Language learning with material not translated into your native language

I wanted to ask for opinions on learning a language through material that is not translated into your own native language.

I myself am a native speaker of English, and I suppose luckily for me an abundance of language learning material is designed for native speakers of english trying to learn other languages.

But In a hypothetical situation, say I could speak pretty good french (but english is my native language) and wanted to learn another language, say chinese, but I could not find any material to learn chinese other than through language learning material designed for french speakers.

Do you think its possible (and if it is possible, is it a good idea?) to learn another language using a foreign language that you have learned as the basis for your learning?

When you learn languages do you only use material that is designed for english speakers, or do u also use material translated into some of the other languages you have learned?

Basically I’m curious about the use of my native language as the central “reference point” for learning other languages, and would using one language as my basis for learning other languages affect the ability to translate internally between these peripheral languages?

For example if i learned chinese and french, using english based learning material, will the ability to comprehend and translate directly between these two languages exist, or will english always be in between them?

very curious about your thoughts guys

I believe we need our native language as a referral language only of the first levels of studying of foreign languages (maybe up to Intermediate level). But step by step we have to rid of usage our native language as a referral language, otherwise it will prevent us from being immersed into a new language and speaking it fluently.
On the other hand, you can use any language as a referral language if you speak it well.

I’m learning Esperanto with Assimil and you only have that in french-esperanto, so yes you can do it. And I’m not that good with french but I manage pretty well. I also learn new french words with this esperanto course so that’s nice too!.

Like evgueny40 says, you better get rid of your native language as soon as you can. But for an introduction to a new language it’s fine. So I actually prefer to use a french-esperanto course so I’m practising two languages at the same time.

I’ve learned languages mainly through English (which is not a native language) and am pretty sure that I could get my way through learning materal in Spanish or German if I had to.

I don’t translate anything when I learn a new language just look with the website http://

I think using two languages to learn a third one is a good idea. It helps to understand the language we learn when we can refer to 2 languages. When we hesitate on translation in one language we can translate in the second one.

That said, for learning spanish there are some activities I prefer to do in french or in spanish - not in english - because similarity between french and spanish.

For example spanish grammar explained in english is a lot less interesting than when explaned in french or spanish - I mean spanish grammar for english speakers.

I don’t study through other langages for that reason, it’s just that I’d be stupid not to use material in English (and to some extent German) for other languages, since I understand most of it.

The other day someone said that a large portion of resources for Greenlandic are written in Danish, so he chose to learn that (rather than Swedish/Norwegian).

A great number of language tutors are written in German and French, so with those - you can’t go wrong.

Learning languages by triangulation:

I have used several courses by Assimil in French and this has never been a real problem.

I think assimil may be an exception since for the most part it’s done almost completely in the target language. What about the same question but with a Teach Yourself style book?

I think that is always useful to begin a new language with a starter book. As long as the language that explains things is a language you are quite familiar with I do not see a problem. Teach Yourself is a series that I have used often.

Overall I think Assimil the least hassle to use, because all the audio is in L2. With Teach Yourself and Colloquial, I often have to spend a good hour editing out all the English to get only half an hour to an hour’s worth of target-language-only audio. Assimil by default generally offers a good two, sometimes even three hours of pure L2 audio.

I agree with you Chris and now that I am going over Colloquial Korean again I find it really annoying. What I do not like about Assimil is that they only provide translations and not just the 'new words". With LIngQ it would not matter. It would great to get some of that content on LingQ.

I’m not surprised to see the video by Mike, Jeff. That guy is one impressive scholar!

Mike Campbell is a fountain of knowledge. If you are a serious learner, or curious polyglot, check out Glossika. Heck, if you are just interested in languages (especially Chinese languages) he is worth some of your time.

Glossika is very interesting. Also interesting is that Mike Campbell has managed to get Glossika (a partly commercial service) into Wikepedia. (I presume he is behind User: Glossika). Chapeau!