On Language Matters Again!

December 12, 2012

Today Roberto, in Int2 Martes, posed a question about language groups. Spanish belongs to the branch of Romance languages, along with French, Portuguese, Catalan, Galego, Italian… English belongs to the branch of Germanic languages, along with Icelandic (which is similar to Old English!), Swedish, Danish, Dutch, German…

Is it easier to learn languages in your branch? Well, it is. Actually, Portuguese people understand Spanish quite well. At least that was my impression while travel(l)ing in Portugal. And I wonder why Spanish people don’t understand Portuguese that well! I couldn’t! What do you think? We are kind of traumatized, I think. Can you understand Portuguese, Catalan, Italian, French? A bit? Why is that?

If you speak German I think that learning English must be easy, easier that learning German can be to an English-speaker. And this happens because English is a simplified language, so to say! When the Germanic tribes invaded Britain, they all spoke very similar languages (languages coming from Germanic) and they realized that if they dropped their endings (declensions, conjugations), they could communicate better. This is a very simple way to explain an amazing process, but it gives you and idea of why English is so simple in terms of grammar and why Icelandic or German aren’t considering they are all so closely related.

One comment

  1. In any case, learning a language takes zillions of hours of listening to it, and also many hours of using it in various ways. But from what I gather from people I know who speak several languages, it does get easier the more languages you learn!

    Learning a language is like traveling to different planets!

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