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Discussion on: Juggling Multiple Languages Simultaneously

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Jason C. McDonald

I've always compared it to being multilingual, especially if you use and learn them in tandem. It's somewhat similar to what research has shown about bilingual children:

"Despite the differences in age of acquisition, bilinguals who use both languages on a regular basis at work and at home were very proficient in both languages. (MacLeod, 2010, p.400) This illustrates that if the child can utilize both languages evenly as they mature, they may still be able to contrast between the two and continue to be fluent in both languages." - "Language Development in Bilingual Children" by Charlyne Gauthier, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

I'm not only proficient in multiple programming languages, but I'm currently learning multiple languages at once, while working in those I already know. This means that, in any given week, I'm using all of C++, Python, C, Java, SQL, BASH, and FORTRAN. What I'm finding is, although I sometimes feel the "switch," I am acquiring them more quickly than when I learned one language at a time (VB.NET, Python). I would go so far as to say that the paradigm shifts and differences in pattern are keeping me from ever building "the box" that we always have to think outside of. I can cook up a dozen possible solutions to a problem in my mind, and then select the best one based on the language and tools I have.

Also, remember that speed is a side-effect of proficiency. If you keep switching between languages often enough, regularly using as many of them as you reasonably can, the "switches" will become less pronounced, and the high-level problem solving skills more instinctual. Keep at it!

P.S. I'm a Pluralsight-verified expert in C++, and approaching the same in Python. I'm quite literally "Jack-of-all-trades, master of some."