6 Signs to Look for Before You Begin Learning a Third Language

You’re a native speaker of your first language. Maybe you have toiled for several years to learn your second language, and perhaps you’re finally starting to break ground and make real progress. It hasn’t always been easy, but the feeling that you get when you can communicate effectively (and especially correctly!) in a second language is exhilarating. However, you have to know more.

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Maybe now is the time when you should consider learning a third language. But, you want to be careful not to lose any of the progress you’ve made with your first second language. How can you know for sure that it’s fine to start yet another language adventure?

While you may never know for certain (and, obviously, the choice is a personal one), here are 6 signs to look for when considering whether or not it’s time to begin learning a third language:

1. You feel like you have a good grasp of the first second language

That is, you can communicate nearly all your thoughts, feelings, and needs. You can think in that language. You can write and read in that language. Perhaps you can even dream in that language.

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2. You can communicate effectively in the current language

Do you need several minutes to order a coffee or ask a basic question? If so, maybe you’re not quite ready to add another language to the mix. Once the words and phrases can nearly effortlessly roll out of your mouth, that’s when you’re ready.

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3. You get complimented regularly on your abilities in your second language

While this is usually not something that’s necessary in general, most people can’t help but compliment you when you’re speaking a second language well – it’s always a great sign of progress. If you’re complimented, even occasionally, then you’re probably doing something right.

4. You feel like your comprehension (of grammar, syntax, vocabulary, etc.) of one language wouldn’t be adversely affected by the other

If you’re still unsure of how to express some time expressions, such as past or future, or tenses like the subjunctive in some languages, it’s probably a sign that you aren’t ready to explore other languages yet. The worst thing that you can possibly do is compromise your skills in one language just to learn another before you’re really ready.

5. You have an active, meaningful motivation toward learning yet another language

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Let’s be honest, it isn’t always easy. If you find yourself itching to learn another language to travel, take on more hobbies, or even switch careers, then there’s a huge question answered right there: Are you ready?

6. You have the time and resources to undertake learning another language right now

To be fair, learning a language is a commitment. No matter how much someone enjoys the process, there’s no denying that for most, it’s a time-consuming activity. It also not something that you can do mindlessly. So, ask yourself seriously whether you have the resources to devote toward learning another language now. If not, then there’s nothing wrong with waiting until you have the time and energy to devote to it properly.

How did you determine whether or not you’re ready to take on another language? Share with us in the comments!