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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 :-)

October 17, 2017



A fascinating question, to which I don't know the answer. But just don't get the two languages mixed up if you go to Spain in the near future!


I've been to Spain a number of times, in Catalunya, when I saw texts in Catalan in a museum, it reminded me of French. In my brain, Catalan will probably totally mixed up with both Spanish and French. I'll keep you posted :-)


Yes it is mixed with Spanish and French. But then again the Spanish and the French actually took some words from the Catalans. This dates back to Roman times as modern day France was in the process of being a not yet reality.


Don't courses like these make it harder to get the two languages mixed up? :)


As a Spanish native, it may look like Catalan might mix with Spanish, but so far I have never mixed the two in speech. That might be just me, since I have a knack for distinguishing very similar languages.


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.


I really liked learning other languages through my second language. I don't find that the languages become "linked," but I DO find that I gain a lot of confidence and comfortability with my second language :)

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