, by far.
I've settled on a plan which I'll detail in my log.