The Easiest Language to Learn in the World
By: Shahzad Bashir
It is a common misconception among many that learning a new language is hard. Perhaps, if the advantages of learning a new language are revealed, they would be more inclined to include more languages in their portfolio.
According to a survey by a European Commission in 2012, 61% of British respondents were unable to speak a second language. These people surely were missing out on all the fun out there as it has been reported that learning a foreign language helps you make more money by adding a 5-15% increase to your wages—providing numerous benefits both on and off-the-job.
We have extensively looked upon the most useful languages to learn, but which of the languages are the easiest ones?
Rule of Thumb:
One way to understand this learning process is to first place yourself on a firm footing—from the perspective of an English speaker. English is the most connected language we are aware of, a language whose usage transcends boundaries and regions.
This is the reason that it acts as a connecting bridge between many languages as about 50% of the words in English stem from Latin or French. This is not surprising, considering that the structure, alphabet, and overall makeup of English resembles those of Spanish, Italian, French, and other languages arising from the root of Latin. English—therefore, is like a rule of thumb.
So, What Makes a Language Easy to Learn?
It is said that all languages have some level of difficulty. Some are tougher to learn while others are less so. Various factors dictate the easy scale of a language while showing what really makes a language easy to learn. Here are the key factors:
Your Inner Motivation:
Motivation to learn is the most important ingredient to learn if one hopes to achieve success in learning any language. It does not matter how “easy” the language you are aiming to learn is, you just won’t be able to make any progress if you are not motivated enough. Even if you are trying to learn something new in your own language, you still would find it hard to learn it if there is no motivation to back you up when you fail. The “desire to learn” is the pushing factor in learning the difficult parts of a language.
Your Native Language:
Earlier, we looked upon learning a language from a standpoint of English. Generally, the more closely related your native language is to your target language, the easier it will be to learn the target language. For example, if Italian is your native language, you may find it easy to learn French as they have branched from the same language.
Similarly, if your native language is Norwegian, Swedish will be like a cakewalk since these languages are close relatives. It is no big surprise then that when your target language overlaps with your native language in the fields of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary, you naturally possess a head start in learning the target language.
Your Second and Third Languages:
We all have a second language that is spoken in our households other than the native language. This poses a powerful influence on how you perceive other languages. Just like your native language, the more similar the target language is to the second and third languages, the easier it is to learn. And just like you know the nuances of your native language, you will have a head start in learning the target language if you have expertise in more than one language.
Which Language Is the Easiest One?
The language that tops the list of languages that are the easiest to learn is Spanish. If you are an English speaker, you will have no trouble learning the Spanish pronunciations. Spanish has a shallow orthography (norms of spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, punctuation, word break)—implying that most words are written as they are pronounced. Reading and writing in Spanish is a straightforward task.
Spanish has only 10 vowels and diphthong sounds and no unfamiliar phonemes except for the easy-to-pronounce letter ñ. This is why Spanish is the easiest language to learn amongst a bunch of other languages. Learning Spanish is not only beneficial to upgrade your language portfolio, it is the language that is sure to give you the maximum return in the job market, as well as 37% of employers, rated Spanish as a critical language to know for employment.
Summing it all up, although it may seem like an improbable task to learn a new language, no language is as tough as we make out to be. If you want to be able to converse in multiple languages, you need to take a step forward and take the leap of adding the feather of a new language to your hat.