Prior knowledge of a related language can provide a head start in learning a new language. However, there is no alternative to dedication, consistent practice, and immersion in the target language to achieve fluency, regardless of the language’s level of familiarity.
Also, proficiency in a language is determined by the ability to read, write, and speak the language. In most cases, while the learner may become adept in reading and writing, they might not be confident while speaking. This requires a completely different approach. It requires the learners to listen to audio recordings, watch movies in that language, and read aloud from books and newspapers.
8 Easiest Languages to Learn
English is a common medium of communication in the majority of the countries. From the time of British colonization, there have been several attempts to make this language easy to learn for non-English speakers.
The English language learning methodology is the most tried and tested one and addresses the learning challenges across all age groups of learners.
Several English words have become international and have been included in the vocabulary of other languages.
English has a relatively small list of alphabets that are easy to memorize and a very straightforward grammatical structure.
There is no specified grammar differentiating the masculine, feminine, and neuter genders.
It shares the script with all other European languages such as Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegian, and Swedish. Hence, an English speaker can easily learn any of these languages.
So an added benefit of learning English is that once you know it, it becomes relatively easy to approach the other European language because of the familiarity with the script, grammatical structure, and other nuances.
The closest to English in terms of vocabulary, the Norwegian language counts as one of the easiest languages to learn for people who know English.
The words are mostly pronounced in the same manner as they are spelled.
The grammatical part is less complicated with no articles and simpler verb conjugation. For example - "å snakke" (to speak). For the usage of this verb in the present tense, just ‘r’ is added at the end of the word - snakker. It is universally used for all pronouns without any varying endings.
The spellings also follow a simpler pattern that once understood - makes it easy for the learner to apply it universally.
Swedish belongs to the same Germanic language family as English. They share many words and grammatical structures that make it easy for English speakers to pick up this language.
There are some key sound rules used in Swedish pronunciation that define how vowels and consonants are pronounced in different scenarios. Once new learners learn these rules, it is easy for them to read and speak the language spontaneously.
The grammatical structure is also simpler with fewer verb conjugation.
Just like English, Spanish also has its roots in Latin. As a result, it shares a large number of cognates.
It is a phonetic language, so it is easier for people who are used to the English alphabet to read and speak Spanish effortlessly.
When it comes to grammatical structure, this language requires a bit more attention and practice. However, since there are a lot of similarities with English grammar, it is relatively easier to grasp for English speakers.
Once again similarity with English is the biggest support for new learners trying to master French.
There are set grammatical rules that need to be remembered. However, the rules are simple and easy to memorize for English speakers.
The sentence structure is similar to English. The gender rules are also less complicated as compared to other languages. There are some easy-to-follow guidelines to determine the gender of nouns, which makes it easier to use articles and adjectives correctly.
Most importantly, French is one of the most widely spoken European languages. Hence, there are umpteen resources for new learners to master the language.
Just like French and Spanish, German is also a very popular language among aspiring language learners. It is one of the widely spoken European languages.
It follows the same noun-verb-object rule as English which makes it easier for English speakers to grasp. The rules for verb conjugate are also easy to follow.
When it comes to gender, there are only three words to remember - der (masculine), die (feminine), and das (neuter gender).
For example -
der mann - meaning the man,
die Frau - meaning the woman
das kind - meaning the child
The pronunciation follows a certain phonetic pattern that needs to be memorized. However, they are mostly pronounced as they are written. Once you learn the basic sounds, reading and saying words correctly becomes more manageable.
Indonesian is one of the few Asian languages that use Latin script. It is a phonetic language where the words are pronounced in the same manner as they are spelled.
Only when it comes to the grammatical part, there is absolutely no reference point to English. It has a different set of rules that needs to be learned. However, there are certain relaxations that are hard to be found in other languages.
Unlike many other languages, Indonesian does not have noun genders (masculine, feminine, neuter). All nouns use the same articles and pronouns, making learning and using them in sentences simpler. Indonesian nouns do not have plural forms. There is no verb conjugation.
The sentence structure follows the same noun-verb-object pattern - similar to English.
Hindi is an alphabetic language that follows the Devanagari script. Its grammar is nowhere close to English grammar. There are specific gender rules that need to be memorized. Also, the grammar placement for the nouns, verbs, subjects, and predicates is varied from that of English.
It is a phonetic language and the words are pronounced as they are written.
New learners who are not accustomed to a familiar language may need help to pick the nuances of Hindi. Hence, it is essential to approach this language with a completely open mind. Just go word by word through transliteration and word meaning.
Try to memorize the alphabets that are divided into Swara (similar to vowels in English) and Vyanjan (consonants). How the vowel sounds are blended with consonants is markedly different from English and requires special attention.
Hindi is the official language of India and thanks to the widespread Indian population across the world, it is also one of the most widely spoken languages. There are plenty of learning resources as well as teachers available to help new learners to master this language very easily.
What determines the difficulty level?
Well, this matter is relative. Some languages can be easy for some people as compared to others.
The easiest or hardest language to learn depends on whether or not it is familiar with a language you already know. If a language you want to learn shares similarities with a language you already know, such as a common vocabulary, similar grammatical structures, or shared language roots, it can facilitate the learning process.
For example, for an English speaker learning Spanish or French, which share vocabulary and some grammatical structures, the learning curve may be relatively easier compared to learning a language with no linguistic similarities, such as Mandarin Chinese.
Further, if you are familiar with the culture associated with a language, it can also aid the learning process. Understanding cultural references, customs, and context can enhance comprehension and make the language-learning experience more intuitive.
However, it is significant to note that even with linguistic similarities or cultural familiarities, each language still presents unique challenges. Pronunciation, idiomatic expressions, and specific grammar rules may differ, requiring dedicated effort and practice.
On the other hand, learning a language from a completely different language family or with vastly different grammar structures and sounds can be more challenging. The unfamiliarity can make the learning process more complex and require additional time and effort to internalize new linguistic patterns.
Just like language learning, another brain-boosting activity is solving Rubik's cubes. You can read the Benefits of solving Rubik’s cube.
Learning a new language requires a completely fresh approach to it. It will be helpful if you start your journey to learn a new language with a completely blank mind.
Just unlearn all you know and have learned earlier. Be prepared to re-learn to identify the things around you to be called differently. Be open to new sounds and new scripts.
For every language, there is a first set of words that help to sail the boat ahead. Once you pick up the first few words, make conscious efforts to think in the new language. Watch movies with subtitles.
The tips and tricks to grasp a new language can be unending. But it starts with getting enrolled in a course that is aligned with your learning objectives.
Many students who do not have access to good language learning classes close to their residence can consider learning through online language classes.
Learning a new language can be challenging for some. But it is worth every bit of the effort. So just go for it!