In high school, you would study two languages, say Spanish and French.
Considering it was a school thing, it felt almost effortless.
Then you go to college and maybe double major in the two languages, again flawless, nothing can go bad about that.
But, Is It Good To Learn Spanish And French At The Same Time?
Well, considering that you are an adult now and don’t have of all the time like in the high school context, that’s a different story. Suppose you can manage to handle the two with ease, then good for you. The thing, though is that, it is easy to get mixed up between the two and sometimes feel overwhelmed. You might be so willing, but your poor overworked brain, however much you push it, will constantly get trapped between the vocabularies of these two new languages.
How HARD IS IT To Learn Spanish And French At The Same Time?
People say that Spanish and French sound somewhat alike in their words mostly.
While that might not be so much the case as for Spanish and Italian, it is true to some extent.
French and Spanish are somehow alike in that they are both romance languages and some of their words sometimes override.
And yes, your expert’s advice says that it is not okay to study two similar languages simultaneously.
But what if you have to learn the two languages at the same time?
You don’t have to give up learning the two languages just because it is hard to start the two from scratch (and that it is).
First of all, it is good to learn the two if you can manage.
Second, if you want it bad enough, you can learn the two together. It is only probably because of limitations of resources that can make it so daunting.
How SIMILAR Are Spanish and French REALLY
In all honesty, some languages are almost indistinguishable, and that is not Spanish and French.
Spanish and Italian are similar, German and Dutch too, but not Spanish and French despite both being romance languages.
In fact, according to linguist John McWhorter, French is the only romance language that is unlike others.
When you look at Spanish and French languages, they might share the same grammatical pattern, but their pronunciation is different.
For example, French verbs are er, ir, re, while Spanish verbs are er, ar, ir.
However, the complexity of French pronunciation happens because it has rules like rhymes and liaison at the end of a word .
In Spanish, the way you see a word is almost always how you pronounce it.
Well, while that information about the difference is inspiring, it might turn out to be a paradox.
In the beginning, you might find it hard to try to master two different languages that look the same but have different twists in pronunciation.
But again, it is always confusing to start at anything.
Knowing how different these two are now, you can be less intimated to know that at least there is a pronunciation difference even when the grammar is similar.
If you have to learn these two languages, there are a few ways to break them down and perhaps make it easier for you.
How Can You Make It Easy To Learn Spanish and French At The Same Time?
Learning Spanish and French, despite the dissimilarities, can be quite challenging to start with.
In the school context, it is easier because there is time, resources and your mind is set and settled for it.
But when you are battling other things and trying to create that equilibrium, it is very likely to find it so overwhelming. Even then, many people find it quite relaxing when they apply specific technics.
Below are a few of these techniques.
1. Set A Priority Language
For some people, the challenge in learning these two different or any other languages at the same time is the motivation factor.
Setting a priority language is a great factor in learning two languages.
That does eliminate not only the confusion but also increases the appetite for language learning. It is like having an entrée and a desert for a full meal.
To actualize this technique, you should decide on your priority language before joining classes.
Once you have decided on your priority language, start with it until you have mastered the basics before introducing the second language.
Familiarizing with one language will help you eliminate the confusion of two new languages at the same time.
However, you will be learning two languages at the same time.
Only that one will be feeling a little more relatable and less new.
The reason people struggle with learning two languages at the same time is that this set of languages are new to your poor brain.
And while they might not even be so similar, your brain finds it hard to tell which word belonged to which language the following day after learning.
In validation of this technic, several people, showed how it makes their learning comfortable when it is supposed to be hard.
One comment from John_Adams in a Reddit post says that his second language, French, is meant to keep him interested in learning when he is bored with studying Spanish. For him, it is like a subject to tern to and relax his brain since he already has Spanish as his priority language.
Even if you are sure that you need to learn these two languages at the end of your course, make sure to make one a side language, so you don’t get stuck and give up on them all.
2. Compartmentalize Them
Even though your goal is to learn Spanish and French simultaneously, find a way to separate them.
Like identify how much time you need for each language and learn one without mixing with the other.
Give the two languages different identities if you have to, and make sure that you don’t engage in one, even by speaking when studying the other.
Especially at the beginner level, you will find many words pretty much similar, which will be challenging if you don’t identify them differently.
As long as you don’t rush the learning process, studying the two languages will be comfortable.
When separated, in terms of study time and practice, you create a confusion-free environment to let one sink at a time.
Create a well-planned schedule for each language study.
Better yet, if you are in college where the schedule is planned, create your practice schedule that resonates with the college schedule.
Studying two different languages together can be good for you, but it will be a steep hill.
Even worse, it could be quite daunting for French and Spanish, which are two romance languages with some similar grammar. However, that does not make it impossible to do.
On the contrary, the secret to studying these two languages at the same time is at the core of any other multi-tasking skill.
To learn Spanish and French comfortably without losing track or feeling overwhelmed, have one as a priority language and the other as a side language.
Not to say that you should give one less time, but let one be ahead of the other and familiarize yourself with it before introducing the second language.