Rounding out the Romance languages

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bpasseri
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Rounding out the Romance languages

Postby bpasseri » Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:57 pm

Hello everyone!

For those of you that have studied multiple Romance languages, what did you find was the best way to study? I'm pretty happy with my level of Spanish and French right now and would like to work more on Italian and Portuguese but I'm a little bit worried about interference. I think my levels of French and Spanish are high enough that I wouldn't confuse them with the new languages, but I think I might experience some interference between Italian and Portuguese. I've been doing some Portuguese Duolingo from Spanish and I did the Italian tree about a year ago but I was thinking about redoing it from French; maybe by associating them with languages I already know I can get the benefit of the knowledge I already have of Romance vocab/grammar while still keeping them separated from each other? How do you guys best keep your similar languages in different planes?
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iguanamon
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Re: Rounding out the Romance languages

Postby iguanamon » Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:32 pm

First, welcome to the forum, bpasseri! I can only tell you what I've done. I can't tell you what will work best for you or what works best for others. I leveraged Spanish to help me learn Portuguese not by "laddering" (learning Portuguese through Spanish) but by using my knowledge of Spanish to help me learn the language.

When I first started Portuguese, I thought it would be "a walk in the park". I started with a couple of "From Spanish to Portuguese" courses and I found that this approach was hindering me and making me see Portuguese through a Spanish prism. It wasn't until I decided to approach Portuguese as a language in it's own right that I made progress. I did use a course DLI Portuguese Basic Course. The DLI course is almost monolingual with very little English. My knowledge of Spanish allowed me to skip to Volume 4 of the 10 volume course. I also listened to and read native material while doing the course, I chatted online and used a private tutor for conversation practice.

Just because the two languages are very similar and share very similar grammar, doesn't mean that you won't have to work to get it right. To this day, if I've been speaking Spanish, or listening to or reading it for a long time before speaking Portuguese I can mix them up. It generally works itself out after a little while.

Ladino/Djudeo-espanyol is even more similar to Spanish but I almost never speak it due to the lack of opportunity. My levels of Spanish and Portuguese were solid before learning it. Haitian Creole is more similar to French in vocabulary but its grammar isn't. Still, my languages and English helped me a lot. I can't speak for Italian, but I have noticed that I can read some Italian with my languages' help.

I've seen it cited in various places that Spanish and Portuguese are 80% similar. The devil does indeed lie in the 20% that's different. It's one thing to read standard Portuguese and yet another to listen to it and speak it... and yet another for the colloquial language. For a humorous take on one Spanish-speaker's (Colombian journalist Daniel Samper) attempt to learn the language of Camões- Eu não falo português.
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YtownPolyglot
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Re: Rounding out the Romance languages

Postby YtownPolyglot » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:22 pm

I'm reasonably comfortable in Spanish, most likely at about a B-level. I've tried Portuguese on my own, and I fall into the trap of Spanish coming out of my mother or my pen when it is not requested. I find that if I focus more on audio than reading and writing, this is not quite such a problem for this pair of languages.

To put it another way, Spanish and Portuguese resemble each other more on the page than to the ear.
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tastyonions
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Re: Rounding out the Romance languages

Postby tastyonions » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:08 pm

YtownPolyglot wrote:I'm reasonably comfortable in Spanish, most likely at about a B-level. I've tried Portuguese on my own, and I fall into the trap of Spanish coming out of my mother or my pen when it is not requested.

Well, we all have to put up with little peculiarities from family members, I suppose. ;)
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mcthulhu
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Re: Rounding out the Romance languages

Postby mcthulhu » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:22 pm

If a comparative grammar would help, try http://www.nativlang.com/romance-languages. A book version is also apparently available from Amazon. I remember seeing a textbook I really liked many years ago that aimed to teach all the Romance languages (or at least their basic grammar) as a group to English speakers, which is a similar idea. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of it anymore, but I think it was different from this one.
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bpasseri
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Re: Rounding out the Romance languages

Postby bpasseri » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:48 pm

mcthulhu wrote:If a comparative grammar would help, try http://www.nativlang.com/romance-languages. A book version is also apparently available from Amazon. I remember seeing a textbook I really liked many years ago that aimed to teach all the Romance languages (or at least their basic grammar) as a group to English speakers, which is a similar idea. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of it anymore, but I think it was different from this one.


Thanks! I ordered an older book called The Loom of Language that should be arriving soon and is supposed to compare Romance languages amongst each other and Teutonic languages as well, so hopefully that will be of some help! The biggest issue for me right now is that I can't choose between Italian and Portuguese. I know a lot more Italian, I took a course years and years ago and have done more practice (and spoken with my grandmother a few times) and have extended family in Italy that I've never had the chance to meet, so I have a personal connection with the language. Right now, though, I'm completely infatuated with the sound of Portuguese and have had a lot more motivation to work on that because I just love listening to it! Realistically I should pick one and try to get it to a higher level before working on the other but I just can't choose! And then there of course is Mandarin, who's been left in the dust... I love it but it's just so much work! I could probably get all 4 Romance languages to a C2 before becoming conversational in Mandarin :lol:.
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Re: Rounding out the Romance languages

Postby PfifltriggPi » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:34 pm

mcthulhu wrote:I remember seeing a textbook I really liked many years ago that aimed to teach all the Romance languages (or at least their basic grammar) as a group to English speakers, which is a similar idea. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of it anymore, but I think it was different from this one.

Do you mean The Seven Sieves ?
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lichtrausch
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Re: Rounding out the Romance languages

Postby lichtrausch » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:35 pm

bpasseri wrote:I could probably get all 4 Romance languages to a C2 before becoming conversational in Mandarin :lol:.

I wish this was an exaggeration...
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mcthulhu
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Re: Rounding out the Romance languages

Postby mcthulhu » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:26 am

I don't believe it was The Seven Sieves, but thank you for the suggestion - it sounds interesting. The book I was trying to remember is one I would have come across in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
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mcthulhu
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Re: Rounding out the Romance languages

Postby mcthulhu » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:33 am

The Notley comparative grammar for Romance languages (out of copyright) is available online at http://www.ielanguages.com/pdfs/Comparative_Grammar.pdf. It's from the 19th century but presumably still useful.
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