Learning a foreign language can be difficult. It takes a lot of time and effort to master a second language. Even with the best language learning methods, you need to commit to your studies. However, there are some languages that are easier to learn than others. This depends on how closely related it is to your native language. So, which is the easiest language to learn for an English speaker then?
Language families have a lot to do with the ease at which you are likely to learn a language. For English speakers, the language family that is decidedly the easiest is Germanic. In fact, there is only one language on this list that isn’t Germanic – it’s Romantic, and still much easier to learn than the other Romance Languages.
The languages most often chosen by English speakers to learn are French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Both French and Spanish are spoken in more than 100 countries combined, making them easy to use if you travel. Portuguese ranks in the top 10 list of most often spoken languages. Though not used in as many countries as the others, Italian is more closely related to Latin. This makes it an ideal language to learn if you want to learn more than one language.
While there is good reason to learn one of these languages, they aren’t necessarily the easiest language to learn for native English speakers.
Despite the name, Afrikaans is actually a Germanic language. Commonly thought of as a Dutch dialect that became a language all on its own, there are roughly 9 million speakers of the language today. As the name suggests, it is primarily spoken in South Africa and Namibia.
It is also considered the easiest language for someone who only knows English to learn. Because it began in Germany, the vocabulary and grammar are quite similar to English. This can be comfortable when learning Afrikaans. Speech patterns will also sound familiar to English speakers. Both Afrikaans and English use double negatives frequently.
If you are interested in learning Afrikaans, you can check out the media sites for South Africa to start getting a feel for the language.
Learning Dutch is easy for the same reasons as Afrikaans. The Germanic roots of the language make it more comfortable for English speakers. There are approximately 23 million people who speak the language. Dutch is the official language of several countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname.
As mentioned, it is actually very close to Afrikaans (as Afrikaans has Dutch roots). The two languages are similar enough for two native speakers to understand each other. To add to its appeal, Dutch actually borrow a lot of words from English. This means you will have an even easier time with the vocabulary.
If you need another reason to learn Dutch, it’s actually an excellent language for business and art. Rotterdam is among one of the largest ports in Europe, making it ideal for business travelers. And you have probably heard of a number of their most famous artists, such as Vincent van Gogh.
The Three Scandinavian Languages – Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish
Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are all ranked the same in terms of easiness. These Scandinavian languages are all considered Germanic. There are over 20 million native speakers just in Europe.
The biggest reason to learn one of these three languages is that you can easily learn the other two soon after. Essentially, you can become a polyglot very easily with the Scandinavian languages. In fact, learning one of these languages means you will at least be able to more easily understand what speakers of the other two are saying.
The best language to learn is Norwegian because it is the most centralized linguistically. This will make learning the other two a piece of cake.
What makes these some of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers is their sentence structure. You can focus on the vocabulary, conjugation, and gendered nouns without worrying about misplacing words too.
These Scandinavian languages have more letters in their alphabet than English. However, there are only three extra letters. This makes it considerably easier than other languages.
Not many people know that Romanian is a Romance Language. It’s closely related to French or Spanish. Thanks to its Latin roots, if you learned a Romance language in the past, it’ll be much easier to learn Romanian afterward. With more than 26 million native speakers, you should be able to find someone to talk to as well.
You will need to take some time to learn the pronunciations because they are the least similar to English of the six languages on this list. However, once you can pronounce the letters in their alphabet, you should be in pretty good shape. Unlike English, each letter has only one sound.
Easiest Language to Learn with OptiLingo
If you’d like to learn more about these easy, yet non-traditional languages to learn, check them out on OptiLingo. Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, and Romanian are all part of 20 languages featured on OptiLingo.
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