What’s the easiest language for an English speaker to learn?

In theory the answer is Scots or perhaps Ulster Scots although there’s a lot of debate as to whether either count as a language. However, that’s not the problem with them: in that one key point about learning another language is that you want to communicate with people who you couldn’t communicate with before these don’t count as they’re spoken by people who are 100% English speakers.

So, in reality, the question should be “what’s the easiest useful language for an English speaker to learn?”.

From first principles that would have to be one of the Germanic family of languages of which the closest is probably Dutch. However, unfortunately that too fails the “useful” criteria as both Dutch and Flemish speakers always reply in English unless your Dutch is perfect which, of course, it won’t be for quite a while.

That leaves the second choice of German which has the problem that it’s quite a precise language and takes quite a while to learn. However, at least the Germans will let you perservere with your early attempts at it. Although not in the Germanic family, Spanish is also fairly easy to pick up and if you’re choosing your first second language it’s probably a toss up between Spanish and German if you just want to learn a language although, usually, other factors come into play.

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3 Responses to “What’s the easiest language for an English speaker to learn?”

  • Bill Chapman says:

    I would like to argue the case for Esperanto as an easy-to-learn language.

    It is a planned language which belongs to no one country or group of states. Take a look at http://www.esperanto.net

    Esperanto has some remarkable practical benefits. Personally, I’ve made friends around the world through Esperanto that I would never have been able to communicate with otherwise. And then there’s the Pasporta Servo , which provides free lodging and local information to Esperanto-speaking travellers in over 90 countries. In the past year I have had guided tours of Berlin and Milan in the planned language. I have discussed philosophy with a Slovene poet, humour on television with a Bulgarian TV producer. I’ve discussed what life was like in East Berlin before the wall came down, how to cook perfect spaghetti, the advantages and disadvantages of monarchy, and so on. I recommend it, not just as an ideal but as a very practical way to overcome language barriers.

  • Brian Barker says:

    The easiest language to learn? Why no mention of Esperanto.
    Perhaps however ignorance is holding this new global language back?
    Can I ask you to check, without prejudice, http://www.esperanto.net

  • Arnold says:

    I had looked, very briefly, at Espanto many years ago but the facilities to learn it just weren’t around in those days, hence the brief look.

    Whilst I’m not convinced that it gets through the “useful” test (which Dutch fails as noted above), I do like the idea of the Pasporta Servo both as a means of promoting the language itself and as a means of promoting a global community.

    All that said, I see that the facilities around for learning the language have come on quite a bit since I last looked at it and therefore it seems time for me to take a more considered look at it. I’m going to try http://www.cursodeesperanto.com.br/bazo/index.php?en initially.

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