10 Easiest Languages to Learn for English Speakers (2023)

Do you want to learn a new language but you don’t have a lot of free time on your hands?

Indeed, fluency doesn’t happen overnight, no matter which language you’re learning. And whether you find a certain language easy or not depends on many factors.

However, some languages are generally considered less demanding for English speakers. Whether it’s their sentence structure or vocabulary, they are simply easier to master than some other languages.

So, if you’re looking for an easy foreign language to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Keep reading to discover the easiest languages to learn – you may be surprised by some of the options.

Table of Contents

10 Easiest Languages to Learn for English Speakers

1. Norwegian

10 Easiest Languages to Learn for English Speakers (1)

Although it doesn’t seem so at first, Norwegian is one of the easiest languages for English native speakers. That’s mostly because it’s a Germanic language – just like English. Therefore, from a linguistic perspective, Norwegian and English have quite a lot in common.

First of all, English and Norwegian share a lot of vocabulary. That’s why Norwegian words like morgen, glass, and papir sound so familiar…

Furthermore, Norwegian has an SVO (subject-verb-object) sentence structure, the same as English. Norwegian grammar is generally pretty straightforward, so it won’t take you long to take a hang of it.

Another appealing thing about learning Norwegian is that the language has different accents. That might seem a bit confusing, but it can actually be an advantage since there is often no single correct way to pronounce a certain word.

Although it’s considered fairly easy, mastering Norwegian takes time. But since Norwegian and English have a lot of similarities, if you decide to take Norwegian lessons, you shouldn’t come across too many obstacles.

(Video) Top 5 Easiest Languages To Learn For English Speakers

2. Swedish

10 Easiest Languages to Learn for English Speakers (2)

Another member of the Germanic family of languages that is considered easy to learn is Swedish.

The main reason why English speakers find it quite easy to learn is the large number of cognates. Cognates are words in two languages that have the same origin and a similar pronunciation, spelling, and meaning.

In terms of vocabulary, you’ll learn new Swedish words very quickly. Thanks to the similarities to the English language, you already know quite a lot.

Swedish grammar is another advantage. No grammar is super easy, but Swedish grammar rules are logical and somewhat similar to English. For example, the word order in Swedish is also SVO.

Of course, there are some challenging things about learning Swedish. But compared to the languages with different writing systems and strange grammar concepts, learning basic Swedish is a piece of cake.

4. Dutch

10 Easiest Languages to Learn for English Speakers (3)

We are no longer in Scandinavia, but a little further south – in the Netherlands.

Dutch is another language that is generally considered easy to learn for English native speakers. Just like Norwegian, Swedish, and English, Dutch is a Germanic language.

In fact, Dutch sounds a bit like a mix of English and German. So, if you’ve ever taken German lessons, you’ll find it relatively easy.

Once again, similarities in vocabulary make things a whole lot easier. Some words are identical in Dutch and English – water, lamp, warm, just to name a few. There are some ‘false’ cognates you should be careful about though.

The most challenging part of learning Dutch is pronunciation, but that’s nothing you can’t master, especially if you have some experience in learning other languages.

5. Spanish

10 Easiest Languages to Learn for English Speakers (4)

If you prefer warmer countries, you’ll be happy to hear that Spanish is also on the list of the easiest language to learn.

(Video) Top 10 Easiest Languages to Learn

As a Romance language, Spanish derives from Latin, just like many English words. So, vocabulary is the first element of learning Spanish that you won’t have problems with.

After all, thanks to exposure and wide reach of Spanish, English speakers won’t find it very unfamiliar. Sure, learning grammar rules and acquiring vocabulary takes time, but the learning process should be very smooth.

Spanish pronunciation is another advantage. Since it’s a phonetic language, most words are pronounced as they are spelled, so you should have any problems with it. And once again – exposure. You probably have so many Spanish words in your ear.

6. Italian

10 Easiest Languages to Learn for English Speakers (5)

Another Romance language you can start learning right away is Italian. With a good teacher or reliable Italian online lessons, you’ll learn how to order pizza in Italian in no time.

In fact, you probably already know how to order so much more. You know what Italian words like panini, latte, and gelato mean. But there are also many cognates that are not food-related – futuro (future), controllare (control), concerto (concert), and so on.

It will take you a little longer to understand the Italian spelling system, but it’s actually very consistent. You just need to get used to it. And the same goes for Italian grammar.

At the end of the day, if you surround yourself with the Italian language, you’ll be able to learn it much quicker.

You can listen to Italian music, watch Italian movies, prepare Italian recipes… There are so many ways to make your language learning a fun and engaging process, especially if you’re learning a beautiful and artistic language like Italian.

7. French

10 Easiest Languages to Learn for English Speakers (6)

We have another popular Romance language for you to consider – of course, it’s French.

Since French is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, you’ve probably come in contact with it one way or another. So, although it might seem tricky at first, mastering French pronunciation shouldn’t be a big problem.

You already know more than you’re aware of in terms of vocabulary too. There are hundreds of French cognates in English.

There are some challenging aspects of learning French though. For example, improving listening skills should be

(Video) Comparison: Easiest Languages To Learn

But according to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), French is a category 1 language. Therefore, you should be able to master the basics and learn how to speak French in no time.

8. Portuguese

10 Easiest Languages to Learn for English Speakers (7)

Are you thinking about taking Portuguese lessons? Don’t worry – according to FSI’s language difficulty ranking, Portuguese is also in Category 1.

Just like Spanish, Portuguese has an advantage of exposure. It’s spoken in Brazil and Portuguese, and although there are differences between the two, you can still get around in every Portuguese-speaking country.

Furthermore, Portuguese and English have a lot of shared words. Also, if you’ve been taking Spanish lessons, Portuguese vocabulary will be much easier to learn.

But even if you’re not familiar with any other similar language, Portuguese will be relatively easy to learn. You may come across a challenge or two, like mastering Portuguese pronunciation and nasal sounds. But generally, Portuguese is categorized as an easy foreign language for a reason.

9. Indonesian

10 Easiest Languages to Learn for English Speakers (8)

Although this may come as a surprise, learning Indonesian is considered relatively easy for English speakers. So, why is Indonesian easy to learn?

First of all, Indonesian is one of the few Asian languages that use the Latin alphabet. And that will make your learning process a whole lot easier.

Secondly, Indonesian is a phonetic language, so most words are pronounced the same way they’re spelled. You won’t have to spend a lot of time developing reading skills.

The grammar structure is, on the other hand, a bit unusual for English speakers. Indonesian grammar has no concept of plurals or tenses and no grammatical genders. Although the lack of grammar rules might sound appealing, it can be a bit confusing, but it’s not hard to get used to.

10. Swahili

10 Easiest Languages to Learn for English Speakers (9)

This is another language on the list that might surprise you. But yes, Swahili is also categorized as a less demanding language to learn.

With Swahili speakers spread over 14 countries, Swahili is the most widely spoken language in Africa. It’s also gaining global popularity, and more and more people are looking for online Swahili lessons.

(Video) 9 Easiest Languages For English Speakers To Learn | Countdown

Although it can be a bit daunting, Swahili grammar is actually very straightforward. Verb conjugations are logical, for example. And unlike most African languages, Swahili is not a tonal language, so you don’t have to pay attention to the pitch of a word.

Swahili has little resemblance to English, but it has a ton of loan words, which makes learning Swahili vocabulary quite simple too.

Swahili is perhaps not as easy as other languages on this list, but it’s arguably the easiest African language to learn. If you want to expand your language vocabulary, you should definitely give it a try.

What is the Easiest Language to Learn?

We hope our list of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers inspired you to start with your language lessons. Regardless of what you choose, you’re probably going to have a smooth learning process without too many difficulties.

However, that also depends on many other factors. According to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), linguists, and learners, all the languages we mentioned today are fairly easy to learn. Or, easier than other languages, to be more precise.

But whether you learn a new language in a quick and easy way also depends on your learning source. You need to find a good teacher or quality online language lessons. And if you stick to your schedule and follow the suggested learning path, you can learn quite a lot in less than a month.

You shouldn’t have unrealistic goals though. Learning a new language takes time, regardless of its difficulty.

And whether you find a certain language difficult or not also depends on your previous experience. For instance, if you’re familiar with Spanish, learning Italian will be much easier.

Check out our article on the best way to learn a new language here.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your motivation and persistence. From that perspective, there are no easy and hard languages.

But all the languages we mentioned today do have certain things in common. Some of them are members of the Germanic family of languages so they share quite a bit of vocab with English.

Some of them are phonetic, which means that reading and pronunciation shouldn’t be a problem for you.

And others might be easier to learn because you’re exposed to them in one way or another.

Nevertheless, learning a new language takes time. But if you’re new to language learning and you’re looking for a relatively easy language to learn, any of the languages on this list would be great to start with.

(Video) The 5 Easiest Languages for English Speakers #Short

FAQs

What is the easiest language for an English speaker to learn? ›

5 Easy Languages for English Speakers to Learn. Norwegian tops the list for many reasons. Like English, it's a Germanic language, and that's not all the two have in common. Norwegian is full of cognates, and its word order is very similar to that of English.

What is the number 1 easiest language to learn? ›

5 easy languages to learn
  • English. It's the most widely spoken language in the world, making practice possible. ...
  • Spanish. It's heavily influenced by Latin and Arabic, spoken as it's written and has fewer irregularities than other romance languages. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • Swahili.

What are 20 the easiest languages to learn? ›

The Easiest Languages to Learn for Native English Speakers
  1. Spanish (3/30) Number of native speakers: 480 million. ...
  2. Dutch (3/30) Number of native speakers: 24 million. ...
  3. German (6/30) Number of native speakers: 95 million. ...
  4. Italian (7/30) ...
  5. Afrikaans (7/30) ...
  6. Esperanto (7/30) ...
  7. Portuguese (9/30) ...
  8. French (9/30)

What language should I learn if I only speak English? ›

The 3 best languages to learn (after English) are: Spanish, French, and Chinese. Naturally, if you're going to work in a specific country, you don't need to think twice about what language to learn next.

What is the closest language to English? ›

The closest language to English is one called Frisian, which is a Germanic language spoken by a small population of about 480,000 people. There are three separate dialects of the language, and it's only spoken at the southern fringes of the North Sea in the Netherlands and Germany.

Which is world's simplest language? ›

Riau Indonesian is different from most other languages in how simple it is. There are no endings of any substance, no tones, no articles, and no word order. There is only a little bit of indicating things in time.

What is the most useful language to learn? ›

The 7 Best Languages To Learn
  1. Spanish. Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language after Mandarin, and not a surprise at the top of languages to learn. ...
  2. German. ...
  3. Arabic. ...
  4. Mandarin. ...
  5. Portuguese. ...
  6. Russian. ...
  7. French.
Oct 19, 2022

Which language is best to start? ›

Hopefully, this guide will help give you a better idea of which one you should pursue.
  • Python. Python is always recommended if you're looking for an easy and even fun programming language to learn first. ...
  • Java. Java is an object-oriented and feature-heavy programming language that's in high demand. ...
  • JavaScript. ...
  • Ruby.

What is the #1 hardest language to learn? ›

Mandarin Chinese

Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. Mandarin Chinese is challenging for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the writing system is extremely difficult for English speakers (and anyone else) accustomed to the Latin alphabet.

What is the 5 hardest language to learn? ›

5 of the most hardest languages to learn in the world
  • Mandarin.
  • Japanese.
  • Arabic.
  • Xhosa.
  • Russian.
Apr 13, 2022

What is the 7 hardest language to learn? ›

Which is the most difficult language for English Speakers?
  • 1 – Chinese (Mandarin)
  • 2 – Arabic.
  • 3 – Japanese.
  • 4 – Korean.
  • 5 – Hungarian.
  • 6 – Finnish.
  • 7 – Xhosa.
Feb 7, 2020

What are 5 Less Commonly Taught languages? ›

Less Commonly Taught Languages
  • Arabic - Fall Courses.
  • Arabic - Spring Courses.
  • Hindi - Fall Courses.
  • Hindi - Spring Courses.
  • Persian - Fall Courses.
  • Persian - Spring Courses.
  • Swahili - Fall Courses.
  • Swahili - Spring Courses.

What is the number 2 hardest language to learn? ›

2. Arabic. Arabic is the queen of poetic languages, the 6th official language of the UN and second on our list of toughest languages to learn.

What is the most useful second language in the US? ›

Without a doubt, Spanish is one of the most valuable second languages if you're in the United States-even if you never plan to travel outside the country. That's because it's the most common language in the US aside from English. It's also the most “in-demand” language among US employers.

What is the easiest language for Americans to learn? ›

And The Easiest Language To Learn Is…
  1. Norwegian. This may come as a surprise, but we have ranked Norwegian as the easiest language to learn for English speakers. ...
  2. Swedish. ...
  3. Spanish. ...
  4. Dutch. ...
  5. Portuguese. ...
  6. Indonesian. ...
  7. Italian. ...
  8. French.
Nov 9, 2021

What is the 2nd most spoken language if English is not counted? ›

Spanish (548+ million speakers)

Spanish is the second most widely spoken language globally in terms of native speakers. In addition, it is the most spoken of the Romance languages and the third most used on the internet.

What language did Jesus speak? ›

Most religious scholars and historians agree with Pope Francis that the historical Jesus principally spoke a Galilean dialect of Aramaic. Through trade, invasions and conquest, the Aramaic language had spread far afield by the 7th century B.C., and would become the lingua franca in much of the Middle East.

What language has most in common with English? ›

Closest Major Language: Dutch

Like Frisian and English, Dutch is another West Germanic language that developed from Proto-Germanic. Because of this, Dutch possesses many words and phrases similar to English and has a similar grammatical structure.

What alphabet is closest to English? ›

Latin alphabet, also called Roman alphabet, the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world, the standard script of the English language and the languages of most of Europe and those areas settled by Europeans.

What is the 0 1 language? ›

That language of 1's and 0's is called binary. Computers speak in binary because of how they are built.

What is the least talked language? ›

Also known as Tetawo, the Tanema language is again only spoken by one person, Lainol Nalo, on the island of Vanikoro, in the easternmost province of the Solomon Islands. The population of the island is around 150, most of whom speak the related language of Tetau and speak some Tanema as a second language.

What is the least popular language? ›

The Least Spoken Languages In The World
  • Khanty: Less Than 10,000 Speakers. ...
  • Ongota: 10 Speakers. ...
  • Chung: 10 Speakers. ...
  • Njerep: 6 Speakers. ...
  • Languages With Only One Speaker Left.
Jan 9, 2018

Which is the most beautiful foreign language? ›

FRENCH – MOST BEAUTIFUL SPOKEN LANGUAGE

With its unpronounceable “r”, its nasal vowel sounds “en”, “in”, “un” and melodious intonation, it sounds extremely musical to the non-native ear. And let's not forget the strong cultural context which lends French the status of the most beautiful spoken language in the world.

Which foreign language has more job opportunities? ›

The French language is also one of the best foreign language to learn for jobs. It is also one of the romance languages of the Indo-European family. French is the official language in 29 countries.

What is the best age to learn a language? ›

They concluded that the ability to learn a new language, at least grammatically, is strongest until the age of 18 after which there is a precipitous decline. To become completely fluent, however, learning should start before the age of 10.

Can you learn 2 languages at once? ›

Answer: Thankfully, your brain can definitely handle learning two (or more!) languages at once! (Two down, 6,998 to go.) But there are also some ways you can make this linguistic task easier on yourself.

What is sweetest language in the world? ›

According to a UNESCO survey, Bengali has been classified as the sweetest language in the world. As a language, Bengali is widely spoken all over India, including Assam and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The sweetest language in the world is also recognized in the Constitution of India.

Is it too late to learn a language? ›

It does not matter how old you are, it is never too late to start learning a foreign language. Many language learners are put off by their advancing years; they believe age is a barrier to learning an entirely new language. However, this is not the case.

What is world's toughest language? ›

Across multiple sources, Mandarin Chinese is the number one language listed as the most challenging to learn. The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center puts Mandarin in Category IV, which is the list of the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers.

What is the 3rd hardest language to learn? ›

3. Japanese Comes In The List Of Top 10 Hardest Languages To Learn. Belonging to the top 10 hardest languages to learn, Japanese is more comfortable speaking compared to Mandarin, but what makes it exist in this list? Japanese has a wide range of alphabets that need to be learned before writing in this language.

Can you learn a language while sleeping? ›

Not a lot, unfortunately. As Jennifer Ackerman notes in her splendid 2007 book Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream, learning a language while sleeping “is probably impossible, [and] attempts to teach slumbering adult subjects vocabulary of foreign languages or lists of items have failed miserably.”

How many hours does it take to learn a language? ›

Research shows that it takes between 480 hours and 2200 hours of language study and practice. To reach an advanced level in a foreign language you will need at least 480 hours. The majority of people are not able to learn a language 'full-time' so it can take a few years.

Is it possible to learn 3 languages at once? ›

Yes, it is possible to learn many languages at once!

There are many methods you can use to learn more than one language at once. Here are some of my best recommendations. As for the these tips, you can try some or all – ultimately it's about finding the technique that works for you!

What is the 20 hardest language in the world? ›

25 Hardest Languages to Learn, Ranked
  1. Mandarin. No. of speakers: 1.3 billion.
  2. Arabic. No. of speakers: 274 million. ...
  3. Japanese. No. of speakers: 126 million. ...
  4. Korean. No. of speakers: 80 million. ...
  5. Thai. No. of speakers: 60 million. ...
  6. Vietnamese. No. of speakers: 77 million. ...
  7. Hindi. No. of speakers: 615 million. ...
  8. Icelandic. No. ...
Jan 25, 2023

Which language has the most words? ›

The English language is believed to have more words than any other language in the world. But this isn't easy to prove. Since some languages, such as Chinese, are non-alphabetic, evaluating the number of words is difficult.

What are the three most useful languages? ›

The Most Important Languages To Learn In 2021
  1. Mandarin Chinese. With over one billion Mandarin Chinese speakers in the world, of course it tops the list of most important languages to learn in 2021. ...
  2. Spanish. ...
  3. German. ...
  4. French. ...
  5. Arabic. ...
  6. Russian. ...
  7. Portuguese. ...
  8. 8. Japanese.

What is the 3 most common language? ›

The 4 Most Common Languages Spoken Around the World
  1. English. While only about 360 million people are native English speakers, 1.5 billion people worldwide can speak English. ...
  2. Mandarin Chinese. Over 1.1 billion people speak Mandarin, but Chinese is not a single language. ...
  3. Hindustani. ...
  4. Spanish.
Jun 19, 2019

What is the second easiest language? ›

Easiest (about 600 hours of study)

Of these, Spanish and Italian are the easiest for native English speakers to learn, followed by Portuguese and finally French.

What is the simplest spoken language? ›

Riau Indonesian is different from most other languages in how simple it is. There are no endings of any substance, no tones, no articles, and no word order. There is only a little bit of indicating things in time.

What language can English speakers understand the most? ›

Dutch is the closest of the major languages. If you watched Dutch TV or a Dutch movie for an hour or two, or listened carefully to Dutch speakers, you would definitely pick up some of the many short sentences that are more or less the same in both languages. There are theoretically thousands of these.

What is most useful language to learn? ›

The 7 Best Languages To Learn
  1. Spanish. Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language after Mandarin, and not a surprise at the top of languages to learn. ...
  2. German. ...
  3. Arabic. ...
  4. Mandarin. ...
  5. Portuguese. ...
  6. Russian. ...
  7. French.
Oct 19, 2022

What is the 2nd hardest language to learn? ›

2. Arabic. Arabic is the queen of poetic languages, the 6th official language of the UN and second on our list of toughest languages to learn.

What is the 1 hardest language? ›

Across multiple sources, Mandarin Chinese is the number one language listed as the most challenging to learn. The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center puts Mandarin in Category IV, which is the list of the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers.

How many languages are dying? ›

Around 1,500 known languages may no longer be spoken by the end of this century. Current levels of language loss could triple in the next 40 years. Greater education and mobility marginalize some minor languages. One language per month could disappear, without intervention.

What is the least used language? ›

The Least Spoken Languages In The World
  • Khanty: Less Than 10,000 Speakers. ...
  • Ongota: 10 Speakers. ...
  • Chung: 10 Speakers. ...
  • Njerep: 6 Speakers. ...
  • Languages With Only One Speaker Left.
Jan 9, 2018

What language does English sound most like? ›

1. Closest Language: Scots. The closest language to English is arguably Scots. We say arguably as the language is often regarded more as a dialect of English than an actual language.

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