For those who are into languages, you are probably wondering what the easiest language to learn is. Well, people learn languages for many (different) reasons. Some do it because of their work (they have to deal with people from different countries, they have to travel quite often, etc), while some do it because of their own passion. With so many different language options out there, things can be overwhelming and confusing – and you don’t really know which one to choose.

Norwegian

For English speakers, learning Norwegian isn’t as difficult as other think. You see, English is a part of Germanic language family – and so is Norwegian. It means that both languages have similar vocabularies. Not to mention that Norwegian’s grammar is quite direct and straightforward, similar to English’s grammar. You may come across words like sommer and vinter. And you also deal with only one verb form per tense with the similar word order. Let’s say that you try to say ‘Can you assist me?’ which would translate to ‘Kan du hjelpe meg?’ As you can see, both of them have the same sentence structure with also similar words and pronunciation. Aside from the way the words are written, you will have fun learning Norwegian – because they have various accents and more than only one ‘proper way’ to say the words.

 

Dutch

Just like Norwegian, Dutch is a part of Germanic language family. And if you have been to The Netherlands, you’d know that their language share a lot of similarities to the German languages – the words, the pronunciation, and also their word order. Dutch is the official language of The Netherlands and many of Belgians also speak Dutch. This is also one of the easiest language to learn for English speakers. What’s interesting about Dutch language is how many of them have similar sound and meaning to English and German. It’s like the Dutch is combined together from English and German. What makes this language easy to understand is the fact that many of their words are spelled like they are in English. For example, ‘rat’ has similar meaning and spelling (in both languages). However, in Dutch, it is pronounced like ‘rot’ in English. Or the word ‘wet’ in Dutch actually means ‘law’. It may not seem simple or easy now, but as you go down the lane for studying, you will definitely enjoy learning it.

 

Swedish

This is also considered one of the easiest language to learn, especially for English speakers. Just like Norwegian language, Swedish share similar simple grammar construction, word order, and also similar cognates. Cognates are basically words within different languages coming from the same (ancestral) language root so they have similar sound. Grass in English would be gräs in Swedish. After all, Swedish is also a part of Germanic language family, like English and Norwegian so it isn’t really surprising if they have similar trait. And we shouldn’t be so shocked or surprised with this fact because we have been widely and continuously exposed to Swedish words, thanks to their famous meatballs and IKEA. If you are always happy doing your shopping at IKEA and you like the names of their products (like their Stockholm rugs or Lack tables), then you should probably start learning Swedish.

Indonesian

Not many people know this. Some may see it as a surprise. Indonesian is natively spoken by almost 23 million of people. This is one of several Asian languages using Latin alphabet, which makes things downright easier. Many other Asian languages present their own difficulties (especially for English learners) because they have different and complex writing systems. It’s a good thing that Indonesian doesn’t. Their phonetic language consist of words that are pronounced just similar to their writing or spelling. However, the grammar structure is different from English, but it isn’t completely difficult, really. Indonesian grammar doesn’t come with complete structure – it is even lack of it! This is the part that makes it easy. The language doesn’t have verb conjugation, plural forms, or grammatica genders. If you want to create plurals, simply repeat the word (twice) and you have it. If you aren’t really into grammatical rules, regulations, and structures, then you may have found the right language for yourself.

 

Spanish

There is a reason why most schools in America has Spanish class. It is definitely the easiest language to learn and it has wide reach and good practicality. Spanish comes from Latin, which is a part of Romance languages. Many of the English words come from Latin so when it is dealing with cognates, you won’t have any issue. Word like pizza is….well, pizza. Delicioso is delicious and correcto is correct. The pronunciation is also direct and straightforward. It is one of the convenient phonetic language where the words should be pronounced to the way they are written or spelled.

 

But if you hate grammar so much, you need to be aware of the tricks and curves. Spanish comes with various verb tenses. Not to mention that they have many grammar exceptions, which will be confusing for first-time learners. But on the good part is that, the tenses align to the one in English, which makes it easier. Moreover, if you want to focus on the future, Spanish is one of the most popular languages in the world. It sits on the second place after English – there are more than 400 million of people speak it

Afrikaans

There are 20 million of speakers of Afrikaans, scattered all over Namibia and South Africa. The language is considered easy to learn and the form itself is pretty basic and simple. A lot of English speakers say that the language is quite easy to learn. Some things that you will like the most from learning the language are the easy pronunciation and simple grammar. English speakers shouldn’t have any difficulty reproducing the sounds. The language doesn’t have any grammatical gender. Each tense only has one verb form. The past tense only has one form. For instance, in English, there is difference with ‘I was’ along with ‘I had been’. In Afrikaans, you won’t encounter such a thing. The biggest challenge, though, comes from word order (which is actually almost the same to German than English) and also some verbs that conjugate differently. But with the absence of complex grammar construction and regulations, you will find the language easy to learn.

 

Swahili

This is also another easiest language to learn. It may not be conventional as others, but it will give you fresh new perspective. Swahili is used widely in southeastern and eastern sides of Africa, including Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. One thing that makes it easy to learn is the sound – which is just the same as they are written or spelled. Pronunciation is also another thing to like about the language – probably because many of the words are ‘loaned’ from English. You may be familiar with mashine (machine) or penseli (pencil). The grammar is also simple and straightforward. Verb conjugation uses very logical prefixes, which makes things easier. If you want something unique and different, learning Swahili would be refreshing.

 

Italian

This is a straightforward part of Romance language. Italian may not be a part of popular languages like Spanish, but there are 63 million of native speakers all over the world. Because of the root in Latin, there are many cognate words that English speakers would be familiar with, like controllare (control), lotteria (lottery), or futuro (future). The best thing about learning the language is probably the familiarity with food, such as farfalle, which is the bow-ties shaped pasta, penne all’arrabbiata (angry or spicy pasta) or delizioso for delicious. Learning Italian can be fun, especially if you like to enjoy the food as well. That’s why it is considered the easiest language to learn.

French

This is considered one of the major and main Romance languages with beautiful sound – there is something ‘musical’ And rhytmical about it. Around 76 million of people speak the language, although the language itself isn’t exactly super easy. Some parts of the world, such as Madagascar, Belgium, Canada, and France, speak the language. Just like other Romance languages, the shared cocabularies are the biggest perk. In the past, France and England had their own long history, including war and conquer. Many of the key (language) parts were passed on from one country to another – back and forth. French vocabularies were added to English words (remember à la carte or avant-garde?) as well as English words were introduced to French vocabularies (like week-end). The pronunciation may be the most difficult part of learning the language, but you should get used to it as you progress.

 

Portuguese

This is another easiest language to learn besides Spanish. It’s another part of Romance language that is widely used in Brazil and Portugal. For English learners, learning Portuguese is easy because of the many shared words, but you need to be extremely careful of the false or fake cognates. For instance, pasta is actually a folder. It doesn’t hurt to expose yourself to Brazilian Portuguese because they have made constant and frequent exposure to pop culture globally.

 

Japanese

With the increasing popularity of Japanese pop-culture, such as manga or anime, it would be handy to learn the language. When you travel to Japan or you simply love the food and culture, knowing the language can be extremely handy. If you are interested in learning Asian languages, despite the challenges and obstruction in learning the writing forms and also the pronunciation, learning Japanese can be a perfect introduction. You probably want to learn Korean and Chinese along the way?

 

Arabic

This is the official language of Arab League, which consists of 22 countries, like United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Jordan, and Egypt. Some of these countries have become the most favorable and also popular travel destinations. That’s why it doesn’t hurt to learn the language. Just like other languages, this one has its own words, word constructions, and such thing alike. The biggest challenge would be the written form, which you need to understand well if you want to master it.

 

Chinese Mandarin

This isn’t exactly the easiest language to learn, but with China has grown in power and technology, it is pretty logical to learn it. Businesses all over the world have forged projects and cooperative attempts with the nation. There are more than one billion of people speaking it, and understanding the language can open up many windows of opportunities. It can open up many possibilities and chances. You will have your own challenges when learning it, but if you like learning, you would find the process exciting and even fun!

 

About Languages in General

When it comes to easiest language to learn, besides English, there is no such thing as the simplest or the easiest form. All languages have their own challenges. Everything is based on your personal experience and preference, such as:

  • Native language. It is quite normal that language learners would refer to their own native language and make comparison to it. It would be easier for you to learn foreign languages with many similarities to your own native language. For instance, Japanese learners find Chinese or Korean to be relatively easy when compared to English or French. English learners find French or Dutch to be easier than Arabic or Japanese.
  • Language exposure. If your native language is Japanese, but your mom speaks French most of the time, your dad speaks German fluently, and both of them like to commune with you in English, you would grasp French, German, Japanese, and English quite easily. And for you, learning other languages sharing similar traits to those languages would be easy. For instance, learning Dutch is easy because of your understanding to German, learning Spanish is easy because of your English, and learning Chinese Mandarin is easy because of your Japanese basic foundation.
  • Your language ability. Different people have different abilities. Some people are naturally talented in language, while others aren’t. For you, learning other foreign languages is effortless, but it may not be the case with other people.

 

In the end, it’s up to you whether you are interested in learning the language or not. But you need to remember that there is actually no such thing as the easiest language to learn because everything depends on yourself.