From: Romania Registered: 2011-10-09 Posts: 879 Website
I've been re-taking up my Spanish studies lately, and I'm troubled by how bad my Japanese is getting in the way. Mainly I mix them up to a point where I can't think of even the most obvious of Spanish words (seņor, buenos dias, hacer, tener and the like) because my brain automatically substitutes the Japanese word. Worst of is I automatically spanialize some Japanese words (konos aidas me voy a visitar mi sobo >.<)...it's getting kind of ridiculous. So far the only way to counter this was to leave a good several hours in between study sessions, but that means that I usually am too tired/it's too late and miss out on Spanish. Troublesome. I don't seem to have this problem with German, though. Maybe because most of my Spanish was learned instinctively?
Was wondering if you guys have some tips on how to work this out?
From: New Jersey USA Registered: 2011-09-05 Posts: 104
I had this problem when learning Hindi. Spanish would somehow float into my Hindi speech. I think the trick is to just study more of you Spanish because I don't confuse my native language (English) with Spanish anymore (but I used to when I started learning it).
From: America Registered: 2007-01-12 Posts: 565 Website
Hmm, the "mixing up languages effect" stopped for me when I started "laddering" (using Japanese as the base language to learn another language in, e.g learning with books/sites meant for Japanese people, taking all my language learning notes in Japanese, etc). If there aren't enough resources in Japanese, you could try translating the main points of Spanish-learning book/site lessons to Japanese in your notes. I would probably only try this if you're around N2 level or higher though for best results.
Yes. Yes. Yes. I have this problem and have had this problem for years. I don't mix Spanish and Japanese anymore while speaking, but I have not been successful at concentrating on both. I took a Japanese class in Mexico many years ago and while I did learn some Japanese, of course, I found that my Spanish learning was negatively affected generally. So, this time around, I decided to work on Kanji while I am here in Mexico and to avoid spending much time with Japanese film, music etc. It's a bit of a bummer, but Spanish is the more important language for me at the moment. I'm taking a Japanese literature class in Spanish and we just read, "Nemureru Bijo" or "La Casa de las Bellas Durmientes." The class is entirely is Spanish, so the only time I have a problem is when someone starts asking me questions about Japanese words or asking me to translate Japanese to Spanish. My brain sometimes crashes.
Is there actually any reason to believe that laddering solves this problem at all? (Note: Personal experience doesn't really seem to be an indicator of how well this works.)
Khatz doesn't exactly sound like the authority on this subject, haha.
well, if it works for some people, there's no reason not to suggest other people try it, is there... it's not like we really need evidence of it.
Besides which, it does seem like it logically could work. When you use Anki, for instance, you strengthen the connection between W2 -> W1, on the basis that they have similar meanings. Now you introduce W3 -> W1. Now you have two words in different languages which you're trying to link directly to W1. If the link was entirely one directional, that shouldn't matter. However, it's usually when you try to produce the word that the problems start, because while bringing W1 to mind & trying to think of the word in the foreign language of your choice, there may be some interference there between W2 and W3. Anyway, having a chain going W3 -> W2, W2 -> W1 does theorectically fix this problem, because you're not linking two languages to language 1 anymore, it's sort of in a higher order. It's not particularly irrational to believe that it's a decent method, i think.
On the other hand, it's a real pain to ladder Japanese with Spanish or French or whatever, because they aren't so different from English. If you're learning Chinese it makes a lot more sense.
From: Romania Registered: 2011-10-09 Posts: 879 Website
Hmm, I did think about laddering a bit, mainly with minna no nihongo-spanish(and reversing the cards) and I practice using Kanjibox in Spanish (I also practice vocab with it), but I don't trust my Japanese enough to do a full trade-off. I'll keep this in mind after the N2, since I think it will also keep me from guessing stuff based on ethymology (like seeing chimey and guessing la chimenea and such) .
There's no reason to believe laddering shouldn't work. But you have to be strong enough in the L2 for the that you you can understand the translations and word definitions easily and without a significant reduction in speed (otherwise you're just giving yourself more work). Read L3 using L2 dictionary, translations. If the L2 is strong enough, it's pretty much the same as using L1, but you get to practice the L2 instead. As far as mixing stuff up, I believe this only really happens very significantly when you're still a beginner in 1 or both languages.
I'm laddering mandarin using japanese. This wasn't a deliberate choice, it's just that a bought a j<>c dictionary software for my electronic dictionary. Hasn't caused me any problems.
@Icecream I think your W3>W2>W1 chain thing is problematic. It's far to linear. I don't think anyone's brain actually works like that. Just reach a certain level in both languages and get some practice switching between them and you're good to go. It's a temporary thing.