Using a secondary language as base language to learn another language


Do anyone have experience with this method? I’m learning Japanese and Vietnamese, I’m better at Japanese than Vietnamese (although far from fluent), so I was thinking using Japanese lessons for Vietnamese speakers, ,which I found on the Japanese NHK site, to learn Vietnamese. A kind of backwards method…


Although there is a huge difference between your languages and mine, I’ve done that once and I’m doing it now for the second time. The first time I learned Arabic with an English manual. Currently I’m learning Russian with “Assimil: Russisch Ohne Mühe” in German. Well, I wouldn’t say I’m fluent in German, but I’m doing pretty well so far (22nd lesson). I’m having no trouble whatsoever in understanding the texts or the explanations. But as I said we’re talking about separate languages. However, I would still say: go for it.

I once used a book on Korean for Japanese learners, and bought some Chinese language materials for learning Korean. I have also gone through Le Russe Sans Peine and along the way have probably done this a few times. Since I use any learning material primarily for the target language content, it does not matter much what language the explanations are in. I prefer to get the translations of words in English or in a language that I understand very well. On the other hand if I am using a manual intended for learners of a language I am still not sure of, I guess I would be practicing two languages at once.

I do not think that would be my first choice. Since a new language remains unclear for a long time, it would just layers of confusion.

I prefer just having content, access to a dictionary in my language (not the translation as in Assimil) and a minimum of notes, most of which, as in Assimil, are a distraction since the person writing the notes does not know what aspects of the language are causing me trouble.

By the way D_I, why not do more Russian at LingQ?

I did something like that at the beginning with Swedish. I found Swedish course in English and listened to it. But I knew English quite well, and Swedish was new for me, so it was opposite to your situation… It was audio course and the only good thing was that I learned some basic English conversational expressions :))

I’ve learned a whole lot of topics through English, including foreign languages. I may have used Swedish resources as well, but English has played a (major) part in just any activity I’ve spent any time on for the last 10-15 years.

An East German friend sends me Soviet-era schoolbooks to help me learn Russian. The text is in Russian, the explanation in German. It works quite well :wink:

Since I ended up living in the UK, I started working with the material at hand, ie English. Curiously enough, for years I found learning easier in English than in my native language. (No doubt, memories of traumatic school days). This has luckily now changed, I work with whatever textbook comes first. I did my beginner’s Arabic with resources from three languages. So some things do improve with age!

Steve, I’m planning to do that in the near future, but I’d like to study a while longer with Assimil. Like you, I don’t pay much attention to the explanations, I read them and that’s all. I don’t try to memorise them.

I read some beginner content at LingQ every now and then, but I’m hoping to be able to read and understand genuine content in a month or so. From then on I’ll be using LingQ more often for my Russian. Right now I’m using it to improve my other two languages. :wink:

Noted, although I think that our beginner and intermediate content in Russian is really quite good.

I learn Swedish in English, and I am Russian living in France :slight_smile: When I was looking for a Swedish course, I hesitated either to bye an Assimil in French or another one in English. Finally, I chose “Colloquial Swedish” in English. I think it"s a good idea to learn Swedish in English, because there are a lot of common points between these two languages, and it is not so difficult to learn Swedesh for an English speaker (even for a non native). Moreover, I noticed that when I translate from a foreign language into another foreign language, it is a king of training that helps me to switch languages easier.

I’m learning French thru Polish and English
Polish thru English (I guess French too 'cause I’m using the French Assimil, but also am not really using the French explanations)
I’m learning German when i can through English
I’m far enough in Spanish that I just use the Lingq dictionaries in English when I don’t know a word.

Once you’re far enough in another language I don’t see anything wrong with learning ‘through’ one you’ve learned earlier.