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How Close are Spanish and Portuguese Languages? Options
Hope123
Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 10:22:14 AM

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I am studying my Spanish again for a planned trip to Nuevo Vallarta winter of 2018.

However, my sister-in-law just asked if we'd be interested in spending a month in Portugal in winter 2019. All things being equal.

So I was wondering if knowing some Spanish would help or hinder in Portugal. My friend who travels there suggested I get a "Portuguese for Dummies" book as she did and study that language too.

Any thoughts?

World food shortage that threatens five hundred million children could be alleviated at the cost of one day's warfare.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 10:59:33 AM

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Definitely not my area, as I don't know either language.

However, I have the idea (from a couple of conversations with South American Portuguese-speakers) that it is similar but different - a bit more than dialect.
Like Scots and English. The base language is the same, but pronunciation is different and there are many words which don't match.

"To eat" (food) in both is 'comer'.
"To eat into" (rust or 'eat into our savings') is 'gastar' in Portuguese and 'corroer' is Spanish.

Both use 'ir' meaning 'to go' but Spanish has one set of synonyms and Portuguese has a different set.
"The meeting went well" uses 'decorrer' in Portuguese, but Spanish uses 'fue' or 'passa'.

I would guess that knowledge of basic Spanish will probably will help, but beware of thinking that they're the same.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
redgriffin
Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 11:18:24 AM

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Well let me ask you this how close are Canadian and US English? my answer would be about that close.
taurine
Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 11:46:12 AM

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I think that the article on Wikipedia could give you a detailed answer.

Portuguese language
Lingoist
Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 12:21:07 PM

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Hope123 wrote:
I am studying my Spanish again for a planned trip to Nuevo Vallarta winter of 2018.

However, my sister-in-law just asked if we'd be interested in spending a month in Portugal in winter 2019. All things being equal.

So I was wondering if knowing some Spanish would help or hinder in Portugal. My friend who travels there suggested I get a "Portuguese for Dummies" book as she did and study that language too.

Any thoughts?


Hi, Portuguese and Spanish are sibling languages and if you speak proper Spanish, it will certainly help you in Portugal.

You should also try to memorize some key sentences, such as, "Você poderia falar pausadamente, por favor?" (Could you speak slowly, please?). For elementary learners, you should know that "você/vocês" (Portuguese word for you singular/plural) means "usted/ustedes" (Spanish) and the differences in conjugation in key verbs, such as, "ser", "estar" and "poder".

Boa viagem a Portugal!
taurine
Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 1:45:38 PM

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Hi there, Lingoist
interesting.
papo_308
Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 3:39:58 PM
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For a native speaker of a language of a different family (Slavic in my case), the similarity of the two languages is not so apparent. About 25 years ago, I spent some time in Spain and learned Spanish quite well. Now I still understand normal "educated" Spanish, but I've never been able to understand Portuguese. Maybe it's just the failure to know a few basic words and constructions, but to my ear it's simply different.
It may be similar to Czech and Slovak, these are also sibling languages and we are able to understand each other without problems (as you may know, we lived for about 75 years in a common state, Czechoslovakia). But a foreigner learning Czech would probably have problems understanding Slovak and vice versa.

Lingoist
Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 4:28:00 PM

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papo_308 wrote:
For a native speaker of a language of a different family (Slavic in my case), the similarity of the two languages is not so apparent. About 25 years ago, I spent some time in Spain and learned Spanish quite well. Now I still understand normal "educated" Spanish, but I've never been able to understand Portuguese. Maybe it's just the failure to know a few basic words and constructions, but to my ear it's simply different.
It may be similar to Czech and Slovak, these are also sibling languages and we are able to understand each other without problems (as you may know, we lived for about 75 years in a common state, Czechoslovakia). But a foreigner learning Czech would probably have problems understanding Slovak and vice versa.



Dear papo, it is a very frequent complaint about understanding Portuguese by non-native speakers!

It becomes much easier to understand if the person speaks Portuguese slowly, considering that words and grammar rules are similar to Spanish. That's why it is key to ask the Portuguese person to speak slowly! (Por favor, você poderia falar pausadamente?)

Boa sorte! (Good luck!)
whatson
Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 5:44:01 PM
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*
Dear Lingoist!

Are we unsophisticated non-Lingoists to understand that Portuguese is the only
language that is more easily understandable when it is spoken more slowly?

My advice is to ask the locals to write everything down, as the written form is way
more identifiable than the spoken equivalent.
NKM
Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 10:36:15 PM

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To a certain extent, Spanish and Portuguese may be considered mutually intelligible — if you're a native speaker of one or the other.

Not so, I think, for the rest of us!

mactoria
Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 1:19:38 AM
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Second generation Azorean descent (these days many emigres from the Islands think of themselves as Azorean, not Portuguese due to political and social reasons) here: most of the commenters make useful remarks, especially NKM. Since you're not a native speaker of a Spanish dialect (there is no 'one' version of Spanish, varying from region to region as well as country to country), I think you'll have to work at understanding and speaking whatever regional variations of Portuguese you come across on your 2019 trip. Like many countries, making a sincere effort at speaking the language will usually elicit patience from native speakers, a willingness to repeat slowly for you and to try to bridge the language gap with their version of English. But getting a book or recording of learner's Portuguese if you're going to be there a month is a MUST if you're going to truly experience and enjoy the country.

My one tip on major differences between Spanish and Portuguese (given the numerous dialectic versions of each) is that Portuguese is more of a stressed language, not as clipped as Spanish, e.g. Spanish 'Juan" is pronounced more like "Zwou" in Portuguese. Also, notice the order of vowel combos like "ei" and "ie" in which each letter is pronounced instead separately instead of forming a singular sound. To me, Portuguese (again, depending on region) is pronounced a bit more like French than Spanish is, where consonants blend and vowel word endings are slurred over. Good luck.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 4:22:44 AM

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I think a good comparison in the differences of two languages like Portuguese and Spanish, could be German and Dutch, or Czech and Russian.

(Finnish and Estonian would be, too, but I think only few of you have much idea of these languages ;-)


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
Hope123
Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 10:30:31 AM

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Thanks to all for your thoughtful comments.

I had checked online before I posted the thread and was a little concerned about the negative comments about how the differences would be too confusing.

However, after your comments, I just ordered the "Dummies" ebook from my library and will give it a try.

Even now some words from my eons-ago high school French will enter into my Spanish thoughts - so what are a few more confusions? I have translated an English sentence half into Spanish and half into French and not even realized it till later. Even though the extent of my French is to be able to read the cereal box. 😀 And to pick up a few words as my grans converse - they were both in French Immersion in school.

Also, there are words in English similar to Spanish but mean something altogether different. Ex - embarrassed in English. Embarazado in Spanish means pregnant, not embarrassed. But the verb can mean both. Although I remember nothing of five years of Latin declensions, I often figure out unknown English words by using the Latin bases.

I have often wondered how polyglots on here who speak multiple languages manage. (If I'm not mistaken, JJ is one?) Maybe they are learned in childhood simultaneously? Or maybe these people are just gifted linguists? I always have to work very hard to learn languages - actually to learn anything.



World food shortage that threatens five hundred million children could be alleviated at the cost of one day's warfare.
Hope123
Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 10:51:27 AM

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Lingoist, it is Castilian Spanish I learned but I also made sure to learn some glaring mistakes about the differences when speaking in Mexico. I also learned how to make do with other words in explanation if I did not know a word of vocabulary. Hands are great as well. 😀 My bit of Spanish knowledge actually stopped a gas workman from blowing us up as he had not understood the problem the staff had told him when he came to fix the gas stove after a hurricane.

Más despacio por favor certainly came in handy and I was able to figure out the posted Portuguese phrase.

I don't know if told this story on TFD before - but one early morning during the week of spring break while we were spending the winter in Cancun I was on the way to the pool and had to report to the security guard that there was a naked young man on the elevator - stoned out of his mind. I knew all the words except "naked". So I said joven sin (I may have even said sans) ropa en elevador (Apparently elevador is the same in Portuguese.) and the guard picked up the phone. Later that night I saw the same man wide awake and dressed - so I told him I had trouble recognizing him with his clothes on. 😀


World food shortage that threatens five hundred million children could be alleviated at the cost of one day's warfare.
Hope123
Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 12:23:11 PM

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Taurine, I checked the article to which you posted the link, and I see there is even a dialect in the Algarve which is where we would be.

As well, I have been told that many people who deal with tourists know at least some English. But it is always nice to know at least a bit of the host language when you travel.

World food shortage that threatens five hundred million children could be alleviated at the cost of one day's warfare.
almo 1
Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 9:52:13 PM
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Once I tried to study Italian
after studying Spanish some years,
for I thought those two languages are very similar
and also one of my Hispanic friends told me that
he can listen and understand Italian to some degree.

But I quit soon because I realized that studying Italian
after studying Spanish was going to make me crazy.

Learning some basic expressions is just fine.



Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Thursday, September 14, 2017 6:33:15 AM

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Hope123 wrote:
in bases.

I have often wondered how polyglots on here who speak multiple languages manage. (If I'm not mistaken, JJ is one?) Maybe they are learned in childhood simultaneously? Or maybe these people are just gifted linguists? I always have to work very hard to learn languages - actually to learn anything.



Actually I can speak only three languages: Finnish, English, and Swedish. I can READ Estonian, German, French, some Spanish and Portuguese, as well as Italian. And hey! some Latin, too ;-)

Is that polyglot?

EDIT: Swedish can be changed to Scandinavian, which includes Norwegian and Danish as well ;-)



In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
Hope123
Posted: Thursday, September 14, 2017 9:24:06 AM

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JJ,

"Only"! lol


World food shortage that threatens five hundred million children could be alleviated at the cost of one day's warfare.
almo 1
Posted: Thursday, September 14, 2017 8:12:05 PM
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What is it to be Fluent in a Language?


http://www.hikosaemon.com/2011/05/what-is-it-to-be-fluent-in-language.html



"To most people, the concept of being "fluent" at a language seems pretty straightforward and objective. If I were to see someone speaking rapidly and in apparent complete natural comfort in a language I don't know, such as Serbian, I would lean to the person next to me and say "wow, that American guy is FLUENT at Serbian"."







https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfLvnXIu664





Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Friday, September 15, 2017 4:40:48 AM

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Hope123 wrote:
JJ,

"Only"! lol


I know some people who can speak seven or more languages, fluently.


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
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