Can you get confused if you learn two languages at once? And what to do about it....

If you learn two languages at the same time...can it lead to confusion?

And what can one do about this if it occurs?

This is a common question regarding language learning.

Question: Is it possible to learn more than one language using this system and what's to stop the user from CONFUSING an association from one language with another ?

Answer: Yes, you can learn two languages (or more) using this system, if you have the time and will-power, dedication and drive to dedicate yourself to the task.

The key to all learning is getting the material into your subconscious.

Getting any material into the subconscious can be done in many ways, and the 200 Words a Day! system is one very effective way.

If we learn something during a moment of intense emotion we will never forget it.

For example, most people can remember what we were doing when we saw the September 11 attacks on New York, because it was an intense emotional moment for most.

So, putting this in the context of language learning, if we had thrown in a few words at that moment they would be firmly implanted in to the brain.

For example, may be you were watching on French TV, and did not speak a word of French, but heard the commentator gasping, "MON DIEU!" those words would probably be etched in your brain.

You would remember how s/he said it, the intonation, the context, and you would know what it meant. You might not know the exact meaning ('mon dieu means 'my god' in French) but you would know when to use it, and in what context.

Likewise many people can remember what they were doing when they heard of the tragic death of Princess Diana.

However moments like these are not everyday occurrences, and it is a bit difficult to arrange the things you want to learn to coincide with a memorable moment.

So we can replicate this by generating our own 'Memory Triggers', when it comes to learning foreign language vocabulary, whether it be French, Spanish, German, Welsh, Italian, Indonesian, Japanese or Swahili...

We can create these 'memorable moments' by inventing in our minds such memorable scenes, that we can then associate with the thing that we are trying to learn.

You can learn the traditional way, through rote learning and repetition.

Which is not difficult if you have a photographic memory.

For those of us without, it works, but it takes a lot of time. And it is boring, and requires discipline...

... and for languages with gender there is no 'memory hook' to enable you to remember the word's gender. Whereas we add a Gender Trigger to each and every word to help you remember it.

If you do not have a photographic memory, you can enhance your ability to get material into the subconscious, by using the tricks of the trade of the world's Memory Masters...

... and this is by associating a goofy scene with the material you are trying to learn. Your brain has a tremendous ability to visualize things, and remember them. This is a variation on the theme of a 'memorable moment', and goes by names like 'word-association', linkword, word-picture association.

The more goofy the scene, the more vivid, the more color, the more detail, hooks, noise, action, etc - imagined or real - the more deep will be the Memory Trigger, and the easier the later recall.

In this case we can create a silly visualization, which is how the world's experts on Memory get to remember dozens of decks of shuffled playing cards, the number pi to hundreds of decimal places, and long lists of facts and figures.

We make it easier still by adding in a cartoon, which further assists your recall, because the brain does not forget a picture.

These Memory Triggers are very effective at getting the words into the sub-conscious.

If you learn two languages or more, you can see the time saved by using modern accelerated learning techniques such as these.

...which brings us back to the original question...

The brain is very good at compartmentalizing the words, but if you are going to learn two languages at once, there is the risk of sometimes mixing one language's words/pictures etc with another.

Although it happens less than you would imagine... because the target words are also spoken with different accents.

The Key to the Prevention of Confusion is putting the language into immediate and regular use or practise...

However if you put the language into regular practise, for example, with lessons or conversation with a teacher, or by living in a total immersion situation i.e. living in a country where the language is spoken, the correct context, and usage is reinforced.

So getting the new foreign vocabulary into your subconscious mind is the first major step.

You then have to consolidate this knowledge by using, listening, talking and practising the language.... (whether you learn two languages or just one the same principle applies!)

Once you do this, the need for the Memory Triggers, like training wheels on a bike, reduces.

I would recommend learning one language at a time, unless you have the time to dedicate to task if you learn two languages at at the same time, e.g. you are full-time studying languages, or you go and live in a country/city/town where the two target languages you are learning are spoken e.g. Basel where German and French are spoken, Belgium where Flemish and French are spoken etc, etc... or living near the border of Spain and France, enabling you to commute and converse in different towns... but that is just a broad rule... each person is different, and can cope with different levels of new learning.

So it is entirely feasible for a dedicated student to learn two languages at the same, but you need to ensure you put them both in to regular use.

So to sum what to do when you learn two languages at once.

The Memory Triggers are like training wheels on a bicycle.

They are a fast, effective way of getting material into your brain. You then need to USE that material, so that through use, repetition, contextual conversation, movie watching etc, etc the word is lodged into the subconscious, and the training wheels are not needed.

You must put it into practise, or eventually like an unworked muscle it withers up and disappears.

Some examples of important language practise (whether you learn one language or learn two languages at once).

You can write the words in to letters, or your daily diary.

Speak them in conversation... with your teacher, or friends
...with internet and Skype's free internet phone services you can now have 'phone-friends' with whom you can converse for nothing.

...write them on post-it notes and paste them around the house....
... sing the words...
... recite them in a poem
... recite them in a proverb if appropriate...
... you get the drift, and I am sure you can think of a hundred different ways to put them into use.

But the best thing is to get the opportunity to speak the words in a sentence, in a real life situation. If you decide to learn two languages at the same, it is all the more important to get this practise underway as soon as you have learnt some new vocabulary, phrases, sayings, idioms or sentences.

Reviewing Language material so that it is still in the sub-conscious when you learn two languages at the same time.

The 200 Words a Day system will prompt you to review whatever you have learned at various 'optimum learning intervals'.

That is after:

a day
a week
a month
a quarter (3 months) and after
a year...

So that just reinforces the Memory Trigger in the subconscious, until you start using it.

What happens if I consistently cannot remember a word?

This is a frequently asked question, and leads on from this article. Check out the discussion on this link.13 easy things you can do if you cannot remember a word or phrase when you learn two languages at once?

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200 Words a Day! Fast Learn a Language - French, German, Spanish, Welsh, Italian
Is it possible to learn two languages simultaneously? Will it lead to confusion? How can I prevent confusion if I learn two languages together?
Transcity Properties Ltd trading as Exceltra, 200 Words a Day! 32 Alverton, Great Linford, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom. 2006-2009 ©

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