How Many Languages Can You Learn?

There is a tendency that we all notice: once we learn or achieve something, we always want more. For example, you learn how to cook one dish, and you cannot stop until you are a chef. The same situation is with learning languages: becoming fluent in one tongue is never enough.

However, the question is: how many languages can you learn? Well, the cases show that there is no fixed number. A person who has set a record for the number of tongues he knows is fluent in 105 lingoes. Sounds unreal, right? Of course, not everyone can master 105 languages, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to just two, as well.

How Many Languages Can You Learn?

If you want to know the answer to this question, you should read this article. Here we tell you different thoughts on the number of dialects a person is able to know and give some advice on what vocabularies are better to be learned together. Let us start!

How Many Languages Can You Learn at the Same Time?

The first thing you need to remember is that you should not study many tongues at the same time: everything you learn may get mixed up. Not everyone is able to draw the line between two or more languages he or she learns at the same time, so if you are not sure that you can do it, you should stick to just one.

There are some websites which promulgate the advantages of this way to learn vocabularies, like BrainScape and Fluentu, but the ideas they use as arguments work just for some people, not for everyone.

Reasons

An expert told BBC that when you master one language, your brain has a task to remember new information and to learn how to use it; when you learn two, however, there is an additional task to separate two different systems.

This expert says that it is better to avoid the risk and learn tongues one by one.

How Many Languages Can You Learn in General?

Well, you already know the answer: 105 dialects can physically be learned by a person (maybe more, but we do not have any proof for that so far). Of course, it was a goal of this person to set the record, so there is no need to follow his experience unless you want to learn 106.

Practitioners in the field of interpreting usually say that for people who work with languages, the optimal number is from 5 to 7 systems from different language families; while for people whose job doesn’t require fluency in lingoes, this number is lower than 5.

What if I Want to Know 10?

That’s your desire, but the thing about learning languages is that knowing doesn’t always mean using, and without using the vocabulary, you lose your skills. Learning a tongue just for the sake of learning is not the best decision you can take. Well, your brain will be trained, but that is all.

The number of 3-5 languages is optimal because you will have time to practice all of them. For example, you can read a book in, let’s say, French, watch a film in German, follow a Chinese blogger, and use English in everyday life. It is almost impossible to fit 10 different cultures into one’s everyday life.

Best Languages to Be Learned Together

There are some life hacks for those who want to master many tongues: some of them are very similar, so they are easy to be learned together. Here are the best picks we have chosen for you.

French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese

This quartet is one of the most famous in the world. All these lingoes are derived from Latin, so their vocabulary is very similar. French and Italian, for example, are 55% similar, and Spanish differs from Portuguese by only 30%.

German, French, and English

We can place these three examples together, because 51% of vocabulary between German and English, and 33% between German and French, is similar. It can be explained by the ruling position of French in Europe in the 17-19th centuries.

Arabic and Persian

These are not very popular languages, but the similarity between them is stunning: almost 65% of the vocabulary is the same!

Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Russian

Slavic lingoes have pretty much in common, so knowing one means that you can understand the other. Of course, you may not be able to understand everything, but with only 11% difference between Belarusian and Russian, and 30% difference between Belarusian and Ukrainian, you will definitely be able to understand people.

Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian Nynorsk, and Estonian

The similarities between these tongues reach 61% for Swedish and Danish, 51% for Swedish and Icelandic, and 40% for Norwegian Nynorsk and Estonian. Almost all Scandinavian dialects can be understood if you know one of them, but these are the closest to each other.

Facts About Multilingualism

If you speak two languages, you are a bilingual person, but if you speak more than 3 tongues, you are a multilingual person. It is a well-known fact that the more languages you are fluent in, the better it is for your brain.

Intellect

According to studies of American scientists, people who learn more than 2 vocabulary systems, have more flexible thinking abilities and can express their thoughts more clearly. Besides, they are better at problem-solving.

Mental Health

There was a study in China that proved that learning a new language can improve a person’s mental health. Participants who knew two and more tongues were more stable mentally, while people with the knowledge of just one were more affected by depression and anxiety.

Aging

Being a multilingual person means that your brain will age slower; and you will preserve the energy that usually disappears with age.

Hearing

It was established that multilingual people were better at hearing and understanding the sounds because their hearing system was trained for getting the sense out of different languages.

As you can see, knowing many languages is great, and you can easily learn at least 5. Don’t forget to practice every language you learn to keep it in your brain! The brain capacities are limitless, so keep learning!

Request a quote

Loading Quotes...