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Spanish/Portuguese ease of learning

  Tags: Portuguese | Spanish
 Language Learning Forum : Specific Languages Post Reply
aka FailArtist
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4610 days ago

315 posts - 347 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Mandarin, Toki Pona

 Message 1 of 7
26 June 2010 at 5:13pm | IP Logged 
Which of these do you find to be easier? I haven't looked at Portuguese yet or delved into serious Spanish study yet, so I can't decide.

EDIT: I am leaning to both. Portuguese because I enjoy it more, and Spanish because of the usefulness (Mexico is my neighbor) and wide range of speakers.

Edited by Akao on 26 June 2010 at 5:25pm

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Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5196 days ago

361 posts - 461 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish*, French
Studies: Russian, Swedish, Haitian Creole

 Message 2 of 7
26 June 2010 at 6:48pm | IP Logged 
Well, I think that in terms of pronunciation Spanish would be easier. I once looked at a
book called "Portuguese in Three Months" and leafed through the part about reading the
alphabet. So many exceptions on how to pronounce this and that! And some interesting
sounds, too. Nothing really exotic, just nasalization and that 'r' which changes sound
depending on where it is. But it surprised me!

However, if you like Portuguese more, why not learn Portuguese? There are a lot of
Portuguese speakers, too, thanks to Brazil. Plus, learning Portuguese will help you with
Spanish if you ever choose to learn it later (at the very least, there will be some
mutual intelligibility) since they have very similar grammar and words.
1 person has voted this message useful

Rodrigo Chaves
BrazilRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4706 days ago

12 posts - 18 votes
Speaks: Portuguese*, Esperanto, English, Spanish, Italian, Catalan
Studies: Japanese, French

 Message 3 of 7
26 June 2010 at 8:37pm | IP Logged 
As Lynxrunner has already said, Spanish is easier when talking about pronunciation. Portuguese has some hard sounds for Native English Speakers like "ão", the nasal N and the R.
The grammar and vocabulary is very similiar. Both have many exceptions and irregular verbs.
If I were you, I would choose only one language to study first just because you can mix them while you are a begginer.
Study the one that you most like, your evolution will be faster. Then study the other when you reach a intemediate level.
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 4626 days ago

355 posts - 496 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Spanish, Dutch

 Message 4 of 7
26 June 2010 at 9:30pm | IP Logged 
I am a bit practical minded, so take my advice only for what it is worth, but here is what I would suggest. If you enjoy Portuguese more, yet do enjoy Spanish to some extent, I would start with Spanish. I have a few reasons for this suggestion.

Spanish is spoken widely throughout the United States, whereas it is much rarer to find Portuguese speakers, natives or learners. Furthermore, it is a lot easier to find printed material and audios in Spanish, heck some areas can even receive Spanish tv. The above being said, with more available materials (authentic and learner-based) as well as a large number of speakers with whom to practice, I believe that you would be able to advance to a higher level of Spanish quicker than with Portuguese. After getting to this level, then you could switch to Portuguese like a friend of mine did, who wanted to learn both it and Spanish.

On the other hand, if you are only luke-warm about studying Spanish in the first place, then choose Portuguese. It takes a lot of time and dedication to become good at a language, and if you do not like it, you will only dislike it more, as you work through the exercises and so forth.

When faced with a similar situation (I want to learn Spanish and Italian), I ultimately chose Spanish for the reasons I outlined above. It is just so much harder to find native speakers of Italian in my area than Spanish, thus I would have less chance to practice, and thus it could become a potential hinderance.

Either way, good luck with your studies!
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Senior Member
Joined 4693 days ago

172 posts - 199 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, English, Spanish

 Message 5 of 7
26 June 2010 at 9:58pm | IP Logged 
Even I'm Brazilian, if I were you I'd go for an American and the amount of Hispanics in America, it would be a better deal for you...
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Russian Federation
Joined 5118 days ago

59 posts - 87 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC1, Italian
Studies: Spanish, Portuguese

 Message 6 of 7
27 June 2010 at 12:05pm | IP Logged 
They are of about the same difficulty. Like it was stated above, the only thing that is slightly more difficult about
Portuguese is nasal sounds. Once your reach basic fluency with one, the other becomes very transparent.

There are definitely more materials around the net on Spanish. However, for example, if you build out your
vocabulary using, there is enough for both keyword=Portuguese+michaelklishin">Portuguese and keyword=Spanish+Glossaria">Spanish, also there are Pimsleur courses for both, so this difference becomes
largely irrelevant.

If I were you, I would go with what feels more interesting. I learned Italian before Spanish because it immediately
clicked with me and do not regret doing so a single bit, even though usefulness of Spanish for me is vastly superior.
Good luck with your studies!
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Joined 4549 days ago

6 posts - 6 votes
Speaks: Portuguese*, Spanish, English

 Message 7 of 7
27 June 2010 at 11:59pm | IP Logged 
I would say Portuguese is a little bit more difficult due to pronunciation, its closed vowels, nasalization, some contractions... If you are in the US Spanish is probably more useful than Portuguese, although there is also a Portuguese community in the country.

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