Like English, Afrikaans belongs to the West Germanic family of languages, which was once considered a Dutch dialect. These are 15 of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn. However, you can use this as a general guide. We have used data from the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) to rank them from the easiest to the most challenging.
It is believed that Frisian is one of the languages most related to English and, therefore, also the easiest for English speakers to learn. Frisian was once the main language of what was known as Frisia during the Middle Ages. Although Friesland no longer exists, Frisian, which actually consists of three main dialects, is still used in parts of the Netherlands and Germany. English and Frisian share many similarities in terms of sentence structure and vocabulary.
For example, “Good morning” is translated as “Goeie moarn” in the West Frisian dialect. Unfortunately, since only 500,000 people speak and understand Frisian, there is little reason to learn it, unless you intend to move to the Dutch province of Friesland or to the German regions of Saterland or North Frisia. Dutch, like Frisian, is closely related to English. It shares many similarities with English, especially when it comes to vocabulary.
For example, words like “plastic”, “water” and “lamp” are identical in both Dutch and English. The most challenging aspect of this language for English speakers is probably the pronunciation. Around 10 million people speak Swedish and, although most of them live in Sweden, a small minority is found in Finland, where Swedish is also a national language. However, while German may not be as easy for English speakers to understand as Dutch or Norwegian, it is an extremely useful language to learn, as it is spoken by more than 100 million people across Central Europe, including Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg.
Indonesian is one of the most spoken languages in the world, with more than 40 million native speakers and more than 150 million non-native speakers. As an Austronesian language, Indonesian differs quite a bit from the Germanic and Romance languages on this list, but it's actually surprisingly simple for English speakers to learn. Swahili is a Bantu language and another very useful second language, as it is widely used in East Africa, including in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. While estimates vary widely, around 16 million people are believed to speak Swahili as their mother tongue and up to 80 million people as a second language.
There you have it, the 15 easiest languages for English speakers to learn. If you're thinking of investing some time in learning a new language, why not take a look at some of the language courses offered by Berlitz? Too easy for you and looking for something more challenging? Don't worry, we have what you need with our 15 most difficult languages for English speakers to learn. Of these, Spanish and Italian are the easiest for native English speakers to learn, followed by Portuguese and, finally, French. If that alone doesn't get your energy flowing, learning a language has been shown to help you earn more money by adding a 5 to 15% increase to your salary and helps expand your professional opportunities.
One way to hack this process is to first understand that, as English speakers, we have in our hands one of the most connected languages that exist. It is linked to many European Germanic languages by descent or influence, and more than 50 percent of English words come from Latin or French. This probably won't surprise most, since the structure, alphabet and composition of the language are very similar to those of Spanish, Italian, French and other Latin root languages. However, it wouldn't be too wise for Kobe Bryant to start playing professional ice hockey.
It involves learning too many new rules, a completely new skill (skating), and the probability of success decreases significantly (or it will take 10 times longer). As professional language students, we must first analyze our strengths and our understanding of existing rules and structures. If you already speak English, the easiest languages to learn will be those with similar sounds and word structure. An example would be learning to speak Spanish, with similar Latin roots, rather than a completely different root such as Mandarin.
Welcome to the International Language of Love. Despite how different French may seem at first, linguists estimate that French has influenced up to a third of modern English. This may also explain why the Latin derivations of French make much of the vocabulary familiar to English speakers (building, real, town). There are also more verb forms (17), compared to English (1) and gender nouns (le crayon, la table).
Pronunciation in French is especially difficult, with vowel sounds and quiet lyrics that you might not be used to in English. For many English speakers, German is a difficult language to learn. Its long words, its four uppercase and lowercase endings and its approximate pronunciation make the language exercise quite a bit every time you speak. On the other hand, German can be a fun language to learn and grammar is considered quite logical, with a lot of overlapping words in English.
While language learners won't have as much difficulty with grammar, mastering tones can be very difficult. Mandarin is a tonal language, which means that the tone or intonation in which a sound is spoken affects its meaning. For example, flavor with a high tone means soup, but flavor with a rising tone means sugar. If you are interested in learning Spanish or any other of these simple languages, we can help you in Jumpspeak.
We recommend starting with our language class test, which is 100% risk-free. This is a video from 5Minute Language that shares their perspective. FluentU places it in fourth place overall on its list. Jumpspeak points out that German also involves combining words with actions.
Its long words, its four endings in upper and lower case and its approximate pronunciation make the language exercise quite a bit every time you speak, according to his review. Like French and Spanish, Italian belongs to the Romance language family. And it's one of the easiest languages to learn for many of the same reasons. Therefore, how easy or difficult it is to learn a language will depend not only on the language itself, but also on the languages that you are already fluent in or, at least, with which you are familiar.
Filipino Tagalog is one of the official languages of the Philippines and another Austronesian language. We publish it here mainly to show you the contrasting difference between the easiest language to learn (Spanish) and the most difficult language for English speakers to learn. However, if you want to try to learn a language that doesn't make you lose your brain, any of the languages on this list would be a good starting point. This adds musicality to spoken language, making it quite simple to understand and a courageous language to use.
Enter your email address below to get free access to my language learning rules and discover 25 “rules” for learning a new language quickly and naturally through stories. However, for Chinese or Russian speakers, for example, the list would be completely different because proximity to your native language also has a significant effect on how easy it is to learn any language for you. This adds musicality to spoken language, making it quite easy to understand and a courageous language to use, Jumpspeak says. While each foreign language presents its own unique challenges, the reality is that some languages will simply be easier for fluent English speakers to master.