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What’s The Easiest Language To Learn? Surprisingly, it is…

What’s The Easiest Language To Learn? Surprisingly, it is…

In order to understand which is the easiest language to learn, you must first understand that learning a language can be, well, is, a daunting task. Nouns, verbs, pronouns, adverbs, prepositions (I hate prepositions.. especially the languages that don’t have them!)  are all out to get you. Trust me. It’s tough to learn any language, but I’ll outline below a few ideas on how to find your easiest language to learn.

[editors note: I’m about to get all philosophical on ya’… if you just want a list of the easiest languages for an English speaker to learn.. click here to be magically transported to said list(s). If you want to deeper your soul, read my fantastical written word dazzling ones of readers per day below.]

Why Should I Look For The Easiest Language To Learn?

Learning a language can be a fun experience. A new language means a new culture and new people. It means peering through the looking glass and finding a new perspective; one dominated not by our own prejudices or our old way of thinking, but by the history of another people. It means looking at a new world; or, at least, the old world in a new way.

There are many benefits of being bilingual which you can start to realize when you learn another language. I use the term “bilingual” fairly loosely here. Someone who can reasonably communicate in two languages, in my opinion, is bilingual. Even 10 minutes per day, consistently, over a long period of time, can have a great impact in language learning. A good bilingual definition is fairly hard to come by… try my attempt here.

How Can I Find The Easiest Language To Learn?

easiest language to learn

photo credit: Jermjus.

The point is, we need to remove our rose-colored glasses with regards to language learning. Learning a language is messy; it’s not clean. It’s not a straight line from a to b and it doesn’t reduce down to a nice equation of x+y=z. As it’s said, it’s more of an art than a science. A whole wing of science was invented, linguistics, to help unravel this crazy tapestry that is language acquisition. There are a lot of proven techniques and best practices, but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition.

None of that matters, however, until you figure out the most important aspect of learning a language: Why? Why do I want to learn this language? Why do I want to speak this language? Once you can answer that satisfactorily you are well on your way to learning a language.

Is There An “Easiest Language To Learn” When Learning A Language?

The easiest language to learn is the one you are the most passionate about, or at least the one you have the best answer to the question why. If you don’t have a fairly solid need to speak a language, the risk is high of losing motivation and a lower probability that you will succeed.

    Several lists exist on how many hours of practice it takes when learning a new language to speak well depending on what your native language is; the government loves this kind of stuff. None of that matters. The only thing that matters is your desire and motivation. Without that, you aren’t going to put in even the smallest amount of time (around 500 hours) to be “conversational” in another language.

    What Are Some Of The Good Why’s?

    Here are a few good why’s off the top of my head to keep in mind when learning a language:

    • Connect with your spouse: You marry someone who speaks another language and you want to connect with them in their own language. This is a great one.
    •  Connect with your family: You have family members who speak another language and you’ve always wanted to learn it to be able to converse with them.
    •  Connect with your roots: Your family came from another country (Mexico, Norway, Germany…) and you want to be able to speak the heritage language but were never taught; now is your chance!
    • Connect with your future – You want to take your destiny by the horns and break out of your monolingual box! I can relate to this one. Do you want to teach a new language to your childnre? Here are a few common parenting techniques for bilingual children.
    • Connect with another culture – If you really love a certain culture and want to further connect with them, learn their customs, get a more in-depth look at their lives and how they think, you have to learn the language. Language can be a means to an end, if the end has a strong enough pull.
    There is an obvious pattern above. To learn a new language is to connect with something new and powerful. This connection has a draw to it. It’s deep and not superficial. If you just want to impress someone, look cool, or be able to write “I speak language x” down on a resume, then you’re probably not going to get real far.

    How Can I Learn My New-Found Easiest Language To Learn?

    language learning tipsSkinning this proverbial cat has as many methods as verb conjugations in Spanish. What is the best way to learn a new language is a question that plagues the world of language learning. Countless research studies, anecdotal evidence, trial and error, and just-wing-it attitudes have produced results in every form; from horrible to incredible. My personal recommendation is you implement these language learning tips as soon as possible. This will help skyrocket your exposure and get you headed in the right direction.

    The common thought process in the practical language learning community (as opposed to the theoretical – linguists, etc) is to get out there and do it. One must read in the language, speak the language, study the language, get together with friends in the language.

    So What Does This All Mean?

    Nothing wagered nothing gained, right? To me, this all means that if you want to learn a language, do it! If you have always wanted to order your food in a French restaurant while sipping wine, then make that your goal. If you want to be able to talk fútbol with the local waiter at the Mexican restaurant, do that.

    Learning a language doesn’t mean being able to do anything in that language; that is impossible. It simply means to learn something about the language, to do something in the language. It isn’t a waste if you set out to learn a language and only learn it to a beginner level. You never lose language ability, per say, and although it will get increasingly rusty, it will always be there. You have a whole lifetime to build on it, so get up, get out, and learn something today!

    Go learn a language today. Teach it to your kids. Raise some bilingual babies.

    The Top Easiest Languages To Learn For English Speakers: Lists From Around The Web! (each language links to it’s Wikipedia article)

    Business Insider has an article that lists them in this order:

    1. Africaans | 2. French | 3. Spanish | 4. Dutch | 5. Norwegian

    6. Portuguese | 7. Swedish | 8. Italian | 9. Esperanto (Fake language) | 10. Frisian

    Our friends over at the Telegraph in UK have conjured up this list:

    1. Africaans | 2. French | 3. Dutch | 4. Portuguese

    5. Swedish | 6. Italian | 7. Frisian

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    About Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson is a husband, father, author and bilingual living and working in the Midwestern United States. He lives with his Mexican wife and their son, Liam, who is currently being raised bilingual in English and Spanish.

    27 comments… add one

    1. Mai Khanh

      I think Spanish, if we know the methodology to learn it is fun and effortless

      1. Jeffrey Nelson

        I agree to some degree. While, technically, Spanish is similar and creates slightly less problems for native English speakers, if one doesn’t have a desire to learn Spanish they aren’t going to. If you’re passionate about Russian, learn Russian. The easiest language to learn is going to be the language that you have the most desire to learn!

        Jeff

    2. Coolchillmom

      You are right!
      Anything we are passionate about gets easier to learn
      Learning additional language is the best investment for one self and humanity
      Long live harmonious communication!

      1. Jeffrey Nelson

        Great advice Coolchillmom! :) Very very true. Passion makes anything much easier to learn! :)

        Jeff

    3. Adriana- Hogar-Mujer

      Estoy muy de acuerdo, todo en la vida se hace mucho mas facil cuando nos gusta y ponemos nuestra pasion en ello. Sin duda ser bilingual es una herramienta super importante en nuestras vidas.
      Gracias!
      Adriana- Hogar-Mujer recently posted…7 PRODUCTOS DE BELLEZA NATURALES QUE HAY EN TU COCINAMy Profile

      1. Jeffrey Nelson

        Exacto! Eso es precisamente el punto. No solamente se trata de lenguajes.. pero con la ganis todo se hace mas facil y mas agradable.

        Jeff

    4. Reina - Soy Mamá en Casa Blog

      Muy acertado lo que apuntas, lo cierto que cuando se tiene pasión por aprender determinada Lengua se hace menos complicado. Sin duda que cuando pueda expresarme correctamente en Inglés, el Francés será mi próxima meta. Gracias, me gusta mucho tu blog y lo que compartes.
      Reina – Soy Mamá en Casa Blog recently posted…3 Tips para No Perder los CalcetinesMy Profile

      1. Jeffrey Nelson

        Que bueno! El Frances no te debe de causar tantos problemas ya que hablas Espanol! Todavia tendras que estudiar y todo pero hay muchas coasas similares. Asi que con Espanol y Ingles, lo vas a dominar! :) Que bueno que te haya gustado el blogcito :)

        Jeff

    5. Ely Aguilera

      Very interesting, I’ll love to learn sign language, it would be awesome to learn this leanguage.

      1. Jeffrey Nelson

        That’s awesome! I’ve actually been kicking around the idea of doing a post on sign language because it’s interesting to me. It’s definitely a language of it’s own and I don’t think a lot of people realize that… at least I didn’t. Great idea!

        Jeff

    6. Teresa Gaza

      Me parece super importante la crianza bilingüe.. Muy buenos los consejos y ahora yo lo veo con mis hijos, hablar en inglés y español definitivamente les abre un amplio mundo de posibilidades.

      1. Jeffrey Nelson

        Muchas gracias por to comentario! Si, hablarles en Espanol y Ingles es muy bueno para ellos :) Y aparte, no van a tener que ‘aprender’ el lenguaje lluego por que ya lo van a saber! Es mucho mas facil asi :)

        Jeff

    7. Paula -Growing Up Bilingual

      I agree Jeff, the most important thing is motivation. I have tried to learn Italian and french but did not have the motivation and failed miserably, lol! I agree that there is no greater gift that you can give your children than a second (or third, or fourth) language!
      Paula -Growing Up Bilingual recently posted…Personalized Music in Spanish from Bebé Lanugo – GiveawayMy Profile

      1. Jeffrey Nelson

        Definitely! Language learning is all motivation. It’s like dieting in my opinion – it’s about changing your lifestyle and motivation. Some people can just study their way to language fluency but that is a lot less common in my opinion than people who make it part of their life in some way (or as many as possible!)

        Jeff

    8. Diana Rodriguez

      Es mi lucha diaria con mis hijas, ellas no quieren hablar español, aunque lo entienden siguen contestando en ingles… sigo e insisto, verlas bilingues sera una gran satisfacción!
      Diana Rodriguez recently posted…#Sorteo: Preparandonos para el Regreso a Clases #FABsmileMy Profile

    9. veronica cervera

      You’re right about the passion.
      My husband speaks Japanese and is always learning. He studied in Japan and loved that culture deeply.
      On my side, I found out wandering myself about how much Italian I already speak when we went to Italy last year. And that is love, because I haven’t studied any Italian in almost 20 years.
      Love your posts ;-)
      veronica cervera recently posted…Pesto de berza con linguiniMy Profile

    10. Romina Mamá XXI

      Que lindo!! Me encanta ver el entusiasmo por aprender una lengua extranjera, mis hijos son hasta el momento bilingues y me esfuerzo porque también aprendan a leer y escribir perfecto en español. Yo se la importancia de saber otros idiomas y aprender de manera casi natural como lo hacen los niños no tiene precio.
      Gracias por el material!!
      Romina Mamá XXI recently posted…5 Consejos para que la vuelta a clases no te deje sin fondosMy Profile

    11. Cristina

      Todo lo que se haga con pasión, es fácil de aprender.
      Coincido contigo que aprender otro idioma es un gran logro y que el mejor legado es enseñárselo a nuestros hijos.
      Mi esposo aprendió a hablar español para poder comunicarse con mi familia, en seis meses lo hablaba muy bien y dejó a todos sorprendidos. ¡Practicábamos todos los días! :)
      Hoy se siente superado porque nuestra hija de 5 años habla mejor el español que él, jajaja.
      Cristina recently posted…Epic en Blu-Ray y DVD (Sorteo)My Profile

    12. Lennie

      Ser bilingue es una ventaja. Creo que en un futuro me gustaría aprender francés o italiano.
      Lennie recently posted…100 Ideas de fotos para reto educativoMy Profile

    13. August

      Hey there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!
      August recently posted…AugustMy Profile

      1. Jeffrey Nelson

        Awesome! I’m glad you’re sharing it and you enjoyed it :)

        Jeff

    14. Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

      Perhaps it’s because I just got back from an event at the residence of the Japanese Ambassador, but now I’m thinking I’d like to learn Japanese! :-)
      Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly recently posted…Motivation Monday: Are you willing to give up being a caterpillar Edition + We have a winner!My Profile

      1. Jeffrey Nelson

        Fun! :) I’m jealous. I wish I had more cultural exposure to cultures outside of Mexican culture. Don’t get me wrong, I love Mexican culture, but sometimes it would be fun to experience something like that. Japanese would be a great challenge to learn!

        Jeff

    15. Chrystal

      French was my first foreign language that I started learning late in the 5th grade (all the way through college). In high school, I added Spanish. To me, they were both oh so easy. For some reason, when I tried to learn Italian (on my own) before a trip to Rome, I struggled! I could not master the inflection or correct pronunciations, but perhaps that’s because I tried to do it without an instructor. Of course, the grammar was not hard to master. Just before a trip to Athens/Santorini, I attempted to pick up Greek, and that was officially the absolute hardest. Whenever a language is written in script that does not always involve recognizable letters, it’s a crazy hard one to pick up! Over the last few years, my French and Spanish have dwindled a bit, but I try to bust them out whenever I can. I adore languages.
      Chrystal recently posted…What You’re Eating: Topping Off SummerMy Profile

      1. Jeffrey Nelson

        Chrystal,

        That’s awesome! Yeah, I definitely agree that languages with different scripts are quite a bit more challenging. I messed around with Hebrew a little bit and found it to be more difficult than I thought just to get the sounds right/etc. I’m glad you adore languages and I’m glad you have a few you can utilize when the situation warrants it :P

        Jeff

    16. Joao Zangrandi

      Learning a new language requires enthusiasm. Enthusiasm makes the difference.

      1. Jeffrey Nelson

        Joao,

        Exactly! :)

        Jeff

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