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Confusion between French and Italian?

Hey Guys! I've been studying Italian for a while now and due to personal reasons I'll need to learn French. Don't get me wrong, I would love to speak French, I just want to make it clear that I can't choose not to study it right now. My question is: What are the chances of making confusion between the two languages? Would it be stupid to carry on Italian at the same time? I have already a decent level in Italian and I am about to stop actually studying it and move to a more passive learning within the next months (that's when I intend to start French), do you have any tips not make confusion or let my Italian be "influenced" by French? Thank you all very much.

July 15, 2017



I don't think giving up Italian would prevent smaller mix-ups in the beginning. Once you'll have a good basis in French, it won't happen anymore. I started Italian pretty much from scratch on duolingo with the Italian for English speakers tree, in the moment I am working on the course for French speakers. I often write "que" instead of "che" and it happens also that I insert "est" into the Italian sentence instead of "è" (and I could probably prevent those mistakes from happening by re-reading my sentence before hitting enter). But this is mainly really the case when I need to switch between Italian and French and when I'm tired.


Thanks Aileme. This kind of thing used to happen a lot to me when I switched from Spanish to Italian. The difference is that back then I totally gave up on Spanish in order to focus on Italian. Shame on me.


Learning French with a background in Italian is actually quite beneficial for you. Many vocab words are either similar or the same (but with different pronunciations). Italian and French grammar are also very similar. So when you're learning French and something looks/sounds familiar, it's most likely because of your previous Italian studies. Bonne chance!


Thanks for answering! Merci!


UPDATE: The Langfocus channel (which I guess most people here are familiar with) has a video on this subject in case someone is interested in checking it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrlycViTavE


You could try the French for Italian speakers course: https://www.duolingo.com/course/fr/it/ :)


Thanks for answering! Wonderful idea indeed! I'll probably start it later to get an idea.


Italian for French speakers works well too. With it you'll get more practice at translating into French, and w/ the other, more practice translating into Italian.


I've never taken a reverse tree, but I'm getting more and more frustrated at the fact that there is so little translation to the language you're learning. So taking French from Italian seems like a wonderful idea for me right now. Or maybe I'll start with the normal tree to get a base on French and later move to it. I'll consider it closely. Thanks for answering.

[deactivated user]

    If it can help (i'm italian) in the written part we can guess most of the things without problems (maybe because of english) but about the oral part..ouch! A bit complicated xD.The french pronunciation is totally different so we need more time than usual to guess the context (for example for spanish i need 5-10 secs, for french 10-15 secs).

    About your question i don't think they are so close to mix them so often (see above) but, since you have already a base in italian, i think you can always try...if you see that you are having problems then drop it (but not completely if you don't want to lost your progresses, but dedicate less time and prefer much more french language).


    Thanks Feliksia! It's good to hear the perspective of a native.


    Probably not too much. They're not too similar.


    Well, they are very similar. 89% lexical similarity.


    È più grande che grossa. (Elle est plus grande que grosse) => comparaison de 2 adjectifs.

    Preferisce dormire che lavorare (Elle préfère dormir plutôt que travailler) => comparaison de 2 verbes à l'infinitif.

    Comparatifs de SUPERIORITE et d'INFERIORITE

    Io lavoro più/meno di te (Je travaille plus/moins que toi).

    Comparatif d'EGALITE

    Io lavoro tanto quanto te (Je travaille autant que toi).

    Mais si l'Europe s'engage au-delà de ses frontières, ce n'est pas uniquement par humanité ou par amour de son prochain, mais parce que tel est notre intérêt si nous voulons préserver la prospérité en Europe.

    Ma se l'Europa si impegna oltre le sue frontiere, lo fa non solo per motivi umanitari o per amore verso il prossimo, ma anche perché ciò è necessario per preservare la sua prosperità interna.


    Very detailed answer Gauchowatcher! thank you. I'll take this in consideration.


    If you can already read Italian and you master its pronunciation, it should be easy to do so, you should give a try learning French, sometimes you'll mix a few things, but most of the times the similarities are helpful.

    Start using these sites:











    Nowhere near as close as Italian and Spanish. However, there are quite a few grammatical similarities between Italian and French, which can only be a help really.


    Thanks for answering! As a native portuguese speaker, the grammar is already pretty much my own, so I'm more worried towards vocabulary.


    Thanks for the link. I'll probably lose hours procrastinating there now. Jokes apart, very interesting information.


    I have been learning these two languages together for a long while, and I haven't got confused. I would say that some of the small words might be mixed up at first ('il' in Italian is a definite article but in french it is 'he' (or 'it'), for example), but as you seem secure in Italian it shouldn't be an issue learning French. The similarities between them, due to them both being from the same language 'family', might even help you.


    As someone who has been working on both languages your perspective really helps me. Thanks for answering.


    I'm glad to hear! You're welcome :)


    Hi all,

    I found (again) an additional sub page listing overlapping language group categories: http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/e/languages/overlapping-languages.html


    Interesting topic!

    What do you guys think about French vs Portuguese?: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23539808

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