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  1. #1
    Member Ixion's Avatar
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    Default What language is more similar to Italian? Spanish or French?


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    Well, I have been studying Italian for quite a long time there, and after a journey there, I feel as I have mastered it, for the most part, to the best of my abilities. I've always been obsessed with languages, and so I was wondering how I could best put this to use to start studying another, either Spanish or French.

    I'm pretty sure that Spanish is more similar to Italian than French, due to French's heavy Germanic influence.. I really have no preference, but was just wondering... which is more similar? That is, which one would my knowledge of Italian be most useful towards..?


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  2. #2
    'Oseé is offline
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    Default Re: What language is more similar to Italian? Spanish or French?

    I think that, because of the similarities in vocabulary, you'll find that French and Italian tend to be more close than Spanish and Italian.


  3. #3
    Oxford is offline
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    Default Re: What language is more similar to Italian? Spanish or French?

    Spanish and Italian are very closely related. They aren't mutually intelligible, but pretty close.

    French is still related, but not as much.

  4. #4
    Omep is offline
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    Default Re: What language is more similar to Italian? Spanish or French?

    In terms of how they sound, I'd say Spanish and Italian. French has more vowel sounds than Spanish and Italian and (this is just to me) I don't like the way Spanish and Italian sound.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: What language is more similar to Italian? Spanish or French?

    Spanish and Italian are definitely more related. I know only know Spanish, but I can look at Italian and make out many of the words as many of them have the same roots. Just look online for Spanish and French basics and see which one you prefer to learn.

  6. #6
    Bitches gotta learn Member Nicky Nichols's Avatar
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    Default Re: What language is more similar to Italian? Spanish or French?

    As an guy with heritage from Italy, Spain, and France, I think I can answer your question. Especially because I'm proficient in Spanish and French (my grandfather speaks Italian, but I've never picked it up).

    To find similarities, one must analyze the roots and influences on the language as it stands today.

    Italian- Finds root in Latin, there is very little foreign influence.

    French- Finds root in Latin, there is moderate foreign influence from Germanic languages. These include Dutch, German, English, Danish, etc..

    Spanish- Finds root in Latin, there is heavy foreign influence from Semitic languages (almost entirely Arabic) and a very minimal influence from Basque.

    This said, languages are more likely to have common word and structure roots if they originate in close proximity within each other.


    To simplify,
    Direct comparison:

    When it comes to language structure, French keeps the Latin root, but follows many Germanic structures; Spanish is almost entirely Latin in structure.

    When it comes to pronunciation, French is widely Germanic; Spanish is for the most part very Latin.

    When it comes to word roots (which I think is more important), French is almost entirely Latin; Spanish has very evident foreign influence.

    I believe that French has much more in common with Italian, than Spanish.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: What language is more similar to Italian? Spanish or French?

    Many Spanish speakers I know tell me that they can or almost can understand Italian. For that, and the reasons Will has listed above me (which are sound), I'd say Spanish and Italian are closer.

  8. #8
    Bitches gotta learn Member Nicky Nichols's Avatar
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    Default Re: What language is more similar to Italian? Spanish or French?

    I forgot to put this in before.......but, here's the biggest reason you should consider studying French over Spanish:

    You speak English!

    France and England waged war for thousands of years, and there were many times when the French throne ruled England and vice-versa. When the throne was overtaken, the land's official language changed.

    English and French have so many words in common that the language family of English is constantly debated by many linguists between being a Germanic Language or a Franco/Latin-Germanic Language.

    Besides, with your background knowledge in Italian and your birth fluency in English, étudier le français serait une tranche du gâteau pour toi.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: What language is more similar to Italian? Spanish or French?

    spanish

  10. #10
    Esteban is offline
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    Default Re: What language is more similar to Italian? Spanish or French?

    Lexically, French has much more in common with Italian than Spanish does. Phonologically, Spanish is more similar. So basically, French and Italian share more vocabulary while Spanish sounds more like Italian. I don't think that any of the three languages are mutually intelligible when spoken, though. French sounds too different from the other two and Spanish and Italian may have a negligible amount of mutual intelligibility, but that's all.

    Since you speak English and Italian, French would probably be a bit easier for you to learn.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: What language is more similar to Italian? Spanish or French?

    In my opinion, Spanish is a lot closer to Italian.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: What language is more similar to Italian? Spanish or French?

    Quote Originally Posted by giŕ visto View Post
    Spanish- Finds root in Latin, there is heavy foreign influence from Semitic languages (almost entirely Arabic) and very minimal influence from minor Germanic languages such as Basque.
    Basque isn't a Germanic language; it's not even Indo-European.

  13. #13
    Bitches gotta learn Member Nicky Nichols's Avatar
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    Default Re: What language is more similar to Italian? Spanish or French?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewie View Post
    Basque isn't a Germanic language; it's not even Indo-European.
    Yeah, you're right. I just looked it up.

    I guess, I just assumed that it was a Germanic based lingua-franca pre-dating Latin intervention in the Southern Gaul/Iberian Peninsula area. But it is supposedly an indigenous language pre-dating all other living languages in all of Western Europe. Interesting.

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  14. #14
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    Default Re: What language is more similar to Italian? Spanish or French?

    Italian is a mix between French and Spanish, so you can say it's kind of like the "child" of French and Spanish being the two parents. I would say that you will probably understand Spanish more, because of the Italian structure. However, I strongly suggest that you learn French first, because it's vocabulary is closer to that of Italian and secondly you know English which also influenced French. In addition, I believe there is subjunctive in Italian, so you can use that to also boost your French. I can tell you that although I don't know Italian, I can understand quiet a bit of it due to my bilingual ability in French and English as well as my knowledge of Spanish. The all go hand in hand.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: What language is more similar to Italian? Spanish or French?

    what? LOL people make up a LOT of stuff in this thread.

    here's the deal: im spanish (from spain) and lived there til i was 11. ive now lived in usa for 3-4 years. when in spain we vacationed in italy AND france, and i had friends from both countries.

    NO doubt italian and spanish are the closest. i could easily get the gist of a conversation in italian. i might recognize the roots of sum french words, but italian? i could understand basic conversations with no study of the language.

    dont listen to people that say french. its not even close aside from some word roots. and italian is NOT a mix of spanish and french, jaju. not even close. your probably thinking of catalan, spoken in barcelona, which has similarities to spanish and french.


    there u have it: spanish and italian, from someone who can actually claim DIRECT dealings with the 3, being fluent in one of them, and not just heresay and asumptions lol
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