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Learning a Language Through a Second Language?

Imagine that you already learned French. If your native language is English and you want to learn Spanish, could you learn Spanish through French? (Using the courses on Duolingo)

Also...

Would it still be okay to learn a new language from another language you already laddered from?

2 years ago

28 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Dcarl1
Dcarl1
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People do it all the time, and recommend it highly. I think it's called "laddering."

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/polyglotnoob

Oh wow! That's so cool! Thanks for letting me know :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dcarl1
Dcarl1
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I haven't tried it myself. Reverse trees for me first.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JYe2atjuno

what is "Reverse trees"?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pfiff
Pfiff
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I'm an English speaker learning German (with German for English speakers), so for me the reverse tree is the English for German speakers course. For you, it'd be English for Dutch speakers.

Personally, I've tried doing the reverse tree and I didn't find it that helpful, but I am now learning Spanish with both Spanish for English speakers and Spanish for German speakers. It's tricky, but it's very helpful.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EoghanBostock

I've tried with relearning French through German. It was quite tricky and I ended up giving up in the end :( I should start again!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/territrades
territradesPlus
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I am German. I used Duolingo to learn Spanish from English. Now I am learning Catalan from Spanish.

I think learning like this is very useful because you practice two languages at the same time. But there are a few traps you need to be aware of, e.g. I found myself learning pairs of Spanish and Catalan vocabulary without knowing the meaning of either of them.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis
Klgregonis
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Oh, yes. I've done that too, with German and Spanish. Absolutely keep a dictionary handy for those words you don't understand in either language. But it is VERY effective at strengthening the "from" language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/avrichard
avrichard
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Quote territrades - "I found myself learning pairs of Spanish and Catalan vocabulary without knowing the meaning of either of them."

Yeah, I've had a bit of that myself too. I have to make sure I google any Spanish word I don't know when it comes up in the Catalan course, so I'm not memorising words without knowing what they mean.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/territrades
territradesPlus
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Well, it is only for a single word, I also do that without hesitation. But sometimes I stumble on an expression or a sentence I know every single word of but still can't make any meaning out of it. In those cases I ask in the comments sometimes, the moderators are very helpful and usually answer within 24h.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/swiftredfoxes
swiftredfoxes
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This will be just my opinion so it doesn't mean I'm right or anything.

I think that if you speak English plus one of them but still need practice and want to learn the other you should consider learning (at least the basics) through English, because differences in gender and grammar could confuse you at first, but once you learned the basics there should be no problem by practicing and learning more.

But if you speak English and the 2nd one fluently there shouldn't be any problem. I always learn basics and then change between languages so I practice all.

I think you'd do just fine but it's up to you. Hope you have a great time learning whichever it is the decision you take! (:

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/polyglotnoob

Thanks!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Synthpopalooza
Synthpopalooza
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I would learn them all through English, but say, once you have French down through English, and Spanish through English, taking a French to Spanish one is an excellent way of keeping the skills up! I'm still waiting for someone to do a Spanish to Swedish course so I can do this too.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aanaaaa
aanaaaa
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I do it lol , My native language is Portuguese but I take French, Italian, Esperanto and Swedish from English and German from Spanish.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aanaaaa
aanaaaa
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Here are the courses from French: https://www.duolingo.com/courses/fr , you can learn Spanish, Italian and German for while.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FinoForever

I suppose so, they're different but they have some things in common so my answer would be: possibly :D

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/polyglotnoob

Dankon!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dina-z

I am doing it. :) My first language is Latvian and I want to learn Danish, but Latvian is not available on Duolingo so I am doing "Danish for English speakers" tree. So far so good. That said I know English quite well, I can speak fluently and the language we communicate at my current work place is English. I think you have to understand samples, tips and notes etc. well if you want to do laddering.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/polyglotnoob

That's good to know. Thanks!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JYe2atjuno

Good Idea.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lstrzelak

Of course, growing up in the house we spoke Polish and English. Them being my native languages I use them for learning different languages. I'm learning the romance languages through English but Slavic through Polish. Good luck!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/polyglotnoob

Merci!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vanege
Vanege
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I think it is a good idea to explicitly learn the differences between two similar languages, but be sure to understand the French sentence you are learning from!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/polyglotnoob

Dankon!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmareloTiago
AmareloTiago
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My second language is Spanish and I have laddered into French and Catalan. I will probably get around to laddering into Portuguese too.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/polyglotnoob

Gracias!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/avrichard
avrichard
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I have done this twice before finding Duolingo... I took a Breton course through French and a Basque course through Spanish. I am now taking Catalan through Spanish on Duolingo.

Doing Basque through Spanish made my brain hurt. Basque is nuts, and although I'm more or less conversationally functional in Spanish, I'm not 100% fluent in it and still have to think a lot. At one point my brain just stopped and I went blank for a minute or two.

I am a native English speaker. L2 German (native equivalent), then French is my third strongest language, followed by Spanish.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aaditsingh8
aaditsingh8
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Practically all languages that I learn on Duolingo are through my second language - English. Hindi is my native language, but I started learning English as soon as I started going to school. So many a times I say I'm native in both.

2 years ago