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Andreas Johansson wrote:
>Quoting "Mark P. Line" <[log in to unmask]>:
>
>> Again, I don't think "practice" (in the sense of speaking or writing) is
>> very much involved at all in the process of foreign language acquisition.
>
>I can only say that my personal experience would seem to indicate the
opposite.
>
>> In any event, few of the EU languages are so similar as to be subject to
>> frequent interference. (They're from three language families if you count
>> Maltese, including several branches of IE.) I don't consider Spanish and
>> Portuguese to be so similar as to be confusing, for instance. Czech and
>> Slovak are probably the only ones that are that similar.
>
>I believe this must then be subject to hefty individual variation. I
certainly
>find English and German similar enough to sometimes confuse.
__________________________________
Interesting. I speak both Spanish and Portuguese without interference
between the two, but encounter definite interference between Spanish and
Italian:  the two times in my life I've spent months studying Italian prior
to extended trips there (14 years ago and currently), it has had a
detrimental impact on my Spanish, in that my Spanish vocabulary becomes
infused with Italian words, sometimes to the extent that I couldn't recall
the Spanish word.

My guess is that, at least for me, the interference is at a phonemic and
phonotactical level in that, despite the closer genetic relationship
between Spanish and Portuguese, their phonology (particularly their
phonemic inventory and phonotactical and phonaesthetic rules) is more
dissimilar than between Spanish and Italian.  Simply put, Italian and
Spanish words sound more alike than Portuguese words.  (I don't mean a one-
to-one correspondence of cognates, I mean the phonotactical structure of
the words.)  Thus, while Spanish /e4"mana/ and Italian /so"4El:a/ are two
wholly different words for "sister", each sounds like it could be a word in
the other language (except for the geminate /l:/ of Italian), while
Portuguese /i4"ma~/ is more alien to the other two languages because of the
nasal vowel and the "atypical" syllable-final stress for a noun ending in a
vowel.

--John Q.