The Easiest Languages to Learn for English Speakers
English speakers have an enormous advantage over speakers of other languages: almost 2 billion people use it for communication. Different from Chinese, which concentrates the majority of speakers in just one country, English speakers are scattered all over the world. If you are an avid traveler or wish to migrate, for example, you will surely find someone to communicate with in English.
Now, this is not an excuse not to learn a second or third language. Being bilingual or trilingual will increase your cultural awareness, make you more employable, help you enjoy your trips better, and make new friends from different parts of the world on a whole new level.
And while there are no “easy” communication systems to learn, there are indeed certain languages that are simpler for English speakers to learn than others. Want to know which ones? Keep on reading and discover the top 3 languages you should start learning as an English native speaker!
A Scandinavian Language
Scandinavian languages like Norwegian, Swedish, or Danish may seem daunting to learn, but in reality, they are quite similar to English in their grammar systems (especially word order).
Take for example this Norwegian sentence: Jeg spiste egg til frokost. While you may not understand anything at first, now look at this: “I ate eggs for breakfast” and you’ll see that the translation can be done almost word by word. Guess what Kan du hjelpe meg? means? That’s right, the phrase is equivalent to “Can you help me?”. This means you can just focus on learning vocabulary and pronunciation instead of acquiring a whole new (and complicated) grammar system.
Additionally, the English and North Germanic alphabets are almost the same, with only three added letters for Danish and Norwegian (which won’t send you over the edge, we promise!).
Dutch and English are considered to be sisters, as they belong to the same branch (the West Germanic). This means they share a lot of linguistic elements, such as vocabulary and word order. Research shows that English speakers can become fluent in Dutch with only 500-600 hours of learning.
For example, English borrowings are very common in Dutch, so you’ll find that many words are the same, like internet, museum, or plastic. The same is true the other way around. As an English speaker, you already know many words that come from Dutch, like cruiser (kruisen), deck (dek), or plug (plugger). Plus, other everyday terms uploaden or daten are very much alike English terms, so they will be easily recognizable.
Spanish and English are not very much alike in terms of syntax, phonetic system, or tenses, but other elements make Spanish easy for English speakers to learn. First, a great number of people living in the USA have Spanish as their native or second language (an estimated 48 million!), so you’ll have endless opportunities to put your skills into practice.
Secondly, Spanish is a phonetic language, which means every letter has its own pronunciation and doesn’t change in context. In English, the spelling “oo” can be pronounced in very different ways: as in “good”, “food, or “blood”, for example. Luckily, this doesn’t happen in Spanish, so once you’ve learned its phonetic system, you are ready to read and pronounce any word!
Finally, Spanish has heavily influenced English, so you already know a lot more Spanish vocabulary than you think. Words like armada, avocado, guerrilla, patio, plaza, cargo, and endless more are Spanish terms, so take the leap and see how you improve in a short time!
So, what are you waiting for? Get started with a language that shares a common linguistic history with English, that has close contact geographically, or with similar structures and soon you’ll find yourself speaking a second or even third language fluently!
Do you agree with our list? Have you learned any other language you found easy?