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Portuguese after 3 roman languages

  Tags: Portuguese
 Language Learning Forum : Advice Center Post Reply
37 messages over 5 pages: 13 4 5  Next >>
iguanamon
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Virgin Islands
Speaks: Ladino
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2224 posts - 6708 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole

 
 Message 9 of 37
06 April 2015 at 8:26pm | IP Logged 
All I can do is tell you my story when I learned Portuguese after having achieved a high level of Spanish. My goal was to have as high a level in Portuguese as I had in Spanish. I faced interference problems for a while. Vocabulary is very similar (with important differences), grammar is similar (with important differences) and pronunciation is very different. This article by Colombian journalist Daniel Samper- Eu não falo português (en español), humorously highlights some of the differences for Spanish-speakers.    

My thought process at the time was, "Oh great, I already know Spanish. Portuguese will be very easy! I just have to learn the differences!". As a second-language (non-Romance-speaking) speaker of Spanish, I found that I was looking at Portuguese through a Spanish prism and not looking at it as its own, similar but different, language. It wasn't until I started to do just that- treat Portuguese as a distinct language and abandoned my "Portuguese through Spanish" courses, that I began to master Portuguese. I also had to make a conscious effort to maintain my Spanish so as not to lose it to Portunhol. It was hard work, a lot harder than I had imagined it would be.

To this day, if I have been speaking, reading, listening a lot to one language or the other it can take me a while to switch my brain to using the other.

Personally, I would wait until I was at least C1 in Spanish before taking on Portuguese- if I wanted to speak Portuguese well. I wouldn't want to be balancing two intermediate languages and one beginner language all of which are very similar to each other. I'd resist temptation, but, that's just me. You do what you want, ultimately, you're going to anyway. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Edited by iguanamon on 06 April 2015 at 8:38pm

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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4707 days ago

9753 posts - 15775 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 10 of 37
07 April 2015 at 1:52am | IP Logged 
@Luso, I'm definitely not judging you but how much input have you had? I can see how if you take classes from A1 to C2.2, use textbooks etc, the B2-C2 stuff can feel similar and possibly cause interference, but surely if you learn the subtleties through massive input, you'll generalize far less from the related languages?

Besides, actual academic C2 includes tasks that many don't/can't do in their native language, and most of the time when we say here on HTLAL that we aim for C2, we really mean "I won't stop learning this language until I understand everything and can express myself elegantly, with a pleasant pronunciation and next to no mistakes". That's highly compatible with CEFR but this is not the official definition.

I think spending 5-10 years on each language has its disadvantages too. You're walking the whole distance each time and there's no synergy from related languages. My Portuguese has definitely drawn from both Spanish and Italian over the years, not to mention Latin. Just like within one language, the context can help a lot, the same goes for the linguistic greater picture, the multilingual context. Of course YMMV, and while for me it would be pure torture to deal with the subjunctive three times separately, I can also see the logic of "I'm struggling enough with it even in one language" etc.
And I'm definitely not criticizing Luso. (what if you're a fellow benfiquista...) Just balancing out his great posts.

@iguanamon what makes you think the "damage" would be permanent?

And if this post is not controversial enough... is it just me, or is there an elephant in the room, namely the OP's level of English? Let me stress that it *is* good, and it's up to the OP to decide how much they'll improve it further. But if this affects the advice you give, acknowledge it.

Edited by Serpent on 07 April 2015 at 1:55am

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tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2817 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 11 of 37
07 April 2015 at 2:43am | IP Logged 
I don't think interference is that important and I'd rather substitute unknown words with
its nearest equivalent in a closely related language than not substituting it at all.
Mistakes are going to happen, but I'd rather those mistakes be closer to the mark than
further off it (and with related languages the chances are good, so long as you adapt the
pronunciation, that you'll get away with it)

Edited by tarvos on 07 April 2015 at 2:44am

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guiguixx1
Octoglot
Senior Member
Belgium
guillaumelp.wordpres
Joined 2202 days ago

163 posts - 207 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Dutch, Portuguese, Esperanto, German, Italian, Spanish
Studies: Polish, Mandarin

 
 Message 12 of 37
07 April 2015 at 11:59pm | IP Logged 
Thank you all for sharing your thoughts about this topic! As I see, adding this new
language would be rather a bad idea. I suppose I will try to get to B1 in both Esperanto
and German, and stop there for a while (maybe just adding Polish, but not as a main
focus), and wait a bit for all language to improve. I would just maybe try some
portuguese from time to time, just for the fun of it, without any intention of really
learning. I would rather keep focusing on both Spanish and Italian for the time being.
If you still have other thoughts to share, I still welcome them :)
1 person has voted this message useful



Luso
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Portugal
Joined 4171 days ago

819 posts - 1812 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, French, EnglishC2, GermanB1, Italian, Spanish
Studies: Sanskrit, Arabic (classical)

 
 Message 13 of 37
08 April 2015 at 2:18am | IP Logged 
It seems you've made up your mind. I'm sure you're going to learn Portuguese a bit further down the road. just not right away. :)

There's one thing I said that may have been misinterpreted. When quiquixx1 asked me how much time I'd waited between starting each new Romance language, I estimated it had been a decade. I forgot to say it happened by accident. I don't recommend waiting that long. Of course, some of our highly focused forum mates may have thought: "Wow... that's hardcore!" or, more probably: "That's crazy!".

I was careful enough to remind that it could be done:
Luso wrote:
guiguixx1 wrote:
Since I found that portuguese was closer to Spanish, I thought that my Spanish was strong enough. I was thus probably wrong?

I can't say that. Maybe you can separate the two. Maybe you're being modest. Maybe your method is good.

There's a lot of people in this forum that can do it without any major problems. Some swallow Slavic or Scandinavian languages like potato chips. A few are even tackling a lot of Turkic ones.

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stelingo
Hexaglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3942 days ago

722 posts - 1076 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian
Studies: Russian, Czech, Polish, Greek, Mandarin

 
 Message 14 of 37
09 April 2015 at 12:12am | IP Logged 
I think you'd be crazy not to start learning Portuguese given your
knowledge of the other Romance languages. The advantage you get from your
prior knowledge far outweigh the disadvantages brought about by
interference.
3 persons have voted this message useful



tristano
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Netherlands
Joined 2157 days ago

905 posts - 1262 votes 
Speaks: Italian*, Spanish, French, English
Studies: Dutch

 
 Message 15 of 37
14 April 2015 at 12:45pm | IP Logged 
I dive into this conversation because I'm doing the same, but starting with less
knowledge:
- Italian: native
- French: B1 (with 1 year of classes and very little commitment)
- Spanish: B1 (in three months, 2 of listening only, and 20h of tutoring)

I just started Portuguese.
I had zero interferences between French and Spanish in a lexical level (but I
experienced a degradation of my listening and speaking skills in French after the
months where I did 20h of Spanish tutoring).

It happens that sometimes I use an Italian or English word in its French version that
doesn't exist in French, or the same with Italian only in Spanish. Is it that bad?

I don't know if it is the same for everyone, probably not... but if you listen
Italian, French, Spanish or Portuguese... how can you mistake words from the different
languages? Even when written similarly, they are pronounced in a completely different
way, and the prosody is so different... but the grammar very similar and the lexical
similarity between the languages make learning the next one very easy.

Probably it changes everything if one wants to speak them all at a very high level.
Which is actually not the goal of everyone.
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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4707 days ago

9753 posts - 15775 votes 
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Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
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 Message 16 of 37
14 April 2015 at 4:28pm | IP Logged 
tristano wrote:
Probably it changes everything if one wants to speak them all at a very high level. Which is actually not the goal of everyone.

I'd say it changes if you want to speak one at a very high level asap. Then focus on one. If you want to learn several, imo it's obviously better to improve them slowly but surely through input than not to learn at all until you're "done" with one.

@Luso, yeah it was clear that you don't advocate focusing on one language per decade (especially as you also learn non-Romance languages). Did you always want to learn all three?



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