Italian/Spanish: How similar are they?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by aedude94, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. aedude94 Senior Member

    English United States
    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
  2. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    Try this site
    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.
  3. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
    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 :D
  4. Korena

    Korena Senior Member

    USA : English; Currently learning Italian
    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:


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

  5. ronanpoirier

    ronanpoirier Senior Member

    Porto Alegre
    Brazil - Portuguese
    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
  6. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    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.
  7. jester.

    jester. Senior Member

    Aachen, Germany
    Germany -> German
    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 :D
  8. Cnaeius

    Cnaeius Senior Member

    Italian, Italy
    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
  9. lazarus1907 Senior Member

    Lincoln, England
    Spanish, Spain
    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.
  10. LaSmarjeZ

    LaSmarjeZ Junior Member

    Herning, Danmark
    Sardinia - Italy
    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
  11. Yuribear

    Yuribear Senior Member

    Español, Mex-USA
    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;).
  12. Bienvenidos

    Bienvenidos Senior Member

    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.

  13. LaSmarjeZ

    LaSmarjeZ Junior Member

    Herning, Danmark
    Sardinia - Italy
    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 english here it's horrible!!!
  14. Yuribear

    Yuribear Senior Member

    Español, Mex-USA
    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.
  15. ernest_

    ernest_ Senior Member

    Catalan, Spain
    I work with an Italian lassie and she speaks perfect Spanish... even better than me :D 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. federicoft Senior Member

    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.
  17. Jeedade Junior Member

    Dutch, the Netherlands
    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.
  18. pomar Senior Member

    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.
  19. Hotu Matua

    Hotu Matua Senior Member

    México, español
    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. yujuju Junior Member

    Spanish & Basque
    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.
  21. Qcumber Senior Member

    UK English
    Once you've mastered a Romance language, you may safely assume you can understand about half if not a lot more of what you read in a newspaper in any other.
  22. Nanon

    Nanon Senior Member

    Entre Paris et Lisbonne
    français (France)
    One can certainly understand much more than 50% while reading. I think much has been written in these forums about mutual intelligibility of Spanish and Portuguese, Spanish and Italian... Well, intelligibility is almost a given, but doesn't the degree of difficulty in learning depend on the level of proficiency you set yourself as a goal?

    Absolutely. This is exactly how I felt when I started studying Portuguese based on my knowledge of Spanish. Aaargh. Making a Spanish sentence sound Portuguese is just a trick that does not suffice to speak properly.

    I wrote about this once in the Portuguese forum. I speak Spanish well and I didn't have a clear idea of the difficulties when I started studying Portuguese using my knowledge of Spanish as a starting point. Only vocabulary is easy, but there are some false cognates even in everyday's words. Also, the verbal and pronominal system of Spanish is easy as compared to Portuguese. (And believe me, French verbs and tense concordance are already a piece of cake if you compare them to Spanish.)
    Not to speak about Portuguese phonology which is as complex as French or English...

    I can understand written Italian as well as standard variants of spoken Italian to some extent, I can fake a fairly good Italian pronunciation, but I certainly cannot speak it. If I get exposed enough to Italian, I am sure I will get started very quickly, but I will need to study seriously and to dissociate Italian from French, Spanish and Portuguese if I want to speak well.

    It is however frustrating to see that some people believe these languages are all the same. For instance, I needed Portuguese for work and I wanted something more than just basic business communication skills. But I could not convince my boss and get an approval for Portuguese lessons. He considered that Spanish and Portuguese were just the same and that I didn't need to learn what I was supposed to know!...

    My hypothesis: the consonants. Clear b / d / g and s / z sounds, a clear b / v opposition etc. Probably not the vowels, I would say...
  23. Grekh

    Grekh Senior Member

    Chambéry, France
    Spanish, Mexico
    Well, I've just started to study Italian. I'm a Spanish native speaker and I find it quite easy to learn because there are bunches of words which are really similar, plus the pronuntiation is quite similar to spanish (or at least to my pronuntiation). On the other hand, I've read some portuguese and I've talked to brazilian people (they in Portuguese, me in Spanish) and we find easy to understand each other, nevertheless, there are some times when I can't understand a word of what they're saying and the same happens the other way around.

    My conclusion is that Italian is easier for Spanish speakers than Portuguese.
  24. friedfysh Senior Member

    Doncaster, UK
    England, United Kingdom (English)
    Ive heard that Brazilian Portuguese borrows a lot from Italian, one point I distinctly remember is that Brasilians use the italian grammatical structure when using the imperative, and not the portuguese one.
  25. ronanpoirier

    ronanpoirier Senior Member

    Porto Alegre
    Brazil - Portuguese
    EXplaining it better, I'd say Portuguese phonology is closer to Italian's than Spanish's. I've been calculating and there are more identical sounds (consonants sounds) between Portuguese and Italian than between Spanish and Italian and SPanish and Portuguese. Of course I just picked up one accent to calculate it, since we know we take a step in any place and we find a different accent. And about vowels, Spanish and Italian are closer. But Portuguese is closer to Italian than to Spanish.

    Freidfysh, what do you mean by using Italian structure in imperative?
    (And yes, we have a lot from Italian. Especially here in Rio Grande do Sul and there in São Paulo. Although there's a difference: Italian people came to RS to colonizate and they went to SP to work in lieu of the slaves. I guess that made a difference of influences since here the Italians got localizated and one area and in SP they got spread throughout the state. So I guess in SP there are a biggest influence in the whole state and here we have it in some particular areas of Italian imigration.)
  26. LenyZaZa

    LenyZaZa New Member

    United States of America
    United States of America, English/Spanish
    Spanish and Italian do have some things in common in my opinion. I speak Spanish, and am currently learning Italian. I must say, it's not as hard as I thought it would be. When you translate something it's in the similar format as Spanish, masculine words end in an "o." Things like that make it easier to learn. Here are some words that show likeness between the two tounges...
    Note= Noche
    Bene= Bien
    Gratzi/Gratzia= Gracias
    Io= Yo
    Respirare= Respira
    Vacca= Baca

    And then there are words that are exactly the same... (Spanish/Italian to English)
    Dominante= Dominant
    Comodo= Comfortable
    Idolo= Idol
    Replica= Replica

    Suerte with whatever language you choose to learn.

  27. Hotu Matua

    Hotu Matua Senior Member

    México, español
    Well, we can appreciate that.
    But it is not only a matter of having more sounds in common, but how frequently similar or different sounds are used in a conversation.

    For example, vowel sounds are extremely important because of the frequency of their appearance in normal conversation. If there are significant differences in vowel pronunciation, then the languages in question sound very diffferent.
    That's the case of Portuguese and Spanish.
    Nasal vowels emerge constantly during a conversation in Portuguese, giving this language a peculiar character that places this language far from Italian and Spanish.
    On the opposite site, Italian and Spanish vowel sounds are practically identical, so the flow of sounds makes the listener think they are indeed very closely related languages.

    Take, as a very nice example, the word "juntos" (together), which is written identical in Spanish and Portuguese, while it is "insieme" in Italian.
    I swear that a Spanish speaking person would find more difficult to pronounce properly the word in Portuguese, despite its identical spelling, that to pronounce "insieme" in Italian.
    It would be easier to prononunce "Non so" that "Nao sei" ("I don't know").
    And the examples are many.
  28. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    Since we are each giving our personal opinions it will not matter too much if I happen to say something that has already been said.

    I can assure you that Spanish is much closer to Portuguese than Italian. In fact, a Portuguese can understand both spoken and written Spanish
    without much practice, whereas a Spaniard would be able to work out a text in Portuguese but have considerable trouble understanding the spoken language, particularly the European version, unless he comes from Galicia where the local dialect (called gallego in Spanish) is almost the same as Portuguese. The Brazilian version of Portuguese is pronounced much closer to the way it is spelt so that, for instance noite the Portuguese for night sounds like noitee instead of noitch, and all is generally much less disorted than in the old country. Thus if you want an easier task, learn Portuguese on top of your Spanish, though there is a danger of mixing them up if the first language is not well established. I do not have the statistics to hand but it is worth bearing in mind that Portuguese is far above Italian in the league of the world's most spoken languages.
    Italian is pronounced close to how it is spelt slightly more so than Spanish and the standard language is crystal clear with pure vowels - that is why it is probably the most suitable language for opera. But it differs much more from Spanish than Portuguese in its grammar and vocabulary. It has been said above that some Italian dialects are closer than standard Italian is, to Spanish, which is not surprising when you consider that various Italian states were for a long while part of the Holy Roman Empire and under Spanish rule. By the way, curiously enough, it is generally agreed that Portuguese and then Spanish are closer to their ancestor, Latin, than Italian is.

    To help you come to a decision, I would advise you to read and listen to the online audio-visual articles on the site of EuroNews, where there is, among others, an English version, if you get lost. The texts are not exact translations of one another but what you hear and see in any given language is the same and you have the videos to aid comprehension:

    Despite what I have said above, I have known several instances of Spaniards coming to Italy who very soon managed to communicate verbally with their Italian girlfriends! Amor vincit omnia.
    Hasta luego/ até logo/ arrivederci !
    Arrius ;)
    PS You ask about online courses. Look at the sources listed at the beginning of the relevant language forum to see what online aids to learning exist - there is much available gratis.
  29. Ayazid Senior Member

    I don´t understand what exactly would make the word "juntos" so difficult for Spanish speakers to pronounce. Actually, it´s pronounced just like "zhuntus" (with Czech ortography, I would write it like "žuntus"), whereas the "n" is slightly nasalised. The same with "não sei", the only difficulty is that the "-ão" is pronounced more or less like a slightly nasalised "-au". Indeed, the italian words would be probably somehow easier for Spanish speakers to reproduce since they don´t contain any nasal sounds, but I really don´t see anything extraordinarily difficult in the given Portuguese examples. There are certainly many tricky aspects of Portuguese phonology, but these words are probably not well chosen or something.
  30. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    Touché Arrius! As you can figure it out, because of its proximity there are many argentinos living in Brasil, I don't know any, no matter how long they've lived here, that can pronounce our vowels and some other letters without the Spanish accent. Any Brazilian can at least get the main point of a conversation from a hispanohablante and any Brazilian that dedicates him/herself to, can speak Spanish without accent, perfectly.
    The Italians living here can get closer to our accent but a sharp ear for accents will soon detect the accent when this Italian says some vowels like a depending on the letter coming before or after this a.
  31. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    I don´t understand what exactly would make the word "juntos" so difficult for Spanish speakers to pronounce. (Ayazid)

    It is difficult for a Spaniard to pronounce the J in Portuguese juntos as it is also to pronounce the English Z in azure or the second G in the usual pronunciation of English garage. But if you point out that it's the same sound as in the common pronunciation of the Ll in llueve or llama or, even more likely, the Y in yo, they get it.
    I think an hispanophone could get used far more quickly to the strange pronunciation of Portuguese (which, when one hears it for the first time one could take for a slav language) than the far more often distinct vocabulary of italian. For someone who speaks Spanish to learn to talk like a Portuguese it is somewhat similar to myself as a Southern Englishman learning to speak like a Scot from some remote peak in the Scottish Highlands, possibly even less difficult.
  32. Ayazid Senior Member

    Easier in which aspect? Do you mean that for Spanish speakers is easier to learn Italian than Portuguese, or that they understand spoken Italian more easily than spoken Portuguese?
  33. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I don't think I would have been able to understand half if not a lot more of a French text if I hadn't studied it for years. I also don't think I can understand half if not a lot more of a Romanian text.

    Except that in Spanish there are diacritics in some of those words.

    That depends. Standard Italian distinguishes between è and é, and between ò and ó, as does Portuguese. These pairs of vowels are replaced with just two vowels in Spanish, which has no such distinction.

    Ultimately, though, I think these comparisons lead nowhere, because which language is closer and which one is farther depends on the linguistic features you choose to compare. Still, my overall impression is that the phonetic systems of Italian and Spanish are indeed closer to each other, while in terms of the "structure" of the vocabulary and in terms of grammar Spanish is generally closer to Portuguese.

    Of course, in this comparison I am thinking of what little I know of standard Italian -- because some Italian dialects have at times surprising phonetic similarities with Portuguese.

    Actually, most Brazilians pronounce it "noitchi", and in Portugal no one says "noitch".

    Except that it isn't the same sound, for most Spanish speakers.

    There are all sorts of opinions of that sort, all of them baseless or dubious, IMHO. In actual fact, each Romance language is more or less as close/apart from Latin as any other, though in different ways. They are all considerably closer to each other than any of them is to Latin.
  34. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    To Outsider:
    European Portuguese noite ends in a palatalized T, my transcription was the closest I could get to it, and you seem to imply that the Brazilian form is not universal so that the form noit-ee may, indeed, exist as I have been told it does in course books and recall hearing.

    The pronunciation of ll in Spanish, similar in sound to Portuguese juntos, is used by a great many people in Spain and if not used, will be known to them. The Y in yo similarly pronounced is even more widely used and is often heard in songs, including in South American songs. I have referred to these similarities with regard to both ll and y when teaching the similar English sound mentioned in my post to madrileños - and I assure you it works. In Andalusia too these letters are frequently pronounced this way.

    There are many people far more erudite than myself (which, of course, is not difficult) who believe that Portuguese,at least in the written form, is of the daughters of Latin the closest to the mother. I did not say that the Romance languages are not closer to one another than any given one is to Latin, so you are splitting hairs that are not even there.:)
  35. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    What do you mean by "palatalized"? If you mean like an English or Spanish "ch", then definitely not. Furthermore, EP "noite" doesn't necessarily end with a consonant. The "e" may be pronounced.

    "Noitê" exists; I'm not entirely sure about "noiti", though it's possible. However, these two pronunciations are regional in Brazil. The most common by far is "noichi".

    I agree that it's a similar sound, and it may be a good first approximation for beginners, but it's not the exact same sound.

    That must depend on how one measures the "closeness"...
  36. JGreco Senior Member

    Citizen of the World
    Native of: English, Portuguese (oral) , and Spanish (oral)
    I greatly disagree. If someone who studies the variation of Latin American Castellano would realize there are several approximate pronunciation for the "Ll" or "y" combination. It can be pronounced as the "y" in English, a "dj" sound very similar to "d" of Brazilian Portuguese, a "sh" sound similar to the pronunciation of "ch" in Portuguese, and a "zh" similar to the "j" of Brazilian Portuguese. I know this from experience with my mother who is Brazilian married to a Panamanian American and she has interacted and has friends from all over Latin America who speak in Castellano to her in their regional accents. She would either speak Brazilian Portuguese to them or a Portunhol but never in exact Castellano since she never learned how to formally speak it. I know the European Portuguese approximates might be different but at least according to my mother you do have Brazilian approximates to certain pronunciations in Castellano Latinoamericano because that was how she survived in the United States mostly only having Castellano speaking friends around her because there wasn't many Portuguese speakers around her in the places she lived in the United States.:)
  37. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    But Arrius spoke about "the common pronunciation" of Spanish. Argentinisms are hardly universal across the Spanish-speaking world. Not to mention that the Argentinians themselves can pronounce the "y" in different ways.
  38. HUMBERT0

    HUMBERT0 Senior Member

    I don’t think that the problem lies in reproducing sounds as so much in hearing them, the Portuguese vowels tend to throws us off when we hear them, and some times we don’t recognize a similar word because of the different vowels involved or to us sound like truncated words. If not for the vowel system and spelling this to languages would almost look more like twins.
    By the way did any body saw the last Miss Universe beauty pageant when the Girl from Brazil was interview in the question round, she answered in Portuguese, and before it was even translated, all of the Spanish speaking people in the audience clapped because they liked her answered and didn’t even needed a translation, I notice that because I as well understood perfectly her Portuguese, and I don’t speak the language.
  39. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    What do you mean by "palatalized"? If you mean like an English or Spanish "ch" then definitely not.(Outsider)
    No, I dont. By "palatized" I am thinking of those softened consonants so common in Russian, for example, as in съездить [ˈsje.zʲdʲɪtʲ] (to go/ travel) where what looks like a reduced lower case b in the Russian script and is represented by a faint raised lower case italic j in the phonetic transcription softens the final T. If I had used such phonetic symbols in answer to the original questioner, he would probably have been even less likely to grasp what I meant, so I approximated with the ch.

    But Arrius spoke about "the common pronunciation" of Spanish. (Outsider)
    What I said was that the pronunciation described was common (i.e. of frequent occurrence) not that it was the common pronunciation. If it were, it would be the one I use - which is not the case.
    ;) A.
  40. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I have never heard of European Portuguese having palatalized consonants. What is your source?

    I just don't see how you can call a pronunciation that practically only exists in Argentina, and not even everywhere in Argentina, "frequent". I think such statements are more likely to be misleading than helpful to the vast majority of Spanish speakers, who will not be familiar with the sound, but will tend to think of their pronunciation for "y" instead.
  41. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    I give up!
    Adeus! A.
  42. JGreco Senior Member

    Citizen of the World
    Native of: English, Portuguese (oral) , and Spanish (oral)
    I definitely noticed that. I had a friend from Puerto Rico that was shocked by that she could completely understand her. People don't realize that their are several regional accents in Brasil. Some very close to Spanish to the point of having almost complete intelligibility.
  43. JGreco Senior Member

    Citizen of the World
    Native of: English, Portuguese (oral) , and Spanish (oral)
    Moderators I think its time to create a new topic.;)
  44. Lugubert Senior Member

    I have had no formal training in Spanish, but had looked into it, and I am interested in languages. When I visited Spain with my then wife, who had studied Italian in Italy, I did the talking when we for example negotiated renting a car, and she understood rather all of it, but didn't dare to join the conversation, because when she did, the Spaniard didn't quite understand her.

    She did try, but generally, I think it is much of a question of how much you really want to comunicate.

    A lovely example, when I, having had minimal exposure to Spanish speaking countries/people, viewed a Swedish TV reporter interviewing an elderely lady in a Portuguese shop queue. He spoke Spanish, and the lady answered in Portuguese, and as far as I could tell, there was a perfect mutual understanding.

    I could compare that to many an interscandinavian encountrer.

    She was often irritated by my efforts to use Danish. Then, we were on a day trip to neighbouring Aarhus and wanted to buy some local fluid produce, and were approaching closing hours. We bumped into a couple of local elderly ladies, and I asked them in plain Swedish where we might find a supermarket or any similar store. They looked just blank. Then I tried my fake Danish, and they promptly gave us proper directions. Need I tell you that she never ever has complained on my using foreign languages afterwards?

    I should perhaps tell you that we, although after being married for some years, separated some 20 years ago, still are the best of friends, and still see one another quite frequently, despite both of us (perhaps even because of?) having (and have had) other relationships by now. And she's fluent in four foreign languages.
  45. r_daneel New Member

    New Jersey
    USA - English
    senza dubbio le due lingue sono distinte, ma non è molto difficile abituarsi alle differenze. il portoghese scritto e' molto piu' simile allo spagnolo che l'litaliano. Nel mio caso (sono americano), io ho studiato lo spagnolo prima che avessi studiato l'italiano e non era difficile (per me) capire l'italiano scritto.

    Io non ho molta esperienza nel parlare, ma capisco meglio l'italiano parlato perche' posso distinguere le parole distinte meglio di che posso fare rispetto allo spagnolo.

    In oltre, prima che avessi studiato il portoghese, poteva leggerlo facilmente (ma non poteva capire il portoghese parlato per niente)
  46. concafeina

    concafeina Junior Member

    ESPAÑA, Español y Catalán

    If you speak Catalan it's more easy, because words in many cases words are the same.

  47. Idiomático Senior Member

    Virginia, USA
    Latin American Spanish
    Interesting conversation! I am a native Spanish speaker who once attempted to learn Portuguese and has now been studying Italian for three years. Although I can understand simple written Portuguese relatively well, the spoken language completely escapes me. The phonetic differences between Spanish and Portuguese were an insurmountable obstacle for me. With Italian, however, I've been much more successful. During a recent trip to southern Italy, when Italians heard me speaking their languange they often asked me, "Ma, lei è italiano?" I had no trouble at all understanding them (except when they spoke to each other). I have also lived in France and and studied French and am able speak that language fairly well. I find that sometimes, although certainly not always, Italian grammar is closer to French than it is to Spanish. During a boat tour of the Chicago lakefront I took just two weeks ago I struck a conversation with three Italian tourists who were sitting next to me and the same question came up again, "Ma, lei è italiano?" I know Italians are a very polite and gracious people... but I still love to hear that question!
  48. Ayazid Senior Member

    Interesting. You studied Portuguese and gave it up because of the phonetic differences between Spanish and Portuguese and despite it you claim to speak French quite well with all its phonetic difficulties and overall character which is certainly more distant from Spanish than Portuguese is? :eek: Now, I have really impression that some people overestimate differences between these 2 languages (Spanish and Portuguese) and make rather unfair generalisations. In many instances it is just a question of habit. For example many Uruguaians, Argentinians and Paraguaians claim to understand quite well their Southern Brazilians, just as there are certainly many Spaniards living close the border with Portugal who, I guess, understand their neighbours better than let´s say some people from Madrid or Catalonia who don´t have any regular contact with Portugal and its language. Similar situation in Latin America would be a Mexican trying to communicate with somebody from interior of Northeastern Brazil in comparision with Uruguayan communicating with some Southern Brazilian :rolleyes:

    It´s also a matter of exposure :cool:
  49. Horazio Senior Member

    italian / spanish (bilingual)
    Among latin languages ,especially italian ,spanish and portuguese there's very good mutual intelligibility.

    But don't get too much excited about this. This similarities may be handy only on a vacation or when reading a short flyer.

    By the way I'm uruguayan and I don't understand a word of portuguese.
  50. Ayazid Senior Member

    Desculpa tchê mas agora não entendi muito bem o que pensaste. Escreveste que mesmo assim que sejas Uruguaiano não entendes nada de português, nem uma palavra? :eek: Eu nem sou falante nativo desta língua e não a domino extremamente bem e apesar disso consigo entender boa parte de textos escritos em castelhano e italiano, por exemplo neste forum. Também penso que as differenças fonéticas entre estas línguas não sejam tão grandes para os falantes de uma (nesse caso castelhano) não conseguirem entender nem uma palavra de outra. Actually, just as you said, the similarities between these languages are so great that to say that they are sufficient just to read some short flyer or on vacation is at least serious understatement. When you wrote that you don´t understand a word of portuguese, you meant its Brazilian or European variant? Both written and spoken language? I still recall what I was told half year ago by one Italian guy who spent more than 2 months in your neighbour Brazilian state Rio Grande do Sul and he was able to communicate with local people in Italian whereas they used their native language and this communication worked and he understood them although Italian is certainly more distant from portuguese than castelhano.

    O mundo é estranho :D

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