Learning a language through another one

Has anyone any experience of this? I am toying with the idea of learning hebrew through french here on lingQ.
I recently watching a video by Benny who suggested that this method helps you think in the new language quicker. I would imagine that it would also help my french studies.

I don’t know if its better. I have a Spanish textbook that I bought while in France, and I find that I subconsciously want to translate everything to English since all my other learning materials are in English. I’d at least say you should keep all your learning materials in one language. As always, everything comes down to availability of materials, in my opinion.

I am a former speaker of Hebrew (spoke it as a child) and I went to a Hebrew/English bilingual elementary school. I’d imagine the best language for finding materials is English, and Russian would be in second place. French or German would probably come in third place. Did you already do your trip to France ? Are you going to Paris ? I remember seeing some Jewish bookstores on Rue de Rosier. Otherwise, there is a GREAT three story bookstore dedicated to language learning on Blvd St. Michel. It is part of the Gibert-Jeune chain.

No I haven’t done my trip yet, it is this Tuesday. Thanks for the recommendations!

I don’t mind using English material in order to learn other languages. In the past, I’ve used English web resources and textbooks to learn Spanish, Portuguese and Czech - but always in addition to German resources. At the moment I’m learning Hungarian using exclusively English material. It works well for me because my English is advanced enough and as English grammar lacks a lot of features which you find in other languages, everything is explained extremely well. I don’t know anything about Hebrew but I wouldn’t recommend a native English speaker to learn Russian through German, for example. Why? As a native German speaker I’m familiar with cases, so the concept is clear to me while I’ve made the experience that British and American students (who learn German with me) often find it very difficult to understand why and when a certain case is used. It certainly depends on your approach, too. I kind of like grammar and want to understand the structure of a languages from the very beginning on. That doesn’t mean that I like grammar exercises or spend hours with a grammar book but unlike Steve I don’t expect the grammar to sink in naturally, I have a more active approach towards learning and understanding grammar, I think.

As far as vocabulary learning is concerned, I usually prefer to have a German translation of an unknown word. However, sometimes I mix languages when I think that the English or Spanish expression for a certain Czech expression sounds better than the German one or is easier to remember for me. Those are personal choices. Sometimes I also practice two foreign languages by translating texts from Spanish to English or from Czech to Spanish, normally choosing my stronger language of a given pair as the target language.

Anyone who fits the description of someone who can read something in another language could very well study a new language through it. When I studied Russian at university we used Danish material (way better than anything written in Swedish). I don’t even consider Danish (or Norwegian) an “L2”, I just read and understand. The best Portuguese material I’ve seen so far is completely monolingual (as is my main Dutch material).

It’s also worth mentioning that a lot of people have one of the world’s major languages as their “first” second language. For people who “know” English, pretty much everything can be learned through English. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are people in some corners of the world who learn languages (and other higher education subjects) through French, German, Mandarin, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic…

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If you have a strong L2, when visiting a country that uses that L2, pick up pedagogical material (unless it’s against your religion) from that L2 to other, future languages you might learn. You’ll be glad you did.

“pick up pedagogical material (unless it’s against your religion)”

When I learn Arabic I’m going to read the Quran. When I relearn Hebrew I’ll read some Talmud. If I ever learn Hindi I’ll read the Ramayana and Mahabharata. I hope no one allows their religion to block them from being aware of the beauty of these texts and others like them.

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eyeroll I mean against your language-learning religion. LOL