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Thread: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

  1. #1
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    Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    yo hablo español y inglés pero quiero aprender italiano (o portugués, yo no sé). Se parece italiano a español? un poco? sería fácil aprenderlo? (si hablo español). espero que sea! jaja. Sepa alguien una pagina para aprender italiano en inglés (o español)? gracias

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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    Try this site http://www.lancs.ac.uk/staff/letchfoa/comparison.htm
    All of the romance languages have some similarity. But some are closer to others. In my opinion Spanish-Portuguese and Italian-Portuguese are closer than Spanish-Italian. I would say of these three Spanish-Portuguese are the closest.For native spaekers who only know one of these they are able to communicate with the other with varying degrees of difficulty, if spoken slowly.Some vocabulary is identical in all three some in two out of three. The grammar is also similar but Sp and Po are closer also.

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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by aedude94
    yo hablo español y inglés pero quiero aprender italiano (o portugués, yo no sé). Se parece italiano a español? un poco? sería fácil aprenderlo? (si hablo español). espero que sea! jaja. Sepa alguien una pagina para aprender italiano en inglés (o español)? gracias
    Spanish is my second language, and there are similarities between the two. Often, in Italy I see Spaniards speaking Spanish to Italians, and the Italians speaking Italian back to them, and they get along. But I must tell you, Italian is MUCH more difficult. I've been working on it for quite a while now, and I do OK, but the subtleties are very complex -- you'll need to work very hard. In my opinion, you get about 20% of Italian if you speak Spanish...the rest is hard labor
    Una mucca dice all'altra "Hai letto della "mucca pazza"? L'altra dice "Sì, ho sentito. Meno male che io sono un pinguino!

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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by MarcB
    Try this site http://www.lancs.ac.uk/staff/letchfoa/comparison.htm
    All of the romance languages have some similarity. But some are closer to others. In my opinion Spanish-Portuguese and Italian-Portuguese are closer than Spanish-Italian. I would say of these three Spanish-Portuguese are the closest.For native spaekers who only know one of these they are able to communicate with the other with varying degrees of difficulty, if spoken slowly.Some vocabulary is identical in all three some in two out of three. The grammar is also similar but Sp and Po are closer also.
    And, to add to that, the reason why all romance languages are similar is because they are all based on Latin!

    You can go to:
    http://www.ielanguages.com/

    or:
    http://www.ielanguages.com/eurolang.html

    to find out a little more about linguistics and the history of the languages!

    -Korena
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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    Well... I don't know... I have tried Spanish and Italian... and I have to say... portuguese is like placed between both languages it'd be something like:

    Spanish - Portuguese - Italian

    I also think Portuguese pronounce is closer to Italian than to Spanish
    "And You've Never Met Anyone As Everything As I Am Sometimes..."

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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    One of the Spanish foreros once said that it's quite easy for a Spaniard to understand written Italian and vice versa. I've never studied Spanish and yet I can understand everything in aedude's post. Technical/scientific language is probably the easiest to understand.
    Fast-spoken, colloquial Spanish is quite another matter.

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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    I think, concerning the degree of difficulty, the choice could either be Portuguese or Italian and the difference wouldn't be too great.

    I think you should just choose the language that you like more, concerning sounds, written language or the one you could use more frequently.
    I'm afraid I always propose this no matter who asks the question of which language to choose

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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    Hello everybody,

    in my opinion Italian and Spanish are more similar than Italian and Portuguese. Before learning a bit of Spanish I was however able to understand it quite well when written, but the same thing I cannot say for Portuguese. And the differences in understanding increase for spoken language
    Ciao

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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    I have spent hours talking to Italians sometimes, and each of us was using his/her respective languages (I don't speak Italian). Of course, it required that we spoke slower, clearer, and avoiding idioms and local terms, but it wasn't impossible. Educated people find it easier to do this, I think. I remember a long conversation I had with an italian teacher once: Every time we got into a word we got stuck with, we quickly managed to find a synonym, or refer to our common Latin roots to figure out its meaning.

    If they speak among themselves, at normal speed and speech, I only understand bits and pieces, of course.

    I can also speak to Portuguese people (I often do), but I find it harder to understand them.

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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    I never learn Spanish, but I'm able to comunicate with it and I use to talk spanish with some friends of mine coming from southamerica.
    So, I will say that they are really similar and easy to understand, also if I've seen that it's easier to speak and understand Spanish than for Spaniard to speak Italian.
    Portuguese it's easy to read, but understand and speak it is really hard.
    That's what I think

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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    I speak both, Italian and Spanish, and I must say that it is true that Brazilian Portuguese is closer to Spanish than Italian. However, there are some italian dialects that are very close to Spanish like Sardo (from Sardinia) and Venitian (from Venice). I used to live in Venice and my mother could understand and talk to my venetian friends without problem, but when the romans came to visit... she was in trouble.

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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    I speak Spanish and I have studied Latin, thus it's easier for me to understand Italian, because of my background in both languages. However, generally, Spanish and Italian are quite different: especially some pronounciation. Portuguese is much closer to Spanish, and I can understand that sometimes more than I can understand Italian. Again, however, Portuguese has its differences from Spanish. I think of it this way: all languages are different, no matter how similar they are.

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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuribear
    I speak both, Italian and Spanish, and I must say that it is true that Brazilian Portuguese is closer to Spanish than Italian. However, there are some italian dialects that are very close to Spanish like Sardo (from Sardinia) and Venitian (from Venice). I used to live in Venice and my mother could understand and talk to my venetian friends without problem, but when the romans came to visit... she was in trouble.
    I think that Portuguese is more similar as vocabulary, while Italian is closer as pronunciation.
    However, me and some friend of mine tried to make a test. Me and a girl from Verona translated a part of an article in the respective dialects and some Brasilian girls were listening to us. They find out really easier to understand me than the other girl. So I think Sardo it's closer to spanish and portugues.

    Excuse me...my english here it's horrible!!!

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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by LaSmarjeZ View Post
    I think that Portuguese is more similar as vocabulary, while Italian is closer as pronunciation.
    You are absolutely right. I am learning Brazilian Portuguese now and the pronunciation is a mixture between the gutural french, spanish... and a pinch of something else. On the other hand it is very easy for native spanish speakers to have a good italian accent and viceversa.

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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    I work with an Italian lassie and she speaks perfect Spanish... even better than me I would've never guessed she was Italian, had she not told me, except one day that she came across the word "amateur" and she said "amatoriale" but other than that I had no bloody clue. So, I've got the feeling that those languages are very close indeed.

  16. #16
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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    Italian and Spanish are similar to the point they are two distinct languages.
    Surely it wouldn't take too much effort learning Italian if you know Spanish and vice-versa, still it's all but an automatic thing.

    Besides, as an Italian speaker without any knowledge of it, I find quite hard to understand even the very general meaning of a Portuguese spoken sentence.

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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    I find Spanish and Italian grammatically speaking equally difficult, they both have their oddities both it’s more or less similar.
    Understanding however is a different matter. I find Spanish much more difficult. Most Italians I encounter (Milan area mostly) seem to try their best to overpronounce everything (making it easy to understand). The Spanish of the people I work with (mostly Madrileños) sounds like lighting-fast, staccato bursts of machine-gun fire. Their national sport seems to be swallowing as many syllables as possible. They could all work at an auction (you know, the guy that spits out numbers at an incredible speed), or they could be that guy that says the mandatory “for risks and side effects please consult your doctor etc” sentence they put at the end of every pharmaceutical commercial

    I have little experience with non-Iberian Spanish, but it seems easier to understand.

    To answer your original question, I moved to Italy with a reasonable level of Spanish and little Italian (started learning it a month before moving). Work and daily life was in Italian from day one, and it was tough but doable. I survived on my Spanish skills. It would probably have been easier if Spanish was my mother language.
    Last edited by Jeedade; 22nd June 2007 at 1:53 PM.

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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    Starting from the very first question, that was submitted by a Spanish person, I think that Portoguese is much more similar to Spanish than Italian is, specially about grammar and glossary. But Italian pronunciation might be easier for a Spaniard (no nasal sounds). By the way, Ronanapoirier, what makes you think that Italian pronunciation is similar to Portoguese?
    Anyway the problem with similar languages is the different grammar, a lot of similar words with completely different meaning and the confidence that the learner can feel about mastering the language, since he understands a lot of it, so that he has no strong motivations to improve its skills. I hope I managed to make it clear. pffff
    As for me, I never studied Spanish nor Portuguese, but I understand them quite well when written, not always well when spoken. The most difficult to understand is European Portuguese, Brazilian is easier. And of all Spanish variant, I agree with Jeedade about Madrid (not to mention Andalusia) variant!! Machine-gun fire!! Spanish spoken in Catalunya or in Argentina is much more soft, if I can say so.
    Last edited by pomar; 22nd June 2007 at 7:41 PM.

  19. #19
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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by pomar View Post
    I think that Portoguese is much more similar to Spanish than Italian is, specially about grammatics and glossary. But Italian pronunciation might be easier for a Spaniard (no nasal sounds).
    I fully agree.
    If you are a Spanish speaking person and you are listening to Italian, even for your first time, you get a feeling of close familiarity with the sounds. Except by maybe a couple of sounds, the phonetic system of Italian is identical to the Spanish one.
    When you listen to Portuguese, however, you get a very different picture. Portuguese is full of nasal sounds unknown to Spanish speaking people, and also closed and open vowels, besides some few consonantic differences.

    Having said that, when it comes to glossary and grammar, Portuguese proves to be by far the closest relative to Spanish.

    Now a word of caution: It is very easy to START learning another Romanic language if you already know one, but to achieve a full command of it is a very hard task, as the similarity becomes a trap full of "false friends": words that you would guess to convey a meaning when they mean something radically different.

  20. #20
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    Re: Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

    My theory is this:

    Spanish is Portuguese, spoken in an Italian way

    (in clarity not in accent) :P, I mean, as some of the lasts: Spanish and Portuguese are very similar in the writing, but when they speak in their normal speed it is hard to understand if it's your first time. On the other hand, italian is difficult to understand in the first view because for some sounds they use totally different letters, but when they speak you can communicate quite well (so I think if Italian were written in the "Spanish way" or the other way round, it would be easy to understand; avoiding typical own words, it would be something like changing some letters or endings, in a broad way said).

    To sum up, if the three were written phonetically (which is really the language), portuguese would be most different. Uff I've written too much :S


    It is, I think, the same as Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. Once I read Norwegian was Danish, spoken in a Swedish way.

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