on September 29 2009 03:46 pm 0

Facts About Easy to Learn Languages That May Surprise You

A lot of people who’d like to learn another language, but haven’t decided which one, start by looking for the so-called “easy to learn languages.” The trouble is that which languages are easy depends on a few different factors. Below I’ve listed some of those easy to learn languages to give you a start, but there are a few things you should know first.

Where are You Starting From?

First of all, keep in mind that easy to learn languages to you depend on your mother tongue and the other languages you know well. For example, German is easier for an English speaker to learn than it is for a Japanese speaker. That’s because German and English have more vocabulary and grammar in common than German and Japanese do. On the other hand, if a Japanese speaker already speaks fluent Dutch, than German will be much easier for him.

Motivation Makes a Difference

Motivation throws those lists of easy to learn languages out the window. If you can’t stand the sound of French and have no real feeling for the culture, but the Czech language, culture, and people have completely stolen your heart, then the reputedly difficult Czech language will be easier to learn than the “easy” French language. This is a huge factor that should not be overlooked. A sincere longing to learn a language beats “easy” every time.

Esperanto

We’ll start with a language that was specifically designed to be easy to learn: L. L. Zamenhof’s Esperanto. Although it is an invented language, many speakers deign to call it an “artificial language” because they do actually use it to communicate amongst each other when no other language is available. This language has a huge following, with up to 2 million speakers worldwide, according to Esperanto.net.

You can also find Esperanto clubs around the world that help out travelers who speak this language, so it does have a practical use. There’s also some evidence that learning Esperanto first helps you learn other languages faster. That only makes sense, since you develop your language learning skills more quickly with this easy to learn language.

Afrikaans and Dutch

Often cited as the “best” of the easy to learn languages for English speakers, Afrikaans has nearly 7 million speakers living in five countries in Southern Africa. It’s also spoken among expats of that area (that is, southern Africans in Europe or elsewhere), so it could be useful if you’re traveling to an area with lots of African expats.

Now, I don’t speak either, but it’s said that Afrikaans and Dutch are largely mutually intelligible. If that’s so, the difficulty level will be largely the same. So, if you don’t think you’ll be getting to Africa anytime soon, you might want to pick Dutch instead.

Romance and Germanic Languages

Yes, I know the above two are Germanic languages and I know “Romance and Germanic languages” is a broad category. Generally speaking, though, we’re looking at languages like French, Italian, Spanish, and even Romanian in the Romance group and Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish in the Germanic group, with actual German being rated a little more difficult.

Once you start looking at these more widely spoken languages, though, you’re probably interested in more than just how easy the language is to learn. If you’re totally fascinated with Germany and have been planning a six month stay there, then someone telling you that Spanish is “easier” won’t change your mind about which language to learn.

Again, the “easy to learn languages” for you comes down to motivation and which language and culture draws you in more. Also check the post on how to how to decide what language to learn for tips on that topic.

Related posts:

  1. Three Things You Need to Learn a Language Fast
  2. A Real Answer to “How Fast Can I Learn a Language?”
  3. Not Mixing Languages is Easy? Hm…
  4. Three Ways to Decide What Language to Learn
  5. How to Fix “I’m Not Good with Languages.”

Filed under Learning Faster,Strategy Planning

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