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Ali asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 3 years ago

Do French and Spanish people typically understand each other's languages?


Like can a Spaniard watch a French movie without subs and understand it

11 Answers

  • 3 years ago

    NO. Spanish, Portuguese and Italian are close enough to be basically understood, but french is too different in accent and vocabulary.

    I have used Spanish to speak to tourists from both Portugal and Italy. but the funniest was speaking to a couple of Swiss tourists. One spoke some Italian and so my Spanish was usable barely to explain what he needed to do to get a tow truck for his car. BTW: My Spanish uses Hispanic American slang, accents and vocabulary (as used along the U.S and Mexico border) and is actually a second language for me as a native English speaking U.S. Border Patrol Agent.

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  • 3 years ago

    No they don't, the pronounciation is just too different.

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  • 3 years ago

    No they can not.Neither can Spanish and Italian speakers.It is much easier for Spanish and Portuguese speakers.Both of these have a lot of Arabic content.

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  • Tony R
    Lv 7
    3 years ago

    I know both Spanish and French, and no, they are too different to understood if you had people that knew almost nothing of the other language. French vowels are pretty different from Spanish vowels. Actually if you get far enough in French you can hear a lot of words that are pretty close to English, and know what they are saying, but until you get far enough into French to where your brain can decipher these cognates which are pronounced slightly different from the English equivalent, it just sounds like jibberish. It's the same for French to Spanish and vice versa. Even though there are words that are similar, you can't decipher them until you have an understanding of how they would pronounce your words in that language. I'm not sure why but somehow my brain just does it for me, if that makes sense. Plus there are just too many totally different words mixed in that would mess the person up anyway.

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  • 3 years ago

    French and Spanish have a lot of similar words and conjugates and building sentences is also very similar, but if you put a French speaker and a Spanish speaker in the same room they would still have a very hard time understanding each other. However, when I went to France I had an easier time finding people who spoke Spanish than English since France is right next to Spain.

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  • 3 years ago

    No. Portuguese people understand Spaniards but not vice-versa.

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  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

    I've heard it's Portuguese and Spanish, though I don't know how true that is.

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  • Pontus
    Lv 7
    3 years ago

    As others are saying, except for isolated words, phrases, no.


    1. Spanish is a language heavy in roots and suffixes. It merely greatly reduced the number of suffixes from the original Latin.

    2. French, by comparison, eliminated suffixes on many word types, and often even shortened or drastically changed roots. That makes recognizing words harder.

    3. The written language is often easier to understand, because spelling is often still similar. Instead of completely changing spelling as pronunciation changed, French often changed the pronunciation rules instead.

    4. Many words that are similar in writing are not recognizable spoken aloud.

    5. Far more than Spanish, French often requires that sounds be inserted, removed, changed, and/or moved beyond syllable word/boundaries, resulting in phrases that are often pronounced very differently from their component words in isolation.

    6. Word stress in Spanish helps determine where words begin and end. Most syllables get equal stress in French, except for the very last syllable of a sentence, making it harder for foreigners to pick out words.

    7. Spanish often leaves out subject pronouns, because the verb form usually makes it clear what the subject is. French, like English, requires that subject pronouns be stated, because many verb forms work for more than one subject.

    8. For comparison: the first few lines of the Lord's prayer (often used for comparing languages):


    Notre Père qui es aux cieux,

    que ton Nom soit sanctifié,

    que ton règne vienne,

    que ta volonté soit faite

    sur la terre comme au ciel.


    Padre nuestro que estás en el Cielo,

    santificado sea tu nombre,

    venga a nosotros tu Reino,

    hágase tu voluntad en la Tierra como en el Cielo,

    Note, many of the words that are similar in spelling do not sound the same.

    Note how word order and structure are often very different.

    The two languages are too different.

    Source(s): taught French; I often can figure out written directions in Spanish because of my French. I can only pick out occasional words or short phrases when hearing it. Part of that is also due to exposure to Spanish. I have a little knowledge of Spanish (not enough to call myself a beginner. I am not truly learning it).
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  • Not very well. Spanish is a Latin language derived from the trading Latin used by the local tribes to communicate with their Roman rulers. French was an attempt by the Norwegian and German rulers of what is now France and Belgium to speak Latin. They subsequently invaded England which is why many French words are in the English language. It was a private language of the aristocracy for centuries and developed quite separately from other languages. Most French people didn't actually speak French as a first language until the early 20th century.

    Spanish and Italian are closer and, to a certain extent, are mutually understandable. I have often heard French and Italian speakers having to communicate in English.

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  • 3 years ago

    As a native French, I understand just some words sometimes, yet it's because I remember what I learned at school.. If we want to understand Spanish people, we have to learn their language and vice verse.

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