I received this question:

Comment: Hi! I am curious how many languages you are actively learning at one time, and then also how much time you spend every day maintaining the languages you’ve already learned. You have so many languages on your site; do you work on all of them every day, or do you have some other kind of schedule? What would you recommend for adults who want to learn multiple languages?

Here is my reply:

It’s an addiction.  🙂

I grew up in Europe and constantly encountered people who know five or more languages.

After college, I got back into languages and am essentially experimenting on myself.

I am not actively studying all of them at the same time.   Currently, I am focused heavily on French, Spanish, and Latin.  I hope to return to Italian and Greek next summer.

I tell my students often that I don’t “speak” seven languages, I “study” seven languages.  It’s a more accurate description of what I am up to.

I do not work on each language daily.   It’s been some time since I did much with Greek, for example.   However, I do study languages daily.   I spend about 4 hours a day studying (it’s my job, so it’s pretty easy to find the time).  Currently, I am spending most of my time studying French and Spanish.

As for keeping myself focused, I “teach” languages every weekday on my site.  Really, I am just learning languages live online in front of my students.  Currently, I am teaching Latin and Spanish.  Latin, I know well.  Spanish, I am learning in front of my students.

As for recommendations for adults, there are a few things I’d recommend.

First of all, think long term.  I found a quote once I really like (by Tony Robbins, I think): “Most people overestimate what they can do in a year, and underestimate what they can do in two or three decades.”  Can you learn multiple languages in a year?  Maybe.  Can you learn multiple languages over the course of several years or decades?   Definitely.   I have.   With plenty of obstacles.

Second, check out DuoLingo.com.  It’s free… and, it’s really good.  There are many languages there you could study.  And, it’s designed like a game.   It takes some of the pain out of language learning.

Third, check out RadioLingua.com.  For major languages, there are free podcasts available.  I’d just use the free podcasts for a while.   If, and when you decide you are more serious, you could look into their premium material.  But, I’d go with the free podcasts first.

Fourth, you could check out my book, Via.   It’s free on my site.  You may already have it.  It’s available on this page: https://dwanethomas.com/.  Just costs an email.  :-).  While the book focuses mainly on Latin, I included lots of tips and ideas for studying languages.

Finally, if you are interested in the Romance languages, (languages from Latin, like Spanish and Italian) you could study Latin.   But, a word of caution here.  Most Latin books spread the process out over four, or more years.  Don’t fall for that.  It’s a waste of time.  Instead, read Wheelock’s Latin (you could read it in a year easily), or Lingua Latina by Hans Ørberg.  Lingua Latina is entirely in Latin.  It’s my favorite Latin book, but you may find you need help.  If so, I teach the book on my site, or you could also check out Visual Latin.   Visual Latin will help you with any Latin curriculum.

However, unless you are sure you want to learn Latin, I recommend starting with one of the Romance languages.  I wish I had done this.  I wish I had started with French or Spanish.  I’d be fluent by now.  And, those languages actually make learning Latin easier when (or if) you decide to tackle Latin.