Easy language to learn

Which languages are the easiest to learn?

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If you’re thinking about moving abroad in 2017 but aren’t sure what country would suit you best, how easily you can surmount the language barrier could be one of the factors you take into account.

While learning a foreign language becomes more difficult once we leave childhood, any language can be learned with enough commitment and determination. That being said, some languages are simply easier to get your tongue around than others.

Here TorFX looks at some of the easiest languages to learn.

Dutch

Dutch — spoken in the Netherlands, Belgium and the Suriname region of South America — is often thought of as one of the less taxing languages to learn. Dutch has the same Germanic root as English, meaning that many everyday items are similarly named, e.g. appel for apple and tomaat for tomato, arguably making it the easiest language to learn for English speakers. One thing that may initially trip you up with Dutch is that verbs are often placed at the end of the sentence, as is the case in German. Learning a foreign language such as Dutch makes it easier to learn German, English and Afrikaans, as it is a member of the West Germanic family tree. You may also find it easier to pick up Swedish, Danish and Norwegian once you’ve got Dutch under your belt.

To get you started on the road to learning Dutch, here are a couple of Dutch words that have a tendency to get lost in translation:

1. Boterham  
Translates to: Butter ham  
Actually means: Sandwich
 
2. Pindakaas 
Translates to: Peanut cheese  
Actually means: Peanut butter
 
3. Brandslang  
Translates to: Fire snake  
Actually means: Fire hose
 
4. Handschoenen 
Translates to: Hand shoes  
Actually means: Gloves
 
5. Toiletbril  
Translates to: Toilet glasses  
Actually means: Toilet seat

Learning a foreign language

Afrikaans

Afrikaans is heavily linked with Dutch; it also belongs in the West Germanic language category and it’s made the list of the easiest languages to learn. Afrikaans is spoken primarily in South Africa and Namibia, but its six million speakers are also located in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

While there are big similarities between Dutch and Afrikaans, there are also significant differences, particularly in terms of pronunciation. Additionally, Afrikaans lacks the gender and case distinctions present in Dutch. Although Afrikaans lost much of its previous government support in the 1990s, it still ranks as one of the eleven official languages of South Africa and is used in local media.  
 
If you find that learning Afrikaans doesn’t present you with enough of a challenge, try getting your head around these tongue twisters!
 
1. Wie weet waar Willie Wouter woon? Willie Wouter woon waar die weste winde waai!
 
Who knows where Willie Wouter lives? Willie Wouter lives where the west winds blow! 
 
2. Sannie sê sy sal sewe sakke sout sleep, sewe sakke sout is swaar sowaar. 
 
Sannie says she will drag seven bags of salt, seven bags of salt is heavy indeed.
 
Easiest languages to learn

Esperanto

Esperanto was created to be a universal language, so it’s understandable that it was also designed to be one of the easiest languages to learn. The language was established over 120 years ago and is currently spoken by at least two million people.  
 
Esperanza, the root of Esperanto, is derived from the Latin sperans (hope) and it was its creator’s hope that it would help unite the people of the world.  
 
The rise of the internet has helped the spread of Esperanto, and the enrolment in online language courses has increased in recent years. Some major search engines and translation tools are also available in Esperanto, including Google.  
 
One of Esperanto’s features that makes it easier to learn than other languages is the fact it has fewer tricky grammatical rules. In fact, the language only has 16 grammar rules in total! The vast majority of Esperanto’s language roots have their basis in Latin, with many words being a blend of prefixes and suffixes.  
 
Although Esperanto isn’t one of the world’s most widely spoken languages, it is still possible that it spreads in the future — so it may be worth looking into if you’re planning to expand your linguistic skills.  
 
To give you an idea of what Esperanto looks like, here’s some everyday words:
 
Hello: Saluton  
Goodbye: Adiaŭ 
Sorry: Bedaŭras 
Thank you: Dankon

French

As well as being the official language of France, French is spoken in a number of other locations, including the Canadian province of Quebec, Luxembourg, Monaco, parts of Cambodia, Vietnam and Madagascar and in some parts of Switzerland and Belgium.
 
French can seem quite intimidating to learn at first due to its genders, verb conjugations and sometimes tricky pronunciation, but many students of French argue that once you’ve picked up the basics, it becomes an easy language to learn.
 
Learning French will help you get to grips with other Romance languages as they typically have many similarities in terms of structure and grammar.
 
If you want to master French pronunciation, start by getting your head around these tongue twisters!  
 
1. Cinq gros rats grillent dans la grosse graisse grasse. 
 
Translates to: 5 large rats grill in the big, fatty fat.  
 
2. Je suis ce que je suis, et si je suis ce que je suis, qu’est-ce que je suis? 
 
Translates to: I am what I am, and if I am what I am, what am I?

Italian

Unsurprisingly, Italian is the official language of Italy. It’s also one of the four official languages of Switzerland and the second most widely spoken language in Argentina. Over the years, many Italian words have made their way into common usage around the world, like propaganda, al fresco and fiasco. Many words also have a different spelling to their English counterparts but sound similar enough that you could easily guess what they mean.
 
One of the other things that makes Italian a somewhat easy language to learn is that it’s read as it’s written, so in theory it should look similar to the way it sounds. In terms of vocabulary, the language has a correlation to other Latin-origin languages, and once you’ve managed to master some of the language’s basic rules, you should be able to add to your knowledge base quite swiftly. Learning Italian should also help you learn French, Portuguese and Spanish.
  
If you really want to impress your new Italian neighbours once you get to Italy, try slipping the word ‘precipitevolissimevolmente’ into conversation. It’s one of the longest Italian words and basically translates as ‘very very fast’.
 
If you’re inspired to embark on a new journey, moving abroad and start learning a foreign language, good luck! Or, in Dutch, Afrikaans, Esperanto, French and Italian… succes, Sterkte, bonŝancon, Bonne Chance or buona fortuna!


TorFX / Expatica

 
 

 
 

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