I heard someone say "if (as a speaker of English) you learn French, you get Spanish for free".

Is this true? Is Spanish mostly a subset of French?

  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic, since it is about comparing two romance languages it might be better on Linguistics or perhaps Language Learning where they would probably better take into account the OP's mother tongue (English) into the learning process.
    – None
    Sep 16, 2019 at 9:14
  • 1
    @Laure The question might perhaps be viewed as a caracteristic of French as it relates to the romance languages, considering the nature of French as what is to be made more precise through a comparison.
    – LPH
    Sep 16, 2019 at 9:31

1 Answer 1


That's a very dubious assertion; I know for certain that speaking French fluently is not going to make a conversation in Spanish intelligible at all to you, nor one either in Portugese or Italian. It must be taken very generally: you'll find often the same latin roots but that's about all in the way of a solid similarity. For instance, whereas in French and English you have just one verb "to be" in Spanish you have two (ser, estar); you find the forms of the French verb "être" (sont, sera, serais, être, est, …) in those two verbs but very much modified and that's not going to help: the precise combinations of those forms are made according to quantities of different rules; for instance when you use personal pronouns with verbs in French, you don't use any in Spanish (« Il parle fort. », « Habla fuerte. »). Here you do find that "fort" is "fuerte" but in spite of the same latin root, you'll never know that before you've actually learned this correspondence.

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