I have learned Spanish years ago at the university, and then years later I decided to pick up Italian.
I don’t actively study Spanish anymore, and haven’t done so for several years. I only read or listen here and there, and I understand pretty well. Sometimes I have a conversation (where I need to use Spanish), and I can express myself okay.
However, in Italian I still struggle to keep my Spanish words out of the head. I tried watching TV shows only in one of the two languages, to connect the show to the language, however I still tend to mix them up, even if I study and speak Italian more often throughout the week.
As I said I mainly confuse the words while speaking Italian.
Is there anything, I can do to keep them apart better? I can express myself in Italian, but I always use some Spanish. I already tried a word list for both languages, where I put Italian on one side and Spanish on the other. That’s also what my teacher does.
I speak Italian at least twice a week (exchange and tutoring), and watch more and more TV in the language. Also I use LingQ and a textbook for grammar review. I have audio cds for learners, and a magazine with wordlists.
This comes with practicing both languages in the same day and usually back to back, or it takes time until you’re fluent enough to make them their own space in your brain. I studied French and Spanish from 0 with LingQ and at the university here and it wasn’t until my last semester that they were seperated, but I had to speak them back to back, i.e. one class in Spanish, next class was in French.
I am currently learning Portuguese and I mix up Spanish in it in my conversations with my friends, but it takes 1.) time 2.) lots of practice and 3.) enough vocabulary so that your Spanish doesn’t fill in for a weak spot in your Italian.
This also happened with my German and Dutch, but they have now become seperate languages in my head after I studied them intensively back to back.
I believe most people will tell you to stick to just one in the same language family, but I’ve studied multiple that are similar and it can be done, you just have to practice them back to back a lot and get to a decent level.
My thoughts on your situation is that you’re not a high enough level in either to not mix them.
Hope this helps, it comes with time and practice, and you shouldn’t quit because it is possible and I have done it.
Romance languages are like… one language… except they aren’t. It’s weird.
Thanks, I will try to study them back to back a lot, to practice switching between the two. My Spanish is quite fluent, the number of words known does not depict my acutal level, since I don’t use LingQ too much for my Spanish reading. However, with my Italian you are right. It’s still a bit basic, so Spanish jumps in to help fill the blanks
Yes, people always keep telling me to stick to one, but this is difficult, when you don’t start them at the same time. I cannot put down my entire Spanish, and forget about it, just to learn Italian.
Your method sounds useful, so I am more than willing to try it. Thanks!