It is estimated that in United States, around just 18% of the population can speak a second language. Compared to the estimated 54% percent of Europeans who are proficient in a second language (and often more than one), this seems quite low. However, as the world continues to globalize and global communications become more interconnected, there is no doubt an increasing need for people of all countries to be able to speak at least one foreign language. Therefore, when choosing which foreign language to learn, it makes sense to choose one that would be easier to learn based on your native language. For example, it is much easier for speakers of Italian to learn French than it is for speakers of Japanese, as both are Romance languages with similar Latin roots. On the other hand, Japanese speakers would most likely have a much easier time learning Korean, since the two share similar grammar structures. Although Spanish is the most studied language in the United States and is often regarded as one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn, there are also many other intriguing languages worth studying- many of which aren’t as difficult as one might think. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Dutch is a close cousin to English. English speakers learning Dutch will find that the two are quite similar in many ways. The structure, syntax, vocabulary and even pronunciation are all much more similar to English than other languages. Also, many informal Dutch words come directly from modern English, making conversational Dutch much easier to learn.
Norwegian is also quite similar to English in terms of syntax and grammar. Also, the pronunciation isn’t too hard to master for English speakers. In Norwegian, verbs are not conjugated based on number and conjugations of verb tenses, such as past, future and present, are also quite simple. That means no studying verb conjugation charts like with the Romance languages.
Since many people in the US have at least studied Spanish, they will find that at least on a basic level, Spanish and Portuguese are quite similar in terms of vocabulary and grammar. Also, Portuguese phonetics is not too difficult for English speakers. There is no rolling of the double “R” like in Spanish and the rhythm of the language is believed to be easier to follow.
Esperanto is a man-made language spoken by at least 2 million people worldwide and is not native to any one country. This language was designed to be easy to learn and to facilitate global communication. It has a very logical grammar structure and it has even been claimed that one can learn it in just a matter of days. Additionally, due to its simplicity, it is believed that studying Esperanto can train the mind to be more receptive to learning other foreign languages later on.