When is it best to add another language to the mix?

Language Learning Asked on August 25, 2021

Little bit about myself in case that helps: I’m a 17 year old living in England. I’m fluent in English (of course), have a good understanding of several South Asian languages because of my ethnicity, and am currently learning Korean and Spanish (I’m also in my fifth year of studying Latin but I’m not sure if that helps at all).

Anyway, I would love to branch out into other languages, particularly Romance languages like French and Italian, as well as Dutch. I’m starting a History uni course next year and the expectation is that I will take extra language classes as my uni has a modern foreign language high school requirement that I don’t fulfil (because I did Latin in high school instead of a modern language). The additional class will probably be French (or Spanish if I can get tested into a higher level module – and also depending on the answers to this post).

My question is how do you know if you’re ready to start learning another language? Currently, my schedule allows me to study Korean and Spanish each for an hour every day. If I can’t afford to spend more than two hours a day on languages, at what point in my studies is it okay to (for example) decrease my Korean time to half an hour and add French to the mix? Or should I just stick to an extra Spanish class instead?

For reference, my Korean is maybe low-intermediate level and my Spanish is beginner (I’m progressing quite quickly in Korean and decently in Spanish). I hope I’ve given enough info.

TLDR: I want to start learning a third language. How do I know if I’m ready for another one or if it will be too much?

One Answer

Frame challenge: you say you already have limited time to study languages, even before adding another one.

Better approach would be IMHO to focus on your Spanish, to get to a level high enough to study History in it. This will allow you to eliminate your Spanish time slot (you will keep up your Spanish skills by learning History in Spanish), and to use this time slot for another language. Then I suggest to study French, hoping to get another class in it later.

Correct answer by Peter M. - stands for Monica on August 25, 2021

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