Top 7 Easiest Languages to Learn for English Speakers
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Those who are fluent in multiple languages often have an advantage in the professional world of business, especially if you often work with international clients.
Of course, we find some languages more difficult to learn than others, which we happen to find less of a challenge, but… Why is that?
In this short article we will try to list the Easiest languages to learn for English speakers and the reason behind it.
Please keep in mind this information might not be 100% accurate for every single English speaker, mainly because there are some factors that may vary between speakers. Let’s take a look at the key factors to learn a new language:
Table of Contents
- What Makes a Language Easy or Hard to Learn?
- What’s the Easiest Language to Learn for Fluent English Speakers?
- 1. French – Easiest language to learn by English Speakers
- 2. Spanish – Second most spoken language in English-Speaking Countries
- 3. Italian – 21 Letters Alphabet
- 4. Swahili – A rich mix of languages
- 5. Esperanto – The Easiest “Language” on Earth
- 6. Swedish – Germanic language
- 7. Norwegian – Similar Pronunciation and Grammatical Rules
What Makes a Language Easy or Hard to Learn?
First things first: everyone’s different. There is a range of factors that can influence which language is the easiest for you to learn.
Motivation to learn that language
Motivation is the single most important ingredient for success in learning any foreign language.
No matter how “easy” the language you’re studying is, you just won’t make progress if you aren’t motivated. Even if you’re learning something new in your native language (for example, legal or medical terminology), you STILL won’t learn it if you aren’t motivated.
Your First Language
In general, the more closely-related your native language is to your target language, the easier it will be to learn your target language.
For instance, if Italian is your first language, you’ll probably find French easier to learn than Icelandic (but again, not if you’re more motivated to learn Icelandic!). If your native language is Norwegian, Swedish will come more easily to you than it would to a native Russian speaker.
Your Second Languages
The other languages you speak, or that you grew up hearing your family speak, will also influence how easy other languages will be for you to learn.
Just like with your native language, the more similar a given language is to a language you already speak, the more easily you’ll learn it.
This is especially true because if you’ve learned a second language rather than acquired it like you did your first language, then you’re very aware of the structure of that language. Maybe even more aware than you are with your native language.
Unlike your native language, learning a second language after childhood means memorizing grammar rules and vocabulary, and having to consciously think each time you conjugate a verb or use a subtle turn of phrase. This hyper-awareness of the features of the language means that if you try to learn another language from the same family, you’ll have a head start.
What’s the Easiest Language to Learn for Fluent English Speakers?
1. French – Easiest language to learn by English Speakers
About 100 million people worldwide are French speakers. The French language is spoken on all continents, in 28 different countries. This means that you can practice French almost everywhere, and you should. French belongs to the family of Roman languages, which means that for people who speak English the vocabulary is easy to pick up. Language experts say that these two languages are the most similar of all Roman languages and that a third of all English words come from French.
2. Spanish – Second most spoken language in English-Speaking Countries
The Spanish language is very much influenced by Latin and Arabic, both in word and in writing, and has the least irregularities of all Roman languages. Some people predict that by 2050 the United States will become a bilingual country – English, and Spanish. ¡Viva Los Estados Unidos!
3. Italian – 21 Letters Alphabet
Italian is spoken in Italy, Switzerland, Malta, Argentina and 25 other countries. In total, some 70 to 100 million people speak this beautiful language. Italian grammar is similar to other Roman languages but contains fewer verb forms than French or Spanish. And you already know a few words anyway. How about spaghetti, pizza, and Ferrari!?
4. Swahili – A rich mix of languages
Swahili is a Bantu language with many influences from Arabic, English, French, German and Portuguese. Swahili does not use conjugations of verbs but works with endings and additions to indicate times and subjects. About 140 million people speak the language, almost all of them live in East Africa (especially Tanzania and Kenya). Swahili is the second most widely spoken language in Africa and is seen as a gateway to African culture.
5. Esperanto – The Easiest “Language” on Earth
No, Esperanto is not a real language. Yet it is spoken by about 2 million people worldwide in more than 115 different countries. Esperanto has been specially designed to allow people from different cultures to communicate with each other, thanks in part to its great regularity and extremely simple grammar, accessible to everyone, whatever their background or mother tongue is.
Do you know all the benefits that come along with learning new languages? Even Esperanto counts!
6. Swedish – Germanic language
This Germanic language often shows great similarities with both English and Dutch. By the way, the pronunciation is very melodic and singular, which makes it a pleasant language to learn. Swedish is spoken by almost 10 million people of which 9 million are native speakers.
7. Norwegian – Similar Pronunciation and Grammatical Rules
The Norwegian language has a fairly consistent pronunciation and grammatical rules similar to those of English. Especially Norwegian verbs are remarkably easy to learn because of the low number of conjugations that are possible. Norwegian is spoken by almost 4.8 million people worldwide of which 4.6 million are native speakers.