So, I have two related questions for you. I think no previous knowledge of linguistics is necessary for the discussion.

1. Does the knowledge of regular sound changes help with learning a foreign language related to a language you already know?
For instance, let's say you know English very well. Does it help you with learning German to know the following and similar rules (they apply to the Germanic words and very early Latin borrowings):
English "t" corresponds to German "z", which is read "ts", in the beginning of a word (two-zwei, ten-zehn, tooth-Zahn, tongue-Zunge, twig-Zweig…) and after "r" (heart-Herz…), but corresponds to "s" otherwise (water-Wasser, it-es, that-das, what-was…) except after "s", when it corresponds to "t" (star-Stern, stone-Stein…)
English "th" corresponds to German "d" (three-drei, that-das, thick-dick, mouth-Mund, death-Tod…)
English "v" corresponds to German "b" (seven-sieben, give-geben, live-leben, have-haben…)
English "d" corresponds to German "t" (desk-Tisch, word-Wort, god-Gott, ride-reiten…), but English "nd" corresponds to German "nd" (wind-Wind, hundred-hundert…)
English "oo" corresponds to German "u" (book-Buch, foot-Fuss, too-zu…)
English "ou" corresponds to German "au" (house-Haus, out-aus, show-schauen…)
English "ea" usually corresponds to German "o" (ear-ohr, east-Osten, easter-Obster, bread-Brot, bean-Bohne, death-Tod…)
I believe this was enough for anyone to get the basic idea.

2. Does knowing an archaic language from some family help with learning modern languages from that family?
For example, I've heard that, if you know Old Church Slavonic, you can basically understand all Slavic languages. Is that true?

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Offline Dither

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I can speak two languages, English and bad English.

But I do remember hearing that understanding Gramatical Gender can shortcut the learning process.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_gender

If you have a mind for becoming a polyglot, and are cool with endless reps and carrying around flash cards, then there's never been a better time to jump on the language bandwagon, what with all the new and cheap learning methods and apps coming out (like memrise for example)

A lie will make it around the world before the truth has time to put on its shoes.

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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2. Does knowing an archaic language from some family help with learning modern languages from that family?
For example, I've heard that, if you know Old Church Slavonic, you can basically understand all Slavic languages. Is that true?
It's kinda true, but knowing a modern Slavic language would yield much better results.
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