Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Easiest Languages To Learn

If you're hoping to learn another language and you're lazy, busy or just don't want to overexert yourself, we have a list of a few of the languages considered to be the easiest for speakers of English to learn.

Dutch

Often rated as the easiest language for any English speaker, Dutch enjoys a lexicon with many similarities to English. These Germanic languages share a large number of cognates, and unlike the French, the Dutch haven't resisted the adoption of English words, which makes your job that much easier! They also share similar stress and intonation patterns as well as sound systems. Best of all, Dutch is said to have simple and consistent spelling rules, unlike our ridiculous language. Just think about the English words knife and through.

Norwegian

Some argue that Norwegian is much easier for English speakers to learn than other Germanic languages. It also has many lexical similarities. Its grammar is easier to learn, plus its word order is more similar to that of English than Dutch or German, for example. Norwegian is also full of words that are not quite the same, but with a bit of creative thought you can uncover their meaning. A great example is snikskytter. Try saying it out loud, and you might find that it sounds a bit like "sneakshooter"... and what is the English word for a person who shoots sneakily? An assassin. Fun, right?

Learning Norwegian will also give you an excuse
to visit Norway and see its beautiful fjords!

French

Since the Normans came to Britain and started throwing their words all over the place, English has taken on board many words of either Latin or French origin. The shared lexicon means that a good number of French words will already be familiar to English speakers. Especially if you like food.

Afrikaans

Dutch's cousin in Africa is supposedly very easy for English speakers. Both Dutch and Afrikaans share a good number of similarities with English. In fact, the sentence "my pen was in my hand" is written exactly the same in Afrikaans and means exactly the same thing. It is, of course, pronounced differently.


There's no gender in Afrikaans either, so that makes it a little easier than Romance languages.

Spanish

Fans of Rolf Harris will enjoy the "say what you see" approach to the orthography of Spanish. Rarely does a word not sound how it looks. If you learn how to say each letter, you can pretty much say every word you come across. It makes it very easy for understanding people when they speak Spanish as well, with the added bonus that you'll immediately be able to spell any word they say and jot it into a notebook to look up or use later.

Drinking sangria will make the learning process
much more enjoyable as well!

If you haven't worked it out, there's a pattern here. The more similar a language is to your native tongue (in this case English), the easier it is to learn. Stick with any language similar to your own and you're on for an easy ride. If English is your native tongue, your best bet is to learn either a Germanic language (such as Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, and German) or a Romance language (such as Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian). English speakers are lucky to have so many options given the great number of similarities shared between Germanic and Romance languages in the past!