https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RicDRic

If i know English, Spanish and Portuguese would it be easy to learn Italian?

I'm fluent in English, Spanish and intermediate in Portuguese but I don't know if my brain can handle learning another language. I might move to Italy so i have to learn it (i know i would love living there), my main concern comes from not being fluent in Portuguese, i dont want to be confused/forget Portuguese.

May 11, 2017

24 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/L6HuYgZ3

If you know Spanish and Portuguese you will sure learn Italian as well. Of course you will mix everything, but you'll see soon the similarities and the differences among those Latin languages.

May 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Klgregonis

Try Italian through Spanish. It will help keep the languages separated more, and strengthen your Spanish. If it's available, try it through Portuguese also. It shouldn't confuse you any more than you were confused with Spanish and Portuguese.

May 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/knudvaneeden

Not at all. Italian is a very straightforward language to learn, much more straightforward than e.g. Spanish. Probably the most easy and regular language of that group.

May 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rafforza

What level of Italian do you have if you don't mind me asking? I feel that Spanish is quite a bit more straight forward than Italian. And while Italian is certainly more phonetic, so is Finnish.

There's no denying the two languages are quite similar, but Italian has a slightly more complex grammar on almost every level of analysis. The only exceptions to this being that Spanish has a future subj. and Ser v. Estar, but there are analogs to this in Italian that are just as nuanced. Pluralization in Italian is more complex and foreign to an English speaker than Spanish. Italian articles are more varied than Spanish, and beyond that all articles combine with prepositions in different forms: dell' , dal, negli, dalle, col, coi, sullo etc. Spanish has just two simple forms. al/del. The system of object pronouns is more complicated in Italian. There are more irregular nouns. Italian uses two different auxiliary verbs to form its compound tenses: Essere and Avere, this is coupled with a system of contracted object pronouns and flip flopping gender agreement past participles which are determined either by the subject or object respective to the verb being used and its reflexivity. Italian, like French, but unlike Spanish, has pronominal particles ci & ne which are one of the most confusing things about the language. Italian has two more vowels than Spanish and the distinction between simple and double consonants is a highly nuanced feature in italian pronunciation which most foreigners don't even notice. That said, it's not a particularly difficult language, but it's also certainly not more straightforward that Spanish.

May 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/knudvaneeden

I have studied Spanish much longer than Italian and I think Spanish is really an irregular language with many not easy to guess and before fully unknown words in its vocabulary, accents in words, irregular verbs and exceptions in general.

E.g. in Duolingo doing Italian has always been a joy language to learn, with easy to guess answers, words close to what you already know and scores often in the order of 17 in a row correct in Duolingo. I consider Italian the most easy Romance language (when comparing and having studied / studying Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French and Romanian).

So Italian and further Norwegian are the most simplest natural languages I have come across until now.

E.g. The constructed language Esperanto is even simpler, but I have never had any use of knowledge of that constructed language, or never met anyone who spoke it, so in that regard completely and utterly useless. Also when having to learn the (full) Esperanto vocabulary you will have to know and learn a lot of new, before unknown words which might be very much easier to guess and closer to what you know already in Italian. While further knowledge of the natural language Italian has certainly been of use, e.g. when visiting Italy and meeting people, so my recommendation would be to look (longer) (only) at Italian when having to choose between the two.

May 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rafforza

I definitely agree that Italian is one of the most predictable languages to pronounce –that, of course, being because it is a phonetic language. However, as far irregularity goes, I definitely have to disagree. Spanish is generally considered the most regular of all romance languages. It has virtually zero irregular nouns. Take a look at this quote from the Encyclopedia Britannica, for example:

the most “central” Romance language is standard Italian, which has retained and even readopted many Latin characteristics. In some ways its morphology lacks the elegance and efficiency of Castilian, which has most ruthlessly eliminated anomalies during the modern period

Of course I wouldn't disagree with your experience using Doulingo, but I would say that DL does not acquaint you with a language in a remotely thorough way, nor does it even equipe you with the ability to effectively use a language in a fully native environment. If you were to actually use many of the unnatural translations Duolingo accepts, most natives wouldn't be able to understand you. I know from first hand experience.

There's really no reason why anyone with a level below B2 should have any opinion whatsoever on how difficult a language is to learn as a whole. People, of course, are going to form opinions as they please, but I think it's important to beware of our own limits and biases.

May 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3

There's really no reason why anyone with a level below B2 should have any opinion whatsoever on how difficult a language is to learn as a whole.

This is really a marvelous point. So many people make comments like, "oh, Japanese/Russian/Arabic/Hungarian isn't so hard," and it's true in a way: if you like it, then the day to day learning will proceed apace, and one certainly shouldn't be dissuaded from starting, but the problem is that there will just be many, many more of those days of learning to achieve the same skill level. There are so many people that are disappointed to discover, upon toiling a given amount in Russian that they're nowhere as far along as they were in the Romance or Germanic languages they'd studied previously. Now maybe ignorance is bliss in a certain way: had they known, they'd never have bothered trying, but I guess I'm biased toward people not casting around getting discouraged b/c a certain ways in they think their progress isn't fast enough, when, of course, it's their comparison that is simply poorly grounded.

Of course, there also is a tremendous amount of legitimate inter-personal variation. I have found retaining new vocabulary in Hungarian seemingly a good deal easier than in Russian. By no means would I assume something like that to be some sort of universal.

May 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/knudvaneeden

Opinions might and do vary. Good luck with the further studies.

May 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NathanJho_

I am a Spanish speaker and i used to practice Portuguese because it seemed easy for me, but.. then i decided to try "Italian" and well, i began my Italian tree and something happened! as you said it, i start to confuse both languages "Italian and Portuguese" even though they aren't so similar like Spanish and Portuguese i was still making the same mistakes!

So i recommend you to keep with your Portguese!

P.S: Feel free to correct me, if i have a grammatical mistake.

May 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KenBookmye

You mixed tenses used to is past and seems is present should have used seemed. Happens should be happened. Even though there aren't so should be even though they aren't as recommend you to should be recommend that you beats isn't usually included in English

May 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NathanJho_

Thank you so much!

May 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Borbotrincess

I had some seriously decent Italian and I felt extra confident talking to Italians and stuff. Then I became fluent in Portuguese. My Italian speaking abilities took a plunge, though my listening remained the same. It feels like it got lost somewhere inside my brain. I was already fluent in Spanish and English. If I worked harder I could easily become fluent in Italian, no sweat. I choose not to because I'm kidda done with Romance languages.

Italian is beautiful. Go for it.

May 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KristenDQ

Go for it, I did!

May 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VioVont

spanish , french and italian are all latin so they are similar ;-D

May 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Horako224

Not easy, but easier...

May 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lorel90

If you are fluent in Spanish Italian will be easy. Your intermediate Portuguese may suffer and it is OK, once you learn Italian you can review it again.

May 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mason_sprinkles

it will be easy

May 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsakNygren1

It will be easier and it will be even easier if you also learn Esperanto as well.

May 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/slogger

If your Portuguese is Intermediate enough, you might try Italian for Portuguese speakers here on Duo. At first (at least from my experience here w/ such courses) you will probably confuse the two languages quite a bit. But w/ a little perseverance you may find that using both languages at once helps you differentiate between them. In some of the courses, such as French for Spanish speakers, the differences between the two languages seem to be specifically worked on.

May 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Klgregonis

One problem with that, I checked, and the Italian for Portuguese is still hatching. But Italian for Spanish speakers is alive and well.

May 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/slogger

You're right. Dang! I checked also, actually, but too quickly. I thought the "3" meant it was out of Beta test; the rest of the info was below the bottom of the screen and I didn't scroll down. ;( Sorry to lead you astray.

Maybe the Italian for Spanish speakers will do for you? And when the Spanish for Italian speakers emerges from phase 1 that will give more practice writing in Italian.

Hope the Italian for Spanish speakers works for you.

May 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3

Italian for Portuguese will hopefully be out any day now. The contributors are done with it, and it's been in final verification by Duolingo central for a month already.

May 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/slogger

V. cool! It sounds like just what RicDRic and maybe Klgregonis would like.

May 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3

You may be confused/forget Portuguese (undoubtedly you could learn it back again). But if you're living there it seems worth the tradeoff, no? The hopefully quite-soon-to-be released Italian Portuguese tree might be just the ticket. I wish there were an Italian from Catalan tree!

May 13, 2017
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