Comparing different languages with each other can be highly interesting. Similarities and differences are shown and thereby, learning more languages at a time can be easy. This is especially true for languages from the same language group. For instance, if you know English, it is quite straightforward to learn other Romance languages. Why? Because English is based on Latin.
Do you want to learn various Romance languages?
In this case, you could proceed in this order:
- Spanish and French simultaneously
- Latin, Portuguese or Romanian
Romance languages are often similar. There are outstanding grammatical characteristics that are found in the different languages. Furthermore, words and phrases for daily objects and activities are used which only differ slightly.
French has developed away from Latin. The substantial decay of inflexions in the oral language is the main difference to Italian and Spanish. This makes it rather difficult to recognize a French word as an Italian one without being aware of the history of it.
With regard to the written language, Spanish and Latin are most similar. However, the Spanish language differs significantly from Italian and French concerning phonetic particularities and an altered word pool.
In general, the Italian language has been changing fewest of all. The alterations over time regarding spelling, pronunciation, syntax and usage of words are minimal, compared to the changes of the English language.
Those, who have learned a specific language, will have no problem in reading newspapers in the other related languages. However, this does not mean that you can understand the same language when somebody speaks it. The differences in written Portuguese and Spanish are insignificant, however, the oral perspective is highly different.
Examples of comparisons
These are a few examples of comparing languages with each other: W-questions usually start with the letter “W” only in English and German.
- Who is writing a book? – The author
- What is the author writing? – A book
- When is the author writing? – Every day
- Where is he writing the book? – In the library
- With what does he print the pages? – With the printer
With what? English
Avec quoi? French
Con che cosa? Italian
Con che? Spanish
- How does the publisher react? – He will publish the book
- How much is it? – Less than 10 $
How much? English
Wie viel? German
- Why are the readers buying this book? – Because they are interested in it
Por qué? Spanish
Do you want to learn Scandinavian languages?
Not only Romance languages are worth comparing, but also languages of other language groups, such as the Scandinavian languages:
- Swedish – the, commonly viewed as the easiest Scandinavian language
Learning either Norwegian or Dutch becomes far easier when you know Swedish beforehand. Besides this, Swedish is usually understood and spoken in the other Scandinavian countries as well. Therefore it can almost be used as Lingua franca, like English in many countries of the world.
Make use of the similarities and differences of the different languages to master foreign languages simultaneously!