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13 messages over 2 pages: 1

Winner TAC 2012
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Speaks: German*, DutchC1, EnglishB2, French, Italian, Spanish, Esperanto
Studies: Latin, Danish, Norwegian, Turkish
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 Message 9 of 13
18 July 2011 at 2:24pm | IP Logged 
Chung, thanks for integrating my comment on the learning of Romance languages into this profile!


1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 6931 days ago

4228 posts - 8259 votes 
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Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 Message 10 of 13
18 July 2011 at 4:18pm | IP Logged 
Fasulye wrote:
Chung, thanks for integrating my comment on the learning of Romance languages into this profile!


Thank you for your contribution!
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 6004 days ago

693 posts - 1328 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Galician
Studies: Hungarian, Vietnamese, Modern Hebrew, Norwegian, Persian, Arabic (Written)

 Message 11 of 13
18 August 2011 at 3:40pm | IP Logged 

Romance languages tend to be infectious! Once you have one in your system you want to pick up another and another and another...

I doubt that there is a "best" Romance language to start out with if one wants to learn several of them.

If I did have to pick one, however, I would pick Spanish. Spanish was my first foreign language. Growing up in Southern California I was unintentionally surrounded by it. I heard it on the radio, on TV, from passing cars, in restaurants, everywhere! My family and I also took
several 3-4 week vacations down through the Baja peninsula where little English was spoken. 3 years of Spanish was required in our district's High Schools. Well, Spanish or French .... but there was only one period of French offered compared to seven for Spanish ... so it was
pretty clear which of the two we were encouraged to take.

In the United States (as much as politicians would hate to admit) Spanish is the closest thing we have to a second official language. Here in the United States, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by over 35.5 million people aged five or older.[1] There are at least 45
million Hispanics who use Spanish as either a first or second language,[2] and there are at least six million students of the Spanish language .
1."Selected Social Characteristics in the United States: 2007". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
2.Instituto Cervantes (Enciclopedia del español en Estados Unidos)
3.Instituto Cervantes' Yearbook 2006-07

See also: States

This aside, Spanish opens up the vast worlds of Central and South America as well as continental Spain. It is truly a global language and one of the key languages in the world today.

1. Spanish is a nice gateway to the Romance languages for several reasons.
2. Its pronunciation is straightforward and very predictable. While there are noticeable regional differences the sound system of Spanish tends to be both reproducible for English speakers and easily comprehensible.
3. There are many cognates between Spanish and English which tend to be useful for circumlocuting unknown vocabulary words. While these exist in the others as well, it seems that English speakers identify them in Spanish more easily than, say French.
Its grammar, while similar to the other Romance languages does seem to me a touch simpler than the others. Thus it might be good for an initial foray in to the family such as to boost one's confidence a bit.
4. Finally, Spanish has a large shared vocabulary with the other Romance languages. It is estimated that the lexical similarity between Italian and Spanish is estimated at 82%.   The lexical similarity with Portuguese is greater at 89%. The lexical similarity between Spanish and
French or Romanian is about 75% and 71% from Ethnologue : sp?code=spa .
After having a good command of Spanish, I personally found it very easy to learn Portuguese and Italian. I have not formally studied any French but by knowing the other languages I can pretty much pick up any newspaper article in French and understand 85% of it. (
understanding spoken French is a whole other kettle of fish however!) I have not attempted Catalan yet but I assume it too would be fairly simple to learn.

Things to be careful of when taking on more than one Romance language:

1. The vocabularies are similar, but by no means identical!   In Italian cucina (koo-chee-nah) is "kitchen" but in Spanish it sounds very close to the word for pig ( " so ... do you work in the pig a lot?") ! You could be babbling on and on in Italian only to realize after several minutes
( and several confused looks) that you were using all Portuguese idioms. You are going to make these embarrassing mistakes ... a lot! Be good natured about it and have a sense of humor about it. People tend to be more amused with these mistakes than irritated by them.
Alternatively you could always just tell them you left your brain at home...
2. The syntax (verb forms in particular) tends to be similar between Romance languages, but, again NOT identical! Pay close attention to how, say , Italian uses the past progressive compared to Spanish ; the Spanish subjunctive compared to Portuguese. There are subtle
differences as to how the different forms have evolved over the past several centuries in their respective countries. Pay mind to them as you are learning each language.
3. Watch a lot of TV in your target language. When I find that my Spanish ( or Italian, or Portuguese ...) is getting rusty, I will watch a few hours of TV in that language. I find soccer matches, futbol, to the rest of the world, a good, entertaining way to accomplish this. After a few
hours I am almost always thinking and talking in my target language and not mixing it up with my other Romance tongues. If futbol isn't your bent, telenovelas or movies would work fine too. The key is to actively immerse yourself in it. Listen to every word and even better,
invite some friends over and speak nothing but that language for a few hours.

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Senior Member
Joined 6931 days ago

4228 posts - 8259 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 Message 12 of 13
18 August 2011 at 3:44pm | IP Logged 
Thanks a lot for putting that together. I've added it to the main profile.
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Senior Member
Russian Federation
Joined 4831 days ago

2096 posts - 2972 votes 
Speaks: Russian*

 Message 13 of 13
07 June 2012 at 10:52pm | IP Logged 
Saying that French has 10 tenses in the indicative and Spanish only 8 is deceptive.
Spoken French uses less tenses than Spanish.
I'm not sure such profiles help anyone.

Edited by Марк on 07 June 2012 at 10:54pm

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