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What romance language should I learn first?

Which of these three Romance languages should I learn first? Spanish, French, or Italian? I took French in High school.

June 25, 2017


[deactivated user]

    Maybe i can help you even here xD.

    All these 3 languages shares a lot in common, especially the vocab.

    Spanish and italian share the same phonetic (let's say that an italian, or a spanish can reproduce 96% of sounds of the language they are studying) i can tell you this because i'm italian and for me is quite easy to emulate their language.

    About french phonetic, is different from italian and spanish: it has nasal sounds that are not present in both languages and in 99 % of cases the last letter is mute ( and it doesn't happen in spanish or italian).

    An italian and a spanish can understand each other if they speak SLOWLY...but we cannot say the same thing with italian/french or french/spanish because of its french phonetic.

    All their grammar are similar, however, i noticed that french is closest with italian ( and viceversa) but both share the same grammar with spanish...a bit confusing, but i noticed that french has more things in common with italian.

    About wich language to start...sincerely i don't know, start with the one you like more first (if you have no passion is useless to start, you will waste only time imo).

    Surely the most "useful" is spanish (then french and italian) but if you want a 50/50 language i'd say italian because it stays in the middle between french and spanish...in few words, it's a fusion xD.


    Thanks for this! :D

    [deactivated user]

      I forgot to add that french has a lot in common with english, like vocab (but not the phonetic lol) like action/action, formation/formation, manifestation/manifestation.

      If you want some examples how can be similar these 3 languages:

      I want to eat an apple today

      FR je veux manger une pomme aujourd'hui

      IT (io) voglio mangiare una mela oggi

      SP (yo) quiero comer una manzana hoy

      Can i buy a book?

      FR est-ce que je peux acheter un livre?

      IT Posso comprare un libro?

      SP Puedo comprar un libro?

      I saw a beautiful house

      FR j'ai vu une belle maison

      IT (io) Ho visto una bella casa (or casa bella)

      SP (yo) he visto una casa hermosa (but it exists the word bella too).


      It's probably simpler and more appropriate to say "Puis je acheter un libre" which is more similar to the English equivalent.

      [deactivated user]

        Pardon xD. I'm more get used to write the question in that way, despite it is quite informal, i'm sorry xD.

        [deactivated user]

          Prego, you are welcome :D ( i gave you another advice on the other post ahahahah).


          Italian (nearest to Latin) or Spanish (most useful and very easy).


          Actually, I wish that the first Romance language that I learnt were Latin. But, out of your choices, I'd suggest French.


          Yup, a good grounding in Latin would be of great benefit. I hated it at school, but it definitely helps!


          Whichever one attracts you most. Spanish, if you are in the U.S. As far as French goes, did you enjoy it, or were you tired of it when you stopped studying? If the latter, choose one of the others. FWIW, from my own personal preferences, French, as there is so much to read in it, and it has by far the greatest amount of original science fiction books.


          I tried French first and just remembered the courses from school. Then I thought that Italian is an easy to learn, it is so, until I reached to a more advanced level, when I had to remember verbs tenses, with different suffixes and also the prepositions. I finished both trees, but I know much more French from my school time than Italian in just 1 year with Duolingo. It seems that a language learned during school time, little by little, never abandons you. About Spanish, I always loved to learn: Till the middle of the tree is so easy! When you start Grammar of verbs, well it is more difficult than Italian.

          French have a well made structure, I think that French Academy did a great job about. Not so good news for the others I try, some phrases seem awkward to my ears and idiomatic and I have to learn them by heart and much practice. Notice that more close phonetically to my native language Greek, is Spanish, than Italian and last French. I hope I will have some free time to try Portuguese and Romanian, they seem interesting Romance languages, specially the last one, that keeps some archaic structures from Latin, I think, and the country is so close to mine!

          [deactivated user]

            Strange, because for me (that i'm italian) i had no problems when i tried to do some greek (maybe the only letter that gave me some problem are G which is really soft o-O).

            "AaaaGoorAAzOOo" i seemed an idiot when i tried to say "i buy" lol.


            Lol, it is a feeling so, the Italians speak more with hands, I think it is so, or at least I have not visited a place in Italy that Italian are easy to understand :)

            [deactivated user]

              Lol, always this fact of the gestures, not all italians use hands to communicate i'm explaining while gesturing like an idiot ...


              Nevermind xD.

              It's not the first time that i've noticed that greeks learn easily italian; i think you wont need hands, i'm sure you can master it in one year for sure (but i cannot say the same for us with greek lol).

              About gestures, this video kills me every time, i laugh like a crazy and some things are even true lol: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD-44Cx1Iaw


              There are two sounds in Greek that seem difficult to an Italian, χ and γ. For me, only a native speaker and some TTS apps can pronunce them well. Greek Duolingo is one of the good TTS machines, with just a few glitches, that I expect to correct. What is difficult in Italian? Some idiomatic phrases and the variety in Italian accents or dialectic phrases. I am not sure that there is a committee that tries to make the language more connective, maybe I am not well informed. Having similarities with my native language in structure, and also taught Latin at school is a pro to learn Romance languages.

              [deactivated user]

                (actually it's been a while that i don't listen greek) but that χ if i remember well, wasn't much a problem for me because of german that has a similar sounds like "ich" so i was already prepared xD.

                Probably the only sounds that you can have some problems could be "g" like ginocchio or "c" like cena. Idiomatic sentences are always difficult , like happens in every language and about the accents...well, maybe they can be a problem if you have not your ear enough trained, in some regions some letters like "e" and "o" are a bit more closed than the usual, but if you are used to listen a lot italian, i guess it won't be a problem...the true problem is when an italian try to speak its dialect, in that case, you are totally screwed because dialect is like a new language because you won't understand nothing, trust me xD.

                Latin?I've never studied latin but i heard many times from many italians that studies/studied it that's really a nightmare xD.


                Most people think that the alphabet is the difficult part in Greek is the alphabet. Of course, one should be motivated enough to learn a language. First of all is communication. Since it is a language with just a small population speaking it, no more than 15.000.000, it is really difficult to find a reason to try to learn it. Unless you like the languages by themselves, and they are many who like to. Duolingo most of other apps tried to make language learning a free game. So we have many languages to choose. Motivation should be intrincic, more than lingots and XPs. Okay, it can become in some way. About Italian and the other romance languages: Languages learning is a process of several stages. Some people can only read, some others can go further, to speak in the end. To speak the language is to imitate the style of the native speaker. It is something that not everybody can do, that's why I told you that Italian speak with hands in many and just only an Italian, or a person who has lived there can do. Spanish is a different case. It is a widely spread language, so as there are accents and styles in different countries. Italian are spoken in Italy and in the US as a second language. But Spanish of Spain are a bit different in accent than in Latin America. Intelligable of course, but Ok, a Mexican speaks Spanish differently in style than a Spaniard. And French is a similar case, but Paris has a superiority over all other versions. It is the language of intellectuals after all. Never stopped it, since the period of the Enlightenment.

                About Latin: Of course it is a nightmare for many Italians. For many people around the world. But it is a classical language, like Ancient Greek. All Western civilization is based on these writers actually. There is almost nothing that these Ancient writers have already written, except some subjects in Modern Science, and I doubt if somebody didn't it already during the Ancient period. But Latin is the basis: All grammatical phenomena are there. The structure is there. Just a few words in Romance languages are not coming from Latin. To start from Latin? No. But this is the source. It depends on what is the motivation for language learning of each one of us.

                Why am I learning Romance languages? I explained it before. I know their structure already, I had be taught French at school (and Latin) and I love their sound. Most of them are melodic, specially Italian and Spanish.


                Some phrases seem awkward? The most useless phrase I came across was "Are my shoes electric?" I'm determined to find a situation in which to use this! :)


                My friend has electric(ly heated) slippers :)


                Italian, Spanish and Romanian


                I've spoken French for many years, and am now learning Italian. My take on this decision is that French is much harder for an English speaker to pronounce. If you don't pronounce French well, it just sounds awful, I'm afraid.

                Italian seems much easier to pronounce as most of the sounds are very similar to English, and the phonentic rules are very regular, unlike English. Spanish rules are also regular I understand.

                French sentence structure is almost identical to English, except the adjectives come after nouns mostly. Italian sentence structure is similar but you drop the pronouns for verbs except for emphasis, as you do in Spanish.

                Italian seems way easier to me, especially since it shares many words with English. It makes it easy to understand when speaking. I have guessed a whole lot of words. There are even some simple rules to find Italian words from English ones, like words ending in '-al' become '-ale' and ending in '-tion', drop that and add '-are' to get the verb (I think). French is obviously similar, but it's harder to find rules and harder for us to hear.

                Anyway, that is my take, although I have not tried Spanish yet. YMMV, but unless you have a good French accent and ear, Italian seems easiest.

                [deactivated user]

                  "There are even some simple rules to find Italian words from English ones"

                  Actually even spanish (and portuguese of course) has similar roots like -ción -tion acción/action elección/election (gosh, i don't have other endings in mind ahahah) it has los of words in common with english like escola/school, especialidad/speciality, caso/case, episódio/episode and verbs are almost identical (talking of roots) comprare/comprar, saltare/saltar, volere/querer. Spanish pronunciation is similar to italian (there are some exceptions of course) but if you are able to pronounce well one language, the other one will be easy, the same with words, if you know one, the other one will be a piece of cake ;).

                  What i found strange and sad, is that i cannot say the same with french, if it wasn't for english, it would have required more time to learn their vocabulary (or maybe not at the end because is only a matter of speech, the writing can always help to guess the meaning of the word) ...and pronunciation is another matter, my brain doesn't connect quickly like happens in spanish, i need more time to get the meaning of the sentence.If i see a writing sentence i can guess almost most of the part of the context but if someone starts to speak french i'm like "oh-oh : O!" But it's only a matter of practice at the end, now i can understand french better xD.


                  Thanks for the info. I will probably go for Spanish next if they do proper Spanish here (instead of American Spanish). I have some friends in Spain.

                  Yes, you need a good 'ear' for French. The way every word may change to 'fit' with the next can be difficult to follow too.

                  It definitely seems like an outlier among the Latin languages, probably the Gaul in them!


                  "proper Spanish" gag

                  I guess the Spanish course will be spared your presence, seeing as how it is resolutely "American Spanish" and that's emphatically all there'll be as long as Luis von Ahn is at the helm.


                  Spanish or Italian.


                  If you have studied French already you could keep learning it. But Spanish could be the most important language to learn. But it depends on where you live.


                  If you liked French, I'd say stick with it simply because you've already started. Others you want to learn will be unspeakably easier once you've mastered a first one.


                  I don't know Spanish or Italian at all, but French is quite hard in the beginning. After you get used to the pronunciation and grammar, it becomes much easier because the vocabulary is incredibly similar to English.

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