Question for non-native English speakers
I've been using Duolingo for about a month now and I've decided to create my own flash cards. Here's my problem though: As a native German speaker I have noticed that Spanish (my target language) is often more similar to my mother tongue than to English.
I think it would be easier to memorise the words if I had a german counterpart, but at the same time I'm afraid it could be confusing to bring a third language into the mix.
What do you think, should I make Spanish-English or Spanish-German or even Spanish-English-German flash cards? Has anybody faced the same problem? How have you solved it?
My mother tongue is French and many Spanish words were way closer to French than to English when I started learning Spanish. I though about switching back to French, since it was so much closer. But with time I realized it was much better not to link too many words to their French counterparts, as I might end up mixing them up - well, hum, maybe not mixing them up but start randomly throwing French words in my Spanish, which a lot of French do when speaking Spanish. My aim was to speak really good Spanish, not to translate everything in my brain, so doing it from a further language (even if English isn't that far) helped me build a "new place in my brain" for my Spanish, not "use my French".
Sure, at times it was frustrating as my brain had trouble linking the words, and could find its way faster to the French counterpart, but I'm glad I did so because now I never mix French and Spanish. It's probably also thanks to the amount of practice I put in it, but still. AND it helped me avoid the common trap of false friends X-D
Now I'm learning German from English, and I can recognize a few words or roots (not as many as I'd have thought, though.) which I must admit helps me. I'm not advanced enough in my learning to really notice side effects, so I can't tell if there will be any. (just maybe... Mixing up Wo/Wer and Where/Who X-D)
But I can tell you learning Spanish from English hasn't really slowed me down, since French was still in my brain, so I don't think it's really a problem. A Spanish -> French tree will be released soon, I'll try that out, I'm really curious of how it'll come out! I guess it should go smoothly!
I thought about that too. I didn't make flashcards yet, but if I feel the need to write some vocables down to repeat them more often, I write German - Spanish pairs. As you say, sometimes there are closer matches than between Spanish and English, and I think the different approach helps me to memorize the words better. If I encounter one of them in the lesson then and I remember the German meaning but not the English one, I look the English up from German, which helps me train my English, too.
I am a native German and I study Italian from English. I have created flashcards in Italian and German (no English) for all the vocab I learned so far as it is easier for me to grasp the German meaning direcly from Italian than having to make a detour using English, so I know exactly what you and also sakasiru mean). I also studied French and Spanish (some time ago) from German and the complete structure of the romance languages is much clearer to me in German.
So now I am using Leo and dict.cc for German-Italian and simultaneously Wordreference for Italian-English, using my iPad to show the vocab list and typing them into Excel to upload them later into my flashcard program (I use Flashcard Deluxe and am happy with it, I used it before for other languages) switching between the tabs to get the right translations and sometimes even closing Duolingo in this process by mistake!
This is a very time-consuming method but i have not yet found anything better. Any ideas are welcome but of course everyone has a different approach as to how he or she can study best. (Too bad you aren't studying Italian, I could give you my vocab list so you wouldn't have to start all over).
I think it might also depend on your level of "ease" in English. The only thing I couldn't possibly learn from English were idioms. I simply didn't understand many of them... I think it happened to me maybe 20 times top to check the French meaning (like for cooking herbs!)
Thanks for all your replies so far. Considering all this, I've decided to make Spanish-English flashcards but add the German word if I think it helps me remember. (That way I can also add French or Latin words).