Spanish --> French
I've [reasonably] recently finished the Spanish portion here and have started focusing my efforts upon the French. How many of you have successfully completed both (or more)? How difficult did you find in to keep the two languages straight once you reached the upper levels? And how much time do you put into each language daily/weekly/monthly to maintain whatever level of fluency you've achieved?
Thanks in advance!
I don't think it's going to be easy to confuse Spanish and French. I speak French fairly well (I am an anglophone living in French Canada) and I played around with Spanish once upon a time. I confused nothing at all. French is a very unique language and the whole feel of the words is different. I'd say that once you speak Spanish to a A2/B1 level, you won't confuse with French.
I maintain my French skills for on average, one hour a day, it's easy for me since where I live has significant amounts of French. German, my third language, on the other hand is being learnt and maintained 1h30~ a day, half of that is on Duolingo.
I'm C2 in English, B2 in French, and A2 in German.
Thanks so much for your input! I'm glad to hear that you're able to keep up with the languages with only a couple/few hours a day. I use Spanish quite frequently outside of Duolingo (writing, reading, watching movies, etc.), but I wasn't sure if the hours that I was putting in would be quite enough.
The French will be the tricky bit, however (especially since I'm only beginning). Have you been learning German almost exclusively on Duolingo? I already spoke quite a bit of Spanish before I started here, so I'm interested to see how far I come with French with this website as my primary guide.
The amount of time you spend mostly determines how quickly one progresses. The only requirement is to work on it everyday at least for 30 minutes. However, 30 minutes is going to be very slow and I would lose motivation at that pace. For me, the sweet spot is 90 minutes (real minutes, not time spent going to the bathroom and the like). For others, it's less or more. If you don't have a real deadline, I'd say one to two hours is good.
I learn a lot of my German on Duolingo. I spend 45 minutes or so on Duolingo, then around 30 minutes on Memrise (still talking about real minutes in the courses) and 15 minutes or so having conversations (some written, some oral) with German friends, of course they have to help me quite a lot but it's a lot of fun to learn this way. Some days I listen to Deutsche Welle podcasts which help a bit, I usually play these while I'm working on the Duolingo Wiki. In the future, I will likely move onto some books, TV, more advanced conversations that don't involve me telling them I'm a learner (they'll probably know anyway, eh), and are longer, but I'll let that come when it needs to come.
Don't rush your way to fluency, just be patient and enjoy the way. I once thought that it might be cool to just download a language and that be it (I have a wild imagination), but I realized I lost everything I liked about learning a language. I like learning languages, not just focusing on having them.
Oof this was long...
Good luck with your languages and don't give up!
Ooooh I've never even heard of Memrise! I've signed up/spent all of two minutes on it and I love it already though. It'll be so nice to have another language learning tool (Duolingo's absolutely great, but the same thing day in and day out... Nah.). And somehow I didn't even think of podcasts! I spent a couple of years living in Costa Rica and learned a lot of my Spanish just from the radio, so I could go back to that.
And thank you for the good luck wishes!! The same for you and your German journey :] Do you think that you'll move onto a fourth language after this?
There's some Memrise courses made to complement the Duolingo ones, I made a whole post about it. I suggest that you get something made for learners when you listen to the podcasts. I was once at the doctor's waiting room and Swedish talk radio was playing. I learnt only two things 'och' (and) and 'god morgon' (good morning), it's not really worthwhile so stick to the ones that will help you through understanding.
Thank you for the good luck wishes as well! I do think I will take a fourth, but I really want to be rather proficient in German before I do. I think after German I will learn Dutch. I like Germanic languages and their grammar.
Oh wow, thanks so much! You and llmairen are officially my two new favorite people on here; you've both been so helpful and given me so much information. Thanks so much!
As for the podcasts, I think that I should be fine with the Spanish (well, depending on the country), but the French I'll for sure need to start with something made for students.
I'm quite fond of Germanic languages as well. They have a sort of storybook quality to them that I can't quite describe. As for the Dutch, I 100% support that decision! I teach horseback riding lessons and one of my students is from the Netherlands, so I've been learning it bit by bit just to be able to hold simple conversations with her. I find it quite simple in every aspect--grammar, pronunciation, etc. Plus it just sounds so fun! Obviously each person is different, but I'm sure that you'll have absolutely no problems after studying German :]
If you're reasonably fluent in Spanish already, I don't anticipate you'd have any real problems with the French. Like TrioLinguist said, they have a very different feel to them. As long as you don't abandon your Spanish for French, you should be fine.
I don't exactly find them easy to confuse, but I do run into issues where (for the first time in years) I'm more fluent in Spanish than French, so I sometimes start reaching for Spanish sentence structure even when writing in French. I think this is less because my French is deteriorating rapidly, and more because I'm at the point where I can start to organize my thoughts in a Spanish manner instead of an English one, but it's been a little bit disturbing all the same. I think that problem will go away once I'm fluent enough in both of them that I run out of concepts that I'd know how to express in one but not the other.
Since you're just starting French, though, I don't think you'd need to worry about problems like that for a while. I just started Portuguese a few months ago, and despite it being very, very close to Spanish, I don't accidentally start writing Portuguese instead of Spanish. (Though occasionally I end up spelling something in Portuguese instead.)
What you might want to consider is grabbing the Spanish>French course. That way you'll be practicing Spanish whenever you study French. Highly recommended.
This is incredibly reassuring, thank you! I couldn't quite decide whether already speaking a Latin language would be a hindrance or a help when learning French.
I asked TrioLinguist this as well, but have you learned your languages exclusively through Duolingo or do you supplement them with other language courses/practice/have a previous history of the languages? I'm simply curious as to how far primarily using Duolingo can take you (I already spoke quite a bit of Spanish before I started with the site).
And I'd never even though of learning French through Spanish! That's such a wonderful idea. Thank you so much for all of the lovely advice!
I do have previous history with French and Spanish, but I've studied Portuguese pretty much exclusively on Duolingo. I can't really extrapolate from my experiences there what a brand new language would be like, though - my current ability in Portuguese is extremely schizophrenic. Where it's like Spanish (which is often), I know what I'm doing, but where it isn't, I start floundering. I was able to rush through the course in about 6 weeks, which in retrospect, I'm not sure was the best of ideas.
French is different enough from Spanish, though, that you shouldn't run into something like that. You will probably want to look at external resources like http://french.about.com/ - Duolingo doesn't do a very thorough job with its grammatical explanations, and there are a bunch of concepts in French where understanding the grammar is extremely important. If you learn more through practice than formal grammar, though - and given your history with Spanish, that seems likely - you may find that Duolingo does suit your needs pretty well to a point.
The one thing you will definitely want to use other sources for is training things like listening comprehension - I'd recommend a site like www.fluentu.com. I've also heard good things about https://learn.lingvist.io/ for vocabulary building, though I've only used it briefly myself. And you'll want to keep an eye on the discussion boards to see what other resources people come up with.
Personally I find Portuguese to be extraordinarily difficult in the first place, so all of the respect in the world for even beginning with it! (I don't know what it is... The grammar is simple, it is often like Spanish... I just could never seem to wrap my head around it.)
Thank you for all of the recommendations/resources! I'm going to check them out now.
Haha, sometimes it seems too much like Spanish. I imagine the jump from one to the other would be simple if you were a native speaker, but when you're not... I don't know.
Anyway, enjoy the resources and good luck with the French!
I'm still working on Spanish but I've heard that it's easier to learn other languages after you've already learned one. Then your already used to learning other languages. Also, some of the words might sound similar to that of other languages making it easier to know what the words mean. I think that the hardest thing will be accent and pronunciation.
I certainly hope that's the case! I'm actually finding English to be more of a help with the French journey than Spanish (especially in the written portion), which is not at all what I expected. So we'll see what happens. Best of luck with your Spanish!! :]
Although you have already chosen your two favorites on here, "haha'. I'll add something...:)
Both languages, Spanish and French are originated from Latin. This mean that they are the same family of languages. This will facilitate your learning and memorization. Many words, you will realize that are similar. Your brain will make several connections. The important is to listen a lot, and to think daily in the new language, in the small things of the day. For exemple, "ahora voy a leer un libro" or "mi caballo, como el diá está perfecto hoy!". And thus, talking to yourself as if speaking in the language you are learning. Because we don't need to study only when we are with the books or computers and couple of hours here, we can study outdoors as well. ("as well" I learned with you) :))
Well, I said enough already. rs
Buen estudio para todos!
(Sorry my mistakes in writing, I'm still learning)
Thank you for your input! And you did very well; I would never know that you were only still learning. Your English is quite good!