Improving Foreign Accent - Here’s How to Do It in 5 Languages
Want to wear out your foreign accent and speak like a native?
Trying to choose whether you should start learning Italian or Spanish?
Finally, you found some free time and you’d like to learn a foreign language.
But you are in a bit of trouble, because you can’t decide if it’s going to be Spanish or Italian.
Have you ever thought that you can learn both of them?
Let’s take a look at some similarities, as well as differences, between these two languages. You might end up learning both.
Let’s dive in.
Not only that two languages have many similarities, but they sound similar too.
From the same origin, with many similar words and phrases, common grammar as well, many would say that it’s impossible to choose amongst them. However, it doesn’t have to be.
Use their similarities to learn both of them.
Let’s check out what Spanish and Italian have in common.
Italian and Spanish belong to the Romance language family, along with Catalan, French, Portuguese, and Romanian. It means that all these languages are descendants of Vulgar Latin, the ancient language that was spoken in the Roman Empire.
Another important thing is that neither Italian or Spanish had the Germanic impact the way French had. It makes them even closer.
Around 80% of the vocabulary is similar between these two languages.
Here are some of the examples:
When a word in Italian ends in ‘‘à,’ in Spanish it ends in ’d’ or ‘t.’ For example, Italians say ‘comunità,’ and Spanish ‘comunidad.’
Many Italian words sound Spanish. Just add the letter ‘i’ to the Italian word, and you get the Spanish one. For example, ‘concerto’ in Italian is ‘concierto’ in Spanish, or ‘tempo’ in Italian would be ‘tiempo’ in Spanish.
When Spanish use ‘d’ at the end of a word, Italians use ‘t,’ such as ‘verità’ in Italian is ‘verdad’ in Spanish.
Besides these similarities, many words are the same. For example, in both languages you can use the word ‘arte’ for art, ‘la mano’ for hand, or ‘una casa’ for house.
Other words have tiny differences that can’t be noticed so easily at first sight.. They are, for example, ‘cero’ in Spanish is ‘zero’ in Italian for zero, or ‘segundo’ in Spanish is pronounced and written ‘secondo’ for the word ‘second.’
Phrases in Italian and Spanish tend to look alike. Try saying this out loud: ‘Buona notte’ in Italian and then ‘Buenas noches’ in Spanish, which means ‘Good Night.’ It is almost the same, isn’t it? And, even if you were to choose Italian, for example, and not know a word of Spanish, you’d still easily understand it.
We prepared a list of some similar Italian and Spanish words. You can download it on the link below:
So, there it is. One thing that saves your time and makes learning both languages easier.
Learning about differences between two languages facilitates the learning process by making it clear which word to use and when.
That way, you can’t get confused and, for example, use an Italian phrase when talking to a Spanish speaker.
So, let’s have a glimpse at some of the differences.
Seems like Italian and Spanish have the same vowels; A, E, I, O, and U. However, the Italian language has the vowel that is called ‘closed E,’ while Spanish, on the other hand, has an ‘opened E.’ To make it more clear, you should listen to the word 'pesca' in Italian‘pesca’ in Italian, and then ‘pesca’ in Spanish.
Now, do you hear the difference?
Italian uses more pronouns to mark cases, while Spanish doesn’t.
For example, for the phrase ‘there are three friends,’ in Spanish, you can say ‘hay tres amigos’ while in Italian, you say ‘ci sono tre amici qui‘
Many say the following difference is the most obvious one. Italian words almost always end with vowels, while in Spanish, it is not required. For example, words in Italian as ‘strada,’ ‘casa,’ ‘jardino,’ etc. in Spanish sound like ‘calle,’ ‘cassa,’ ‘jardin.’
Learning grammar should be a piece of cake, as they are both quite similar.
But, there is one slight difference between these two.
That difference is in using past tenses.
The past tense in Italian is formed with the verbs ‘avere,’ which means ‘to have,’ and the verb ‘essere,’ which means ‘to be,’ and the main verb in the past tense. It sounds more like the past tense in French.
The verb ‘essere’ is used when something is a state of being. In other cases, the verb ‘avere’ is used.
In Spanish, however, you use the verb in the past tense, and for that, you have clear forms for singular and plural persons.
So, let’s sum up the difference:
Italian past tense: the verb evere/ essere+ the main verb
Example: Sono andanto- I went
Siamo stati- We were
(These examples are state of being, so depending on the adjective, you have to match it with the number and gender.)
Spanish past tense: the verb in the past tense
Example: (Yo) fuí- I went
(Nosotros) éramos.- We were
The subjunctive mood may be a bit of a challenge for those learners who don't have it in their native language. But, once you understand the way subjunctive works, which is pretty easy, you won;t need to worry about learning Italian or Spanish.
You must be wondering why?
Well, in Spanish, subjunctive mood is used almost every day, while in Italian, it is used only when really necessary.
So, if you want to master your Spanish, then you will have to spend some extra time learning this part of grammar.
Beware of false friends. They can be quite tricky. Like the Spanish word ‘embarazada’ in English doesn’t mean ‘embarrassed’ but ‘pregnant.’
So, words that sound similar in Italian or Spanish, but, actually, have different meanings you have to learn separately, and then make a difference in your mind.
Here are some of the false friends you should have in mind:
Burro ( Italian)- butter
Burro ( Spanish)- donkey
Pesca ( Italian)- peach
Pesca ( Spanish)- fishing
Salire ( Italian)- to go up
Salir ( Spanish)- to leave
Seta ( Italian)- silk
Seta ( Spanish)- mushroom
Those were two different, but very similar languages at the same time. Now you have all the information about similarities and differences between the Italian and Spanish languages.
There is always a doubt whether Italian or Spanish is a better choice.
Since you have already read this article, we suppose you are very good at English, if not even fluent. And for English speakers, to learn Spanish or Italian is a piece of cake.
After all, there are so many benefits to learning more than one language at once.
In the end, the choice is all yours. Now, when you have every reason in front of you, which language will you choose?
Share with us in the comments below!
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