Anonymous

Is The Italian Language Like Spanish Or French?

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23 Answers

Yo Kass Profile
Yo Kass answered

When listening to someone speaking Italian, you will often be able to identify words that sound suspiciously like their corresponding words in French or Spanish, and occasionally the words will be exactly the same!

The reason for this is mainly attributed to their sharing a common root: Latin.

Vulgar Latin (don't worry, there's nothing rude about it... It's simply the term used to describe the 'commonly' spoken version of Latin, as opposed to the Classical Latin used in written work) was the language of the 'average Joe' in the times of the Roman empire. It was spoken by traders, soldiers, settlers and the lower classes of Roman society and, with the spread of the Roman empire, its reach expanded across Europe and beyond.  

During the Roman empire's decline and eventual downfall, the colloquial Latin spoken in different areas began absorbing regional influences, and eventually developed and diversified into separate languages.These languages, although still sharing many similarities, became the different languages we now refer to as the Italic Subfamily of languages that includes everything from Italian, Spanish, and French through to Catalan, Romanian and a number of archaic languages previously spoken on the Italian peninsula.      

Deborah Profile
Deborah answered
Actually, in at least one respect Italian is in fact like Spanish or French...all three are descendants of the Latin language, so they belong to the same language family, called the "Italic" family. This family also includes Portuguese, Catalan, Provencal, and Romanian.

What this basically means that at some point in history, when Latin was commonly spoken, some Latin speakers relocated to what is now Spain, and some to what is now France. Since these speakers no longer were in direct contact with people speaking "pure" Latin, slight changes began to appear in the languages they spoke, and eventually these slight changes increased to the point where people in France speaking their version of Latin could no longer be understood by the "pure" Latin speakers in Italy. The same is true of the people in Spain. Once the versions of Latin became mutually unintelligible (neither party could understand the other's version), linguists would say that French and Spanish became independent languages.

The same sort of thing happened with Italian, but since most of the speakers of Latin lived in Italy, the process took much longer, and the changes were not nearly as extreme. In fact, if one knows how to read Classical Latin, it's pretty simple to translate basic Italian texts as well. It's not so easy to apply Classical Latin knowledge to French or Spanish, but it's definitely useful in terms of common vocabulary and such.

Speaking of vocabulary, many people think that English is a descendant of Latin as well, since so many English words have Latin origins. In fact, English is a Germanic language, like German and Dutch. The reason we have so many Latinate words is that we borrowed heavily from not only the Latin language, but also the French language.

Incidentally, that's why we have 'doublets' in English today...words like 'chef' and 'chief' were both borrowed into English...'chef' from French, and 'chief' from Latin. As a result, it is estimated that over 50% of English vocabulary has its origins in Latin or its descendants. That's why learning Latin has such a positive impact on one's English vocabulary, and why those who have studied Latin tend to do extremely well on tests of English verbal ability.
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Anonymous
Anonymous commented
I teach both Italian and Spanish. I teach Italian to Spanish speakers. It's amazing how fast they learn Italian. When all is said and done it is easier for Spanish speakers to learn Italian than to learn French. But once you know Italian then it is easier to learn French.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
According to linguists and experts in the romance languages the features that show the similarities and differences between two or more languages refer to some morphological and lexical aspects like: Forming of plurals, articles, conjugation of verbs and so on.  Take a look at the articles and forming of plurals in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian    Definite articles  Spanish:  El, la, los, las  Portuguese:  O, a, os, as  Italian:  Il, lo, la, l', i, gli (gl'), le    Forming of plurals:  Sp.  Amigo - amigos (friend/s)  casa - casas (house/s  huevo- huevos (egg/eggs)  hombre -hombres (man/men)  pt.  Amigo -amigos  casa - casas  ovo - ovos  homem - homens  it.  Amico - amici (ci pronounced like English ch)  casa - case  uovo -uova  uomo - uomini    Conditional mood of Cantar ( to sing) I would sing  sp.   Pt.   It.  Cantarìa cantaria canterei  cantarìas cantarias canteresti  cantarìa cantaria canterebbe  cantarìamos cantarìamos canteremmo  cantarìais cantarieis (not used) cantereste  cantarìan cantariam canterebbero    Last but not least  Some words of common use:  Sp. Cada (every) pt. Cada it. Ogni  sp. Nada (nothing) pt. Nada it. Niente/nulla  sp. Algo (something) pt. Algo it. Qualcosa  sp. Hermano (brother) pt. Irmao it. Fratello  sp. Hermana (sister) pt. Irma it. Sorella  sp. Flor (flower) pt. Flor it. Fiore    This is just some compelling proof of the remarkable closeness between Portuguese and Spanish. There is so much more to give as proof but at least this gives you an idea.    Italian and French are closer to each other than either is to Spanish.    For those who insist that Spanish and italian have the closest phonetics, well that doesn't matter one iota if the words that are used in these two languages are different i.e., again in English, otra vez (spanish), outra vez (portuguese), encore (French) and ancora (italian) - - How is the Italian going to make the Spanish speaker understand this, and a huge number of other words that are totally different in both languages? A similar accent won't matter at all. It's all about vocabulary! Portuguese and Spanish have 89% common vocabulary, great grammatical similarity and sentence structure.    French and Italian have 89%. Spanish and Italian 82%, and French and Spanish 75%
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Italian doesn't sound anything like Spanish to me. For instance, there is this girl from Spain in my class and she can't make out a word Italians are saying. That's odd, that Italian and and spanish are claimed to sound similar. I see more similarities between French and Italian. I'm studying Italian and French and, well, spanish is spoken everywhere you go these days; Spanish and Italian just don't sound alike. They sound like separate languages. Then again, I hear similarities between French and Italian. French and Italian pretty much share the same vocabulary. French has an 89% lexical similarity with Italian. Spanish has only an 80% lexical similarity with Italian. French and italian have pretty much the same infinitive verbs, they are just conjugated differently that is what makes them sound not similar.
Emma Veliz Profile
Emma Veliz answered
Spanish, italian and french come from latin. They do have similarities when you speak them becaue they are words that sound spanish when your talking italian as for french I don't know.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I believe any credible scholar would argue that Spanish and Italian are far more similar than either is to French. This is a result of the Germanic-speaking Frankish tribes conquering what is now France (France means "land of the Franks"). The French language can be seen as a Germanic interpretation of the "common" Latin spoken at the time of the conquest. The phonetics and even much of the grammar (and some of the vocabulary) have more in common with some of the Germanic languages than they do with Latin.

Spanish and Italian were also affected by the Germanic invasions but to a much lesser degree. The conquerors in Spain and Italy were outnumbered by their subjects and so they adopted the ways of their subjects more.

The suggestion above that Italian is substantially more similar to Classical atin than Spanish, though, is dubious at best. I don't believe there is any scholarly concensus to support that. If the implication is that the Italians are more "Roman" than than the Spaniards this is false. As the Roman Empire expanded the citizens of the empire moved around and intermingled and Spain became as Latinized as Italy. Equally as important remember that Rome and much of Italy became largely abandoned during the early Middle Ages so the notion of a continuous, flourishing Roman culture in Rome and Italy throughout history is a false one. The point is that Italian and Spanish each are very similar and each maintains some aspects of Latin that the other doesn't. More importantly they are both far more similar to each other than to Classical Latin.

Oh and the suggestion above that knowing Classical Latin makes it easy to understand Italian is quite false. Although one can certainly see the similarities they are, nevertheless, very different languages both in terms of vocabulary and grammar.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
French for sure. Portuguese is really the closest language to spanish in every way except for perhaps the pronunciation. But Portuguese and Spanish vocabulary, structure, grammar are remarkably similar - 89% so. Italian, to untrained ears, may sound like spanish, but is quite different in the way sentences are constructed, different grammar and even vocabulary. That is why Portuguese and Spanish are in the Iberia-romance group, while Italian and French are in the Gall-romance group. Any educated Spanish and Portuguese speaking persons can converse with each other in their respective languages effortlessly. The same cannot be said for Italian and spanish. I am a native spanish speaker from Venezuela and I spent many years in spain. Trust me, spanish and Portuguese are very, very closely related - brother languages in every way since the beginning.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I am a native italian. And I live in Italy. So, I have to admit that for me is more easy to understand Spanish than French.
Another one thing to say is that my grand-mother is Sicilian and I understand the Sicilian dialect, many words has got a Spanish influence. Italy is more close to Spain.
abdias batista Profile
abdias batista answered
Yes, Spanish and Italian are very similar. I personally have never studied Italian, but as a Spanish native speaker I can understand any conversation spoken in Italian . Why? I don't know. All I feel is that it is pretty much the same language but, words deviate most of the time. And french will never be as similar to the Italian as the Spanish is. How come that I can't understand nothing spoken in french and almost all in Italian. It's obvious. This is how I think the order from Latin descendants is.
LATIN= ITALIAN=SPANISH=PORTUGUESE=FRECH
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Anonymous
Anonymous commented
that's funny, because i speak Italian and my friend that i do karate with speaks Spanish and no Italian. i don't speak any Spanish. i speak to him in Italian and he talks to me in Spanish, and everytime i say something to him in Italian, most of the time he's like "yeah, yeah, ok" like he doesn't understand. french and Italian are closer. you might think Spanish and Italian are closer cus their pronunciations sound similar, but Italian shares FAR more vocabulary w/ french. If u think Spanish and Italian r the same and understand 100% the language, then you MUST HAVE taken a class or something cuz there is no way they're that close. my friend understood like 35% of what i said to him.
Hassan Raza Profile
Hassan Raza answered
Italian language is not same like Spanish or French; because every language has his own dictionary and vocabulary. For example every country has its own culture and traditions, they will be never same. So languages also will be different theses will never be same. Although Spanish is a big language and it is used in most countries of Europe.

In Spanish language; the Spanish dictionary from Espasa Calpe publishers alone has over 120,000 words with more than 250,000 translations. On paper it fills more than a thousand pages. These kinds of words and translations are also available on the internet in different websites

The French and Italian dictionaries are also large and growing. The French dictionary has over 250.000 translations and the Italian dictionary has nearly 200,000 words and translations. These dictionaries continue to grow and improve as well.

There are lot of languages forums on the internet with different websites, where you can understand the difference between Italian and French or Spanish, you can learn better by visiting those websites. Native speakers from around the world are available to assist you on the internet. You may soon find the difference between Italian and French languages and you will learn that Italian language is not like Spanish or French.
chen lyfen Profile
chen lyfen answered
Hi normally Italian is almost the same Spanish and French as what has told above it show these languages are partially coming from Latin, so Latin is the main language at the initial time some of languages took from it and it is initially a language that was lended from other countries.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Hi!, I don't know why, but I am able to understand Italian a little bit more than French, I am a Spanish speaker from the north Mexico area. You know what?, maybe it's because of how much words from your own language you use, I usually tend to use as much synonymous of Spanish than most of my friends and I am convinced that depends on how much words you use that makes you able to easily understand another language, in my case Italian. Dolce Vita / Dulce Vida. :)
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Italian is similar enough to Spanish to allow for a general intelligibility, but in terms of written, Italian and French are much closer. However, the two major Romance languages that are the closest by far, in terms of vocabulary, grammar, structure, are Spanish and Portuguese. Speakers of Portuguese and Spanish can converse effortlessly with one another in their own respective languages.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Both. French shares 85% of vocabulary with Italian and Spanish shares 80% with Italian. French shares 80% vocabulary with Spanish. Portuguese shares 85% vocabulary with Spanish and 80% with French and Italian. All of them are somewhat mutually intelligible with each other. However, Latin in not intelligible with any of these, but all of them share between 50%-60% vocabulary with Latin.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
May I add this point that during the late medieval time early modern times(ca. 1400s to 1800s) Spain and the kingdom that were to be Spain (Aragon, Catalonia) had claim many Italian province or kingdoms at the time, mainly southern Italy (Naples and Sicily), but many of the influences became more prevalent in Italy, not to mention that Italy itself wasn't a  "whole country" until the latter part of the modern time (mid/late 1800s -1900-40s for northeast/western Italy where German, Romansh and Ladin is still spoken and even eastern heel and Sicily, where Greek is spoken in small communities) and many of the dialect of Italy reflect the belated unity of Italy from the Tuscan Latin dialect (circa13th-15th century c.e.) was predominated in most of Italy, Italy itself is a very divided country in culture (TO A SENSE). So that may contribute to the similarities with Spanish to Italian.
William Hook Profile
William Hook answered

Italian language is the complement to French and Spanish. If you already have a good command over French or Spanish then it will be easy for you to learn Italian. In fact, you find a language just similar to both French and Spanish, and it will not require extra efforts to learn Italian.

Let's learn some common similarities between Italian and Spanish -

1) Basic sentence order is the same i.e, Subject - Verb - Object

2) Grammatical gender and agreement between nouns and adjectives is same

3) Conjugations are mostly same but having a slight difference between the rules.

4) The use of Direct, Indirect and Object nouns are the same in both language grammar

5) Use of formality sentences i.e. Speaking to some elder or 3rd person is also same.

So, we can say that if you are already aware about Spanish or French and leaning Italian is not a difficult task. Let me tell you that if you want to learn Spanish then must prefer to read the Spanish Study Guide by The Olivia and Hill Press. You will find the easiest and interesting one.

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Portuguese and Spanish are by far the 2 closest major romance languages in the world today in terms of vocabulary, grammar, structure,etc. Just the accents are a little different and do not affect mutual intelligibility in any real way. Speakers of Portuguese and Spanish can converse very easily and understand each other almost perfectly. Trust me, I am a well educated native Spanish speaker so I know what I'm talking about.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I believe any credible scholar would argue that Spanish and Italian are far more similar than either is to French. This is a result of the Germanic-speaking Frankish tribes conquering what is now France (France means
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Well Spoken Spanish Sounds more Like French than italian, French like portugese and Spanish Evolved to become Unique of it's region.
Janice Negroni Profile
Janice Negroni answered
Italian DOES NOT sound more similar to French than Spanish. Like abdias I am also a native Spanish speaker and I can understand at least 50-60% of Italian while I can't understand French. Why is that since I've never studied Italian? I don't know, but if I have to learn a 4th language it will be Italian.
thanked the writer.
Anonymous
Anonymous commented
Italian is very similar to Spanish. French is too, but in different ways and to a much lesser degree. It is true Italian shares many words with French that it doesn't share with Spanish, but then again it shares hundreds of words with Spanish that it doesn't with French. Before I took any Italian courses I was already able to understand most written texts in Italians. Where there are words that look alien to Hispanics, in many cases we can guess or deduce the meaning by context . I have studied French for many years (more than Italian) and even now It is much easier to understand broadcasts in Italian than in French. If an Italian person speaks to us slowly, we can have a fairly lively conversation with them.
Anonymous
Anonymous commented
Phrases such as "je veux manger/io voglio mangiare" are always put forth as examples of a closer similarity of Italian to French. Other such examples are "sbadigliare/bailler" (yawn)-Spanish "bostezar"; tavola/table (table)-Spanish "mesa", and teste/tête-Spanish "cabeza"...but let's take a look at some other instances in which Italian does not even barely ressemble French, but is quite similar, if not almost identical to Spanish or Portuguese:

Partorire (IT) - Paris (PORT, SPAN) "give birth"; ACCOUCHER (FR)
Coniglio (IT)- Coelho (PORT)-Conejo (SPAN) "rabbit"; LAPIN (FR)
Accendere (IT)-Ascender (PORT)-Encender (SPAN); "to turn on", to light up"; ALLUMER (FR)
Nebbia (IT)-Névoa (PORT) Niebla/ Neblina (SPAN); "Fog","mist"; BROUILLARD (FR)
Casa (IT, SPAN, PORT); "house"; MAISON (FR)
Zia (IT), Tía (SPAN), Tia (PORT); "aunt"; TANTE (FR)
Fuliggine (IT)-Hollín (SPAN)-Fuligem (PORT); "Soot"; SUIT (FR)
Molto (IT)-Muito (PORT)-Muy/mucho (SPAN); "very", "a lot (of)", "lots"; BEAUCOUP (FR)
Sempre (IT-PORT); Siempre (SPAN); "always"; TOUJOURS (FR)

As you can see, these are all very basic terms, no fancy language here...It is true that overall Italian has more in common with French, but it has nonetheless enormous similarities with Spanish-Portuguese that make for general mutual intelligibility...French pronunciation and evolution of Latin terms is in many cases so extreme if compared to other Romance languages, that even when lexical similarities abound, mutual intelligibility is often very hard or even impossible.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
To all those who answered:
Spanish is a superior language over most of other Romance languages. Yes, the French and Italians incorporated Germanic vocabulary, but so did Spanish. As a matter of fact, Spanish is harder to learn since it has Arabic influence such as vocabulary and syntax, as well as Celtic, Nahuatl, and even Asian vocabulary that no other Romance language can rival. Italian only has mostly Latin and Ger. While French has Celtic, Ger. And Italian influence. Therefore, it is safe to say, that Spanish is a universal language that learns to incorporate itself. Besides, it's much easier for a Spanish speaker to learn the pronunciation of most European languages with the exception of French, and some Scandinavian-Germanic languages, Arabic, Japanese, African dialects, Hebrew as well as Mayan and Nahuatl. Now I don't mean to attack the other languages, but it's "survival of the fittest."If Spanish outgrows Italian and French, and obviously Portuguese, then Spanish will become the new "lingua franca" like English. Thank You! Gracias! Merci! Grazie! Gracies! Danke! Arigato! Shukrun! Dvala! Xie-Xie! Toda! Obrigado! Blagodaryu!

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