Has this been an issue for you: getting mixed up with Portugues/Spanish/French while studying one of them?

I have this problem: while studying Portugues  my little bitty knowledge of Spanish and French always comes in my way. Both of theses languages I started and stopped learning many many years ago. I think I never even reached A2.

Right now I am trying to push up my vocabulary knowledge in Portugues and adding grammar little by little.

Now I thought about the following: to start all over again, learning French and Spanish, too, to learn about the differences and similarities?

But that seems to slow down the whole process a lot? And I am not sure about the daily amount of time I'd need for that...

Did you ever have the same problem? 

How did you solve that?

Apr 16, 2018 12:44 PM
Comments · 6
I had these problems before my vacation on Madeira a few years ago. I tried to learn Portuguese at the tourist level but I found out that I spoke mostly Spanish pronounced like Portuguese (I had already basic knowledge of Spanish from my previous vacation). So I decided to stop trying - I imagine some people could feel offended by the fact I was mixing two languages. 
I think these kind of errors are inevitable until we learn both of similar languages at advanced level. Of course the more we learn them the fewer mistakes we make. 
It's always like that. I have similar problems with Spanish and Italian. We have family in Italy so I started with Italian. Then switched to Spanish which I use more (even though on basic level too) because I have friends there. Now when I try to speak Italian I have to translate in my mind from Polish because of my lack of practice. My greatest surprise was that trying to speak Italian last year the whole Spanish sentences were appearing in my mind automatically and I had to translate them to Italian. How strange is the way our brains work.
My wife often tried to put German words in English sentences.  I had a colleague who was using Italian words during our Latin classes in the university (even though he never learned Italian). I also remember our Russian lessons at school when we tried to substitute every forgotten word with Polish what was leading to funny mistakes. 
The similarities of the languages we learn can be equally blessings and curses for us.
April 16, 2018
I haven't met yet a person who doesn't. I'm a portuguese teacher and 101% of my students who already speak spanish cannot avoid it. The ones who speak italian or french do it also but very slightly and get rid of this habit eventually. But the ones who speak spanish, they remain speaking spanish forever and ever! :)

Why does that happen?
Because people believe too much that both languages are "so similar" that their brain thinks that it'll be okay to use spanish thinking that they'll be also speaking portuguese and they don't retain the new information. 

People who learn similar languages in general believe too much that it'll be easier to master the other similar language and get extremely lazy and not attentive! Whoever learns two or more languages from the same language family should have DOUBLE ATTENTION compared to those who learn a totally different one.

April 18, 2018

Thank you for your comments! 

I see, it is probably quite common to get mixed up with just any (similar) languages. And so I take the advice to stick to one and hopefully implement it into my brain sufficiently enough so it thrives out the others to stay mostly in the background of my head so they are not as prominent anymore. It is all about this magic word patience.

(And freshing up French and Spanish, or rather learning it properly, I see the sense in doing it in right that order.)

Sigh, I also read on other sites: learn as many language at the same time as you want to, but not of the same family.

It seemed like such a good idea :)

I also had to give up on Dutch for that confusing reason. It interfered with another similar not quite settled language. But one day I might learn that and Swedish for an experimental tryout on getting confused. Because both of these languages would be just a fun addition, nothing I seriously need to know. 

April 18, 2018
I mix Spanish into my Italian all the time :-(
April 17, 2018

For me, the hardest language to learn is Spanish because I always mix it with Portuguese. I forget words, create words, etc.

For some time, I had given up and started learning French, as, even though it's similar, the differences are clearer and easier to distinguish.

I don't think learning a particular language should prevent you from learning another one, but I can assure you will end up mixing up if you study similar languages at the same time.

I suggest focusing on one language, let's say Portuguese, for example. When you reach a good level, such as B2, you can start with other languages. As you didn't have much knowledge of French and Spanish, I believe you can use the similarities (grammar, similar words and sentence structure) to help you at the beginning. As you progress, they are less likely to come in your way. Practice makes perfect.

Boa sorte com o seu aprendizado e, se tiver dúvidas, estou à disposição!

April 16, 2018
Show more