One language, or more than one?

We’re here ‘playing’ Clozemaster with the objective of learning a language. Or more than one.

And my question is whether you folks find it more effective to stick with one language, or whether those who are learning two or more find the multiple language experience is reinforcing their ability to learn.

Personally, I am learning Romanian and French here on Clozemaster.

My native language is English, and here in Canada we know (and have forgotten) a fair bit of French, so the practice in Clozemaster is very helpful. But Romanian is the language i’m trying to learn, from scratch, so I think of French as a route that is helping me learn Romanian. (Before Clozemaster, I had some private tutoring In Romanian, a year on Duolingo, a few million points on Memrise, and some high-school Latin to help.)

There’s a lot of common vocabulary between French and Romanian, and romance languages all have similarities in the way their verbs are set up. So doing the French helps me ‘think Romance language’…

But occasionally i get confused between French and Romanian, in doing things like spelling the word equipe or echipa… Mayonnaise or maioneze…

Bottom line, doing two languages, does it help more or confuse more? I guess i really don’t know since i didn’t do a controlled experiment. I was thinking that some of you who are playing five languages, or just one, might have an opinion that is relevant.



At some point, you will move on from French and/or Romanian, but you might still want to keep them warm on the back burner.

I grew up living ‘overseas’ and I am still living overseas, so I have 3 days (Mon, Tue, Wed) devoted to 3 different ‘old’ languages.

More recently, I have lived in countries where I didn’t quite master the language. Getting old or getting lazy? Thursday and Friday are devoted to those two languages.

Most recently, I have traveled to countries where I wanted to at least be able to read some street signs and decipher menus. Oh, and I have a student who was getting ready to study abroad, so I was helping him with his L3. Saturday and Sunday are for those ‘wild card’ languages.

I had this system working quite well, 7 days a week, but then I really got into my student’s new language, and started studying it 7 days a week, with the other languages taking the ‘back burners’. Until the point of plateau. Then the point of burnout. Now my student is no longer going abroad because of the Coronavirus outbreak. He’s currently thinking of other possible destinations. I keep jumping in a different direction every time he names a new country: France? Brazil? You got it! Austria? Yeah, I know some German. Let’s go!

Then I spotted a new language on Clozemaster–KERNEWEK!–Shiny new object! SQUIRREL!!

Conclusion: 1) Study whichever language(s) you have to study for school or work, first and foremost. 2) Study whatever languages interest you at that moment because life is short and although you will never have time to learn everything that you want to learn, there is CLOZEMASTER!


I appreciate the reply. Well, obviously you don’t think learning two languages brings confusion… if you are working on about seven at a time.

And in the past year since I wrote this, I have added a bit of Latin on Clozemaster. And then as my COVID project, I am working on German. But since I’m starting German from scratch, i am doing it on…i am sorry to say… Duolingo. I am about half way through the German duolingo… and perhaps when i finish it, i will do some German here too. Perhaps i will have run out of Romanian words on Clozemaster by then.

So, bottom line, I guess i have come to the conclusion that the more languages the merrier. The more flexible the mind.


I have also started new languages on Duolingo, then after a few lessons, and after starting to ‘get a feel’ for some of the features of a new langauge, I come over to Clozemaster. I also use anki (Memrise or Tiny Cards) for new langauges sometimes. I still use both Clozemaster & Duo everyday, but lately I’ve found myself only doing the minimum to keep the ‘streak’ alive in Duo. Here in Clozemaster, I like being able to set daily goals for each langauge. I also like being able to check other players’ progress here. A little external motivation (competition) is good!


I’ve also come to this conclusion. Strangely, I didn’t realise until quite recently that it was possible to just start learning a new language online!

For a long time I only did French, which I studied in high school. It was my worst subject then and I’d always felt a little bad that I hadn’t managed to learn more. When I discovered Duolingo, and then Clozemaster, French was the obvious choice. Duolingo helped me refresh what I’d already learned long ago, and Clozemaster has done a great deal to improve my aural comprehension (which was TERRIBLE pre-Clozemaster) and expand my vocabulary.

At the time I was surprised by the long list of language pairings many people study here and wondered how it was possible.

When they added Latin to Duolingo, I decided to try it from scratch. Their course is very introductory, but I really enjoyed it and was surprised how easy it was for someone who knows English and a fair amount of French. Once I finished the Duolingo course I started Latin here. I just do it for the fun of recognising the source of French and English words, and the pleasure of seeing history come to life on my screen. I doubt I’ll be inspired to go further and delve into original source materials, but you never know.

My other two languages (Occitan and Catalan) I just do casually from French to continue to practice French while observing the similarities to French / English / Latin. I use multi-choice only for those languages and would only study them more seriously if I was planning a trip.

The only language I study “seriously” is French, but I think adding the extra languages has made me more interested in language study in general and even more likely to persist with French. Perhaps one day I’ll try a really different language that doesn’t share common ground with French and English!


I’ve been chasing you in Romanian since I started, lol!

I focused on Romanian only for about a year and a half here, and only recently started Russian. I had a working knowledge on both of them about 20 years ago, so this is more about regaining that ability. I also do some other languages, but like, the bare minimum daily. Those are also languages I used to know (French, Greek, Esperanto, Portuguese), and after I feel my Russian and Romanian are back up to par I’ll ramp up on them, one at a time.

I still prioritise Romanian, but once I ‘finish’ the course it will go on ‘maintain’, second to Russian, while I prioritise one of the others. Probably Esperanto because it’s ‘easiest’, and so on. Russian will take me a while so it will be my primary for a long time.

So, I feel it’s fine doing multiple languages at once, but one should prioritise one or two, with additionally ones being the minimum. Just keeps them sort of fresh until I’m ready to focus on them.


My personal experience is that knowing other, related languages is good in the beginning, since one can reach a decent level a lot quicker, but after a while I find that the false similarities get in the way of reaching fluency.

Just to mention one example: “pronto” means “soon” in Spanish and “ready” in Italian, and I always mix them up. And don’t get me started on the words that look the same but have different genders across languages.

Even studying two unrelated languages gets me mixed up: somehow I sometimes mix in the odd Finnish word in my Italian or Spanish, or vice versa.

On the other hand, just studying one language can get tedious, and maybe there’s only so much you can learn in one language each day, so jumping between languages may have other merits that are not immediately obvious, but I don’t really know.


Welcome JStar5. I’ve always been a one-language devotee but after years of Italian-only I started learning Swahili, another beautiful, musical language. Amazingly the sentence construction is often similar. For some reason this has re-energised my Italian learning and both are a joy to learn although Italian will always come first.

So happy learning to you and merry Christmas!


I’ve been asking myself a similar question, but from a different angle. My question is not so much whether learning multiple languages simultaneously would help me or get in my way in terms of learning each language, because I’m pretty convinced that the answer is “get in my way”. My question is whether I can learn code-switching (language-switching) as a skill in itself, and whether mastering that skill is worth the degradation in terms of learning the individual languages. Up to now, I’ve always learned a single language at a time. However, I’m fortunate enough to have more and more opportunities to speak with friends and relatives in a variety of languages. I definitely find that the one language I’m focusing on inhibits the others. Can working with multiple languages simultaneously (whether that means on alternate days or the same day) at Clozemaster improve my code-switching so much that it offsets the extent to which it prevents me from learning my highest-priority new language? It’s an open question. My plan is to give my number one new language some more time by itself, then try adding one and see what happens. I can keep you posted.


Swahili is a beautiful language, and you’re right in terms of the melody. It will help you with learning Arabic in the future if you like.

In university, my housemates were a Tanzanian, a Sierra Leonian and a Tamil, and we had the biggest television, so became a hangout for many of the international students. Swahili and English became the lingua franca of the house/international students crew for some reason (about a third of the international students were Kenyan and Ugandan, so I’m sure that was a key factor, lol). Years later my knowledge of Swahili helped me meet this beautiful Moroccan simply because I knew some Arabic as a result. Ended up marrying her - it didn’t work out in the end, but it was great while it did, and Swahili was the spark. So you never know where things will lead, lol!

I can certainly see how it can re-energise learning previous language learning. Helps you see connections or understand bits you may not have seen before, even with unrelated languages.


What a great story, even with a tinge of sadness. I’ve always said “Language is an adventure”. When a country or a culture touches your soul, you just have to learn to converse with it. My Italian is fairly conversational, getting better n better with Cloze, my Swahili is very basic, but just saying and writing the words is becoming familiar. My first ever sentence was *“Ninapenda parachichi” although it might be “Napenda parachichi”? Grammar is not my best!

Enjoy all your learning;-)

*I love avocados.


My avocado tree only gave me 5 avocadoes this year. Very disappointing. In the spring it was full of blossoms so I thought I was in for a bounty. But just 5, despite no hurricanes hitting the island this year. Disappointing lol

My peach trees, figs and blackberries worked out pretty well though, so I guess that’s something!


@JStar5 Ah, only tano parachichi eh! Nonetheless your island sounds idyllic.

How is your learning going, how did you find Cloze?



I had finished the golden tree for Romanian on Duolingo and just started the reversed tree and was wondering what next steps I could take to build my vocab and did a google search, lol. This came up and I’ve enjoyed it since!

It’s going well. There are many Romanians on the island in the service industry so I am good at ordering food now, lol! The pandemic has delayed my plans of some immersion vacation, but hopefully 2022 will allow it. In the meantime the Romanians here lend me books to read lol


I do two languages daily on Clozemaster, and I think that’s enough for now. I also do other activities (mostly listening-reading at the moment) in those languages. I was planning to add another Clozemaster language when I’m good enough (whatever that means) in one or both of those languages. But… I recently ‘accidentally’ started the Swahili tree at Duolingo and fell in love with the language. Unfortunately Duolingo was not able to hold my interest this time either, so now I’m only learning Swahili vocabulary with Drops app. Now I’m convinced I need to learn Swahili, but it’s not on Clozemaster, which is by far the best resource I have found. Well, maybe it’s good so I won’t get too much carried away.


Hujambo @hooetvee - me too, I looked for Swahili here, perhaps in time it will happen (please!). So I pop back to Duo to learn as much as poss. I feel privileged to be enjoying two such beautiful languages.

Krismasi njema! Buon natale;-)


Sorry, going a bit off-topic here with regards to the overall discussion, but Language Transfer does have Complete Swahili. Sadly only still “Introduction to Italian”, and I’m still focussed on that for the moment, so I haven’t gone back to check out any of their other (probably) amazing courses (especially “Complete” ones yet). I like their method, but I realise it might not be for all, but perhaps you’d like to check it out at least, since they’re completely free, so it’s easy to just check out to see what you think of it.

By the way, have you and @Floria7 seen the Lion King by any chance? When I was learning Swahili (mostly gone now), I noticed that a lot of the character names are Swahili words. Poor “Pumba” is a bit “simple”/“thick”. “Simba” just means lion, “Rafiki” friend, etc. and of course there’s the famous “Hakuna matata”.

Which also reminds me of the easy to learn Kenyan “welcome” song (here is an example of it with both Kiswahili and English lyrics, but you can find many versions of it). I’ll see if I can recall some of the many Kiswahili artists and songs for the music thread, but I’m just going to mention Zita Swoon’s L’Opaque Paradis here too, because that’s one of the songs where I also enjoyed just discovering some Kiswahili phrases (tulitoka, sita mbili, etc.).

(P.S. I love avocados too, but am not sure I knew the Kiswahili word for them, I don’t think I ate them there, mostly ugali & sukuma wiki (which basically means something like “stretch the week”, it’s a cheap vegetable you can still afford at the end of the week), irio, githeri, chapatis, matoke, chips mayai, and lots and lots of chai :wink: so thank you for that @Floria7!)


@sindaco. Mamma mia, this is amazing, thank you so much. What stories you could tell us. I saw many musicals in Joburg but would you believe, I’ve only seen excerpts of Lion King. I love the intro song which is sooo helpful, particularly as singing is a great way to learn. I just wish I had more time to devote to kiswahili alongside my Italian, but something is better than nothing eh! I will check out Language Transfer!

Parachichi and rafiki are two of my favourite words and Nina always resonates as I once had a sister called Nina. It makes me smile when I write ninahitaji chipsi!

My very best to you for Crimble :slight_smile:


Yes! I am familiar with Language Transfer, and I am planning to try the Swahili one as well at some point. I did find the Spanish and French ones okay, though I’m not a complete fan of that kind of programs. I feel like I’m wasting my time listening to that much English, but I know it’s for my own good. I’m going to try if it’s better than the Duolingo course. I have no idea how to do Duolingo courses. I find the level system illogical and annoying. Language transfer is more straightforward, as you just listen to the next lesson.

I think I’ve seen Lion King once as a child, and I was delighted to have recognised rafiki and simba. I didn’t know about pumba though, thank you for that.


JStar… just out of interest, what island is this where you (and the Romanians) are working?

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