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If I want to learn FR, ESP, PORT and ITA, what's the best strategy (or order) to learn them in? I want to be near-fluent in all of them.

Thanks for tips..

PS: I should say I speak English, German, Czech, Slovak and Polish.

UPDATE: Thanks for wonderful recommendations everyone!!! I am going to finish my Spanish tree this week hopefully, and take further two months or so to learn writing essays, improve my vocab, and watch Spanish TV. Then onto Portuguese. Italian seems easier to tackle, but French is much more useful, so I will probably do it before Italian.

May 21, 2013



You're already very far with your Spanish tree, are you going to complete that first? Which other language are you most interested in? Don't rely too much on what others say, it can be pretty demotivating to force yourself to learn something when you know you want to learn something else. Just pick the order that you like best to keep yourself motivated.


When you mean (near)fluent I assume you mean fluent reading/writing? :)

If so then ideally you will want to practice your writing, I recommend Lang-8 - a site where you can practice your writing and have native speakers correct you! It's a great site.



Learn in tit this order: ESP, ITA, PORT, FR. Reason being the high number of similarities with Spanish and Italian (they are mutually intelligible to each other and to Portuguese). However, Portuguese is a bit different from Spanish. In this order, you'll be able to easily translate many Portuguese words to English (that is, if you succeed in learning the first two). If your English has high fluency as well as your Spanish, French should be mostly easy for you. Best of luck!


Siema :) I learned Spanish first, now focusing on Italian. I found that a majority of the words between the 2 languages sound similar.


I have tried learning all of these languages at some point. The only one I can say that I know well is Spanish. I learnt Spanish first and have become somewhat near fluent, with a good knowledge of grammar and have adapted to a neutral South American version. Two years ago I started studying (Brazilian) Portuguese and Italian at the same time, both from beginner level. I found Portuguese much easier to pick up as, in my opinion, it is more similar to Spanish than Italian is - in terms of grammar and vocabulary.

I have since dropped Italian to focus on Portuguese, but Italian would be my next choice. And lastly I would start French. Out of all of them, I believe French is the hardest to learn (after attempting to study it for two years a long time ago) and knowledge of the other three would be less of a help to you than they would be for learning each of them.

In case you were wondering, my native language is English. Incredibly the Latin based words in English can also help with some vocabulary in these languages, although unfortunately not that much. I also agree with Arnauti, that Spanish is probably the language that you could pick up the quickest and pronunciation and phonetics are quite simple. On the other hand, Portuguese and French sound systems are really quite challenging and complex. So I would say 1. Spanish, 2. Portuguese, 3. Italian, 4. French. Hope this helps.


Best you can do is to start with Spanish. Italian and Portuguese are REALLY similar to Spanish and it's way easier to learn them from Spanish and not from English. I'd leave French to the last or learn it in parallel to Spanish. It is somehow midway between English and Spanish (in my very very humble opinion)

Keep it up!!


I would learn Spanish first as it is generally pretty easy to recognize the gender of nouns if you follow the established rules.Once you recognize genders in Spanish it is useful to draw on if you are unsure in the other other languages you have mentioned as I find genders to be consistent across these four languages.Also I found interrogatives ,numbers and pronouns much easier to pick up than in French.


I think Spanish is probably the best entry point in terms of bang for buck, because its central, quite clearly spoken, has enough grammatical clues for the others, and seems to have less eccentricities than the others.

However, I would also say that the languages are so closely connected that you may as well learn any of them, they are all cheat sheets for each other, and I wouldn't consider any of them worth less than another, if your ultimate goal is to learn them all. I learned French in school like everyone else in the UK, barely had much chance to use it, and it sort of slowly rotted away in my mind like an old rocking chair stuck in a damp attic. But I was very surprised when I first noticed how readable BBC mundo was to me, considering I had never spent ten minutes studying Spanish, this rekindled my interest.

I like the connectedness, and I think it should be more advertised, that learning any latin derivative gives you an insight into a much bigger world than any one country. It's a very useful trait to know about in a world where languages are rated in terms of 'potential usefulness' rather than their personality. Without some context like that we can't help but perceive Europe as massively divided. The most common complaint you'd probably hear from kids in the UK would be 'Why do I need this, I'm never going to be in France...', of course you aren't really thinking about taking European road trips when you are 8...


Not that I myself know all these languages, or any of them very well, but I'm pretty sure it would be best to get a good knowledge of Spanish first of all. I got the impression (from studying linguistics) that Spanish is so to speak most grammatically central of these languages - the other languages are in general more similar to Spanish than to each other. This is a very simplified statement of course, but as a general idea probably true.

From my own experience I can tell you that you'll probably be able to learn Spanish more quickly than French. [my best languages being Swedish, English, Russian and German] And once you're good at Spanish, that will be very helpful when you go on to whichever of the other languages you feel most like.


P.S. Kudos for currently speaking five languages.

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