Seven Easiest Languages to Learn for English Speakers
This blog will be of great help learning languages for English speakers.
Infograph by Day Translations
Learning a new language can provide a plethora of benefits, including more employment and dating opportunities, enhanced travel experiences, and the ability to view foreign cultures from a new perspective. However, some languages are easier to learn than others, depending on your native dialect, age, and other factors. The easiest languages to learn are those that share similarities with your native dialect. The following are the seven easiest languages to learn, for English speakers:
The most popular second language for English speakers is Spanish, and for good reason. English and Spanish are both Latin-based languages, so many of the words share similar etymology (come from the same Latin root). Furthermore, there are half as many vowel sound, with only ten vowels in comparison to 20 in the English alphabet. Reading and writing in Spanish is also relatively easy, because once you’ve become acquainted with the main pronunciation rules the words are mostly spelled how they’re pronounced. Although classified as a romance language by linguists, Spanish contains less grammatical irregularities/inconsistencies than other romance languages. Spanish is not only one of the easiest languages to learn, it is also the second most commonly spoken language behind English, making it an ideal choice for someone that wants to learn a second language.
Similar to Spanish in some respects, Italian is also a romance language that has an easy-to-learn alphabet and writing system. Like other romance languages, Italian features words that carry gender depending on the context they’re used in. However, Italian has less verb forms than the other two most common romance languages - French and Spanish. This language is one of the most appealing to the ears, as many of the words end in vowels and transition smoothly into one another. Studying Italian can also be done in leisure at your favorite Italian restaurant.
Learning Afrikaans usually comes easy to an English speaker because it is derived from Germanic languages, so pronunciations and even some of the words are incredibly similar to their English counterparts. However, some say Afrikaans is even easier to learn than English because there are less complexities and grammatical rules. Once you’ve become comfortable with the vocabulary you can begin stringing together sentences with little worry about proper grammar or sentence structure. Afrikaans contains no verb conjugations, noun genders, or pronouns, so the learning curve is amongst the easiest of all languages.
Portuguese is yet another romance language that shares similarities with English, yet contains fewer prepositions. However, Portuguese prepositions do not always mimic their English counterparts, so a slight learning curve is in store. Learning to pronounce Portuguese words is usually easy for English speakers; however some of the vowel sounds may take some getting used to. In many languages learning how to ask a question in proper context is difficult, but posing a question in Portuguese is as easy speaking the words. Individuals that have already learned some Spanish may find it even easier to learn Portuguese. Most people rank Portuguese as easier to learn than French, but not as easy as Italian or Spanish. It is important to note that there are two very different variations of Portuguese – Brazilian and European. Of the languages on this list, Portuguese shares the most similarities with Spanish, but most agree that Portuguese pronunciations are more difficult.
Norwegian is easy to learn because pronunciations are familiar to English speakers, there are no verb conjugations to learn, and understanding future, past, and present tenses is simple. Some Norwegian words can be easily confused with one another because the only distinguishing factor is the emphasis on the first or second syllable (i.e. – dissent and descent in English). While there are certainly shared attributes between English and Norwegian, many that have learned both languages agree that Norwegian is much easier to learn. After learning Norwegian, many find it easier to learn German and Dutch because of the cognates these languages share.
While Danish grammar is somewhat simple, it ranks lower on this list because of its unfamiliar, rapidly spoken speech patterns. Danish shares Germanic roots with English, but is in fact a Scandinavian language, making it a bit more difficult to practice for English speakers that do not interact with Danish speakers. Danish is similar to Norwegian, but has pronunciations that are less familiar to English speakers. The language has 9 verb forms, and unlike other Scandinavian languages, contains passive verbs. Native English speakers will find that learning to properly speak Danish is more difficult than learning to read and write it, primarily because of the monotonous, fast moving speech that Danish speakers are known for.
French is another romance language that is relatively easy to learn for English speakers because of the low number of verb forms (5 less than English), and a vocabulary that contains many words that are similar to their English counterparts. In fact, many linguists estimate that more than 30% of the English language is derived from French, making it more similar to English than any of the common romance languages. Perhaps the hardest part about learning French is perfecting pronunciations, particularly the difficult vowels and silent letters, which put it at the bottom of our “easiest languages to learn” list.
Published: 2/2012. Author: Joaquin. Updated: 8/2017.