Mixing languages is a whole lot of fun. Let me prove to you why! I had an online conversation recently with an ex-student of mine from Japan (hi Junko!) who's just moved to New York to work for the Japanese consulate there (yes, a dream job in a dream city - but she deserves it!). She was trying to decide between signing up for French or yoga classes. My answer - wouldn't it be great if you could find a yoga class run in French?
She laughed (well, in an online kind of way) and I told her about my experiences in Germany. I was keen to keep up the Japanese I'd learnt while I lived in Japan, and at the same time I was needing some places to speak lots of German, since I was speaking nearly only English at work (teaching English!). Since my Japanese level was pretty low, I signed up to a Japanese class that was mostly conducted in German and I had the best of both worlds!
My Japanese teacher was a native speaker, but she'd lived in Germany for quite some time and even spoke the local Schwaebisch dialect well (this may or may not have been a good thing for my German skill!). Revising both my German and my Japanese skills at the same time seemed to work perfectly for me. I also made a lovely French friend there (hi Marie!) who wanted to practice her English sometimes and we had a lot of very mixed up language conversations. And I loved it.
Nowadays, the only regret I have is that while my German has continued to improve - it sure helps being married to a native speaker and using it to raise our son bilingually - my Japanese has dropped off dramatically. It seems to prove the premise of a great blog I follow - Fluent in 3 months - in which Benny has been travelling the world learning new languages in just three months because he is living the language (and, I might add, being extraordinarily brave about plunging in the deep end and not being afraid to make mistakes). Interestingly, I do seem to remember a post on his site saying that you shouldn't try to learn multiple languages at once - but just the same, I had a lot of fun doing it!
Over to you readers - what languages would you most like to learn? And what language mixing experiences do you have?