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Which latin language is better to learn?

 Language Learning Forum : Advice Center Post Reply
44 messages over 6 pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6  Next >>
Enrico
Diglot
Senior Member
Virgin Islands
Joined 1733 days ago

162 posts - 207 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English
Studies: Italian, Spanish, French

 
 Message 1 of 44
07 September 2015 at 5:22pm | IP Logged 
Hi everybody!

How do you think which is the best language to learn from Italian, Spanish, French or Portuguese to partially
understand others from this list (by ear or written)? For traveling purposes.
1 person has voted this message useful



Speakeasy
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2040 days ago

456 posts - 1067 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 2 of 44
07 September 2015 at 7:19pm | IP Logged 
Hello Enrico,

While you pose a very interesting question, the answer might depend on a number of factors. My response is nothing more than a "personal opinion". Hopefully, someone who has studied the question, or who can recommend a specific resource that addresses the matter, will respond. In the meantime, ...

I see that you are already studying Italian, Spanish, and French. So, I might be tempted to turn the question back on you. That is, from your experience to date with these languages, which one seems to be the best "porte d'entrée" for studying the others?

My level of French is C2 and I have studied Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese to roughly the A2 level. Many of my Francophone friends have studied either Italian or Spanish, or both. Their experiences is that Italian "seems" present the "best porte d'entrée" for learning French and Spanish. They also found that, as French speakers, learning Italian was easier than learning Spanish. Finally, those who have tried to learn Portuguese found that this language was the most difficult of the three.

Having said that, Portuguese represents something of an "exception" in this group of languages. From what I have read, it is easier for a native Portuguese speaker to learn Spanish than it is for a native Spanish speaker to learn Portuguese. The explanation is that Spanish is more clearly articulated than Portuguese. Thus, Spanish speakers must make a greater effort to understand the somewhat slurred or "swallowed" endings of Portuguese words, whereas Portuguese speakers need only become accustomed to hearing the more clearly articulated Spanish word endings that they would normally "assume" they hear. My experiences in studying Spanish and Portuguese left me with the same impression.

So, does this mean that one should begin with Portuguese? No, my "gut feeling" tells me that one should begin with either French or Italian, as both facilitate the learning of Spanish as well as of each other, and I would tend to treat Portuguese as the exception.

Finally, the matter of "partially understand others ... for traveling purposes" should be given some consideration. In my experience, native speakers of any language can display important differences in pronunciation that can been so pronounced as to be classified as dialects by some linguists. Also, native speakers employ, unconsciously, vocabulary and colloquialisms that extend well beyond the level of language that one encounters in introductory language courses. Thus, even students who have achieved a CEFR level of A2 in particular language will experience difficulties understanding native speakers. For this reason, I would not rely on my level of one Romance language as a guarantor of my ability to understand another language in this family. Yes, the ability to speak Italian at the A2 level "might" help one in Spain, but I doubt that it would help very much (my C2 level French helped me only a little while travelling in Spain).   

To my mind, if one wishes to "get by" when travelling, is more important that one be capable of making oneself "understood" when expressing one's basic needs, than it is to "understand" the local native speakers, which requires a fairly advanced level of skill.

In closing, my comments are "pure personal opinion" and I would be quite interested in reading the responses of other Forum Members to your question.

Edited by Speakeasy on 07 September 2015 at 7:28pm

5 persons have voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4585 days ago

9757 posts - 15778 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 3 of 44
07 September 2015 at 8:07pm | IP Logged 
Hehe, my first Romance language was Portuguese and to me Spanish has always looked like a mess :P IDK, my impression is that it's largely an exposure issue. Those who have exposure to Portuguese will understand it, such as many Uruguayans.

With my Portuguese I've had no trouble learning to understand Spanish and Italian. French is another story, but I dislike the sound of the language. I can understand a lot in writing.

In the long run you'll need some exposure to all the four languages. Grammar-light methods would be great. I recommend you to continue learning French, Spanish and Italian and eventually add Portuguese, when you need it or when you can't resist. Taking a break is also less of a concern when it comes to related languages and especially passive skills.

Edited by Serpent on 07 September 2015 at 8:10pm

3 persons have voted this message useful



Medulin
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Croatia
Joined 2656 days ago

1201 posts - 2196 votes 
Speaks: Croatian*, English, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Norwegian, Hindi, Nepali

 
 Message 4 of 44
07 September 2015 at 10:47pm | IP Logged 
Portuguese.

Think Madeira, Oporto or Fernando de Noronha
2 persons have voted this message useful



Enrico
Diglot
Senior Member
Virgin Islands
Joined 1733 days ago

162 posts - 207 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English
Studies: Italian, Spanish, French

 
 Message 5 of 44
08 September 2015 at 2:20am | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
With my Portuguese I've had no trouble learning to understand Spanish and Italian. French is
another story, but I dislike the sound of the language. I can understand a lot in writing.


It would be enough for me to understand only written French by learning Italian or Spanish.

Serpent wrote:
I recommend you to continue learning French, Spanish and Italian and eventually add
Portuguese, when you need it or when you can't resist.


I think I have no time for English + Spanish + French + Italian, I think I have to either go with English only or with
English + one romance language to increase ability to understand people while travelling. I incline to either
Italian or Spanish

Edited by Enrico on 08 September 2015 at 2:31am

1 person has voted this message useful



Enrico
Diglot
Senior Member
Virgin Islands
Joined 1733 days ago

162 posts - 207 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English
Studies: Italian, Spanish, French

 
 Message 6 of 44
08 September 2015 at 2:30am | IP Logged 
Speakeasy wrote:

I see that you are already studying Italian, Spanish, and French. So, I might be tempted to turn the question back
on you. That is, from your experience to date with these languages, which one seems to be the best "porte
d'entrée" for studying the others?



Hello Speakeasy,

Thank you for you detailed answer.
It seems to me that Italian or French are closest to Latin so they can be good "porte d'entrée" to others but as
French has a totally different pronunciation among other 3, so it turns out that there is only Italian left. But
Spanish is more widely spoken than Italian, it brings some doubts.
And it also seems to me that learning Italian I will understand more written French than learning Spanish. I don't
know why, it is some kind of "gut feeling" as you say )))
Maybe I'm wrong

Edited by Enrico on 08 September 2015 at 2:38am

1 person has voted this message useful



Speakeasy
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2040 days ago

456 posts - 1067 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 7 of 44
08 September 2015 at 3:20am | IP Logged 
Hello Enrico,

First, I can easily sympathize with your quandary. Over the past few years, I have tried to keep my Spanish and Italian at an A2 level and perhaps even progress a little, while adding Dutch, Polish, and Russian, all the while trying to improve my German. At times, I feel like a "one-armed paper hanger" and I get the impression that ALL of my languages are suffering.

Second, it is true that there are more speakers of Spanish than there are of the other Romance languages ... but they are live in the Americas! Are your travels going to take you there or to Western Europe? Yes, the Spanish speaking world has a broad, lively, culture. However, perhaps like many of us, you MAY have to enjoy it only through the contact of modern media. The same could be said for Portuguese; that is, most of the world's Portuguese speakers live in the Americas. As for French, despite the efforts and successes of "l'Organisation internationale de la Francophonie", outside of France and Québec, French is more of a highly-accented second language than it is the main-stay of the people who speak it, or claim to do so. Ah, but Italian! Despite the limited geographical reach, consider the wine, the food, the tailors, the sports cars, and I'm sorry but, political correctness precludes my mentioning their greatest attraction.

Third, an Italian-Canadian acquaintance of mine, who is very proud of his heritage, says of the Spanish language, "it is a very poor Italian" and of the French language "it, too, is poor Italian, but not as poor as Spanish and, besides, French wines are superior to Spanish wines, but not quite as good as Italian wines". So, perhaps Italian IS the key to the other languages!

Fourth, while we've been having fun here, there MAY NOT exist a "correct" answer to your question.



3 persons have voted this message useful



Enrico
Diglot
Senior Member
Virgin Islands
Joined 1733 days ago

162 posts - 207 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English
Studies: Italian, Spanish, French

 
 Message 8 of 44
08 September 2015 at 5:19am | IP Logged 
Speakeasy wrote:
Hello Enrico,
Second, it is true that there are more speakers of Spanish than there are of the other Romance languages ...
but they are live in the Americas!



In Americas I'm interested in USA, Canada and Brazil.
In Europe I'm interested in all the Mediterranean coast. )


1 person has voted this message useful



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