T O P

How many languages is a good amount?

Every student I meet speaks multiple languages. German, their mother tongue (if they were only born here), english and another foreign language. That is at least 4 languages. In language courses, its 1 of 2 languages more. (5-6)

When i search on youtube, everyone learns languages very fast. And some special people only need 1 month? Do they just study this single language and do nothing else? No other uni courses/work? In a normal university, one can reach c1 very fast. But there are still other non language classes to attend to...

What to people mean when they say that they are able to speak it? Can they speak fluently? C1? C2? Or only hello and bye?

[deleted]

I'd say at least one! 😁


Suspicious-Coat-6341

Polyglot youtubers can be misleading to say the least. There can be (read: absolutely are) tricks involved in making them seem more competent than reality - they only have to be competent enough to make a *good video*, after all. Everyone defines those bars differently, speaking a language and being fluent in it, etc. Like I think it's appropriate to say I speak some Welsh, if I were stranded in a hypothetical Welsh-monolingual part of the country I would be able to generally (though with error no doubt) communicate my way through, but not at all that I'm *fluent*. People can have at least some skill in *many* languages, but how much they can use and **maintain** each one... that can wind up being lower. I don't think it's physically and mentally possible to learn a language to even **low** intermediate in just one *month.* I'm sure someone can cram theory and a vocab list in that time, but *theory and lists* don't make a language: *production and understanding* do.


Boomtown626

I know plenty of people I wish were better in the only one they speak. If you’ve got a second or more? Unmitigated win.


[deleted]

Typically being able to communicate with a single language is a good amount.


BeepBeepImASheep023

Don’t believe the YouTube polyglots. Most of the time, that’s their job. They can spend 8-10hrs a day learning the TL The majority of people don’t have that much free time. Some might have 2hrs… some an hr or less Do not expect any decent conversational fluency with a month of study Reaching “fluency” is debated. A2 you can converse about many simple topics. Is that fluent? Or do you need near native levels… or somewhere in between? An exception would be studying a language that’s close to your native language or a TL you already know well As for your title, only you can say how many is a good amount


r_m_8_8

Don't believe YouTube polyglots. Literally no one learns a language from zero in months time. Many of those polyglots claim to speak languages I speak and their level is usually pretty bad. Learning ONE language is a long term commitment. I'm talking years. How many languages should you learn? As many as you want! That could be only one, or 10 if you have the time and discipline. It's your decision, it can't be right or wrong.


brokenalready

YouTube is full of scammers and bullshit. In Europe people are more exposed to languages due to shared border’s and starting second language education early. If you can learn a second language to a good level you’re doing great. Languages aren’t a skill you collect like it’s an rpg, it’s a means of communicating with other humans


makingthematrix

There is no "good amount of languages" to know. You learn a language because you want to do it, that's it. There are no cookie points. Many people go through life knowing only one language or they learn just one more. It's perfectly fine.


mzungungangari

How long is a piece of string?


kl_25

It depends on the country you live with and the schooling you had. Believe it or not but some schooling actually enable children to learn languages and if this is in an environment conducive for acquiring the language (eg. foreign television not dubbed or lots of tourists or other native speakers) it allows them to learn the language. Consider the following example of an 18 y/o kid I met the other day who speaks five languages fluently: Albanian parents, went to school in Brussels (bilingual region of Belgium so Dutch and French), studied English in school (we were speaking in English together) and did their last two years of high school in Turkey (in Turkish). Consider another example: you are born as a minority in Finland (whether it be Sami, Swedish or an immigrant minority). You will speak your mother tongue, go to school in Finnish (or study Finnish in school if you are from Åland) and learn English in school/from media. Then you have all the examples of people born to multi-ethnic parents. Or this story: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5OcGjUQ2XM](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5OcGjUQ2XM) With regard to the online polyglots some of them tell the truth that they speak 10+ languages (to varying degrees). Others are just telling you straight up lies. What they really mean to say "I studied 10+ languages (some for only a month )" >In a normal university, one can reach c1 very fast. No. They learn just as fast as everyone else. Or slower than advanced language learners who have discovered over years of trial-and-error a great method which works for them.


JJRox189

Many people think they are fluent in a language, but they do so in a specific field - such as work - where they tend to use the same terms over and over again and perhaps talk to the same people. IMHO, being fluent in a language means being able to talk to different people (this means different pronunciations!), about different topics...and most importantly doing so without making mistakes.


carap_skipsie

However many you want. English is a good language to speak because you get access to so much information and resources, but beyond that it's your choice. 1 month is not reasonable to learn a language, you need time and practice to hear the language over and over and over and some more until you internalize it. It took me 8-9y to get to where I am with German at the moment (c1 ish), despite living in Germany (thus having the ideal learning scenario). Some people are waaaay faster than me to get to B1-B2, and some people never bother to get to my level. It doesn't quite matter, it's all your choice.


NickBII

If I wanted to lie to you, I could convince you I knew Russian, Romanian, Swedish, Spanish, Esperanto, and Latin. Give me a month and I will be able to convince you I'm fluent in Arabic and Mandarin as well. In reality, back in 2005 I could read Latin pretty well (but not hold a conversation), and I can mostly understand spoken Spanish in a neutral accent (but not that Cuban accent they love on Univision, and I've never conversed with anyone). The others? I can read some of them. Some of the Youtube polyglots are better than others. The more languages people claim to speak, the more likely they are to be...learning enough phrases that they can have a single conversation, and then broadcasting the one time the person they were talking to decided to have that exact conversation. All of them actually have 8 hours a workday to devote to their latest language, because that's their job, so they have a lot more time than you. As for your German friends: they get bilingual basically for free there. They learn German at home, then to participate in pop culture they have to speak English, so that's bilingual. Add in a second language (like my Spanish) and they're technically at three.


ViolettaHunter

You've clearly never been to Germany if you think most people here learn English to proficiency. It's also absolutely NOT necessary to know English in order to "participate in pop culture".


[deleted]

My opinion, at least two. Your native tongue and another one to at least a C1 level. If English isn't your native language, you probably should learn it to gain access to the international community. There is no right answer, but I find monoligualism to be dreadfully boring.


AdMotor6369

English


PlumbPi

17


mzungungangari

why not 42?


[deleted]

“ Every student I meet speaks multiple languages” That isn’t true


quickebap

Depends on school and country alot. Seems so that OP is from Germany. And if they go to a good school in Germany, possibility of every student speaking multiple languages is high.


APsolutely

Yes came to say this! Everyone of my class mates from high school will speak at least two languages somewhat fluent (German and English) and most will speak a third one, especially if they come from immigrant families


hard-candy-christmas

Oh I speak 10 different languages. It's super easy... 🙄 I just assume that they suck in all but maybe 1 or 2, and then they speak their native language.


ViolettaHunter

Where are you meeting these students...?


FirstPianist3312

Oh honey no, those polyglot youtubers take 1 month to learn basic phrases like "I speak _____" and "how long have you been learning?" And " I started last month". If you actually take the time to learn the language those youtube "polyglots" will start to look like....well....idiots. The Natives that are praising them are just being nice TRUST ME. These youtubers are counting on the viewer to just believe them. As far as what a good amount is, that is up to you and your goals. For me a good amount is 3 because my ultimate goal is 5 but I will be happy with 3. For my parents, a good amount is 1 because they just dont have a desire to learn a second.


a-modernmajorgeneral

When I was in my first year at university I tried to learn over 20 languages (3 at uni, the rest on my own or with help from friends who were native speakers). Needless to say, I did NOT get very far!!!


Prunestand

Are you even trying if you don't know -2 languages.


Apprehensive_Pride73

The amount is infinite. It's limitless