Comparative Grammar of the French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese Languages

My new favorite book.

Published in 1868!

400 pages of comparative goodness.

Verb conjugations (we really should bring back thou hadst and the T-V distinction in English!)

There’s even vocabulary at the end, though the words are not grouped thematically like they are in The Loom of Language.

I’ve also ordered A Comparative Practical Grammar of French, Italian and Spanish by Oliver Heatwole (1949) as well as Comprendre les langues romaines: Du français à l’espagnol, au portugais, à l’italien & au roumain by Paul Teyssier (2004), but I haven’t yet found a book like this for the Germanic languages. As soon as I can determine if Notley’s book is in the public domain (there was a reprint in 1977 by an American publisher), I will start scanning and/or re-typing it to share it online.

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  • Andrew

    You’re either a serious language nerd or a glutton for punishment, I’m not sure which. I love learning languages, but I’m pretty sure I’d fall asleep after the first few pages.


  • Kate Saunders

    Cool book. But I am happy with no T-V distinction, thanks ;-)

  • Jennie Wagner

    Probably both! I love having organized lists to compare languages. It helps me remember much faster and I’m never content with studying just one language at a time.

  • Sharyn Sheldon

    That is one scary looking book. I love languages, but I’d much rather go the immersion route. Still, I can see how it would be interesting from a historical perspective for a few pages (until I fall asleep!)

  • Randlesc

    The Comprendre les langues romaines: Du français à l’espagnol, au portugais, à l’italien & au roumain is a nice looking book. The publisher/bookstore is also great–a whole shop devoted to everything Lusophone. I e-mailed from the States and asked the publisher if they had copies in the store. Two months later when I was in Paris, I went to the store. He remembered that I e-mailed him and gave me a very handsome cotton bag in which to carry my purchases.

    I hope the Notley book is in the public domain. It’d be very exciting if you could scan and post it.

  • Randlesc

    Oh, I forgot. EuroComRom site has a book on how to learn Romance languages called the Seven Sieves. I downloaded the PDF from the publisher–the page said 7 euros, but they charged my 5. They also have a EuroComGerm site and book. I’m thinking of downloading the PDF for my sister. Unfortunately, for me, I can’t read German.

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.


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