What are the Easiest Languages to Learn & Why?

Looking for information on language learning? Then you have come to the right place. Essentially, learning a new language need not be as hard as you assume. So long as you know a little about language learning and know which the easiest languages are, you should have an easy time.

According to a survey by the European Commission in 2012, 61% of British respondents cannot speak a 2nd language (http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_386_en.pdf). This is surprising considering how the world is becoming more globalized and multi-cultural by the second. Getting by with one language, therefore, isn’t enough. Language learning has also been shown to help people earn more money by adding anywhere between 5 and 15% to their wages, while significantly expanding their career opportunities.

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So, what are the easiest languages to learn? Consider the following:

  1. Spanish

Writing: Easy

Grammar:  Very Easy

Speaking: Very Easy

Overall: Very Easy

The great thing about Spanish pronunciations is that they are among the easiest to learn, especially for English speakers. Spanish also has a shallow orthographic depth. This means that most of its words are written as they are pronounced. As a result, writing and reading this language is pretty straightforward.

Whereas English has 20 diphthong and vowel sounds, Spanish only has 10. There are also no unfamiliar phonemes except for the letter ñ, which is fun to pronounce anyway. All of these work hand in hand to make Spanish the easiest for language learning. What is more, the language gives the best returns on investment since 37% of employers rate Spanish as critical for employment and career advancement (http://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/value-of-spanish-in-workplace).

  1. Italian

Writing: Moderately Easy

Grammar: Easy

Speaking: Easy

Overall: Easy

Italian happens to be the most romantic of all romance languages. Most of its vocabulary is rooted in Latin, which translates to most similar English/Italian cognates – such as ambizioso (ambitious), calendario (calendar) and foresta (forest).

Like Spanish, most of its words are also written as they are pronounced. Additionally, Italian sentence structures are highly rhythmic, with most of its words ending in vowels. As a direct result, it adds musicality to the spoken languages and makes Italian pretty easy to understand and spunky to use.

  1. French

Writing: Moderately Easy

Grammar: Moderate

Speaking: Moderate

Overall: Moderate

The known international language of love, French may initially appear to be different. However, linguists have estimated that it has actually influenced up to a 3rd of modern English.

This, perhaps, explains why its Latin derivations make most of French vocabulary familiar to Anglophones (like village, royal, and edifice). There are also more gendered nouns (la table and le crayon) and verb forms (which are 17 compared to 12 in English).

Still, French pronunciation can get difficult. This is especially because most of its silent letters and vowel sounds are not familiar to English speakers.

  1. Portuguese

Writing: Moderate

Grammar: Moderate

Speaking: Moderate

Overall: Moderate

The Brazilian economy has been ranked 9th globally (http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/022415/worlds-top-10-economies.asp). This, among other factors, makes Portuguese a top contender for language learning. One of the great elements about the language I that its interrogatives are pretty easy since they are expressed by intonation alone (e.g. you like this?). Therefore, anything you can say in Portuguese can easily be turned into a question.

The main difficulty in pronouncing Portuguese words is in the nasal vowel sounds. This will require a bit of practice to get used to.

  1. German

Writing: Moderate

Grammar: Moderate

Speaking: Difficult

Overall: Moderately Difficult

For many Anglophones, German is one of the more difficult of the languages to pick up in this list. Most of its words seem excessively long. Additionally, it comes with 4 noun case endings added to the rough pronunciation that will give your tongue a bit of a work out every time you try speaking the language.

Similarly, German is highly descriptive. A good example is how German-speakers use the noun by combining objects with the actions at hand. To this end, das Fernsehen refers to the television. Here, the words fern (far) and sehen (watching) literally translate to far watching.

On the other hand, it can be pretty fun for language learning. This is mostly on account of the fact that German’s use of grammar is considered quite logical. Most of its words also overlap with those in English. Still, you should watch out for the exceptions to the main grammar rules.

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When all is said and done, Spanish is the easiest for language learning. Everything from speaking, grammar and writing will come more naturally to you. There are also similar structures, Latin roots and rules.

FURTHER READING

http://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/the-5-easiest-second-languages-to-learn-for-english-speakers-335588/

http://www.swifty.com/lifestyle/5392/10-easiest-languages-for-english-speakers-to-learn/#slide/0

http://www.fluentu.com/blog/easiest-language-to-learn/

http://www.bloomsbury-international.com/blog/2013/09/13/importance-of-learning-a-second-language/

http://www.thecultureist.com/2014/05/27/spanish-korean-easiest-hardest-languages-learn-infographic/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2016/03/14/the-easiest-foreign-languages-to-learn/

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