Top 7 Easiest Languages to Learn — A Quick Review

The Easiest Language to Learn
Hey there, I'm Jerry. I completed my undergraduate studies in China in 2020, and I'm currently struggling for my Master's degree at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, Japan. I speak Chinese, English, Japanese, and have recently been learning Portuguese. It can be said that learning languages have lit up my life, enormously enriched my academic background, and enhanced career prospects for me. Don't hesitate, let's enjoy learning languages together!

Aloha! Are you wondering what is the easiest language in the world? Since we have so many languages globally, there must be some relatively easy ones, right? If you are looking for a language to learn and wish to start off with one of the easiest, you’ve come to the right place. This article will offer you some useful information.

First of all, the difficulty of a language depends on what the learner’s mother tongue is. For example, due to numerous shared vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structures, English is a relatively easier language for French and Spanish-speaking people to learn than Japanese and Chinese speakers.

In this article, I will go through several languages that the FSI classifies as Category I (except German), the easiest group for English speakers, requiring 24~30 weeks to acquire “Professional Working Proficiency.”

French

Did you know that French is not only the official language of France but also of the other 29 countries, including Canada, Belgium, and various African countries? It’s estimated that there are between 100 and 120 million native French speakers. In addition, there are between 150 and 190 million second-language speakers. French is a vital language of international diplomacy and was once the primary global lingua franca.

The English and French languages have a lot in common. Because a great deal of French vocabulary is of Latin origin, English speakers will certainly notice a number of French words that seem like English words. Furthermore, the word order of French in simple SVO phrases is nearly identical to that of English. It could be said that French is both practical and straightforward for English speakers to learn.

French

Norwegian

Norwegian is spoken by around five million people today, primarily in Norway. In many ways, Norwegian is a language that feels familiar to English speakers. If we think of the language system as a large tree, then English and Norwegian are both fruits of the Germanic family branch. Thus, the two languages share quite a bit of vocabulary.

As reported by FSI, Norwegian grammar is supposedly the easiest for English speakers to learn. Furthermore, English and Norwegian have almost the same word order and sentence structure (SVO), making it easy for you to understand the logic of the language. For example, “There are five members in my family” translates to “Det er fem medlemmer i familien min.” Notice any similarities?

Portuguese

Portuguese is one of the most prevalent languages in the world, with around 230 million people speaking it. It is the second most widely spoken Romance language after Spanish because it spread to the four corners of the world during the colonial period. As a result, Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, and six other countries.

Due to the French and Latin influences on English, Portuguese contains tons of vocabulary that English speakers would immediately recognize, like most Romance languages. Therefore, if you speak English, you should be able to learn to read some Portuguese easily. Moreover, if you know another Romance language, you can probably read a lot of Portuguese even if you haven’t studied it.

Spanish

The official language of Spain is Spanish, also known as Castilian Spanish. With about 500 million native speakers and another 100 million who use it as a second language, Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages on the planet. It is very significant for many international organizations as one of the six official languages of the UN and one of the 24 official languages of the EU.

Like Romance languages in general, the Spanish language shares a lot of related vocabulary with English. You can figure out and remember them more quickly if you associate them with the corresponding English words. Another benefit of learning a Romance language for English speakers is that the basic syntax is very similar to English.

spanish and portuguese


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Dutch

Dutch is mainly spoken in Europe, although it is also spoken in a few other parts of the world. It has 25 million native speakers and roughly 30 million speakers in total, including second-language speakers. There’s also a language called Afrikaans which you may have heard of before. Afrikaans is a sublanguage of Dutch prevalent in South Africa and Namibia. It’s worth mentioning that Dutch and Afrikaans are mutually intelligible to some extent.

As an English speaker, you will notice related vocabulary and similar grammar in Dutch if you disregard pronunciation and spelling and simply look at the most basic sentences side-by-side. Occasionally, some sentences in Dutch might be strangely familiar to English speakers. For example:

My name is Paul – Mijn naam is Paul

I am a student – ik ben een student

Italian

Italian doesn’t receive as much attention as French, Spanish, or Portuguese because it’s mainly spoken in Europe rather than in former colonies. However, it’s still one of the most widely spoken languages in the world with over 70 million speakers. The majority of its speakers (60 million) live in Italy, but it is also an official language of Switzerland, Vatican City, and San Marino. Furthermore, there are almost 70 thousand people who speak Italian in the U.S.

Italian has had a major cultural impact on the rest of the world. For example, Italian composer’s developed the current system of musical notation. Hence, Italian is a language of art, and learning Italian is like wandering through the streets of Rome and experiencing magnificent classical beauty.

german

German

Finally, it’s time to introduce the German language. As I mentioned at the beginning, German is not classified by FSI as Category I, but as Category II. Nevertheless, I think it is still easy for English speakers, especially compared to Chinese and Japanese, which are classified as category IV.

German is spoken by 95 million native speakers, mainly in central Europe. It is also spoken by an additional 11 to 15 million second-language speakers, especially in Eastern Europe. What’s more, in both the U.S and Europe, German is the third most widely taught foreign language. If you are a researcher, you’d better know German to some extent, due to so many scientific papers documented in German.

 

Which of these 7 languages do you wish to learn first? Leave a comment and let us know!

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