Second language that are similar. When to start?

Currently, I am 1019 words in Lingq with Spanish. When is a good time to learn Portuguese without getting confused with similar words.

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It depends if you have time to learn both

How would you rate your spanish?

The common advice is to start a similar language when the first one is at least at an intermediate level. That means you can read a newpaper article, hold general conversations, and have a decent (but imperfect) grasp of the grammar (i.e. for Spanish that could mean being able to conjugate most verbs in whichever time or mood you wish).

If your Lingq words are balanced with your overall Spanish knowledge, that might be around 10.000 to 20.000 words.

If it is your first foreign language, I’d get busy with one. If you run after two hares - you’ll catch neither.


Apparently is more efficient to learn two languages at once instead of one. learning a language is about the skill you get by acquiring new words. That slows down as you become familar with a language. Steve kaufmann brings up that subject in a video.

Because these two languages are so similar. I would wait until you have at least 10K known words under your belt.

I’d wait a bit. Apart from the risk of getting confused, you’ll be learning most things twice. Spanish and Portuguese are so similar that the more you know one of them, the more you’ll know the second one.

Ok I guess I will start at 10,000 words. Many thanks

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But momentum becomes harder

Best of luck :slight_smile:

what i think is most people over estimate the similarities of these two languages and end up speaking portuhol a mish mash of both instead of learning the ways these two languages are different ,my advice would be pick one and get to reasonable level where you can smoothly have conversations and not question if it is a portuguese word or a spanish one you are using


What are your goals? Interference is only a problem for production, not understanding. As a matter of fact learning two similar languages help you understand more because there are many words that are common in one of them but not so much in the other but are still very helpful. There are tons of them in Spanish-Portuguese. Notice that in every language you learn there are way more words you understand (passive vocabulary) than you can use (active one) and are often choose actively which ones we plan to activate in the short term. For example, say I’m learning English: I come across the word “vehicle”, I certainly want to be able to understand it but I may not worry too much about being able to remember it accurately because you can always say “car” or “transport”.
So, one way to approach your case is like this: go on to read, listen to both languages, learn to understand, learn about the differences but forget about speaking one of them for now, until you’re very fluent in the other one. By the time you want to start speaking the second one you’ll have a very good passive understanding and it won’t take very long to activate it.

Your known word count on LingQ doesn’t necessarily equate with your ability to start speaking, as your total vocabulary may actually be a lot more extensive. One downside of learning more than one romance language at the same time is acquiring LingQ vocabulary is slower, but that may not matter.
I started learning Portuguese just because we were going to Brazil on holiday 3 months later, having started Spanish some time before. I focussed more heavily on my Portuguese listening and reading up until the holiday and it really paid off!
Start straight away-your brain can handle it! I do 50 LingQs a day in each, but focus on listening and reading Spanish and Portuguese on different days.
I make lists of cognates-that helps me distinguish the different languages, and I think it helps the brain too (but I don’t know any science to back that up).
The name of the game as ever is lots of exposure. You only get confused as you’re early in the learning process. That will improve little by little.
Hope this makes sense.

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