Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Top 5 Easiest Foreign Languages to Learn

For many English speakers, learning a second language is something that can seem daunting, time consuming or even unnecessary at times. As English has become the international language of the 21st century, this had led to many native speakers feeling as if they don't need to learn another language. In my opinion that's their loss, these people are missing out on a rich cultural, lingual, and age-defying (it's good for the brain) learning experience. 

When it comes to choosing a language it's important to consider how difficult it's going to be to learn. So here is a list of the top five easiest to learn languages for English speakers. 


Afrikaans is a language spoken in South Africa and Namibia. It may not have been top of your language wish list, but this West Germanic language is very learner-friendly for English speakers for a whole range of reasons. With most languages verb conjugation and noun gender are some of the biggest learning hurdles, but they don't exist in Afrikaans. In addition, the vocabulary is easy to learn because of the Germanic roots, which have a lot of similarities to English. 


French is such a romantic language to listen to, and it's actually considered the easiest of the Romantic languages for English speakers to learn. French has influenced approximately one-third of the English language, so this means that learning the vocabulary is going to be relatively easy for newbies, especially if you've studied any of the other Romantic languages at school. Technically, the language is fairly complex with 17 verb forms, gendered nouns and silent letters -- but for learning conversationally it's great. Bonne chance! 


Being from the U.S myself, Spanish has a huge influence back home. In fact Spanish is the most spoken non-English language in U.S, with an estimated 37.6 million people speaking it at home. The nicest thing about learning Spanish is that words are pronounced exactly as they are written. There is a wide variety of dialects across the world with some verb conjugation, gender and grammatical differences -- but Spanish has 10 vowel and diphthong sounds vs. English which has 20. Learners will have fun grappling with the pronunciation of ñ, but otherwise Spanish is comparatively straightforward and fun to learn. 


Swedish is a Germanic language that shares many surprising commonalities with English. The syntax is similar to English, verb conjugations also follow similar patterns and the vocab has many crossovers, such as smorgasbord and orienteering (two essential Swedish words all beginners must know). I'm not speaking from experience here, however apparently once you conquer the four extra vowel sounds you are well on your way to mastery. 


This might come as a surprise, but this Scandinavian language is one of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers. Pronunciation is consistent once you understand the vowel sounds, like Swedish the syntax is similar to English, subject-verb-object, and verb conjugation is relatively simple. There are many regional dialects to factor in and practicing outside of Norway will be tough, but if ease of learning is a factor then Norwegian should be on your radar. 


  1. It would be good to learn a second language. People in the USA should probably learn Spanish as it is more spoken. Plus if you traveled you might be able to talk to some that speak Spanish.

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