Learning a foreign language can be hugely rewarding on both a personal and professional level. The ability to speak multiple dialects can expose individuals to new worlds and cultures. It can also open up new career opportunities as businesses worldwide continue to engage with international markets and seek multilingual experts to support this.
Dialects with fewer verb conjugations and simpler sentence structures can often be considered easy to learn. But that does depend on what your native language is and what new one you’re hoping to become fluent in.
With so many possibilities, choosing which dialect you’d like to learn often boils down to which is the easiest language to learn. In this guide, we have compiled a list of some of the easiest languages for English learners.
This particular dialect was ranked as a relatively easy language to learn due to its connection with the Germanic family of languages, of which English is also a part of. As a result, there are similarities in some of the vocabulary you will learn, making it much easier to grasp. Its grammatical structures are also considered relatively easy to adapt to, with word orders often the same as you would use in the English language.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, second on the list is Swedish – another member of the Germanic language family. As with the Norwegian language, there are similarities between several words that make it easier to learn. For example, ‘grass’ is ‘gräs’.
One of the other relatively easy-to-learn languages is Spanish. Known as one of the ‘romance languages’, it has long held its appeal to native English speakers. However, with differing verb tenses, it can be slightly trickier to master than Norwegian and Spanish.
Fourth on the list is another of the Germanic languages, and many consider it to sound like a cross between German and English. Some words are spelt the same in Dutch and English, making German easier to adapt to. However, what can complicate your learning is the fact that pronunciation may be different. ‘Rat’, for example, is spelt the same but pronounced ‘rot’ in Dutch. There are also some words that will be familiar to English language speakers but actually mean different things. As a prime example, the Dutch word for ‘law’ is ‘wet’.
Another one of the romance languages, Portuguese, is widely spoken across Brazil and Portugal. However, as with Dutch, there are words which sound similar to easily recognisable English statements that actually translate into something different.
Perhaps one that very few of us would expect to see on the list of the easiest languages to learn, Indonesian actually uses the Latin alphabet, making it one of the easier Asian languages to pick up.
This particular romance language’s Latin foundations mean that English speakers will often recognise some of the sounds, making it easier to learn. However, it is prone to potentially complex tense variations that can be tricky for some to adapt to.
Arguably an unsurprising language on the list is French. As a language that is spoken by almost 76 million people across the globe and something that is taught in many English-speaking education programmes, it’s perhaps no surprise that many people consider French relatively easy to learn. However, pronunciation is slightly more difficult to adapt to than other dialects.
Last on the list, but by no means the most difficult, Babbel lists Swahili as one of the easiest languages – another that many people perhaps wouldn’t initially consider as easy to learn. However, with most of the words sounding exactly as they are spelt, pronunciation is relatively easy to adjust to. It also uses straightforward grammar and verb conjugations.
A career in languages
For native English speakers, for example, there’s a demand for people to teach English as a foreign language (EFL) in many destinations. Look at where there’s the need for these abilities and tailor your choice based on this and if a job in EFL appeals to you. If you’re looking to learn a new language but not sure where to start, read our blog on the most in-demand dialects.
For those who went down this route at the beginning of the pandemic and found it rewarding and interesting, there is a fantastic range of career opportunities that could be perfect for you.