According to Forbes, there are over 559 million Spanish speakers globally. The idea that people want to be conversant with the 4th most spoken language globally is a no-brainer. If you’ve gained mastery or are on your way there, there are a couple of languages similar to Spanish you may be interested in.
We know your brain is feeling a little wrung out after the rigors of learning Spanish, but learning these related speeches won’t be as hard. Learning Romanian, Italian, or other associated languages will take 50-80% less time compared to Spanish.
How Are These Languages Similar to Spanish?
Some languages suggest a common origin. Spanish is one of the Romance languages. Analysis of historical linguistics unearths Vulgar Latin as the roots of these tongues. Other popular languages include Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, and Catalan.
The Romance languages are so close they’re still identifiable to their speakers; despite the phonological changes in the basic vocabulary, they’re still recognizable to their speakers. Additionally, these languages also share comparable grammatical forms. Differences in grammar will be few, so a keen learner should focus adequately on vocabulary, idioms, and pronunciation. The dreaded but crucial subjective tense can be used in all these tongues, and therefore its mastery is imperative.
Below are three popular and easy-to-learn languages similar to Spanish.
In the north-western part of Spain, Galicia is the mother-land of the Portuguese mother tongue. It’s widely considered the closest language to Spanish – the lexical similarity is approximated at 89%. This can be seen in several ways.
First of all, their close relationship results from the geographical closeness between the native speakers. They are both languages of the Iberian Peninsula and are part of the same linguistic classification – the Western Iberian group. Both languages have some Arabic influences due to the area coming under Islamic rule for several generations. Spanish has more influence than Portuguese, relying more on its Latin roots.
Because of their differing phonetic systems, both tongues have an almost identical written format, often obscured. Portuguese has more nasal tones; it’s a fundamental difference in the pronunciation of words between the two languages. You cannot go wrong with Portuguese, especially if you travel a lot, as it is the official language of nine states.
Italian is a widely spoken European tongue that’s the official language of four countries: Italy, San Marino, Switzerland, and Vatican City. Its speakers number around 85 million worldwide. The language is associated with many hand gestures, but did you know it’s also closely related to Spanish?
It is another language with Latin origins, and for this reason, one is easy to learn once fundamentals in the Spanish language are understood. They share a lexical similarity of around 82%. For example, the Italian word for place, ‘giardino,’ sounds similar to the Spanish equivalent, ‘jardin.’ It, however, doesn’t automatically mean learning Italian will always be easy. Italian, unlike Spanish, employs frequent use of double letters. The letter ‘j’ is also not prevalent in everyday use.
A background in Spanish helps out with some of the rough patches as Spanish grammar is often similar to that used by Italian speakers. Even in pronunciation, there are similarities. If a Spanish and Italian speaker are both talking clearly, they may have extended conversations with each other.
If you’ve got the travel bug and are knowledgeable in Spanish, French would be a great addition to your language toolset. It is the 5th most spoken language on earth, the only other tongue besides English spoken on five continents, and is the official language in 29 nations.
The similarities between French and Spanish shouldn’t come as a surprise. Spain and France share a border, and they have similar traditions and cultures. Their lexical similarity is around 75%, and they have analogous writing systems. There are numerous false friends (bilingual homophones) as well.
Although these languages have a lot of similar vocabulary, you can tell the difference in the pronunciation of words. In French, one word may have several pronunciations depending on letter positions resulting in more or less guttural or nasal sounds. It also utilizes silent letters to a great extent.
Despite the differences, a little Spanish will go a long way in helping you learn the ‘language of love.’
How LanguageBird Can Help You Learn Languages Similar to Spanish
If you’re on a journey to become a polyglot, LanguageBird wants to be your trusted companion. We offer middle school and high school courses for credit in a variety of different languages from around the world. All of our courses feature 100% live 1-to-1 language instruction with flexible schedules that work for all students. Contact us today and let’s talk about adding a new language to your repertoire!