9 Easiest Languages For English Speakers To Learn (2023)

So you’ve decided to learn a language. (Good choice! We approve.) Your next task, if you’re up for it: Choosing among many options. Should you go for a more widely spoken language like Spanish or Mandarin, a politically relevant one like Russian, or one you can use on your next vacation? These are all valid motivations, but here’s another: You’re busy. We all are. Why not tackle a language that will be relatively easy to learn? With the help of Babbel’s team of language-learning experts, we’ve determined the easiest language to learn for English speakers. Well, let’s just say we’ve narrowed down the list to 9 of them. Hopefully, this will help you narrow down your options, so you can start learning right away.

9 Easiest Languages For English Speakers To Learn (1)

And The Easiest Language To Learn Is…

1. Norwegian

9 Easiest Languages For English Speakers To Learn (2)

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! This means the languages share quite a bit of vocabulary, such as the seasons vinter and sommer (we’ll let you figure out those translations).

Another selling point for Norwegian: the grammar is pretty straightforward, with only one form of each verb per tense. And the word order closely mimics English. For example, “Can you help me?” translates to Kan du hjelpe meg? — the words are in the same order in both languages, so mastering sentence structure is a breeze!

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

Finally, you’ll have a lot more leeway with pronunciation when learning Norwegian. That’s because there are a vast array of different accents in Norway and, therefore, more than one “correct way” to pronounce words. Sound appealing? Lace up your snow boots and give Norwegian a try!

2. Swedish

9 Easiest Languages For English Speakers To Learn (3)

Our second easiest language to learn also comes from Scandinavia and the Germanic family of languages. One reason Swedish is one of the easiestlanguages for English speakers to learn is the large number of cognates the two languages share (cognates are words in different languages that stem from the same ancestral language and look and/or sound very similar to one another). For instance, “grass” is gräs in Swedish — a clear cognate.

Like Norwegian, Swedish also has relatively simple grammar rules and similar word order to English. And thanks to IKEA, Swedish has something else working in its favor: exposure. English speakers around the world have been exposed to a number of Swedish words while simply shopping for furniture (and chowing down on some meatballs, I presume). The popular, minimalistic Lack tables are named after the Swedish word for “varnish.” And the Stockholm rugs, of course, get their name from Sweden’s capital. Business Insider has broken down IKEA’s unique naming system in this article. Furniture lovers, perhaps Swedish is the language for you.

3. Spanish

9 Easiest Languages For English Speakers To Learn (4)

This pick should come as no surprise. Spanish has always been a go-to language for English speakers to learn due to its practicality and wide reach. Well, it’s also one of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers.

Spanish is one of the Romance languages, which derive from Latin — as do many English words, so the name of the game here is cognates, cognates, cognates. Correcto means “correct,” delicioso is “delicious,” and pizza is “pizza,” to name a few.

(Video) The Easiest Languages for English Speakers to Learn

Spanish pronunciation is also fairly straightforward. It’s a phonetic language — for the most part, its words are pronounced the way they’re spelled. But grammar haters beware: Spanish does have a number of different verb tenses and exceptions to grammar rules which can get confusing. However, the tenses largely align with ones we use in English, so they’re not as difficult to learn as you may think.

But perhaps the biggest pro to choosing to learn Spanish is its prevalence in our everyday lives. According to recent statistics, Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the world, with over 450 million native speakers. You’ve probably heard Spanish spoken on TV, on the radio, and even by members of your community. It’s everywhere, so you already have a leg up on learning it!

4. Dutch

9 Easiest Languages For English Speakers To Learn (5)

Dutch is another Germanic language on our list. It’s spoken by the majority of citizens of the Netherlands, as well as a large portion of Belgium’s population. It’s the third most-spoken Germanic language, after German and English, which makes sense — due to shared vocabulary, Dutch sounds like a combination of German and English.

A really interesting characteristic of Dutch is that many words are spelled exactly the same as they are in English, more so than in almost any other language. However, use caution, because they’re often pronounced differently. For instance, the word “rat” has the same spelling and meaning in both languages, but in Dutch it’s pronounced like the English word “rot.” Also, keep an eye out for false cognates, like the Dutch word wet, which actually means “law.” If you stay vigilant, Dutch could still be the language for you.

Germanic languages nab three of the top four spots on this list, but English’s other cousins, German and Danish, are absent — and for good reason. German didn’t make the cut because although it shares thousands of cognates with English, absolutely no one would describe its grammar as “easy.” And while written Danish looks a lot like Norwegian and Swedish, the pronunciation can be too intimidating for casual learners. If you’re up for the challenge, check out our list of hardest languages for English speakers to learn.

5. Portuguese

9 Easiest Languages For English Speakers To Learn (6)

(Video) 9 Easiest Languages For English Speakers To Learn

The fifth easiest language to learn on our list is Portuguese, a member of the Romance language family that’s spoken in both Portugal and Brazil.

Like Spanish, this translates to a large number of shared vocabulary words, which always makes picking it up easier. But beware of false cognates. You might be really excited about getting Portuguese pasta, only to be handed a “folder.”

Portuguese (particularly Brazilian Portuguese) is another language that gives learners the advantage of exposure. Brazilian food, drinks, music and films have been making frequent appearances in global pop culture, giving students of Portuguese plenty of opportunities to enhance their learning.

6. Indonesian

9 Easiest Languages For English Speakers To Learn (7)

This selection may also come as a surprise, but Indonesian has several qualities that make it a logical choice for English speakers.

For starters, Indonesian — spoken natively by nearly 23 million people — is one of the few Asian languages that uses the Latin alphabet. Many Asian languages are incredibly difficult for English speakers to master due to the unfamiliar characters in their writing systems, but not Indonesian.

It’s also a phonetic language, made up of words that are pronounced exactly the way they’re spelled. Now, Indonesian grammatical structures are very different from those in English, but don’t let that deter you! Its lack of rules make learning grammar a lot easier. There are no verb conjugations (you read that correctly!), no plurals (simply repeat the word twice), and no grammatical genders. If you’re not a fan of grammar rules, Indonesian could be a match made in heaven!

(Video) 9 Easiest Languages For English Speakers To Learn WOW

7. Italian

9 Easiest Languages For English Speakers To Learn (8)

Next up is another Romance language. Though not as widely spoken as Spanish or Portuguese, Italian still has more than 63 million native speakers. Its Latin roots allow for a sizable chunk of cognates English speakers will recognize, such as futuro (“future”) and lotteria (“lottery”), two things we all wish we could controllare (“control”).

Perhaps the best part of choosing Italian is the possibility to learn with food! Italian cuisine has become a staple of many Western countries, bringing a number of Italian words into our regular vocabularies. Penne all’arrabbiata translates to “angry pasta” (presumably because it’s spicy!), and farfalle (the pasta shaped like bow ties) actually means “butterflies.” Doesn’t learning Italian sound delizioso?

8. French

9 Easiest Languages For English Speakers To Learn (9)

There’s one more major Romance language on our list, and this one is often a fan favorite. Although it’s not as easy to learn as some of its language cousins, French (and/or its various dialects and creoles) is spoken by nearly 300 million people in many different parts of the world (France, Canada, Belgium and Madagascar — to name only a few).

As with the other Romance languages, the biggest benefit to choosing to learn French is the large amount of shared vocabulary. But this isn’t solely due to its linguistic roots. During the lengthy history of wars and conquests between France and England, key language parts were passed from one country to the other. This mostly came in the form of French vocabulary added to the English language, such as avant-garde and à la carte, although the word-sharing went from English to French as well (e.g. week-end). French pronunciation is a bit tricky, at first, but we often hear French accents in pop culture, making them easier to replicate than you may think.

9. Swahili

9 Easiest Languages For English Speakers To Learn (10)

(Video) Top 5 Easy Languages To Learn [For English Speakers]

The final language on our list is perhaps the “least easiest language to learn” of the easiest languages. Swahili is widely used across eastern and southeastern Africa, including in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, among other countries, but usually as a lingua franca — a common language adopted among native speakers of different languages.

Swahili words often sound just like they’re spelled, and the pronunciation is relatively easy for English speakers to pick up. It’s said to be the easiest African language for English natives to learn, partially because of the surprising amount of loan words taken from English, like penseli (“pencil”) and mashine (“machine”).

Finally, Swahili is fairly straightforward in terms of grammar. Verb conjugations utilize prefixes in a logical way, making them less difficult to learn. If you want to try something different, see if Swahili is the language for you. However, if you want to pick up a new language as easily as possible, we recommend starting with something from the top of the list — like Spanish, Swedish or Norwegian.

FAQs

What are the easiest languages to learn if you speak English? ›

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

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 is the most useful language to learn after English? ›

The 10 Best Languages to Learn in 2023 (and where to learn them)
  1. Chinese. Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world—spoken in some form by 1.2 billion people—so it only makes sense to include it on this list. ...
  2. Spanish. ...
  3. Korean. ...
  4. French. ...
  5. German. ...
  6. 6. Japanese. ...
  7. Italian. ...
  8. Portuguese.
Nov 23, 2022

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

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 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 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 easiest language to say? ›

Norwegian

It shares quite a bit of vocabulary with English, and unlike some Germanic languages, the pronunciation of most Norwegian words is fairly straightforward. For the most part, the sentence structure is also quite comparable to English, although not identical.

Which is 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 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 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

Which foreign language is in demand after English? ›

Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese are the most straightforward language to acquire for Indians if we compare them with French, German, or Russian. According to the FSI study, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic are some of the hardest languages to master.

Which foreign language is worth learning? ›

French. 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.

Which language is in demand after English? ›

French (Français)

French is the most popular foreign language in India, and the reasons to learn French are apparent. With over 30 Francophone countries around the globe, It is spoken by roughly 300 million French speakers globally. According to Forbes, 750 million French speakers will be worldwide by 2050.

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 language has the hardest grammar? ›

Hungarian grammar seems like the road to death for an English speaker. 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.

What is the 1 hardest language to learn? ›

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 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 is the hardest second language to learn for non English speakers? ›

The Japanese language is universally considered one of the hardest languages to learn. With three different alphabets and hard pronunciations, the Japanese language deserves its own language group.

What are the 7 easiest languages 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 top 10 most spoken language in the world? ›

Currently, these are the 10 most spoken languages in the world in 2023, sorted by number of mother language speakers: Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi, Bengali, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Yue chinese, Vietnamese.

What is the top 20 hardest language to learn? ›

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

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.

Which language is best other than 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

Is English the mother of all languages? ›

He said: “... In the beginning, Sanskrit stood as mother of all languages and encouraged all languages and was the reason for their growth and prosperity. One may note that most of the works in Sanskrit have been translated into other Indian languages.”

What language is most useful? ›

English

It is used in global business, worldwide travel, diplomatic affairs, and in computer technology. Not only that, but many of the top global economies are English-speaking ones — the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK.

What is the #1 language? ›

1. English – 1,121 million speakers. It is the most widely spoken language in the world because of the global impact of England and the United States in the last three centuries. It is not the mother tongue of most people, but it is the one that most people seek to learn.

Which language is growing fast? ›

Urdu has experienced significant growth in the previous half-century, increasing by 95% over that time period. Since the last decade, its users have grown by 35%. The number of native Urdu speakers today is 230 million, as well as more than 50 million second-language speakers worldwide.

What is the easiest secret language? ›

Furbish. In general: the smaller the vocabulary, the easier a language is to learn. That's why many fictional linguists find the gibberish spoken by the Furby talking toy a good place to start.

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.

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.

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.”

Which is harder Chinese or Japanese? ›

Japanese is slightly easier to learn. But, Chinese is much more widely spoken. Both languages have their pros and cons.

What's 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.

What is the best 2nd 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 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 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 #1 language in the world? ›

1. English – 1,121 million speakers. It is the most widely spoken language in the world because of the global impact of England and the United States in the last three centuries.

Which foreign language is in high demand? ›

Mandarin Chinese

Mandarin Chinese is consistently ranked as the foreign language that is most in demand among employers.

What is the most rarely used language? ›

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 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

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