Learning Several Languages at Once

Sometimes during my language learning I want to learn more than just Japanese. Sometimes I think that maybe I should learn Mandarin at the same time as I learn Japanese. I rationalize that it can be done and perhaps it would be twice as fast as learning them separately. Now I do think it can be done, however I don’t think it is any faster. I think if I tried learning both languages simultaneously then I could easily get overwhelmed and surely one language would automatically get more attention or maybe trying to balance both would lead to quitting altogether and that is definitely not desirable. Let’s suppose that I could handle learning both Japanese and Mandarin at the same time. What might that look like? Well let’s assume that I have 5 hours a day that I can spend on direct language learning. If I was just learning Japanese I could spend all 5 hours on Japanese everyday, but if I was learning both Japanese and Mandarin simultaneously then I would perhaps split my time down the middle and spend 2 and half hours on Japanese and 2 and a half hours on Mandarin, if I need 2200 hours in both languages to be proficient then after 880 days I would be proficient in Japanese and Chinese(Hypothetically). Now here’s the main issue I have with this picture, it would be almost 2.5 years of intense learning everyday before I reached proficiency in either language. Wouldn’t it be better to focus on just a single language at a time and learn Japanese in about 1 year and 2 months? That way in half the time I would already have one language under my belt and therefore I could reap the benefits and the pride of knowing a foreign language and then perhaps I would be more motivated to learn Mandarin even more plus having the confidence to learn another. And perhaps after learning 1 foreign language already I could learn a second even faster. But maybe I’m wrong and learning 2 at once is a better way. Maybe one could learn 2 at once if one language is hard and the other once easy and on the harder language they focus 80% of their time and on the easier one just 20%. For example one might learn Japanese and Spanish at the same time, spending 80% of their time on Japanese and 20% of their time on Spanish. I don’t really know but perhaps that could be a way to successfully learn two languages simultaneously.

*Note* I in no way have the energy(nor time) to actually spend 5 hours a day on active language learning(especially two at once). Three hours a day is probably more accurate but I suspect most can only get away with 1 or 2 hours a day on direct language learning. So based off my figures above Japanese and Chinese would take about 4 years(hypothetically) only worsening the situation.

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