I’ve just updated the list of multilingual sites for learning several languages together, but if you’re interested in books (some in electronic format) rather than websites, these are the resources I have:
1. A Comparative Practical Grammar of French, Spanish and Italian by O. W. Heatwole (1949) You can buy it from sellers on Amazon for around $40. There appears to be a newer edition from 1977 but I have no idea how many changes were made, and unfortunately it’s being sold for an astounding $750. The book was edited by Mario Pei and in the foreword, he explains why a book of this type is needed:
“But how wonderful would it be if there were only a comparative grammar of the main Romance languages, that would enable me to compare at a glance a rule in the language with which I am most familiar with the corresponding rule in the language I know least!”
This work is an answer to the conscious and unconscious needs of these students and teacher of Romance languages. It is a book the necessity of which has long been felt, but somehow no one has ever taken the trouble to supply it.
There is some inconsistency in the fact that Departments of Romance Languages are far more common in our system of higher education than separate Departments of French, Spanish and Italian, yet nowhere are the Romance Languages taught as a unit from the comparative angle that would permit the learner to avoid major confusions and major pitfalls. Learning three related languages at once should certainly prove no more difficult than learning them separately.
2. Comparative Grammar of French, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese Languages by Edwin A. Notley (1868) is a similar book though it is much older. The obvious advantage over Heatwole’s book is the inclusion of Portuguese but since it is so old, there are a few spelling differences (Spanish mujer is muger) and probably other features that have changed in the past 144 years! The good news about this book is that it is in the public domain, and I have scanned my copy so you can download it as a PDF (or flip through it online).
3. The Loom of Language: An Approach to the Mastery of Many Languages by Frederick Bodmer (1944) is where my love of comparative linguistics began. I reviewed the book on the blog a while ago, and it is still my favorite book overall. You can buy it through Amazon for $15 or access it online via archive.org
4. Comprendre les langues romanes: Du français à l’espagnol, au portugais, à l’italien & au roumain. Méthode d’intercompréhension by Paul Teyssier (2004) is obviously written in French, but it is the most recent resource I have found so far. It’s not available via amazon.fr; however, I ordered my copy from the Librairie Portugaise & Brésilienne in Paris for around 30€, and they do ship worldwide.
5. EuroComRom – The Seven Sieves: How to read all the Romance languages right away by McCann, Klein & Stegmann (2003) is a European initiative to encourage EU citizens to learn each other’s languages. This PDF includes Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian and French and can be bought online for only 6€.
6. Exploring French, German, and Spanish by Jacob Steigerwald (1987) is a neat PDF explaining the similarities of the three most commonly taught languages in the US. I downloaded the full text for free from eric.ed.gov but they currently have limited availability of full text documents due to a privacy issue. I’ve already emailed them to request that this PDF be put back online.
Since I’ve started studying Spanish again, I’m thinking about creating a new French & Spanish tutorial to add to the comparative resources on the site. I just wish there were more recent resources to learn languages together since I find comparing Spanish to the French and Italian that I already know extremely helpful. Anyone know of other comparative books that teach more than one language at a time?