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Learning Multiple Languages at the same time

From your experience do you think it's possible
to learn 2 languages at the same time :

Let's say Delphi & Java

Do you reckon it's manageable ?

I want to spend 2 hours on Java a day then the other day do Delphi for 2 hours and alternate like that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

yes, it's possible by virtue of the fact that most university students study a couple of languages. I wouldnt do both on the same day though... 4 hiurs J and then 4 hours D the next day..

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I guess it depends on what you mean by learn.

For a language, yes.  I think it's possible if you take language to mean syntax, control flow, and data structures.

For the development supporting environment surrounding a language? I think it's possible to "learn" but not master.  For example trying to master all of the classes and functionality available to a Delphi developer and all of the classes and functionality available to a Java developer would take years and years even on one topic by itself.

What is possible, however, is "learning how to learn" about both languages in that timeframe.  For example, finding good resources about the language that you might consult if you ran into problems.  Obviously this is different than knowing how to do things intuitively in a language, which only comes with experience.


Rick Watson
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

It will be very hard for you, until you will learn to instantly switch syntaxes in your mind, when you switch the IDE.

You will see what I mean.

After you learn the automatic syntax switch trick, it will be ok.

The Delphi object model is very similar with Java's object model.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Why do you want to do this?

In general this is a very bad idea. Cognitive dissonance will cause you to be very confused and take much longer.

Fastest way is to study one until you've mastered it, then study the other.

University students do not do this. Typically all their introductory work is done in a single language. Then there is an intermediate survey course where they learn several different languages sequentially, three or four weeks each.  Occaisionally a higher level course will require a new language.

Anonymous Coward
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

"yes, it's possible by virtue of the fact that most university students study a couple of languages"

There is a big difference between learning a language at school to pass a class and learning a language to use on the job.

At college, you learn the basics and do the occassional project. On the job, you need to have a much deeper understanding of the language as well as more experience using it.

So, I'd say that trying to become really skilled in two languages at the same time could be quite difficult. On the other hand, it wouldn't be that tough to become familiar with two languages at the same time.

Mark Hoffman
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

For fulltime production work I'd prefer to stick with one language, just because you become so much more productive that way.

But I still like to learn new languages occasionally. I've seen too many programmers who think  COBOL/FORTRAN/C/LISP/Perl/... (pick one) is the right language for any task.

Tom H
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

It is not impossible, but what is the point?  Do you have a need to work on both java and delphi systems at the same time?  It is possible to learn french and japanese at the same time, but french isn't that useful if you are moving to tokyo.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I work with both J2EE and ASP.NET, sometimes both during the same day.  I tell you, i've gotten more toString (opposed to ToString) errors then anyone else.  :-P

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

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