Have you ever wanted to learn a new language, but been unsure where to start? Maybe you’re intimidated by the thought of learning a difficult language like Spanish or French.
Well, today we’re going to dispel some myths and talk about the easiest languages to learn for English speakers. So whether you’re a student looking to broaden your horizons, or simply want an interesting new hobby, keep reading!
We’ll give you more information about the easiest languages to learn for English speakers – and how you can get started with learning a new language today!
Why Learn a Second Language?
There are lots of benefits to learning another language.
For one, there is plenty of research pointing to the fact that picking up a new language (in addition to the English language) can make you smarter. The simple act of trying to learn a new language can help you stay sharp, boosting your brain development.
Of course, you could improve your opportunities to travel, too. It’s so much easier to hit the road and explore new places when you’re able to communicate!
Learning a new language can also help you in the business world as well. Employers love seeing that you’ve put the extra time into learning a new language beyond your native language, too. Corporations and organizations of all kinds love hiring people who have the ability to communicate with other people besides just native English speakers.
There’s so much value in learning a second (or third, or fourth!) language. So why not give it a try?
Easiest Languages to Learn for English Speakers
Ready to learn a second language? If so, you may want to consider some of these widely spoken languages.
Spanish is not only one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn, but it’s also one of the most common. It is practical and wide-reaching, the official language for many different countries around the world.
What makes it one of the easiest languages is that it is a romance language. Spanish words are derived from Latin terms, as many English words do, so you’ll find many different cognates. Just compare the words for pizza – in English, it’s “pizza,” and in Spanish, it’s…well, it’s “pizza.”
As a phonetic language, Spanish pronunciation is relatively easy. Plus, there are tons of Spanish learning apps and online courses out there. You’ll be conversing with other native speakers in no time!
Portuguese is widely spoken in both Brazil and Portugal. It’s similar to Spanish (more on this below) in that it shares many common vocabulary words with English – something that English speakers will take comfort in.
There are some false cognates here, though, meaning you’ll need to watch out for words like “pasta,” – which has nothing to do with your favorite noodle recipe and instead, refers to a simple file folder.
Italian has more than 63 million native speakers – so although it’s not as common as Spanish, it’s still pretty popular.
Afrikaans is sometimes considered the easiest language for native English speakers to learn.
It has a very simple grammatical structure with only three verb tenses – past, present, and future – no imperfect or subjunctive to worry about.
It isn’t necessarily grouped with the other Germanic languages, but it does have Germanic roots, a benefit when you’re trying to learn a second language.
Even the grammar and pronunciation are easy.
The only challenging aspect of learning this language is that the pattern of speech is different from what you’ll find with the English language. Double negatives are common – and they are all but taboo in the English language.
Because the Dutch played a large role in settling the United States, you may already be familiar with many words in this widely spoken language. The official language of the Netherlands, it’s easy for native English speakers to learn.
Dutch is also closely related to Afrikaans – so if you learn one of these languages, you might as well learn the other!
Another benefit of learning Dutch is that Dutch speakers often insert English words into their conversations. This is such a common practice that there are many terms for which there is no actual Dutch word – just an English one.
We group Scandinavian languages together in this category because there are several here. Norwegian is perhaps the easiest to learn. A Germanic language, Norwegian is similar to English in this regard (also a Germanic language).
They share quite a bit of vocabulary in common – “sommer” is “summer,” and “winter” is “winter.”
The grammar is relatively straightforward, too – something that native English speakers will appreciate. There’s more leeway with pronunciation, too, since Norway is home to many different accents and styles of speaking.
Swedish is another Germanic language from Scandinavia. Also a relatively phonetic language, Swedish shares many cognates with English. These are words in other languages that stem from the same language family and ancestry – and therefore look quite similar to each other. In Swedish, the word “grass” is “gräs.” Easy enough, right?
A final Scandinavian language – yet another of the many Germanic languages – is Danish.
Danish, the official language of Denmark, is also spoken in Germany.
You might not have a ton of opportunities to use Romanian in your daily conversation, but it’s still a Latin language that’s worth learning.
This language draws heavily from the Latin alphabet and is widely spoken in Romania and Moldova. However, there are 26 million native Romanian speakers in the world, with the language heard in pockets throughout Europe and elsewhere.
Because it draws from the Latin alphabet, this language is relatively easy for native English speakers to learn – the two share many words. It’s also similar to other romance languages, like Spanish, French, and Italian – so there’s some overlap there as well.
Indonesian is more common than you might think – in fact, it’s spoken by nearly 23 million people around the world! Many Asian languages tend to be challenging for native English speakers to learn because they have unfamiliar writing systems, but that’s not the case for Indonesian.
It is one of the few Asian languages that uses the Latin alphabet. Not only that, but it’s a phonetic language with words that are pronounced the way they’re spelled.
The grammar structures can be challenging for English speakers to get the hang of at first – but the benefit is that there are absolutely zero verb conjugations to remember. You can’t beat that!
Another obvious language for native English speakers to master is French. This Romance language is a favorite of many people because it sounds so beautiful rolling off the tongue!
As is the case with other Romance languages, French has much shared vocabulary with English. That’s due both to the linguistic roots as well as the fact that, during the long history of wars between France and Britain, words and key language parts were often passed back and forth.
Add this Romance language to your list! It’s one of the best for English speakers to turn to.
Another language to memorize is Swahili. Spoken across much of the African continent, including in countries like Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, it is considered a lingua franca as well. This term refers to a native language that is adopted among native speakers of other languages.
Swahili words sound just like they’re spelled, making the pronunciation easy to master. There are also quite a few “loan words” taken from English, such as penseli, which means pencil, and mashine, which means machine.
Verb conjugations use prefixes logically, too, making the grammar a bit easier to learn.
Which Language is the Easiest to Learn?
Technically, there’s no single “easiest” language to learn. There are a lot of variables to consider here, including your educational background, how much time you have available to study, where you live (which can influence your access to native speakers), and other factors.
Considering one of the languages listed above, though, is a great idea to help you get started in your search.
Learning a foreign language can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right tools and resources, you can learn almost any language in no time. These tips will help make learning a new language easier and more fun. So what are you waiting for? Start learning today!