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Which Language is Easiest for an English Speaker to Learn?

Updated on October 10, 2010

Choosing a Language to Study

Unfortunately in Australia and New Zealand it appears that fewer and fewer students are studying foreign languages at school or tertiary level (college). Australian's appear more bemused than proud that their new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd can speak Mandarin and is competent enough to make official speeches in it - which is a very competent indeed!

I have always enjoyed independent travel, in Ireland I don't need a foreign language but in much of the rest of the world I did!

Should We Learn French or German?

Thirty years ago the languages of choice in schools were European: usually we were learning French, sometimes Latin, less commonly German. Now the reason that these were taught in New Zealand and Australian schools was this is what used to be taught in English schools! It made a whole lot of sense in the South Pacific - or did it? English has the biggest vocabulary of any language: its classified as a Germanic language, but thanks to the French speaking Normans invading in 1066 there are an awful lot of borrowed French words for words the dull locals didn't have including to do with food, "cuisine" is in fact is French and words associated with law and administration. In fact your average English speaker will recognize many more words in written French than they will in Dutch or German - even though the latter two languages are linguistically closer to English.

So is French or German the language to learn - well they are spoken by only small groups of people. French is losing ground in areas such as IndoChina where French was traditionally the second language it has all but disappeared for the under-60's. French is still a second language in Saharan Africa.

Should we learn Chinese?

Today English is probably the most widely spoken language in the world, thanks to the British Empire. However the language with the largest number of speakers is Chinese Mandarin and given the economic importance of China that we should be encouraging students to study Mandarin? After all 20 years ago Japanese was the language of choice for similar reasons. However economically important Chinese may be this ignores the fact that it is incredibly difficult to learn languages which have no vocabulary in common with English, are written in a different script and are tonal to boot - the same word can have completely different meaning depending on whether you use a rising, falling or flat inflection! It's a bit like expecting a student to study calculus without having to learn basic arithmetic!

Learning languages is like any skill the first one is always the most difficult - so maybe Chinese is not the best option to start studying as your first foreign language.

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Thai Photo: Quite ParticularArabic Photo: Late Night MovieFrench Photo: racineurSpanish Photo:Sailing Nomad
Thai Photo: Quite Particular
Thai Photo: Quite Particular
Arabic Photo: Late Night Movie
Arabic Photo: Late Night Movie
French Photo: racineur
French Photo: racineur
Spanish Photo:Sailing Nomad
Spanish Photo:Sailing Nomad

Lets learn Spanish

The third most spoken language in the world is Spanish. Although it only comes in as 3rd in world languages. Spanish is good news for English speakers, especially for linguistically challenged ones like me - so why is learning Spanish particularly easy for English speakers?

Spanish Pronounciation Spanish is spoken as its written with only a couple of variations, the Latin American version is particularly easy for an English speakers : cinco (5) is pronounced - well "cinco" really, though in Spain it would be pronounced "thinko".

Spanish Vocabulary A lot of Spanish vocabulary is close to English variations: Some Spanish words you already know: any fan of Terminator already know how to say "see you later" "hasta la vista". Hola (hi), chica (girl), autobus (bus), rio (river), ciudad (city), norte (north), mar (sea).

Spanish Spelling and (some) grammar Although Spanish grammar can get complex, the simple, present form of the language is straightforward , and unlike French is a noun ends up "o" it's masculine and "a" is feminine with 5 exceptions in total. There are also only a handful of irregular verbs.

El Mundo de Espanol (The Spanish Speaking World)

Spanish will take you as a first or second language from Texas south to Argentina. The only exceptions are Portuguese speaking Brazil, English speaking Belize and Dutch and French speaking Guyanas. In addition Spanish is spoken in Spain. It gets better Spanish and Italian are so close that they are mutually comprehensible. Portuguese, French, Romanian are also closely related languages. Spanish will take you a long way around the world.


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      4 years ago

      Recently I have discovered very great course online and have gradually improved my pronunciation by practicing at home and I am no longer embarrassed to speak in public! Below I give You guys a webpage

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      6 years ago

      Portuguese and Spanish are the closest pair of Romance languages by far. If you know one you are practically gifted the other. And Portuguese is spoken by 51% of the population of South America. Brazil has the 5th most powerful economy in the world - it is one of the 5 BRIC countries since it is so rich in natural resources, recently tons of oil. The 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics will be held in Brazil, and people all over the world are deciding to learn Portuguese as a second language. And Angola (Portuguese Speaking) is quickly becoming the Brazil of Africa because it is rich in: oil, gold, diamonds, silver, etc. Mozambique (also Portuguese speaking) is right behind Angola in terms of richness of natural resources. As a result of this, China is doing tons of trade with ALL of the Portuguese speaking countries (10 in all), as such the Chinese themselves are learning Portuguese. They realize the importance of the Portuguese language on the global stage. Portuguese is actually co-officially spoken in Macau, China too! It is also officially spoken in East Timor. Geographically speaking, the Portuguese language is even more widespread than Spanish.

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      eduardo madrid 

      6 years ago

      Spanish language is not the third more spoken language in the world, it is the second one. See this link

      El español no es el tercer idioma más hablado del mundo, sino el segundo.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 

      6 years ago from Pune, India

      I love Spanish Language, but still I am learning it.

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      6 years ago

      Gonçalo is absolutely right. I speak 6 languages: Romanian, Russian, Spanish, English, German, French. Romanian is my native one.

      Spanish is realley easy but it's too boring for me. The spanish-speaking people can't pronounce a lot of sounds: english-Z,V,SH french-J, german-Z,Ü,Ö,Ä. Spanish is poor in sounds. I call Spanish a dry language.

      Russian is one of my favorites, maybe because it is my second language. But I realize that for most people Russian is too difficult to learn. Russian's grammar is a little weird comparing with latin or germanic languages.

      French sounds very good, it's melting in your mouth when you speak it. I could say the same about Portuguese. Enoughly easy to learn.

      German is my favofite language. A little difficult to learn, mostly due to the order of the words in a sentence and long words wich are apparently scaring unless you understand it's just a compound word. German has something special wich attracts a lot of fans. And of course it sounds good.

      English is the best language, due to its flexibility and easy grammar. I'm not sure about its sounding but written English is most beautyful language. It seems that God created this language to be an international one. The only problem with English is that spoken and written are different.

      Romanian is the closest one to Latin. For example in Romanian there is no article. As you know Latin don't have articles as well. In both these languages instead of articles there are changes in the end of words. I could say that Latin is processed Ancient Romanian.

      Nowadays in Europe I see German more imortant than French.

      I my opinion best languages to learn: ENGLISH, GERMAN, FRENCH, representing great cultures and not so difficult to learn.

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      Gordan from Macedonia 

      7 years ago

      Hi Im from Macedonia,Im wondering what should i continue to learn,in elementary school and high school I learn english and french but now i almost forgot the french to speak and to write except to count to 60 and something from the grammar ... :D wondering should i continue to learn french AGAIN or to start what i think spanish xD

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      7 years ago

      I'm Brazilian, I speak German and Spanish and I'm learning a bit of French right now.

      Really Spanish is a beautiful and very useful language but in the sentence "The only exception[s] are Portuguese speaking Brazil (...)" you're forgetting that the Portuguese speaking Brazil corresponds to 40% of ALL Latin America. So it might not only be useful there, but quite as important as Spanish too.

      But, as I said, I'm Brazilian, I couldn't say differently! :)

      Great article!

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      Nelson Cunha 

      7 years ago

      Learn " Gallego" the spanish and portuguese fusion. Mandarin 1,200 millions, Port/Spa 600 millions, English 500 Millions native speakers.

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      7 years ago

      have any of u guys tried Greek or Hebrew language?

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      dutch is easiest 

      7 years ago

      learn dutch first, it is the most similar language to english.

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      7 years ago

      What a difference a writing system makes! The various "dialects" of Chinese probably differ more among themselves than do all the Romance languages, or all the Slavic (saying that, I will admit that I have significant knowledge of only Putonghua among those Chinese variants, although I recall that in Shanghai a few years ago, on the metro, station announcements were made in Putonghua, Shanghainese and English. I noticed that the two Chineses sounded quite a bit different. I also was surprised on the street to notice that Shanghaiers from middle-age up didn't seem to understand Putonghua). However, all over China people can read and write in essentially the same way. So, to accomplish the unification of Spanish and Portuguese, all that might be needed is to replace the alphabets with a common character system. The only drawback would be that it would make learning to read and write twenty times harder.

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      7 years ago

      I think you should speak portuguese ou spanish. Well, you just need to learn one because the two languages are almost the same, a portuguese can understand a spanish and a spanish can understand a portuguese. Spanish and Portuguese are 89% the same. And they are very closed and have a big connection. Look:

      Um, dois, três, quatro, cinco, seis, sete, oito, nove, dez

      uno dos tres cuatro cinco seis siete ocho nueve diez

      very easy.

      I'm portuguese and I want to these languages join and create just one language, are very easy (just need to modific 10%)

      Sure you also can learn Italian or French or German)but portuguese and spanish for me are the languages who are more easy and have got more speakers (excluiding hind and chines, with a different letters)

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      7 years ago

      As an unreformed Celt, glad it is I am to read the recommendations for Welsh. My knowledge of my own ancestral language amounts to:

      Ta na boscai lan. (There are boxes there.)

      But there is a dictionary there somewhere in a drawer, and a teach-yourself book with cassettes. Meanwhile...

      The easiest modern languages? I would put in a word for Tok Pisin, a Melanesian-based English creole, spoken in PNG. It's one of the many, many languages I've had a bit of a bash at - three decades ago. Didn't persevere, distracted as nearly always, but formed the impression it was very easy and a lot of fun.

      Other, more mature creoles that have taken my fancy over the ages are Indonesian (essentially same as Malaysian) and Swahili. (BTW, some may object to my perhaps loose application of the term "creole," as did most vehemently an Oxford graduate travelling through Siberia a few years ago when I made so bold as to lob the Bard's tongue into the same basket. But who gives a rat's?)

      Before being offput by the Great Garlic Incident, on about Chapter 7 of Yohanni John's textbook, I formed the impression that Indonesian was eminently straightforward and logical, if not as dead-easy as TP. I spent rather greater effort on Swahili, read the full grammar, knew about 3,000 wds and was approaching a level of fluency.

      Three barriers: didn't return to Africa, so lost the opportunities for practice; couldn't find, at the crucial time before forgetting set in, bridging reading material from basic to intermediate level; difficult to use the intermediate level stuff that I did have, because, in Swahili, inflections are at the start of the word, impeding the use of a dictionary.

      Of the two, I would say that Indonesian was marginally the easier, but I didn't learn them both to the same level. As to usefulness, they are both important regional languages; really depends on whether you are travelling to, interested in, doing business with East Africa or South-east Asia.

      Of the Romance languages, the only one that I have studied at length is Italian. Three and a half goes at it, the final half being the most significant. A year at school, then some Saturday classes a decade later. Formed the impression that Italian was very easy. However, in recent years reading right through a full grammar, realized that there are extensive complications to the verbal system, and quite enough other fiddly bits to have the student pondering their coffee late into the evening, when tea would have been advisable. Didn't follow up that basic study with the required reading at that time.

      Then, a year ago, I said to myself: "This is ridiculous. I just about know this bloody language, and I don't use it for anything. No more going back to the basics, time to do some reading." Went to the regional library here in Novosibirsk, found some books in Italian that I judged would not be too difficult, and started to read, determined to do so, as far as possible, without a dictionary, just looking to glean the general meaning. Was doing so when it was time to hit the road again. Photocopied selections of the unread remainder, and headed off through China. Together with revising Chinese, I read those photocopies on trains and planes and in hostels and parks. In Melaka, I sweated through the pack and soaked the photocopies, but decided that the foray had been a reasonable success. I had read about architecture and history and God knows what, and understood it pretty well. Since that time, eight or nine months ago, Italian has lain doggo. I don't yet feel that I have let it slip away again. I feel I have what we call here a platzdarm from which to make further progress. When I take it up again - needs to be soon, I admit - I will this time first return to the grammar and try to nail down some of those weird tenses. Before I last left here in mid-year, there was a new Italian section opening up in the library, perhaps under the aegis of Don Silvio. I will have to work my way through that, as well as listen to stuff on the Internet.

      Italian, then: not the doddle that I once believed, but, of European languages, phonetically just about the least challenging for English speakers. French, and perhaps Spanish would have other features, especially lexical, closer to English. Any of them is a reasonable choice if you are prepared to persevere with it. One other thing with Italian: Yes, those complicated tenses, but I have read, and believe it's true, that Italians themselves in everyday speech tend to avoid them, just as Russians tend to find a way of stating numerals in the nominative case. So don't feel you have to have those verbs rehearsed fit for Bologna University before you venture to listen and speak to people.

      Glad to hear all that about Spanish, and it's not very far down my list. But hey, let's not write off French just yet. German I had a bit of a nibble at a couple of years ago. Surprised that it was not as difficult as I had been warned. I shall return, probably straight after Italian.

      What else... Turkish: highly recommended, extremely logical, and if you learn one Turkic language, you can communicate in most of the others without much difficulty. This last point I only relay second-hand, but my informants include the above-mentioned outraged Oxonian. And he was "from southern England," so he said. (Saying so, I think he meant to infer: QED, or: "I'm the king of the world.")

      On Chinese: Not a fundamentally difficult language. Should be relatively easy. Unfortunately, the writing is a bigger barrier than it need be. Teaching material, which has mainly emanated from China, insanely undervalues the huge resource which is pinyin. I discovered fairly recently that, for Chinese children, pinyin is extensively used as a bridging aid to using the characters. Books in parallel pinyin/character text are widely available, for CHILDREN. for some reason, it is supposed that once they are given the rules, and a few examples, adults learners "should" be able make their make their own way, like Kwai-chang Cain, perhaps. There is now a growing array of excellent material to help with mastering the writing. I have, in recent months, got hold of and begun to make use of this, and had been making good progress until about a month ago. Mustn't let it slip.

      Spoken Chinese is not as easy as some of the languages I have mentioned, but far easier than, say, Russian, of which I have advanced command (but further work is always required). The feared tones are no big problem. The vowels are easy enough if you listen to the model speech, and don't pronounce them according to the rnomanization(pinyin) would suggest for your language. The more serious point of difficulty is with the consonants, especially the fricatives. But it's not a huge problem, and, especially if English is for you either a native or acquired language, it helps to remember that the phonemic marker of aspiration, which might to you as it did to me appear initially strange, is allophonically inverse to voicing in (probably a hell of a lot of) other languages, such as English. The fellow (a Russian) who helped the Chinese to create pinyin, must have first learned, I would reckon, English. His use of the voiced Latin consonants is technically incorrect, but a stroke of pragmatic genius. So, if saying "Beijing," you voice B and J, you are marking yourself as a foreigner, but they probably already guessed that, anyway; and the Chinese are really tolerant and welcoming of your effort to speak their lingo.

      Russian? Bejaysus, you can't be serious! Go and smell the flowers instead, while you still have life, youth and hope.

      BTW, on the remote off-chance that the eye of Jeremy may have chanced upon this post: Mate, you know I wasn't serious. You're a top bloke.

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      Ali Barati 

      7 years ago

      I'm from Iran, Persian(farsi) has borrowed a lot of words from Arabic and I can understand it very well,althgou Persian is an Indo-Europian language.persian has borrowed French words more than any other europian languages.French the most popular foreign language after English and it is taught in schools.

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      7 years ago

      En mi opinion, among the most common languages, Spanish is definitely the easiest to learn for an english speaker, followed by Portuguese or Italian, then French. Lissie is right on the mark. An English speaker starting off in Spanish already knows hundreds of words without realizing it.

      On the other hand, Mandarin AKA Putonghua is quite the task, that is just learning to speak it, not even considering writing or reading, and lets not even talk about Cantonese.

      In short, if you happen to be in the Eastern hemisphere of our world, it would be useful to speak French or Arabic, or Chinese which is proving to be a very hot item these days.

      But, if you are in the Western hemisphere, you might want to learn Spanish before you try anything else. I mean, everyone speaks Spanish on this side of the world...Okay, k, not everyone, but at least all of South America does, with the exception of Brazil...Think about all the fun you could have touring latin america...Now that i think about it, i'm due for a trip...Enough said...Sap Paulo, here i come...

      Or You could always try Esperanto....

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      7 years ago

      ewn ko sa inyo mga nag mamagaling!hindi mo nga alam sa kanila kung totoo Ang mga pinagsasabe e.

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      7 years ago

      Very interesting all that was said here, especially with the suggestion from Lissie about learning Spanish. I agree.

      Similarities, that's the clue. It looks like that nowadays all languages are being compared against English. Surely your knowledge of it can make the big difference in all respects. I am from Costa Rica where Spanish is the language of every day life, but at the same time English is the language that everybody would like to speak and is everywhere. The best paid jobs are related to the command of the language. The same job with English skills required earns you like 100% more money, besides of other benefits like travels. This is amazing so there is a big pressure among youngsters about to learning it. But here again as with any other language, the age at which you make your first approach to it, determines how well you are going to command it in the future. That’s why the high-income part of population enrolls their kids in bilingual Eng-Spa private schools since kindergarten to give them the chance to acquire it as sooner and better as possible. There are plenty of other languages being taught in CR besides English like French, German, Italian, Portuguese, etc. but no one has the relative importance of English. English and French are taught by its importance for communication at all levels although French has a more historical and cultural ingredient. German and Italian are more part of the respective cultures populations in the country that are trying to maintain their language and culture among its descendants and to share it with the rest of the population, more or less like intercultural bridges.

      Talking about Spanish, its is interesting to remember that it was the first European language spoken in America and that it had its consequences till today, when it becomes the most spoken language in America and growing too much faster the following English and Portuguese (and especially in the USA). It looks like a very intelligent decision from the part of the rest of Americans from the other language speaking countries, to learn it at least for its regional importance. All start up with an early exposure to it since childhood.

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      language lover 

      7 years ago

      various european languages are good and sound similar with english.although some like german or spanish language sounds little difficult.among asian languages recently unesco declared bengali language the sweetest language in the world-so it would be comfortable to learn.portugeese or other south american language have their own atyle-don't know much about africa.but european languages or bengali will be seemingly easy for a native english speaker.

    • Bharatthapa profile image

      Bharat Thapa 

      7 years ago from NEW DELHI

      @Moss You can try some of the software and books to build a foundation.

      Try some books by Dorothy Richmond from Practice makes perfect series.(Very informative and there are lot of exercises to practice.)

      I finished Basic spanish in a month(But there are 50lecciones.)

      I was desperate to finish it. It gave me pretty good introduction to the language so now i am using RS from last 4months and i am on level2 of it.

      Pretty good software and very well thought program.

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      7 years ago

      english is too easy and too far from the other languages! among main languages french is probably the closest! it is a good compromise between northern and southern languages! I picked it up and then studied italian! so easy... spanish is easy to understand for a french speaker! portuguese is easy to read! i would go for french!

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      7 years ago

      Im a mongolian indian n i speak 2 minor asian languages which are semilar to burmese or veitnamese. i have also learnt spoken hindi and bangoli. In total i knw 5 languages and now i am trying to learn spanish. However i dont know a soul who speak spanish and so it distracts me. Is there any way that i could chat or speak over the phone with some spanish speakin people? It'd be great if that fellow wanna learn any of the languages that i know. kind of barter system! Any help?

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      Bharat Thapa 

      7 years ago

      Hi, i am an India born nepalese. I was born here in new delhi and still in new delhi(lol)

      I can speak 4different languages fluently(In some of these i am not as good as a native speaker but i can hold a good conversation.)

      Now i am trying to learn spanish on my own(It has been almost 3months and almost through with the basics of spanish and when i watch or listen any spanish movie or song, i can make sense out of it, not accurately but i can make out what the conversation is about and where it's moving to.

      As being grown up in a hinglish enviroment(60%hindi and 30-40%english words), i have good command over english(Almost hahaha)

      But still it's not my first language and choosing it as a medium to learn spanish, is that a good decision?

      I am not pretty sure however i can think in english, i understand all types of English accents, idioms everything but still have this doubt in my mind.

      I believe in learning on my own reason being i am a working guy hardly get time to do other things but everyday i try to give atleast an hour to learn spanish(on my own)

      Help me and please clear my doubt.

    • profile image


      7 years ago


      "Contrasting with Spanish 7: á, é, i, y, ó, u, w. Spanish does not make a distinction between é and ê, nor between ó and ô."



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      7 years ago

      Hello, i'm Portuguese, I'm 25 y.o. and I speak 5 languages: Portuguese, English (7 years in school), Spanish, French (3 years in school) and Italian.

      I've also learned German, Czech and Greek, knowing the basics to these languages.

      I'm not a linguistic, I'm a multimedia designer profesionaly, LGBT activist in my homecountry and i have a profound interest in languages, geography and cultures.

      Portuguese and Spanish are not the closest languages, instead that happens with Portuguese and Galician, where Galician is seen as being practically Portuguese with a Spanish accent (in much the way that Catalan looks like Spanish with a Portuguese accent). In fact, some people and linguists see Galician and Portuguese as the same language under two distinct variations.

      Nevertheless, of course that amongst the "big" languages it is indeed Portuguese and Spanish the ones that are most related to each other.

      They are mutually inteligible but only if you are open to try and understand it, if you get a laisy and bitchy atitude then it's hard to comprehend each other. Usually Spanish people do not understand Portuguese, wich bums the hell out of the Portuguese. The Portuguese can understand much easier a Spanish-speaking person.

      This happens because the Spaniards don't have as much contact with Portuguese as the Portuguese have with Spanish, it happens because Spanish has a much simpler sound and orthography system than Portuguese, and it happens too because Spaniards are verry proud/arrogant about their language and culture wich makes them ignore other cultures and languages. Their educational system for language learning doesn't work as well as the Portuguese one, in fact it is verry poor, and they dubb every single movie and searies to Spanish, thus agravating their lousy ability to hearing other languages (it is of common knowledge in Portugal that Spaniards are terrible at languages and can speak nothing but Spanish). In Portugal practically nothing is dubbed and there is a huge social position against it - often people will change channel if they see that a program is being dubbed.

      The abbility to understand each other widens gigantically when both languages are written. Often a person may not understand what the other says but if they write it down than there will be no problem at all.

      I can give two practical exemples that are close to me. A friend of mine was not understood by a Spaniard when my friend asked the directions to Badajoz (a Spanish city on the border with Portugal), because although the city is written the same way in both languages, pronounciation changes: Spanish /Bàdàrrrrróth/ and Portuguese /Bâdâjósh/ (the letter J in PT is pronounced like the French J, whereas in Spanish it has that distinct rude and strong RR, not the rolled one; also the Z is pronounced differently in both languages, and the Portuguese have the sound /â/ = English /uh/ that Spaniards battle a lot with).

      The other exemple was when I was talking to this guy and wanted to say the word "mosca" (fly, the insect), and the guy didn't understand me. After a long time he finally said: "Aah! Mosca!"... So, you see, you just have to have an open mind. Portuguese /môshkâ/ and Spanish /môshkà/. I have hundreds of examples like this, eh eh.

      Portuguese, French and Catalan share much of the sound system. While Spanish, Italian and Galician share this same thing amongst each other. Concerning vowel vocal and nasal sounds especially.

      While in terms of vocabulary and grammar system it changes to Portuguese, Spanish, Galician. And then French, Italian and Catalan in another group.

      Ex.: "malas" (Pt) and "maletas" (Es), and "valises" (Fr) and "valigie" (It). It means "bags"/"luggage" in English.

      In some cases this may not happen for other reasons. Historically French always had a big influence in Portuguese, so many words are related to French too instead of to Spanish: "rua" (Pt) and "rue" (Fr), and "calle" (Es), "carrer" (Cat) or "strada" (It). Meaning "street".

      It can also happen that a word is completely different in these languages, take for exemple "butterfly":

      "Borboleta" in Pt;

      "Mariposa" in Es;

      "Papillon" in Fr;

      "Farfatella" in It.

      And of course the old false friends: "carro" means "car" in Pt (/kárrrru/), but "royal coach/carriage" in Es (/kárrò/). And "coche" means "royal coach/carriage" in Pt (/kósh/), but "car" in Es (/kótschè/).

      Portuguese has 11 vowel vocal sounds: á, â, é, ê, e, i, y, ó, ô, u, w;

      Contrasting with Spanish 7: á, é, i, y, ó, ô, u, w. Spanish does not make a distinction between é and ê, nor between ó and ô.

      So the  Pt words "avó" (grandmother) and "avô" (grandfather) will sound the same to the common Spaniard. But they are completely different in Pt of course, having different meanings to them.

      Portuguese and Italian are hardly mutually inteligible (the differences fall in written text), and specially French and Portuguese are not inteligible, no, no, no (not even in written text). Unless you have a basic knowledge of these languages.

      In Portugal it is compulsory to learn at least 2 foreign languages until highschool graduation. And each language must be learned for a period no shorter than 3 years, this counts for any language you learn in School.

      99% of times English starts in the 5th grade (although schools can now start teaching it beggining in the 1st grade) and French starts in the 7th grade (although German and Spanish have just recently been open to students so early too, as long as the school has teachers and wants to offer it). German may also be learned in the 3 highschool years (10th to 12th grade) if a student choses to follow the humanities/letter area of education.

      Portuguese tend to ignore Spanish because the language is so related and similar to Portuguese and easily learned outside of school or some other time in the future. I am fluent in Spanish and I never had a single class of Spanish in my life, I just picked it up in my travels to Spain. So the general thinking is: "Why will I chose to learn Spanish now in school and jeopordise my learning of French or German when I can just learn Spanish some other time and still be able to speak it really well?", because learning French or German at a latter age would of course be more difficult.

      Practically every school in Portugal has English, French, German and Latin teachers.

      So what happens in Portugal is that a big part of the population can speak English, French and Spanish, going from the most basic level to full fluency. So speaking Portuguese comes with the bonus of understanding/speaking Spanish if you're smart. All this makes us a verry multitasked linguistic people.

      German is growing although English and French are still the main foreign languages in Portugal, for historical/cultural/social reasons.

      Portuguese has around 200 to 210 million native speakers; 220 to 225 million first and second language speakers; and 240 million people live in the countries and jurisdictions where Portuguese is the official or co-official language (in all 5 continents), having thus a direct contact/ close relation with it. All these numbers i researched by myself. Do not believe the numbers you see in wikipedia, they're often over the top, hahah.

      I encourage every one to learn it, it's a beautiful and unique language, easy to learn but also enoughly complex to keep you thinking, motivated and excited, with an imense cultural and social diversity to it - from the music, to the poetry, cuisine, landscapes, warmful peoples and vibrant History.

      Unfortunatly often forgoten to easy-old-same Spanish.

      If anyone has a question on Portuguese, please do pose it.

      Love you all,

      And a special hello to the owner of the blog! Always so heart-warmfully good to know about someone who is learning our "little" Portuguese.

      Beijinhos (Kisses),

      Gonçalo (

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Strange that everyone holds Chinese to be such a difficult language. I'm a native English speaker, soon to be finishing my first year of Mandarin at university. I've found that although it is very different, so much is the same. Most of the Chinese grammatical patterns make immediate sense to English-speakers. In fact, I found it to be a far more logical language: the way in which words are built up is usually straightforward and obviously understandable - ?? can be loosely translated to 'food' + 'place' equaling the word's meaning, 'restaurant'. Instead of changing the form of numbers when using cardinal and ordinal numbers (like English does, i.e. 'one', 'first'), Chinese merely attaches the prefix '?' before the numeral '?' or '?' to make 'first' (??? and 'second' ???? respectively.

      Even the idea that there is no shared vocabulary is questionable - it does exist. Cola (as in Coca Cola) is pronounced 'kuh luh', a direct transposition from the English (is it?) word. The word for hot-dog in Mandarin literally means a 'hot dog' in Chinese too. As such, it is not entirely foreign.

      I think the difficulty comes in with learning both the spoken and written language at the same time; to achieve fluency in reading/writing and listening/producing requires double the amount of time required by another Latinate or Germanic language, because there is no direct correlation between the two - the written language can be effectively divorced from the spoken language: multiple mutually-unintelligible languages make use of it, i.e. Cantonese and Mandarin.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      How about Arabic?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      me gustaría aprender tantos idiomas ......

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I finished my degree and the only other language I studied was Spanish. I am in the application process for a Federal Police job and would like your opinion on which language I should concentrate on next. What could be helpful in my career, yet not too difficult to add to what I know?

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      7 years ago

      Hello, I'm 15 and I speak Spanish and English as mother tongues and German at a native level (I'll elaborate on this). I'm probably the person in this thread who has had contact with the most languages at once, as I won a one-month stay with everything paid in Germany because of my skills in German (PAD-Preisträger) and I met people from 92 countries. We spoke German to each other (although the Preisträger with not so high levels of German spoke English, which sort of nerved me), but spoke our native languages with our compatriots. I can tell that Spanish is MUCH MORE related to Portuguese than to Italian, as I understood everything the Brazilian and Portuguese girls said to each other, but understood less than half of what the Italians said (I'm now learning Portuguese, which is extremely easy for me). Now, regarding the North Germanic languages: three in my group were Swedes, and I really only understood: "jag, ja, du, och, är, skit, slampa" among other words (I learnt some profanity :D). They also spoke with the Danes and Norwegians, each in their own language and without any problems. Regarding Dutch: When I got in a KLM flight to Amsterdam, I thought I would understand some things. This, however, was not the case; I only understood: "Dames und Herren" and a couple other words, it was really frustrating. Nonetheless, I met some girls that were speaking something that I could understand, but was not German (it was lacking cases), which led me to ask them where they came from: Belgium. I had previously read that Flemish was not as harsh as Netherlands Dutch, but I had not thought at such extent. I believe English is an easy but at the same time hard language to learn, as it only has one definite article an no grammatical cases other then by personal pronouns. However, the fact that it is not written phonetically at all makes it really complicated for foreigners to learn without the help of natives/highly fluent speakers, because they simply won't know how to pronounce a word. I've been helping my Russian girlfriend (I met her in Germany during the PAD-Programm) with her English and I've managed to find some rules, such as when a vowel is pronounced as in the vocals list (Spanish pron.: ei, i, ai, ou, yu) or the (well, I do not know how to call and I don't feel like looking up IPA pronunciation) as in Spanish (ah, eh, ih, oh, uh). For example, cut vs cute, cap vs cap, rat vs rate. I believe the "e" is used to denote the "vocal list" pronunciation, similar to the German Umlaute (ä, ö, ü). A notable exception to this would be "love". But then we get to words where you simply have to KNOW their pronunciation by heart. Well, those were my two cents.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Afrikaans is the easiest because its grammar is closest to English and it's Dutch vocabulary is very closely realted to Anglo-Saxon. It is a simplified Dutch dialect.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I know I'm only 16 and all but I have taken a semester of German ( I moved so no longer an option) and now I'm in a Spanish class and German was was a hole lot easier for me to learn

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Janey, it depends on the person learning Spanish, but I am 25 and started studying Spanish when I was 22 and I can read, write, understand and speak it well enough to read Spanish literature, watch Spanish tv/movies and speak with other Spanish speakers pretty well. I still come across new verbs that I have never heard of and vocabulary words, too. If you really stick to learning the language and get good learning material, practice speaking, and watch and read a lot of Spanish literature and movies/television I would assume that you could become proficient in a year or two, but for you to be able to speak Spanish as naturally as your native language will be a long journey...practice and more practice will show results! It is a very useful language and I use it every day.

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      7 years ago

      if you now english and want to speak spanish,how long it takes to be fluent in it?

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      7 years ago

      Hola! I've been spending 2 days learning Spanish online and guess what? I am so in love with it. I guess, that's because can speak English, maybe.

      Well, I am an ASIAN, Cambodia whose Khmer is the official language; you may know there are tons of differences between languages in Asia and Europe.

      Thanks for the post by the way. It's been a great help!

    • rjsadowski profile image


      7 years ago

      Which language to learn depends greatly on where you live and why you want to learn it. I learned Latin in high school and it has helped me to understand the structure of other languages, particularly the Indo-European ones. Spanish and Italian seem to be among the easiest to learn. French is compounded by its difficult pronunciation. The Germanic languages are also pretty straight forward. Greek and the Slavic languages are complicatic by the Cyrilic alpabet. Hungarian, Finnish and Estonian are all Finno-Ugric with very complicated grammar. Basgue is unique but resembles the Finno-Ugric languages in structure.

      Here in the United States, Spanish is probably a good choice because of the rapid growth in the Hispanic population. Pick one and try it.

    • profile image

      middle east 

      7 years ago

      hi, iam from iraq, i know my mother toungue kurdish as well as arabic persian and english,i wish to learn another european lanuage please can you suggest for me which of them is the easest one for me,,,thank u all.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      el portugues no es el mas cercano al español es el ladino

      español y ladino 97%

      español y portuges 89%

      español y italiano 82%

      español y frances 75%

      el ingles tiene un 15% latin,

      el ingles "NO" tiene un 40% ni 60%, sí lo tuviera entenderían la mitad de todo la una escritura cosa que no lo hace, no se engañen a ustedes mismos, he leído que un estudiante se tarda hasta mas de 6 años en estudiarlo y hablarlo,

      un frances puede aprender a hablar español como en un añoimedio, y eso que el frances y el español no son muy cercanos, esto lo pongo porque he leido comentarios de los franceses que dicen eso,

      el porque el ingles entienden mas frances no es por que el ingles tenga mas latin, sino por que el frances tiene aleman no ingles,

      ingles y frances 27% menos

    • spanishtoday profile image


      7 years ago

      I want to learn French and Italian now, but time is not my friend.

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      7 years ago

      Indonesian as they're our neighbors and are moving towards 100 percent in population that can speak Bahasa Indonesian. What annoys me about Mandarin is that many Chinese still don't speak it, they speak other dialects. Further I've been told Indonesian has a lot of borrowed Dutch words in it still, which are easier to English speakers learn.

    • ameliejan profile image


      7 years ago from Alicante, Spain

      Muy bien. I think German is easiest to get a grounding in a language, but it's easiest to advance in one of the Latinate languages, probably Spanish. Mandarin is surprisingly easy to learn too.

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      8 years ago

      You dont consider learning hindi, because people over there are already speaking good english? Dont like german because of the order of words (which does not matter to make you understood in real life). Another post in the most basic german you could try to say.. making a big grammar mistake, that actually could make you not understood. "Ich bin gut" = I am awesome/very good at something/ I am good guy/person. And "mir geht es gut". I am good = I am feeling good/Life is ok. But then saying I think it is easy.. Then in the article saying that german is not that much spoken. In Europe its with Russian the most spoken native language. Especially in high business and engineering and literature in Europe, its still used a lot, even though, of course English dominates here too meanwhile. No doubt that the most spoken foreign language in Europe is English. But some of you state the similarity of Italien/Spanish/Portugues as something like "ok, if I know that one, learning the other is like a breeze". I really doubt that, it well definitly help, but also confuse you a great deal. Maybe if you are a native Spanish/Italien speaker, it could be a breeze learning other roman languages, like Portogues. Like for a German learning dutch or afrikaans and the other way around. I dont know...

      But what I know, in the end, no languages is easy to learn after you are more then 10 years old. But every language has it significance to me, I mean, which language you should learn, depends on your personal motivation. I would rather first check out the people that speak that given language and then decide, if you feel like this is the community you want to better understand and be part of. Then even Islandic/Chinese/Hindi, if you are motivated for a good reason, and not totally dumb, will be ok to learn for you. But remember: No language is easy to learn, never is, never was, once you are a little older then 10. But its always worth it, if it helps you getting in touch with other people and open up your horizon. Later, when you speak with someone speaking your language as a second language, you will see, how much more respect you feel.

      Keep on learning! It doesn't matter which language you learn, I am really confident you will enjoy it. And please stop underestimating languages. Even if there is just one person speaking a language that no one speaks, you still can love that person and I am sure, you will be more then motivated to learn it! Thus becoming a really important language to you!


    • DavitosanX profile image


      8 years ago

      Well, I speak spanish as a first language, and I assure you I can't understand most of what is said in either italian or portuguese. The words may look alike, but they usually sound differently.

      Of course, those languages would be extremely easy to pick up, once the differences are assimilated.

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      8 years ago

      Hindi is my first language and English comes next. I am currently learning spanish, French and Italian. Hindi is definitely not an easy language as everything has a gender and there are no specific rules

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hello there.Now I say my opinion evry people must learn english.Because english language be world language.If learn other language is best because we see another countries

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      8 years ago

      Bethan, as you already know German, you should be able to pick up one of the Scandinavian languages quickly.

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      8 years ago

      Thanks for calling the English dull... appriciate that one haha :) I was thinking of learning Italian, of course English is my native language and i'm fluent in German, which was one hell of an awkward language to learn, but it helps when you're surrounded by German culture i suppose :) I was thinking of learning Italian or Spanish, you know one of the 'Romance' languages, (though I have no desire to even contemplate French, did that aswell as German for a year - never again) I'm encouraged by the fact some of the posts here say Italian is the easiest, but I'd like another opinion, bearing in mind i'm 16 and am starting my A levels next year (I've completed an A level in German already) what would you guys suggest as the language, that I can do when i have a little spare time but will still be easy to learn quickly? :) vielen danke

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      8 years ago

      I've studied Italian, Spanish, French, and Arabic. And I must say...

      Spanish is so easy. Well written Spanish at least. The syntax is very similar to English.

      In 1 year I'm completely conversational and probably speak better Spanish than most of the spicks here do English.

      So yeah... Spanish gets my vote by a mile.

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      8 years ago

      Frisian, Dutch and then the Scandinavian languages followed by Germany. Those are the closest by far. They're not the most practical though - Spanish would be #1 in that area and it's a Latin language that's very well ordered and easy to learn in the right environment.

      I used to belive Dutch was virtually the same as German, but grammar is much closer to English.

    • profile image

      Alfredo Munoz 

      8 years ago

      I'm originally from Madrid Spain and I agree with Juan.

      It is Portuguese language that is the major closest language to Spanish in grammar, vocabulary and structure.

      I understand them perfectly and they understand us perfectly.

      Italian sounds similar, but it really is linguistically further away from Spanish than Portuguese is. Portuguese is much closer to Spanish in every way.

    • profile image


      8 years ago


      um, dois, tres, quatro, cinco, seis, sete, oito, nove, dez


      uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez


      uno, due, tre, quatro, cinque, sei, sette, otto, nove, diecce.

      Now which two languages are most similar???

      Portuguese uses very much similar words to Spanish idiot.

      The Ethnologue of languages have Spanish and Portuguese at 89% lexical similarity, while Italian and Spanish are only at 82%

      Get your facts straight.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I would say for someone in America learning Spanish is the easiest and then Italian and then maybe French. And no Portuguese and Spanish are not that similar as lanquages. For example in Spanish recuerdo and in Italian ricordare. Alot of words in Portuguese are completely different than Spanish. Spanish and Italian are much closer together. They are both romance lanquages, but Italian is the closest to latin. Words in Spanish are often nearly identical to words in Italian. Uno dos tres cuatro cinco seis siete ocho, un due tre cuatro cinque sei sette otto. Portuguese uses completely different words.

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      8 years ago

      Being a native English communication and someone who has learn english online, Italian and Afrikaans, I'd say Welsh gives you lots of practice if you live in the UK, Italian links in nicely with Spanish and Portuguese. I do find I can follow a lot of Spanish and agree with a lot of comments here, as the third most spoken language it's worth trying.

    • profile image

      Andreas Moser 

      8 years ago

      I found German quite easy. I think I was fluent by the age of 4 or 5 :-)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Spanish and Italian are NOT mutually intelligible. They are similar in vocabulary and accent, but that's it.

      Portuguese and Spanish are the two closest major languages in the world today in: vocabulary 90% the same, very close grammar, very close syntax - just the accent is a little different. Portuguese and Spanish speakers can speak to each other in their own language and understand each other almost perfectly. They are brother Iberian languages - the culture and history of Spain/Portugal are also very similar - basically the same people too. Spanish and Portuguese speakers are next door neighbors in Europe and South America.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Several surveys showed German's the most useful language for Brits to learn,and high for other English speakers too- overall. for career, economic purposes, and travel etc. They take a lot of factors into account. Native speaker numbers on their own don't tell how useful a language is outside its home base. So Chinese and Spanish work out less widely used than their numbers suggest, while English, German and French all much more important than the official figures. English is officially 3rd. but use as a second language (eg. India) business and literature make it first in real terms, with something similar for German and French.

    • profile image

      Best Language  

      8 years ago

      Great topic and great page! I guess it depends how you look at the question...certainly learning a language from one of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries is going to be extremely useful from a career perspective. But, if someone is looking to learn their first language, then I would recommend something a bit easier. For an English speaker, French or Spanish are usually quite easy to learn and offer numerous opportunities to practice.

    • echineselessons profile image


      8 years ago

      As my opinion, learn Chinese is the best choice

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi, thanks all, I have been trying to decide which language to do. I was going to try and conquer French and German as I failed both in school 30 years ago. But now I think I will start with Spanish. Oh as I am in Australia I do not know any Spanish speaking groups, any suggestions on who to practice with??

    • Watercubez profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      My vote is definitely for Spanish as it has many similarities, almost identical alphabet and living in the USA we are provided ample opportunity to practice Spanish outside the classroom.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi there! I'm an American student in middle school who is currently learning Spanish and planning to take courses in Mandarin Chinese. I think Spanish was very easy for me because, first of all, it's basically the same alphabet with fewer vowel sounds that never change. Secondly, there are so many words in common anyway (and Spanish has a couple loanwords as well). The only thing I have trouble with is rolling my "rr"s.

      Thanks for writing this wonderful blog!

    • LeanMan profile image


      8 years ago from At the Gemba

      I have tried to learn several languages over my lifetime and I can honestly say that I am probably the worst linguist in the whole world... My school french was officially my worst subject and my only low grade, but it was compulsory.. I married someone from Kenya and tried to learn Swahili for four years and still could not string more than 3 words together.. Then for the last 5 years I have been with a Filipina, can I learn Tagalog.. hell no!!

      I think the whole world should learn English just for us poor English speakers.... lol

    • aballantyne profile image


      9 years ago from U.S.

      Although not a major language Frisian would be the closest relative to English and easiest to learn in my opinion.

    • purpletiger profile image


      9 years ago

      Finnish is not actually related to German and Dutch. Finnish is related only to Hungarian and Estonian - none of which are remotely anything like the Germanic languages. Finnish belongs to the group called the Uralic languages. Just a bit of trivia for you!

    • Digger Dave profile image

      Digger Dave 

      9 years ago

      Hi Lissie,

      Nice article and subject. I am an ex Brit who has lived in Sweden for over 5 years now and I have a reasonable grasp of the basic language. For writing I will always use Google Translator for ease and then check to make sure it has understood my context etc.

      In ten years time, I am certain we all be sending text/sms's and emailing in automatically translated messages. Language differences will have become irrelevant certainly in media communication. The older generation in ten years time will be mostly proficient with computers, mobile phones etc.

      The last step will be a receiver/transmitter embedded in our ear that quietly translates any language spoken into our inner ear.

      It will be great to finally dump the phrase book.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      where do you suggest for me to learn scottish gaelic

    • nomoretrucks profile image


      9 years ago from scotland

      Hiya, this is a great question Lissie. I was terrible at languages in school even my own country's language until i learned my educational curriculum was extremely culturally biased. I could only speak a smattering of anything other than English until way into my 20's. I prefer to live in countries and many times work where no English is spoken i guess as a protest against the history which was forced upon me which wasn't my own countries history. I can easily speak and communicate in four languages now, but if i write these languages im quite poor! (without actually having learned any of them in a class room.) i learned them because i worked and lived with people who's first language is not English. To communicate quickly in another language you have to begin thinking in that language- if you try to think about it, there is a gap where we produce an 'Er!' whilst your brain translates it, by then the recipient of your conversation loses interest in what your saying. You can limp around with phrase book language , people will gladly help you but a deeper conversation with someone who doesn't speak English is like newly found gold i reckon. its beautiful. 'The indexer'has a great point about it further back in your comments from 2 yrs ago. I wish i had discovered hub pages a while back.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      wow! Great question. Well, i think Spanish is a good option. Thanks for the hub!

    • janices7 profile image

      Janice S 

      9 years ago

      Great question! After doing a bit of traveling, I am trying to learn Spanish. So far so good, but like anyone who is aged 40+ trying to learn a language, I bemoan the fact that it was so much easier to learn a language when I was in high school:) Everyone told me that Spanish and Italian are very similar so I'm hoping that someday I'll know a bit of Italian too. My husband speaks a bit of French and with those 3 languages, I feel like we'll be covered for most traveling that we do.

    • stricktlydating profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

      I've found German, Italian and Japanese easy to learn - but I'm in Australia and hardly get to use these skills any more, so I've lost much of my knowledge in these foreign languages. It was handy when I visited each of these countries, but years afterwards I've found this knowledge fades to barely a few words here and there!

    • Systememperor profile image


      9 years ago from UK

      Hm, well I know 4 Slavic languages and I can understand another 4-5 Slavic at least, given that I know Slovak, Czech, Polish and Russian. But also I know Japanese and Chinese. I also know the usual ones, so all together 13 languages. ps: those 4-5 other Slavic which I can understand I usually do not count in total, so only 13 languages.

    • knell63 profile image


      9 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      Being a native English speak and someone who has learnt Welsh, Italian and Afrikaans, I'd say Welsh gives you lots of practice if you live in the UK, Italian links in nicely with Spanish and Portuguese. I do find I can follow a lot of Spanish and agree with a lot of comments here, as the third most spoken language it's worth trying.

    • profile image

      Rick Jones  

      9 years ago

      For English speakers a Romance language is the best place to start. The most difficult Romance languages are French and Portuguese and the easiest is Spanish (Latin American version). The remaining Romance tongues, Latin, Romanian, Italian, Catalan, fall somewhere in between. The student should pick the language whose culture interests him or her the most. After that I would recommend a Germanic language. German has great reach here in Europe but for ease Dutch or Norwegian seems to be easier to get your arms around. The Slavic languages are difficult owing to their very foreign vocabulary. Most people start with Russian. The easiest Slavic language to learn is Bulgarian. It has no cases for nouns. It is the exception that proves the rule. The most difficult Slavic language is Polish. The grammar is more complicated that even Czech and the sound system is very difficult to master even for native speakers of another Slavic language. The Russians refer to Polish speakers as "prshedki" owing to the sounds of the language. Polish is rich is consonant clusters of "sh", "zh, |shch" "w" "pzh" Bardzo trudno !

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 

      9 years ago from Sydney

      I've learned Latin, French, Russian, German and Spanish. Spanish is definitely the easiest for the reasons you mention.  The spelling is fairly phonetic so the pronunciation is more-or-less the way it looks, once you've learned the few unusual letters (e.g. "c" being pronounced "s" in South America or "th" in Spain). 

      It also has the advantage that it's a widespread language, so there's some point in learning it. 

    • ashleebiz profile image


      10 years ago

      I agree with dawei888, most European languages (including English) are based on Latin thanks to good 'ol Caesar and other crazy Roman leaders that conquered half the world! So Spanish is a great one to start with mostly because in America is basically our 2nd language since we have so many immigrants, and also there are tons of learning options out there. And other latin based languages will come much easier. It probably wouldn't hurt to study a little Latin before you start! 


      Asian languages are harder to learn if English is your native language mostly because everything about most of them, especially Chinese, is opposite from what we've been taught.  The alphabet is way different and they read down and to the left, however if you're interested studying a popular Asian language would definitely be worth your while in this day and age!

      If you're interested in Spanish check out my new hub!

    • dawei888 profile image


      10 years ago

      Great Hub! I'm a self proclaimed language geek! I speak English (native speaker), French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and Portuguese. I think the best language for an English speaker to start with is Spanish. Firstly, because it's easy to learn and it's also an international language. Also, once the student masters Spanish she or he will have a really easy time learning the other Latin-based languages (French, Italian, Portuguese & Romanian).

      As far as Asian langauges go I'd start with Mandarin. Firstly, it's extremely useful and any young student learning Mandarin today will surely benefit job or career-wise. Secondly, the other Asian languges, eg Korea, Vietnamese & Japanese all have words based on Chinese.

      I have a few hubs teaching basic Mandarin - I'll try to add more. Thanks! Dawei888

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      Ironically I've been to HK and that's an English speaking country - at least for the tourist! Austalians should be learning Indonesian because its right next door - and the language is quite simple to learn

    • profile image

      Writer Rider 

      10 years ago

      Well, that's what I've heard in regards to Chinese. Perhaps your right. I admire your Priminister but I wonder if the entire Australian public could learn a language so vastly different than English. Hong Kong, though, isn't that far away from Australia.

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      I've heard Thai is even worse than Chinese! I have huge admiration for the Australian Prime Ministter Kevin Rudd who is a fluent Mandarin speaker - to the point that he can speak to Chinese leaders directly in their own language!

    • profile image

      Writer Rider 

      10 years ago

      Chinese is by far the most difficult language for an English speaker to learn. French shares more vocabulary than German does but is has a different grammatical structure whereas German has a similar grammatical structure to English. Spanish, for your country, would only be important when dealing with Spain or latin countries. Latin, however, would facilitate the learning of several European languages.

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      Muy bien lafenty! Yes Spanish/Italian/Portugese are close and I believe Romanian. French is a little further but you can still see the similarities - I find French pronouceation really difficult though!

    • lafenty profile image


      10 years ago from California

      Bonjour, comment allez-vous ? I'm at the end of my first year of college level French. It's hard, especially for someone 'mature' like myself. But it is very interesting to see how many French and English words are the same or very similar. Also very close to Spanish, since they all have latin roots.

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      The thing that gets me with German is the different word order - though that said I can read what you said - its quite close to English sometimes.

      I have been learning Portugese and I would be foreever using Spanish words- fortunatly the teacher thought it was funny!

    • glassvisage profile image


      10 years ago from Northern California

      Hallo, wie geht's, Lissie? Ich bin sehr gut. Danke fur das Hub!

      I found that German was fairly easy to learn, although I'm currently learning Spanish and it's not that bad. However, whenever I'm trying to formulate sentences in Spanish, I sometimes accidentally end up saying German words instead! :(

      Great idea for a Hub!

    • profile image

      Steven Schultz 

      10 years ago

      Italian is one of the easiest languages to learn...and once you know the language you have a great place to visit!

      An easy way to remember a foreign word is to use the link-word technique. Here I linked an Italian word to an English word by using matching sounds between thewords. English word = flour Italian word = la farinaTry to picture a group of FLOUR bags having a great LAUGH at theARENA after a concert.

    • profile image

      English Teacher 

      10 years ago

      I answered the topic as Spanish while I was clicking into it. I agree.

    • Fyxz Van Light profile image

      Fyxz Van Light 

      10 years ago from Brunei Darussalam - Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures

      Malay language is the easiest to speak and write amongst all. I mean, if you wanna write it, you will still be using ordinary ABCD------- alphabets. But then, the only difficulty is how to pronounce words. For example a word starts with a letter A, For English speakers, most of the time, they will pronounce as 'Eii', whereas Malays will say 'Aaa'.

      hahaha, correct me if im wrong yea

    • Tottie profile image


      10 years ago from Australia , or China, or South Korea.

      At school I learned French and Latin (the latter being so helpful in my medical/nursing career) and later I learned a little Italian. I am now learning Chinese - which takes a while to get used to, but when you live in the country it is better. You can practice daily.

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      11 years ago from New Zealand

      Indexer it woudln' surprise me if Danish is relatively easy, probably the other Scandanvian languages too, excluding Finnish - they are quite closely related to German and Dutch and English I think. Welsh is a novel idea - part of the problem with learning a language in isolation is not having the chance for informal pracitice outside the classroom.

      Funride - yes I am currently learning Portugese - I work for an exploration company who is working in Brasil and they hired us a tutor - its impossible to find Portugese lessons in Perth Australia! 1 of the other students thought I was some sort of language genius because I picked up the concept of different verbs for "to be" , the grammar some of the vocab really easily! The teacher laughs at my pronounceation ! That was my expereince in Portgugal too - I can read a lot but I found it realy hard to be understood and to understand because of the significant differences in pronounceation - I think Italian would be easier? It's hard to remember the little words that are differeent such as Sim/Si Nao/non Eu/yo obligado/gracias etc Oh and I can't spell in any language including English!

    • The Indexer profile image

      John Welford 

      11 years ago from UK

      I was once told that Danish is a relatively easy language to learn, although I've never tried. If you have done some French, then Italian does not present too many horrors - probably the same applies to Spanish, although that is a language that Americans are more likely to learn than Brits are.

      For an English-speaking person living in the UK, I would recommend trying Welsh, as its structure is not difficult to grasp and there are plenty of Welsh speakers just over the border who are often happy to help their neighbours to learn the language once spoken throughout the southern parts of the British Isles.

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 

      11 years ago from Portugal

      Olá Lissie, pensei que você estava aprendendo Português!? :)

      After all you think Spanish it´s easier than Portuguese, if you need help with spanish you can always ask and I bet she is going to love teaching you how to speak/write good spanish ;)

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      11 years ago from New Zealand

      I'm afraid I wouldn't count Hindi as easy - there is little common basis for the vocabulary or grammar and the script is different too. Also a lot of Hindi speakers appear to have excellent English already!

    • webmedia profile image

      Amita Sharma 

      11 years ago from India

      What about Hindi say some thing on it, as you might be knowing USA Government has put a lot of fund to learning Hindi in Federak Budget.

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      11 years ago from New Zealand

      Hola Sybille, gracias por su commentario!

    • Sybille Yates profile image

      Sybille Yates 

      11 years ago

      !Hub bien hecho, felicidades! SY


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