Are you Spanish, French or Italian speaker?

Similarities of Latin (Romance) Languages

People say that I learn a language fast when I start to make sentences in Italian after learning French and Spanish. I try to explain them that there is no significant differences if you already know one of those languages. In addition knowing English supports to learn one of Romance Languages, sometimes called Latin Languages.

First learning one of Romance Languages (which are French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian the most spoken ones) can be hard, especially if your mother tongue belongs totally different family than those. I mean if you are English speaker, it is easier for you to learn, Spanish, than if you are Turkish speaker.

In spite of I have never involved to Romanian language, I will give some examples of the languages that I know.

It is known that an Italian and a Spanish might have conversations with each other, each speaking his own native language. That is awesome 🙂 As a native Turkish speaker I cannot even do that with an Azerbaijanese which is coming from same root than Turkish, and people are thinking that we can communicate each other but it is not true after I experienced it.

An Italian and a Spanish can communicate with each other, each speaking his own native language. (Thanks to Massimo and Julia for this lovely photo ;) )
An Italian and a Spanish can communicate with each other, each speaking his own native language. (Thanks to Massimo and Julia for this lovely photo)

Latin Languages and English

All Romance (Latin) Languages have similar vocabulary and grammatical rules. And this is a huge advantage to learn from one to another. In many cases, you just need to learn the basic rules of pronunciation and it is enough to understand what someone is saying in another language. Wikipedia says that Italian is %89 is lexically similar to French and %82 to Spanish, and between French and Spanish there is %75 lexical similarity which is quite high. Even though English is not in the same family of Romance Languages and doesn’t have so big percent of the lexical similarity, knowing English helps a lot to learn any Romance Languages because Latin and French have contributed many words to English. A significant portion of the English vocabulary, like %30, comes from Latin sources.

Here is some examples of what I mean; Most of the adverbs in English and other Latin Languages are similar:

rapidly rapidamente rapidamente rapidement
totally totalmente totalmente totalement
recently recentemente recientemente récemment
energetically energicamente enérgicamente énergiquement
regularly regolarmente regularmente régulièrement
constantly costantemente constantemente constamment
deliberately deliberatamente deliberadamente délibérément
elegantly elegantemente elegantemente élégamment
grammatically grammaticamente gramaticalmente grammaticalement


Not only adverbs, a lot of nouns also similar (I say same!) in English and Latin Languages. Almost all nouns ending with -tion are same such as; motivation, mission, television, preparation etc. Thus, It doesn’t become so hard making some sentences after learning basic grammar.

Conclusion, if you are native one of Romance Languages, you should speak others also. Okay, that’s not so fair, but you have very very big advantage to speak others.

“Francese é molto facile, perchè parole sono molto simili. Incredible.” I am sure all French and Spanish speakers understand this sentence. No? Come on… You don’t know what is “molto”? I didn’t say all the words are same, of course there are differences.

Ahh yes, I always forget articles, because there are no articles in Turkish, I don’t know how to use them. For me they are unnecessary words.

My Italian Experience

It is fun to guess words in Italian, you are just adding a vowel and becomes Italian. basic-basico silicon-silicone effect-effetto moment-momento If it doesn’t work, try other language or synonym. Or ticket is not ticketo, but biglietto which is “bilet” in Turkish also. Hence, you can speak a Latin Language in a very short time trying and finding a “correcto” word.  😀

Latin Languages and Turkish

I am not a genius. Everybody with a bit of sense, study and memory can easily learn a language and especially a language in a same family. In my opinion all these Latin Languages speakers should speak and understand other Latin Languages. As a native Turkish, it is very frustrating trying to memorize a word totally different than Turkish but very easy for French, Spanish or Italian. When I met with my Italian husband, he was barely speaking English, much worse than me. But when there is a text in English, he is much more able to understand it than me because of the advantage of knowledge of Latin. While he can easily guess the meanings of ;

frustrating frustrante sinir bozucu
consequence conseguenza sonuç
dignity dignitá haysiyet

As you see on the table there is nothing common between Turkish and those languages and I have to memorize all words even sometimes I have to see their usage. Lots of my Turkish friends tried to learn English and got frustrated, some of them left to learn, some of them thought they can’t learn etc, because of less common trait than English like grammar, words, pronunciation, spelling.

frustrating English
Ipek is one of my Turkish friend who is studying English for years and not pleasant result. I understand why but I have to complain that I asked her many times to come to the abroad with me and she refused without any reason.

Likewise, simply we can see in the meaning of “no” in those languages and in Turkish which makes us understand how different Turkish than others. English-No Italian-No Spanish-No French-Non Turkish-Hayır Nevertheless, If you go in deep study, all languages need to be spent time and effort. However, if you wish to know another language in the same family, you are starting with an advantage. 😉

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2 thoughts to “Are you Spanish, French or Italian speaker?”

  1. Nice article!

    About “Molto”, actually in french we have a world, a little forgotten, almost not used nowadays, which is “Moult” and as the same meaning so yes it’s easy sometimes.

    But, there is also what we call “Faux amis”, that word that appear to be the same but have a different meaning.
    One exemple is “Digital” which should be translated by “Numerique” in french, digital being in relation with the fingers (“Doigts” in french) as in “Empreintes digitales” for fingerprints. Although even media makes the mistake all the time and almost everybody use digital the wrong way now.

    There is a ton of theses, making some translations awkwards, some of them are very tricky like “inhabité” (fr) vs “inhabited” (en) which have the opposite meanings.

  2. Merci Toma!

    Also the same example with “exhibition” in English different meaning than French. Dangerous to be confused 🙂

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