6 Easiest Languages to Learn (For English Speakers) (2023)

So, you’re thinking about learning a new language… we personally couldn’t think of a better way to spend your time!

There are so many reasons to learn a language. For example, you might want to relocate, to impress your partner’s parents, or have the superpower of being able to speak with a huge portion of the world (especially if you learn a common language like Spanish or Chinese).

However, if you’re not sure what language to pick, why not take on one of the easiest language to learn? Regardless of whether they’re “easier” or not, mastering a foreign language takes effort, dedication, and hours of practice. But some languages are simpler to learn than others if you’re an English speaker.

To help you narrow down your options and start practicing right away, we’ve created a list of the easiest languages to learn. But first…

What makes a language easy to learn?

Let’s cover some criteria that determine the level of difficulty in learning a foreign language for English speakers:

  • Lexical similarity:The degree to which languages have an overlap with English, including vocabulary, can have a direct impact on how easy it is to learn. This language comparison tool is a great way to see which languages carry the most similar vocabularies.
  • Alphabet: Languages that have a similar alphabet system are naturally considered the easiest languages for English speakers. Mastering a new alphabet that looks nothing like the one you’re familiar with can turn into a real challenge.
  • Grammar: Less complex grammar rules mean less hard work and second-guessing yourself when speaking! However, although the languages in our list are considered some of the easiest to learn, there are still some general grammatical differences to look out for while you’re learning them.
  • Ability to practice: Once you learn the basics, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice. But without speaking with another person, it’s much harder to thrive in language learning. If you live in a small town in Texas, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to speak with French speakers. Even so, the chance of practicing Spanish might be quite high.
  • Available resources: When considering which language to learn, it’s best to pay attention to how many resources and tools are available for you to use. The more widely available the resources are, the easier it will be for you to master a language.

Now that you know what to look for when choosing an easier language to learn, let’s see the list of the best options.

Top 6 easiest languages to learn (for English speakers)


6 Easiest Languages to Learn (For English Speakers) (1)

The easiest language to learn for English speakers? There’s perhaps no surprise that Spanish is leading our list. In the US, around 30% of the population speaks Spanish fluently, which makes it easier to master the language through cultural immersion. Outside of the US, it’s widely spoken in Europe, South America, and Africa. Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world, so you’ll surely find so many opportunities to test your skills with native speakers.

Spanish is one of the Romance languages derived from Latin. This means that a lot of Spanish words have similar English language equivalents. Plus, so many words with the suffix -tion in English are the same in Spanish, but you exchange it with the suffix –ción or –sión. Plus, what’s simple about Spanish is that it’s a phonetic language — most of its words are pronounced the way they are spelled. Nothing too tricky, right?

The problems seem to arise when it comes to grammar. Although you might find it challenging to memorize Spanish conjugations and some exceptions to grammatical rules, the verb tenses mostly align with the ones you use in English. Because of this, getting used to Spanish grammar isn’t as hard as you may think.


6 Easiest Languages to Learn (For English Speakers) (2)

One more language from the Romance family on our list is French. Despite differences in pronunciation, the French alphabet is similar to the English one. But the most significant benefit is a vast amount of shared vocabulary. In fact, English has more words in common with French than all the other Romance languages! (including Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish).

Like Spanish in America, French is widely used (and taught) in the UK and Canada. So if you live in one of these countries, you’ll always find someone to speak with and practice your skills.


6 Easiest Languages to Learn (For English Speakers) (3)

You may be surprised, but the Norwegian language is even less complicated to learn for English speakers than French and Spanish. This is because it’s one of the Germanic languages. Just like English! Due to this, Norwegian shares a lot of common words with English. Besides, the sentence structure is almost the same.

Concerning grammar, there is nothing tricky about it. For example, Norwegian has only one form of each verb per tense. Its Scandinavian brother Swedish is also up there as one of the easier languages to learn for English speakers. The main thing that can make you feel confused is the tricky pronunciation. Still, only a few sounds are unfamiliar for English speakers.


6 Easiest Languages to Learn (For English Speakers) (4)

The next easiest foreign language to learn is Dutch. After English and German, it’s one of the most widely spoken Germanic languages in the world.

Although English developed from the Germanic languages, we didn’t include German on our list because of its complicated grammar and pronunciation. Dutch is much more straightforward. It uses many words that are spelled the same as in English. But pay attention to pronunciation since many words sound different even though they look the same.


6 Easiest Languages to Learn (For English Speakers) (5)

Although not the most common language to learn, Afrikaans is widely spoken in South Africa and very closely related to Dutch, but it’s a touch easier to learn for English speakers. Let’s take a look at why.

Firstly, there’s no grammatical gender. For example, in Afrikaans, you use “die” to mean “the”. In German, in comparison, you will find three versions: “der,” “die,” and “das”. In Afrikaans, verb conjugation is almost non-existent, and there are only 3 tenses to learn!

Not only that but there are some memorable and descriptive (almost hilariously so) words when you translate them into English. Kameelperd means Giraffe but directly translates to “Camel horse”. Verkykers means binoculars, but translates to “far lookers”!

For these reasons, plus the similarities with English spelling, Afrikaans can be a fun and easy language to learn!


6 Easiest Languages to Learn (For English Speakers) (6)

Portuguese is the last easiest language to learn on our list. Just like Spanish, it’s part of the Romance family of languages and shares a lot of similar words with English due to its Latin roots. But watch out for false cognates! For instance, “pasta” in European Portuguese means “folder” in English.

Portuguese pronunciation, especially because of the nasal sounds, can be unfamiliar to English speakers at first, but the rhythm of the language makes the learning process much more straightforward. Besides, Portuguese and Brazilian music, films, and cuisine have become an important part of global culture, giving learners tons of opportunities to practice and master their skills.

6 Easiest Languages to Learn (For English Speakers) (7)

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Why should English speakers learn a foreign language?

Globally, English is spoken by millions of people, making it the world’s lingua franca. It’s the language of business, science, and technology worldwide. If you speak English, you can easily communicate with one-fifth of the world’s population today. So why should English speakers even bother learning a foreign language?

One of the main reasons is the transformation of the world’s job market. Being even a bit fluent in another language is a competitive advantage among other candidates. Even if it’s not directly relevant to your potential career, a second language will surely make your CV or university applications stand out.

Along with new job opportunities, bilingualism has cognitive benefits — learning a new language can significantly boost your skills, especially concentration. It can also improve your travel experience as speaking with the locals allows you to see a place that you explore from a new perspective.

Still, the number of Americans who are learning a second language leaves a lot to be desired. Only 20% of US students are learning another language. If you’re a monolingual English speaker who wants to learn a second language, you’re at the right place to start your journey. Here at Preply, we not just offer helpful tips and tricks on language learning but also provide 1-on-1 lessons with tutors from all around the world. Decide what language to learn, find a preferred tutor, and study online at any time convenient for you.

One more thing…

In the end, a language is only as easy or difficult as we make it. A large part is how motivated we are to hit our goals, and how good our methods are to reach them.

If you want a smart method to get real practice, try 1-on-1 conversations with a tutor on Preply. On Preply, you’ll find hundreds of tutors who can guide you through the learning process and make sure you enjoy your experience.

Studying online via the video chat will allow you to speak with native speakers from all over the world. Whether you want to learn French or Norwegian, you’ll find an expert tutor who’ll help you get the results you want – whether you just want basic vocabulary or you’re looking to emigrate. Good luck taking on this new challenge!

Related questions

What is the most similar language to English?

There is no simple answer to this question, as English shares similarities with many different languages - including Dutch, Frisian, and the Romance languages. However, one language that stands out as the most similar to English is Scots. Scots is a West Germanic language spoken in Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland. In the 2011 Scottish Census, over 1.5 million people in Scotland said they could speak Scots. Scots emerged almost directly from English, as they both developed from Old English (Anglo-Saxon). English speakers who try to read Scots jokes or poetry may find that they understand a thing or two.

Which language has the easiest grammar?

Esperanto is considered to have the easiest grammar of all languages, as it was built to be learned with a minimal amount of effort. The aim of Esperanto was to become a "universal second language" when people started using it in the late 19th century. Therefore, it was created with simple rules, grammar, and words that closely resemble other languages. The tricky thing is that it's a relatively new language, so it's tricky to find people with who you can have conversations! You won't find this problem with Mandarin Chinese: the world's most common language. Although it has complex tones and characters, it also has remarkably simple grammar rules. For example, word order is entirely flexible and similar to English. There are also no verb conjugations, no plurality, no tenses, and no genders.

What are the top 5 hardest languages to learn?

Although languages are as difficult or easy as you make them, some of the languages below are considered some of the most tricky for English speakers. If you're looking to challenge yourself, try these:

  • Mandarin Chinese: Even though we just pored over the fact that Mandarin has simple grammar, it is still a truly complicated language for English speakers to learn. Because it's a tonal language, even the slightest change in tone can mean something different entirely. Of course, it has its own complex alphabet too.
  • Arabic: Arabic is also a real challenge for native English speakers. The writing is tricky because most letters are written in 4 different forms depending on their placement in the sentence. Pronunciation is notoriously tricky, plus many written words exclude vowels outright. There are so many different dialects of Arabic, that even learning one form will only scratch the surface.
  • Hungarian: Hungarian grammar is a killer for English speakers. It has 35 distinct cases (like accusative). Word order changes all the time depending on a variety of factors. And although the grammar is complex, there is a sense that you have to have a complete understanding of the grammar to speak with subtlety and precision to convey meaning, making it super tricky to learn by yourself!
  • Russian: Although a very commonly spoken language, Russian can be difficult to learn simply because of its lack of proximity to other European languages and English. You will have to contend with an entirely new alphabet and tricky pronunciation (even "hello" - здороваться - is a pain to pronounce!).
  • Japanese: Although you won't be short on learning material when you learn Japanese - with the thousands of famous and manga and anime to read and watch - you might struggle with how different it is. Japanese has 3 unique writing systems: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Each has thousands of characters and its own alphabet you need to know before writing Japanese. Like all languages though, Japanese is beautiful, and will certainly be worth learning if you stick to the task.


6 Easiest Languages to Learn (For English Speakers)? ›

For a native (or not) English speaker such as yourself, French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish are practically just as easy to learn for you as the Germanic languages.

What is the easiest language to learn if you only speak English? ›

1. Norwegian. This may come as a surprise, but we have ranked Norwegian as the easiest language to learn for English speakers. Norwegian is a member of the Germanic family of languages — just like English!

What are the top 10 easiest languages for English speakers? ›

10 Easiest Languages for English Speakers to Learn
  • Spanish. ...
  • Dutch. ...
  • Norwegian. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • Swedish. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • Romanian. ...
  • Hindi. Hindi is an official language of India, where at the last count more than 500 million people (over 50% of the population) spoke Hindi as either their first or second language.
Nov 3, 2022

Which language has the easiest grammar for English speakers? ›

1) Esperanto.

Because of that goal, Esperanto has a simple grammar, easy rules and a lot of words that resemble words from other languages. It was built to be simple and to be learned with minimum effort.

What are the 8 hardest languages to learn in the world for English speakers? ›

Let's explore the 10 hardest languages for English speakers to learn, and the challenges they deliver:
  1. Mandarin. Mandarin is spoken by 70% of the Chinese population, and is the most spoken language in the world. ...
  2. Arabic. ...
  3. Japanese. ...
  4. Hungarian. ...
  5. Korean. ...
  6. Finnish. ...
  7. Basque. ...
  8. Navajo.
Sep 16, 2022

What is the closest language to English? ›

Except for Frisian, Dutch is linguistically the closest language to English, with both languages being part of the West Germanic linguistic family. This means many Dutch words are cognates with English (meaning they share the same linguistic roots), giving them similar spelling and pronunciation.

What is the most useful language to learn after English? ›

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 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 are the 3 most easiest languages to learn? ›

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.

Which language has hardest grammar? ›

The grammar of Hungarian is significantly different from that of Indo-European languages such as English. The language has no grammatical gender and it uses suffixes instead of prepositions which makes Hungarian one of the most difficult languages in the world.

What is the hardest language to read for English speakers? ›

1. 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.

What is the most straightforward language? ›

1. Spanish. Speak English or one of the romance languages. You will find it very straightforward to study, understand, talk, and write in Spanish.

Which languages are worth learning? ›

The Most Important Languages To Learn In 2021
  • 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. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • German. ...
  • French. ...
  • Arabic. ...
  • Russian. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • 8. Japanese.

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.

What is the 2nd most difficult language to learn? ›

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 7th 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 foreign language is most like English? ›

However, the closest major language to English, is Dutch. With 23 million native speakers, and an additional 5 million who speak it as a second language, Dutch is the 3rd most-widely spoken Germanic language in the world after English and German.

What language has the closest alphabet 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.

Is English closer to French or Spanish? ›

For Spanish and French, their lexical similarity is about 75%. In comparison, Spanish and English have a lexical similarity of only 30-50%, and French and English of only 40-50%. That's because not only are the Spanish and French languages neighbors, but from the same family of romance languages.

What is the best language for an American to learn? ›

If we consider the number of speakers, location, career possibilities and ease of learning, the overall three best languages for Americans to learn are (drum roll, please): Spanish, French, and Mandarin Chinese.

What is the 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.

What is the shortest language ever? ›

Toki Pona is an isolating language with only 14 phonemes and an underlying feature of minimalism. It focuses on simple, near-universal concepts to maximize expression from very few words.
Toki Pona
Signed formsluka pona, toki pona luka
13 more rows

What is the least used language ever? ›

Ongota. Also known as Shanqilla, Birelle, Birale and Ifa, Ongota is a language spoken in southwestern Ethiopia. The 2012 report of UNESCO said that there are only 12 individuals who speak the language.

What language has the most swear words? ›

Croatia comes out on top, with over one hundred different explicit words and 5 million native speakers. Norway comes in at second place with 94 swear words for 5.6 million speakers, while their neighbours Sweden are also turning the air blue with their range of 120 explicit words.

What is the 3rd most useful language? ›

Spanish is the third most spoken language in the world after Chinese and English. It's also the native language of more than 400 million people across 44 countries, which makes it one of the most useful languages to know.

What is the easiest language to learn in America? ›

According to the US State Department, the easiest language for English speakers to learn is a toss-up between Danish, Dutch, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, and Swedish. All of these languages take approximately 600 hours to learn to a professional level.

What are the top 5 easiest languages in the world? ›

5 easy languages to learn
  • English. It's the most widely spoken language in the world, making practice possible. ...
  • French. French has over 100 million native speakers and is – as the official language in 28 countries – spoken on almost every continent. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • Swahili.

What is the top 5 hardest language in the world? ›

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

What is the easiest second language to learn? ›

We've used data from the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) to rank them from the easier to the somewhat more challenging.
  • Frisian. ...
  • Dutch. ...
  • Norwegian. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • French. ...
  • Swedish.
Oct 24, 2021

What language has the hardest pronunciation? ›

German is known as one of the harsher languages due to its difficult pronunciation and harder-sounding words, which is only one reason why it is so tough to learn.

Can you learn a language while sleeping? ›

A new study suggests some language learning can take place during sleep. Researchers from Switzerland's University of Bern say they discovered people were able to learn new language words during deep levels of sleep. Results of the study recently appeared in the publication Current Biology.

Which language Jesus spoke? ›

Aramaic is best known as the language Jesus spoke. It is a Semitic language originating in the middle Euphrates. In 800-600 BC it spread from there to Syria and Mesopotamia. The oldest preserved inscriptions are from this period and written in Old Aramaic.

What is the #1 language? ›

1. English (1,452 million speakers) According to Ethnologue, English is the most-spoken language in the world including native and non-native speakers. Like Latin or Greek at the time, English has become the world's common language.

Which language will be in demand in future? ›

Mandarin Chinese (普通话 / Pǔtōnghuà)

With more than 20.70% of speakers (considering the Chinese population), Mandarin is the world's most widely spoken native tongue. One in every five people in the world speaks Chinese. It might take time, but Mandarin is the language of the future.

What is the most logical language? ›

Lojban (pronounced [ˈloʒban] ( listen)) is a logical, constructed, human language created by the Logical Language Group which aims to be syntactically unambiguous. It succeeds the Loglan project. la . lojban.

What is the hardest language in America? ›

Finally, the “Big Four.” According to the US Department of State, the four most difficult languages to learn are Arabic, Japanese, Chinese and Korean. To become conversational in one of these languages, you'll probably need 1.69 years, spending 2,200 hours in class!

Can you learn a language just by listening? ›

Generally, you do have the ability to learn a language just by listening. You can see evidence for this in children: kids start comprehending language even before they speak it. The good news is that you can apply a similar strategy in your own studies.

How long does it take to become fluent in a language? ›

True language fluency requires consistent effort and time, and while 500 – 1,000 hours may seem like a lot, a typical person could probably invest that level of time over 12 – 18 months, with the right study schedule.

Is learning a language good for your brain? ›

“Because the language centers in the brain are so flexible, learning a second language can develop new areas of your mind and strengthen your brain's natural ability to focus, entertain multiple possibilities, and process information,” Roitman writes in another post on the site.

Can I learn two languages at once? ›

Learning Two Languages at Once Is Possible

It might take longer for two languages than one, and you might need to get a little creative about how you approach it. But if you're committed, consistent, and passionate about studying both languages, then you will succeed.

What is the 9th hardest language to learn? ›

Russian. Boasting more than 150 million speakers around the globe, Russian is certainly one of the most used languages in Europe. Learning it will prove quite a challenge for English speakers on account of its complicated gender and case system, not to mention the different grammatical rules.

Which grammar is the hardest to learn? ›

Because Hungarian grammar rules are the most difficult to learn, this language has 26 different cases. The suffixes dictate the tense and possession and not the word order. That's is how most of the European languages deal with this problem.

Why is Japanese hard to learn? ›

The Japanese language is considered one of the most difficult to learn by many English speakers. With three separate writing systems, an opposite sentence structure to English, and a complicated hierarchy of politeness, it's decidedly complex.

What is the hardest language to learn if you speak English? ›

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 simplest language in the world? ›

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 easiest language of all? ›

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 is the 2nd hardest language to learn? ›

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 2 hardest language to speak? ›

The Hardest Languages To Learn For English Speakers
  1. Mandarin Chinese. Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. ...
  2. Arabic. ...
  3. Polish. ...
  4. Russian. ...
  5. Turkish. ...
  6. Danish.
Feb 25, 2021

What is the most rarely used language? ›

Current data states that there are only 7 remaining speakers of the language. Written records are available, such as a dictionary and several books that show the grammar and syntax of the Dumi language. Dumi is the world's least spoken language and one of the rarest.

What is the slowest language? ›

They found Japanese and Spanish, often described as “fast languages,” clocked the greatest number of syllables per second. The “slowest” language in the set was Mandarin, followed closely by German.

What is the rarest language in the world? ›

What is the rarest language to speak? Kaixana is an unknown language spoken because it only has one speaker left today. Kaixana has never been very popular. But it had 200 speakers in the past.

Which language has the least words? ›

That metaphorical process is at the heart of Toki Pona, the world's smallest language. While the Oxford English Dictionary contains a quarter of a million entries, and even Koko the gorilla communicates with over 1,000 gestures in American Sign Language, the total vocabulary of Toki Pona is a mere 123 words.

What is the oldest language in the world? ›

Sumerian can be considered the first language in the world, according to Mondly. The oldest proof of written Sumerian was found on the Kish tablet in today's Iraq, dating back to approximately 3500 BC.


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