What is the easiest language to learn?10/07/2021
KNOWING how to speak another language is an extremely valuable skill.
We've all been in a situation on a holiday abroad when we've wished we could chat with locals, ask for directions or even just order a drink.
What is the easiest language to learn for native English speakers and why?
One of the easiest languages for native English speakers to learn is actually Norwegian.
This is because it is part of the Germanic language family, like English, meaning they share a lot of cognates.
A lot of basic words are similar – such a winter and summer, which are vinter and sommer in Norwegian.
Different tenses are also easier to learn as Norwegian does not require verb conjugation according to a person or number.
Word order is also the same for English and Norweigian, making it an easier language to pick up.
But with just 5.3million native speakers – compared to the 400million native English speakers – people may opt to learn a language more widely used.
Other languages that are easier for native English speakers to learn are German, Spanish and French.
What is the hardest language to learn for English speakers?
Mandarin Chinese is one of the hardest languages for English speakers to pick up and become fluent in.
It is, however, the most widely spoken native language in the world at 918million.
That's almost 12 per cent of the world's population.
The main reason it is so difficult for English speakers to learn is because thousands of special characters must be memorized – unlike the Latin alphabet.
An in terms of speaking, Mandarin Chinese, the most common of the country's dialects, has four tones.
This means one word can be pronounced four different ways – and each pronunciation has a different meaning.
What are the best tips for learning a new language?
Don't get lost in texbooks.
One of the best ways to get better at a language is to speak it as much as possible – even if it means speaking out loud to yourself.
Familiarising yourself with the language is another good tip, for example by listening to native radio shows, or watching native TV programmes.
Having a motivation to learn a language can also help you stay focused and commit to your goal.
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