Learning a language from a language that you don't fully master
I find this interesting. I've started to learn Catalan, just out of curiosity. It's only taught for Spanish speakers. Spanish is my fifth language, I can speak it and read it but only to a certain extent. When Alberto Contador is interviewed on TV, I understand only half of what he says. Now I learned a Catalan word that I didn't know, with a translation in Spanish I didn't know either. Will Catalan be hooked into the Spanish part of my language brain? Or are all language parts of the brain independent? It will be interesting to see what will happen :-)
Also, you're a native Spanish speaker. You're not going to confuse Spanish with anything, like I'll not confuse my native language with Flemish, or South African, or even German.
What do you think of Catalan? Is it similar to Spanish, is it more like French, is it in between, is it totally different? From what I've seen, it's in between.
It seems in between, like you said. It has some Spanish words and French words with some slight diferences, like faldilla, formatge (skirt, cheese) which is based on Spanish falda (skirt) and French fromage (cheese). Grammar is similar to that of Spanish, but has a unique twist on it. (There are more plural rules than in Spanish!) Honestly I find it more interesting than Spanish.
Can't say for sure, but I don't really think so. Presumably you looked up the meaning of the word? I think your brain will then likely put the two translations in the "right slots," over time at least. The two languages have pretty consistent differences in the many words that are obvious cognates.
I did look it up. But in other languages that I know better than Spanish (like German, French, English), I read a novel, and if there's a word I don't know, I don't look it up but I infer the meaning from the context. This means there are more and more words that I do know, but never actually looked up a translation. This works well for me. This Spanish vs Catalan thing adds a dimension to this, which I find amusing.