Axon wrote:For English speakers, there's a huge amount of shared vocabulary in Slavic languages, even more so if you know some other European languages. You don't start to get vocabulary bonuses in Chinese until you've learned enough words that you can start breaking down new words into their roots.
I've often heard this argument, and initially I thought that it hasn't got too much importance: You must learn a lot of new vocabulary. Even if 10 % or 20 % of the vocabulary consists of loanwords, you still have to learn 80 % or 90 % of the vocabulary.
Eventually, however, I realized that the shared vocabulary can help a lot for listening comprehension. The more words you understand in a sentence, the more it is likely that you will understand the gist of the sentence.
When I'm listening to native speakers of Polish speaking in 'normal' speed', there are some words I understand easily, without effort. They can serve as "cloud points", and they can help me to understand also some of the word 'around' them, which I probably wouldn't have understood without the "cloud point". I've noticed that a considerable part of these "cloud points" are loanwords.