LEARNING A THIRD LANGUAGE USING A SECOND ONE

Is it possible?

Wouldn’t it be confusing?

What’s up, guys!!!

I’d like to share my experience learning languages. My native language is Spanish; my second language is English, after my second language I decided to try to learn Portuguese.

Now I speak Portuguese to a decent level, intermediate-advanced level, I used English to learn Portuguese, the reason was because Spanish and Portuguese are so similar, and sometimes it was kind of confusing and I ended up talking Portuñol, (a mix of Portuguese and Spanish). However, when I was using English to learn Portuguese it wasn’t confusing, it was very clear to me.

When I started to learn Portuguese, I was using English all the time, English it’s like my native language. If you still don’t feel comfortable speaking your second language, it’d be hard for you to learn a third one in that way, you should use your native tongue.

It’s kind of crazy, but after Portuguese I decided to start learning Mandarin Chinese, and I wasn’t translating into my mother tongue or English, I was using Portuguese, I think the reason is because I was thinking in Portuguese all the time; I also experienced this problem with Hebrew and sometimes with French, when I was trying to remember words in Hebrew, some Chinese words came to my mind. That’s why is advisable to learn languages from different families if you are learning other languages at the same time.

If you use your second language to learn a third one, you’ll be working on both languages and learning a lot, so it’s a win-win situation.

Sometimes there’ll be some concepts difficult to understand and in those situations you’re forced to use your native language; but it’s really interesting how your brain works with 3, 4 or more languages.

I always like to use the sources available in my second and third language, to learn another one, I think English like a global language is very useful to learn another language, the explanations are really clear, and there are a lot of materials available for the languages that you’d like to learn.

It becomes easier to learn another language, if you speak other ones, you can easily identify grammar and intonation patterns, pronunciation, etc.

I recommend to learn languages from the same family when you are in an advanced level with your other languages, because they’re very similar and if you are a beginner in two languages from the same family, it could be very confusing and the learning process will be slower.

In conclusion, to learn a third or fourth language, use the language that is better for you, for example, I wouldn’t use Portuguese or English to learn Japanese, because the Japanese pronunciation is similar to the Spanish one. You have to see the advantages and disadvantages; sometimes unconsciously you’ll find yourself using a third or second language to learn another one.

 

 

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