Spanish, French and Italian
I was told that speaking Spanish makes learning French and Italian very easy, how true is that?
I need to make something clear, I'm not talking about learning Spanish and one of these two languages at the same time. I'm only asking does being fluent in Spanish make learning French or Italian easier?
This is essentially what I've learned by learning Esperanto as a third language, which has quite a few Latin based words. Speaking any foreign language makes learning another easier due to the mind understanding that there's more than one way in which an idea can be expressed. However, Spanish, Italian, and French are all in the same language family (romance languages, which evolved from Latin), so they share quite a few traits like vocabulary roots and syntax.
That being said, knowing Spanish will probably only help you with learning vocabulary and grammatical rules as well as reading and writing, not so much with speaking or listening. The two written forms of fluency (writing and reading) will probably be easy because you could say, "Oh, this word in Italian/French looks like this word in Spanish. They probably mean the same thing," or "This idea is this word in Spanish, so it's probably something like this in Italian/French." However, that thought process takes too long while listening to be able to do very often without losing one's place in the conversation, and it would make you speak slower as well.
I was watching a documentary DVD yesterday, and they interviewed several Italian archeologists (with English subtitles). I was able to understand about half of it, based only on my Spanish study. Verb conjugations sounded weird, but I felt that I would learn Italian more quickly if I tried, since I've become so familiar with Spanish.
I want to add -
I don't feel quite so confident about French. In hearing French, I recognize less. And French is much less a phonetic written language than Italian.
i think i can get confused if I attempt to study Spanish and Italian at the same time because of the close proximity ! I guess it will be very easy on people who already their first tongue language is Spanish to learn Italian or french . Too much for my little brain to take Spanish and Italian at the same time I thought about that watching an Italian movie at the time I am learning Spanish and I am visiting both countries next month .... any one from there by the way ?
I'll tell you the opposite. Knowing French helps me learn Spanish. There are a lot of words that have a common root. But there are similarities only in vocabulary, not in verbs conjugation for example.
good points freeze keeping in mind that if you know one of these languages and you try to learn another one then that will be helpful of course regarding vocabulary . but on the other hand if you try to learn two of those languages at the same time (stressing ... at the same time ) then that will be confusing because of the similarity. hence also slower mind process of trying to figure out the word belongs to which language ! cheers to all of you who participated in this thread and made interesting points .
On somewhat related thread, I mentioned that I am interested in learning French or Itallian. Someone suggested that it might help me to learn either from a book writen for a Spanish speaker even though English is my native language. I think it would help to keep up on Spanish while learning a new language.