怎样同时学习两种甚至更多的外语?

  本文作者:Rytis

  前 言

  So you are passionate about languages. You enjoy reading about polyglots and dream of someday becoming one. You have caught the learning bug and you want to learn as many languages as you can handle.

  你对语言充满热情,享受阅读关于精通多国语言的人的文章,梦想着有朝一日自己也能成文他们中的一员。你成了语言学习的狂热爱好者,想尽己所能,多学几门语言。

  In fact, you’ve already been learning one language (let’s call it L2) and have just become excited about learning another (L3). Should you finish the former before starting the latter, or tackle both at the same time? Which way is more efficient?

  事实上,你早就开始学某门语言了(L2),现在对想要学一门新语言(L3)充满热情。你该先学好之前的再学新的?还是同时学两门?哪种方法效率更高呢?

  I will examine these questions based on what I’ve learned from those in the polyglot community and from my own my experience. Fairly recently, I myself added a second language to my in-progress list: Norwegian. That is in addition to Icelandic, which I started learning long before the former.

  基于我从多语言社区里学到的和我自己的学习经验,我会试着来分析下这些问题。就在最近,我开始学习一门新的语言:挪威语。除此之外,我已经学了很久冰岛语了。

  This article will discuss what you should consider before tackling several languages at once, and will offer practical advice on how to make the process as efficient as possible.

  在本文里,我将和大家探讨在开始同时学习数门语言之前,应先考虑哪些问题,同时就如何尽可能的提高学习效率给我自己的意见。

  Should you learn several languages at the same time?

  我是否该同时学习多门语言?

  Examine your motivation

  再次确认动机有多强

  This may sound obvious, but motivation (or lack thereof) really makes or breaks your learning process.

  这听起来像是老生常谈,但动机(或缺少动机)对你的语言学习起决定性作用。

  Take a moment to think: why do you want to learn multiple languages at once? Perhaps you’ve been learning one, but have recently moved to a country where they speak a third language that you don’t yet know. Or maybe you’re a linguist and you’re interested in learning several languages as part of your profession.

  花点时间思考下,为什么你要同时学习多门语言?也许你早就开始学一门语言了,但最近搬到了新国家,那边用的是你不会的第三门语言;又或者你是名语言学家,因工作需要,你对同时学习数门语言感兴趣。

  You should also think about your long term prospects. Language learning is a long process that requires sustained effort. Ask yourself: will you be able to maintain it? Will you be interested in these languages long-term, or are you just being impatient in your quest towards being a polyglot?

  同时,你也该考虑下你的长期目标。语言学习是一个长期过程, 需要持续不断的努力。问问自己:你能坚持吗?你对该语言的兴趣能保持下去吗?还是你只是在通往多语言家的奋斗路上感到不耐烦而已?

  Examine your own character too. You should be patient, disciplined and willing to keep going despite frustration, rather than being prone to burnout and not finishing things that you have started.

  你还应该检查下自己的性格,你必须有足够的耐心,守纪律,无论遇到多少挫折都不轻易放弃,而不是很容易就甩手不干,半途而废的那种人。

  You should also think about your goals for using these languages. Think about whether you want to learn a language as fast as possible or if you are only interested in the passive understanding of it.

  同时,你还得想清楚学习这么语言的目的是什么。只是想要尽快的学会它?还是只对被动理解感兴趣?

  Maybe you’re only interested in reading literature in one language, for example, but are striving for all around fluency in the other. Working on passive skills is easier than being able to speak. By differentiating the goals behind learning each language, each one will interfere with the other less.

  也许对某门语言你只是想能读懂用该语言写的文献,但对其他的语言想要能全方位的流利使用。学习被动的技能比交流简单多了。弄清楚学习不同语言的不同目标,能大大降低在学习过程中弄混所学的各种语言的概率。

  Time matters

  有足够的学习时间很重要

  Learning a language usually takes a heck of a lot of time. You may already have a full-time job and other things to do that don’t leave much time for language learning, or you may simply want to rest after work.

  学习一门语言要花很多很多的时间。也许你有全职工作,有很多事情要做,没多少时间来学习,或者下班后只是想好好休息。

  After all, language learning is not something you just do. It requires active effort and can be very tiring. There are no shortcuts. You’ll need to set aside a substantial amount of time in your life to learn just one language, let alone two, and you might need to change your lifestyle to accommodate it.

  毕竟,语言学习不是仅仅去“做”就足够的。学习无捷径,需要你主动去学,并且会很累人。想要学会一门语言,你必须留出大量的时间,更别提两门,说不定你还得改变自己的生活方式以适应新语言的学习。

  If you already speak several languages, you will also need time to keep them sharp, which makes things even more difficult. I will provide you with advice on how to use your time efficiently when learning more than one language, but you will nevertheless need time too.

  如果你已经会说多国语言,你还得花不少时间来磨练,这让事情变得更困难。我将就在学习一门以上语言时提高效率给出意见,但不管如何,你需要时间。

  If you’re too busy, or have terrible discipline and time management skills, then you might need to reconsider learning two languages at the same time.

  如果你很忙,没有纪律性或者时间管理技能很烂,那最好还是重新考虑下同时学习两门语言的事。

  How advanced are you in L2?

  第二门语言的水平如何?

  Though it might sound exciting, do not start off learning both languages at the same time. Yes, you will constantly learn lots of new stuff and will progress very quickly at the beginning. However, you will eventually burn out once you notice that your progress is slowing down and what you’ve learned so far is, in fact, only the very tip of the iceberg.

  虽然听上去不错,但不用同时从零开始,学习两门语言。没错,在最初的时候,你能连续不断的学到很多新东西,进步很快,然而当你发现学习速度开始下降,而自己所学的冰山一角,是最基础的东西时,很快就会变得不耐烦。

  If you cover exactly the same areas in both languages, they will overlap and interfere with each other. You will likely be learning the same things in each: how to describe yourself, how to ask for coffee, etc. Even more importantly, your learning methods will most likely be the same, provided that you have similar goals for both languages.

  如果这两门语言你所学的内容相同,很容易就会搞混。开始学习新语言时,学的东西都大同小异:怎么做自我介绍,怎么点咖啡等等。更重要的是,如果你学的语言的目标类似的话,那你的学习方法很有可能是一样的。

  However, if you are at different levels in your two languages, your learning will most likely not overlap at all. For example, if you’re at an intermediate level of L2, you will probably be speaking with people, reading news and watching videos. However, if your L3 is at a beginner’s level, you will be doing very different things. For instance, you might be using lots of flashcards, online courses and textbooks, while still abstaining from speaking it.

  但是呢,如果你两门语言的程度不一样,你的学习内容就不会重复。举例来说,如果你L2处于中等水平,能正常交流,看报纸,看视频;而你的L3还是个初学者,那你学习这两门语言的时候做的事是完全不同的,你可能会用到很多识字卡片,在线教程或者教科书,而不太会说很多东西。

  Therefore, as a rule when thinking about learning two languages at once, the more advanced you are in your L2, the better.

  因此,在想要同时学习两门语言时,你L2的水平越高,学起来越方便。

  How similar are the two languages?

  两门语言的相似度有多高?

  A lot will depend on what languages you are learning. Now, this isn’t as much of a black versus white issue as people often claim. There is a common idea that it’s bad to be learning two languages from the same language group, such as Spanish and French. This makes a lot of sense, but it’s not the whole truth.

  这取决于你想要学的语言。这个话题不像之前人们所说的,非黑即白。通常大家不建议同时学习两门同源的语言,比如西班牙语和法语。这话很有道理,但又不全对。

  Here are what I believe to be the pros and cons of learning two languages that are similar to one another:

  以下是我总结的同时学习两门相近语言的利弊:

  Cons 缺点

  Similar languages will interfere with each other more, which can be very confusing. You will mix them up at least a little. I am currently experiencing this personally while learning both Icelandic and Norwegian. I often want to use Norwegian words (my L3) when speaking Icelandic (my L2). It seems that my active skills of the latter are somewhat undermined as a result.

  相似的语言很容易互相干扰,这会令初学者感到很困惑。你或多或少都会把他们搞混。我现在就受这个问题困扰。当我想要说挪威语(L3)时,会不觉得说冰岛语(L2)。而这削弱了我在冰岛语上的主动技能。

  You may find learning grammar more interesting if you decide to learn two languages that are not similar to each other at all, being that studying similar words and structures can get a little boring.

  如果你学的是两门没有什么关联的语言,在学习语法的时候会有趣的多。学习相似的单词和结构很枯燥。

  Pros 优点

  Related languages will reinforce each other, especially if you already know a good deal of your L2. You will already know many words and some grammar points, even before you start learning your L3.

  相似的语言在学习时候能互相加强,特别如果你L2的水平较高,在你开始学L3的时候,你早就知道不少L3的单词和语法点了。

  So ultimately, it’s a tradeoff. While it may be technically easier to learn multiple similar languages, it is also more confusing and perhaps less interesting.

  所以,凡事有利也有弊,虽然从技术层面说,同时学习相类似的语言可能更容易,但却更容易搞混,也更枯燥。

  Tips for learning multiple languages

  多语言学习的小技巧

  Prioritize your languages

  找出学习重点

  Try to prioritize the focus of your attention and decide which language you feel is more urgent. Also, consider which language you think will be harder because this is the one that will require more time. Don’t try to plan your learning schedule too much, just know in your mind which language is the priority.

  I would suggest assigning around 70% of your total learning time to your L2. You can make daily goals for the priority language, for example, and only study the other language once you’ve accomplished them. If your L3 isn’t particularly hard and you find it fun, it can even help you to unwind in the evening, while still allowing you to progress towards fluency.

  我建议将70%的学习时间放在L2上。每天给首要语言设定一个学习目标,只有在完成之后才开始学习第二门。如果你的L3不是很难,学起来又很有趣,那这个学习过程甚至能帮你在放松的同时,学会如何流利使用该语言。

  Try focusing on one for some time

  尝试在一段时间内只专注于一门语言

  You could, alternatively, experiment with a different method: try focusing on only one language for a set amount of time. For example, for a day or even a week.

  你也可以尝试使用不同的方法,在某段时间里专注于一门语言,可以是一天,甚至是一星期。

  This may be better than switching back and forth throughout the day. With this method, you can spend quality time with one language, since it can be hard to properly divide daily time between each language.

  同在一天里来回切换相比,这个方法可能更好。这么做可以让你在一段时间内专注于一门语言,毕竟在不同语言里正确划分时间做起来比较困难.

  I can personally attest to this. Whenever I’m trying to concentrate on one language, a voice in the back of my mind is telling me “maybe I should switch to the other one, I’m not giving it enough effort." This may leave you confused rather than focused. It may be best, therefore, to forget one language for some time altogether simply to have some peace of mind.

  在这点上我深有体会。每当我想要集中注意力学习的时候,就感觉脑子里有声音在说“我是不是该去学另一门?在那门语言上我学的还不够。”这非但无助于提高注意力,甚至会让你觉得很困惑。因此,如果能在某段时间里忘记另一门语言,让耳根清净,是再好不过了。

  Alternating between the languages weekly, meanwhile, will add to the novelty value of your learning. You’ll be more eager to come back to each language after taking a break from it.

  以周为间隔,交换学习,能提高语言学习的新鲜感。休息一段时间后,你会更迫不及待的想要去学习的。

  Furthermore, you will give your mind some time and space to process what you’ve learned. Linguist Stephen Krashen claims that language learning and acquisition are more of an unconscious process than a conscious one. In the end, it’s a good idea to experiment and see what works best for you.

  How to avoid mixing up the languages

  如何避免混淆不同语言

  In order to keep the languages that you are learning separate from each other in your mind, you need to somehow associate each of them with something concrete. Anything will do. You can associate your languages with anything from the time of the day or week, to locations, to the use of personas.

  为了在脑中将你所学的语言区分开,你必须得把学到的东西跟某些具体的事物联系起来,所有东西都可以,时间,地点,人物角色……

  Here are some ideas:

  以下是一些建议:

  Try establishing a routine by always learning one language in the morning or on particular days of the week. This will keep your L2 and L3 mentally separated, which will help you avoid worrying about one language when you’re trying to study another.

  给自己建立一个固定的学习时间, 比如固定每天早上学些或每周的哪几天学习。在心理上把L2和L3区分开来,这么做可以让你在学习一门语言时,不用去担心另一门。

  Change your environment with each language by, for example, learning one language at home and learning the other at the library. Going outside if you have a garden or even simply switching your position within the room can also help. After a while, your mind will know automatically that it needs to switch its focus to a different language when you change your location.

  在不同的环境里学习不同的语言,例如,在家学一门,在图书馆学另一门。如果家里有院子,你可以出去学,或者仅仅是挪下在房间里的位置,这也有帮助。一段时间之后,当你变了位置之后,你的脑子自己就会知道是时间把注意力换到另一门语言上了。

  As Benny Lewis from Fluent in 3 Months proposes, using different personas for each language can create powerful associations in your mind. You may have noticed that people change their personality somewhat when they speak in different languages. They might sound serious and intellectual when they speak British English or German, but then appear more emotional when speaking Spanish. You can use it to your advantage by exaggerating it. Learning Italian? Use plenty of hand motions and get some wine!

  Benny Lewis 在《3个月掌握一门语言》中说道,在学习不同语言时,给自己创造不一样的性格对在脑中建立关联很有帮助。你可能早就留意到,人们在说不同语言时,性格也略有不同。在说英式英语或者德语时,他们可能会比较严肃,理智,而说西班牙时,更情绪化。你可以将这点适当放大以便更好的发挥它的优势。你正在学意大利语?说话时多用用手势,多喝点酒!

  Learn L3 through L2

  利用L2帮助自己学好L3

  In order to save time and kill two birds with one stone, you can try learning one language through the other. When you don’t understand a word or a sentence in L3, don’t translate it into your native language or another language that you know well. Instead, translate it into L2. If possible, pick up a textbook in L2 on how to learn L3. The same goes for internet courses like Memrise or Duolingo.

  为了节约时间,一箭双雕,你可以尝试用一门语言帮助自己学好另一门。当你不知道L3中某个单词或句子的意思时,不要用母语或某门已经熟练掌握的语言去解释,而是把试着用L2来翻译。如果可以的话,找一本用L2写的如何学好L3的书或教材。或者可以试试在线教程,如Memrise或者Duolingo.

  If the languages you’re learning are at least remotely related, develop a list of words that are similar in both. Whenever you come up with a word in L3 that is similar to the one in L2, enter it into Memrise, Anki or any other flashcard device. Test the words in L3 by using prompts in L2.

  如果你在学习的两门语言的关联度不高,做个表格,列举出在两门语言里词义相近的单词。当你碰到一个和L2中某单词词义相近的L3的单词是,把它们添加到Memrise,Anki或者其他的笔记软件里,稍后,对着L2的提示说出相对应的L3的单词。

  This can be a great help thanks to the fact that when you search for a word in L3, you will now remember that this word is similar to a word in L2. Otherwise, you may never have realized that you actually knew the word!

  这个方法很有效。因为当你在寻找L3中的某个单词时,你会同时想起L2中有类似含义的单词。不然的话,你可能从来不会意识到,其实你知道这个单词。

  So should you learn several languages at the same time?

  那么,你应不应该同时学数门语言呢?

  As you have seen from this article, it really depends. Learning one language is already challenging, and it can be made much more difficult if you add more to the list or already have others to maintain.

  正如你在本文里所看到的,这个问题没有标准答案。学习一门语言已经很有挑战性了,如果要多学一门,或者在学新的时候,还要复习之前已经学会的就更难了。

  However, if you have a good reason to start learning a third language, and you have enough time, discipline and determination to keep going despite frustration (which you will experience), go for it! Just make sure that you have more than a beginner’s level in your L2, make sure to prioritize your languages and experiment with scheduling your learning time.

  但是,如果你有很好的理由想要开始学习第三门语言,并且有足够的时间,纪律和决心,不论多困难都要继续学习的话(相信我,你会遇到很多困哪),那就放手去学吧。但请确保,你L2的水平高于初学者,先找出想要学的首选语言,并且尝试不同的学习计划。

  Most importantly, decide what works best for you and stick with it!

  最重要的是,找到适合自己的学习方法并持之以恒!

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