Descending from the same language family, French and Spanish are the most popularly spoken romance languages.
We have already discussed a few topics related to choosing a language alongside French, the right questions to ask, and things to consider.
Nevertheless, why do we have to choose when we can learn both? What’s more profitable than learning two languages at the cost of one.
Why it might be a good reason to learn both languages?
French and Spanish are basically siblings with their own twist of uniqueness following through. Yes, it can be challenging and confusing initially as they share a lot of similarities but it can turn to our advantage eventually giving us better clarity to understand both languages better.
Learning a language, in general, provides enormous opportunities but learning both languages opens a wide door to many parts of the world. Spanish is highly demanding in several parts of the United States. French covers most of Europe and Canada.
As we all know choosing a language becomes simpler when we tailor it according to our needs. Our purpose, career goals, origin, and experiences with other languages are few factors that usually help us narrow our decisions.
Now if it’s your first time to board the language train, choose one depending upon the above factors, once you get familiar with one, move to the next. If you have experience with learning any language then push yourself a little further to take a chance at both.
It’s possible when you know the right methods and strategies to include and exclude. It will also be an energy booster to your brain, enhance your multicultural awareness, and saves a lot of time.
How similar are French and Spanish?
French and Spanish share about 75 percent of lexical similarities. Both languages categorize the nouns as feminine or masculine. Grammatical concepts are almost similar with a few exceptions.
Verbs fall into the same 3 categories with slight variations in the endings. In French, we have er, re, and ir groups. In the case of Spanish, it is ar, er, and ir groups. Though the infinitive form of the verb may look different the conjugations are much similar.
Overall, the written French and Spanish are easy to comprehend and compare. The problem arises when we speak due to the varying pronunciations and sounds. Yet, it is almost achievable with time and practice.
How can I learn both Spanish and French?
Learning a language is no piece of cake. Learning two languages seems like a herculean task. Further, learning two similar languages may seem to increase the level of skepticism. So how do we overcome it?
There are few steps to efficiently learn two similar languages like French and Spanish.
1. Learning at different levels
The goal is to learn two languages but not at the same time. Choose one language as your priority for few months, get a good grip of it and then begin with another language.
In addition, you don’t have to spend much time choosing a priority language as you are going to learn both eventually just flip a coin or close your eyes and choose one. As long as it is not a hindrance to your goals, purpose, and other factors that we discussed earlier.
Starting two similar languages at the same time can create a lot of frustration and confusion. When you learn French and Spanish at a different level (say intermediate and beginner) it is much easy to distinguish them.
2. Plan a different time schedule for each language
Have a separate time to learn French and a separate time to learn Spanish. We often tend to mix the two languages with the intention to understand similar concepts. It’s good to compare in order to understand the languages better.
However, scheduling a separate timeline for both languages helps you to avoid confusion. Use different notebooks and learning styles to differentiate. For example, if you are using flashcards for French, use sticky notes or notepads for Spanish.
Use different color pens, highlighters, and all things as different as possible to distinguish the similarities.
3. Using personas
Time for role play! Choose two characters from your favorite movie preferably one from French and Spanish or you could create a character of your own. Switch between the two characters when you play with these languages to avoid confusion.
When you speak Spanish bring out the Spanish character in you to acquire the accent and style. Let’s say you have named your Spanish character “Sofia” so whenever you converse with someone in Spanish or practice Spanish during your study hours only “Sofia” comes out.
When you speak French bring out the French character in you to acquire the French sounds. If you have named your French character “Pierre”, then only he comes out when you practice or converse in French.
It would be more helpful if you choose movie characters and names oriented with French and Spanish instead of creating your own.
4. Mistakes and confusion is a part of the game
I am not denying the fact that a lot of similarities can be confusing and helpful at the same time. It’s a challenge to find the right strategies to master both languages. However, it’s all part of the process.
The first mistake begins with a fear of making a mistake while learning languages. It’s inevitable and almost essential to reach the final goal.
Therefore, make as many mistakes as you want, write down all the words that you mix between the two languages when you speak. Practice and practice till you no longer need your characters aside.
Embrace the “Sofia” and “Pierre” in you
Learning two similar languages like Spanish and French comes with its set of pros and cons. I hope you don’t let the cons be an obstacle to a lot of pros it may lead to.
Play along and bring out the two or three personalities within you to embark on a fun and magnificent journey and there is no better time to start than now.