In this article, we’ll walk you through 9 of the easiest languages to learn. You’ll also learn some cool reasons to learn each one of them. By the end, hopefully you’ll know which language you want to study!
There are a lot of languages in the world today. In fact, there are over 6,000 of them! Choosing which one (or two) you want to learn can be difficult. If it’s your first time learning a language, it’s a good idea to start with an easy language to learn for English speakers.
Plus, some of the easiest languages are also some of the most spoken languages in the world. The map above shows you how far-reaching each of the languages on this list are. Some of them may surprise you! To see how long it’ll take you to learn one of these languages (or any others), you can check out our Fluency Calculator.
In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at each of these easy languages individually.
The easiest languages for English speakers to learn are: Danish, Dutch, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish, and French. The US State Department lists these languages as Category I languages. This means they are similar to English culturally and/or linguistically. Chances are you’ll notice some similarities to English if you decide to learn one of them! And you may be surprised how many words are similar or the exact same.
Danish is a North Germanic language that over 5.5 million people speak. You probably already know that it’s the official language of Denmark, but did you know people in the Faroe Islands also speak Danish?
Danish is easy for English speakers to learn because they are both Germanic languages. You can recognize a lot of different vocabulary in both languages. The grammar isn’t too difficult either. There are a few additional sounds in Danish that don’t exist in English, but you can learn them quickly with a little pronunciation practice.
You can check out some of the best Danish learning apps to get started. Or take a look at a couple examples. Can you see the similarities between Danish and English in the words below?
Datter – Daughter
Hus – House
Efter – After
Halv – Half
Dutch is a West Germanic language that 22 million people around the world speak. It’s the official language in the Netherlands, as well as Belgium and Suriname. The Caribbean nations of Aruba, Curaçao, and St. Maarten also include Dutch as an official language.
Dutch is easy for English speakers to learn because it’s a close relative of English. It’s a somewhat flexible language in terms of vocabulary. It’s common for English expressions to make their way into Dutch, which means you already know a lot of everyday vocabulary!
There are also many apps to learn Dutch available. This makes it easy to learn wherever you are in the world. Here are some examples of words that are similar in Dutch and English:
Boek – Book
Mond – Mouth
Wereld – World
Droom – Dream
Italian is a very popular language with English speakers because of Italian culture, food, and the beautiful country of Italy. It’s in the family of Romance languages (along with other popular languages like Spanish and French), and almost 70 million people speak it. Outside of Italy, it’s common to hear Italian in San Marino, Vatican City, parts of Switzerland, and even in some regions of Croatia and Slovenia.
English speakers can quickly learn Italian because of its easy pronunciation and spelling. Unlike English, every letter is always pronounced exactly the same way in Italian. Once you master the different sounds, you’ll be able to pronounce every word correctly! English also borrows quite a few words from Italian (like pizza, pasta, paparazzi), so you won’t be starting from zero either.
To get started, check out the best Italian learning apps. You can also look at some similar words below:
L’Attenzione – Attention
Generosità – Generosity
Impossibile – Impossible
Fantastico – Fantastic
Norwegian, similar to Danish and Swedish, is a North Germanic language. Over 5 million people speak it, and it’s the official language of – you guessed it! – Norway. There are two written forms of Norwegian (Bokmål and Nynorsk), but don’t let that intimidate you. It’s still surprisingly easy for English speakers to learn Norwegian.
One of the most obvious reasons Norwegian is an easy language to learn is its shared vocabulary with English. However, there are also a couple more. The word order in Norwegian is strikingly similar to English, and it also uses a lot of compound words. This makes it easy to remember (or even guess) vocabulary words.
You can try out some Norwegian learning apps to start studying or see a few similar words below.
Tre – Tree
Snø – Snow
Katt – Cat
Igjen – Again
Portuguese is a Romance language spoken by over 250 million people around the world. It’s the official language in Portugal and Brazil, but its reach extends far beyond these two countries. Portuguese is also a main language in Angola, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea Bissau, Macau, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe.
Portuguese is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn for a couple reasons. The structure of Portuguese sentences is similar to English, for one. In fact, some of the structures are even more simple, like questions. Being one of the most spoken languages in the world, there are also a lot of ways to learn Portuguese online.
Check out some of the most popular apps to learn Portuguese or look at some Portuguese vocabulary you may already know below.
Chocolate – Chocolate
Alfabeto – Alphabet
Situação – Situation
Fluência – Fluency
Romanian is a Romance language, along with a few other languages on this list. Its geography is a little more limited than some of the others though, like Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Still, over 28 million people speak Romanian. You’ll most commonly hear it in Romania (of course!) and Moldova.
Romanian is an easy language to learn because it’s a phonetic language. Similar to Spanish and Italian, Romanian letters are always pronounced the same way. Once you master how to pronounce them, you can say any word in the whole language! It also has Latin roots, so once you understand the general structure, you can guess a lot of vocabulary without actually studying it.
Take a look at some excellent Romanian learning apps to start learning it or check out some similar words below.
Șoc – Shock
Faimos – Famous
Elefant – Elephant
Castel – Castle
Spanish is not only one of the most popular languages that English speakers learn, but it’s also one of the easiest. It’s also useful – almost 550 million people speak Spanish around the world and it’s an official language in 20 countries. Spanish-language movies, series, and music have gone global in the past few years, so you’ve probably come into contact with the language at some point.
Spanish pronunciation may be intimidating because it sounds fast and has different sounds (like the rolling r sound), but it’s pretty straightforward once you learn the basics. The grammar is also fairly simple if you want to become conversational. The easiest aspect of learning Spanish is how accessible it is.
There are so many apps to learn Spanish available, so all you need to do is choose one and get started! To show you how similar some words are in Spanish and English, take a look at the list below.
Actor – Actor
Final – Final
Múltiple – Multiple
Ópera – Opera
Swedish is a Germanic language that over 13 million speak. You can probably guess that most of them are in Sweden, but it’s also an official language in Finland. It’s closely related to Norwegian and Danish, which are also some of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn.
English and Swedish have the same roots, which is why it’s easy to learn if you already speak English. The grammar isn’t too complicated, and the verb conjugations are quick and (mostly) painless to memorize. The same can’t be said for some of the other languages on this list!
If you study just a little bit each day, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can learn Swedish. There are some high-quality apps to learn Swedish available and you can also find some entertaining Swedish shows and movies on popular streaming services like Netflix. To give you an idea of what Swedish vocabulary looks like, here are a few words that are similar to their English translation.
Husbond – Husband
Bror – Brother
Hand – Hand
Bröd – Bread
French is a Romance language, just like Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. Over 270 million people speak French around the world, and it’s the official language of 29 countries and some major international bodies, like the United Nations.
French is the most difficult language on this list to learn according to the US State Department. However, it’s still a lot easier to learn than most other languages. This is because a huge amount of English words come from French. While you may be put off by the sometimes difficult pronunciation rules, it gets a lot easier as your progress.
Using a French learning app is the best way to get started, and you can make a lot of progress quickly if you study consistently. Here are some words you already know that translate directly to French:
Édition – Edition
Univers – Universe
Zéro – Zero
Romantique – Romantic
The 9 languages listed above are the easiest languages for English speakers to learn. They’re all there for a specific reason, too. Most of them have similar roots as English, which means their vocabulary is similar in a lot of instances. Their grammar is also close in many ways, which means it’ll be easier for you to learn them quickly.
While it can be difficult to learn any language, with consistency and motivation, you can learn to speak one of these languages in no time. There’s a bonus too – most of these easy languages to learn are related to each other. If you learn Spanish, for example, you’ll be able to pick up Italian, French, Portuguese, and Romanian even more easily!
The best way to learn a language is by completely immersing yourself in it. That’s not always possible though, but thankfully there are other ways to jump in! Using the best language apps for each language is a great way to get started. They’re convenient, easy to use, and can get you speaking in just a few days.
If your goal is to become fluent, there are additional language learning tools and resources you can use. These include books, courses, and even finding a native tutor online. You can also check out YouTube channels that are in your target language or find a top-notch podcast to listen to on your way to work, at the gym, or even when you’re taking a walk. Check out some of our language guides for more specific ideas.
The 9 languages on this list are the easiest ones for English speakers to learn. Different aspects of each language are similar to English, so you’ll have an advantage if you choose to learn one of them. However, it’s important to remember that not everyone learns languages the same way. And the amount of time it takes is also different for each person.
It’s a good idea to choose a language you connect with, whether your friends and family live in a country that speaks it, you want to travel there, or even if you’re learning it for more career opportunities. Now that you know the 9 easiest languages to learn, the only thing you need to do is get started!
What is the world’s easiest language to learn?
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’s the closest language to English?
It’s impossible to determine which language is closest to English because there is no standardized way to compare them. In some ways, Dutch is the closest language to English because of its vocabulary and grammar. However, some less-spoken languages like Frisian and Scots are even more similar.
What’s the hardest language to learn?
For English speakers, the hardest language to learn is a tie between 5 languages: Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, and Korean. This is because they are all very different culturally and linguistically to English. According to the US State Department, it takes an astounding 2,200 hours to become professionally proficient in any of these languages.
What language is most useful to learn?
It’s impossible to determine the most useful language to learn because everyone learns for different reasons. For business, Mandarin Chinese and Arabic are two important languages. For culture and art, French is undeniably one of the most important. When it comes to literature, German and Russian could be top contenders. Thinking about why you want to learn a language can help you determine the most useful one to learn.
How fast can you learn a language?
If your goal is only to have basic conversations, you can learn a language in as little as 3 months. However, to become completely fluent, it depends on the language. Check out the Langoly Fluency Calculator to see how fast you can learn a language.
Can you learn multiple languages at the same time?
Yes, you can learn multiple languages at the same time. In fact, doing this can be beneficial if the languages you’re learning are similar. For example, if you learn Spanish and Portuguese together, you can progress more quickly in both of them because of their similarities in vocabulary and grammar.
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.
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 language takes the longest time to learn? ›
It's not tonal, and much of the grammar is, in the grand scheme of things, relatively simple to pick up (looking at you, Hungarian!). However, studies have shown that Japanese is the single language that takes English people the longest to learn.Is 1 hour a day enough to learn a language? ›
With a busy work life, finding the time to commit to a new language can be a challenge in itself. But experts agree that it's more than possible to make meaningful progress in just one hour a day. Not only that, the skills gained from practicing a new language can feel like superpowers in the workplace and beyond.Is 1 hour a week enough to learn a language? ›
Realistically, however, at least 20 minutes per day should be dedicated to learning a new language. The ideal amount of time to spend on daily study, if you can find the time, is an hour, but you don't need to cram it all in at once.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 most useful language to learn after English? ›
- 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. ...
- Spanish. ...
- Korean. ...
- French. ...
- German. ...
- 6. Japanese. ...
- Italian. ...
- 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. ...
So, to answer “how long does it take to learn Spanish” – it should take you about 24 weeks to learn Spanish, according to Foreign Service Institute. To explain it a bit more, if you spend 3 hours every day learning Spanish, you'll achieve fluency in around six months.What is the 7 hardest language to learn? ›
- 1 – Chinese (Mandarin)
- 2 – Arabic.
- 3 – Japanese.
- 4 – Korean.
- 5 – Hungarian.
- 6 – Finnish.
- 7 – Xhosa.
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 is the 2 hardest language to learn? ›
- Mandarin Chinese. Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. ...
- Arabic. ...
- Polish. ...
- Russian. ...
- Turkish. ...
We see this question a lot and the answer is: yes. Duolingo is a free language-learning platform, and every language and lesson is totally free!How do CIA agents learn languages? ›
The Defense Language Institute (Where CIA Spies Study Languages) The Defense Language Institute (“DLI”), located in Monterey, California, is where the CIA, members of the U.S. armed forces and various other government agencies go to learn foreign languages.Can you learn a language in 3 months? ›
Language learning is a lifelong process
You won't be fluent in three months. However, if you've dedicated an hour a day over the course of 90 days, you will have achieved sufficient progress in the language and a sufficient sense of confidence in your ability to learn this language.
Obviously I'm not going to teach you to become fluent in a new language in 7 days. That's impossible. There are people who've spoken English their entire life and are still horrible at it. But if we learn smart we can definitely learn to say a lot in a new language in that short time.Can you learn a language in 3 weeks? ›
It might sound like an impossible task, but according to language experts, you can learn basic communication skills in weeks and master the basics of a foreign language in several months.Is 15 minutes a day enough to learn a language? ›
That's because the central principle of the Babbel language learning approach is that people should spend about 15 minutes per day studying a new language. This is surprisingly short compared to the length of time university students are expected to study a language nightly (~90 minutes).What is the 5 hardest language? ›
Japanese is slightly easier to learn. But, Chinese is much more widely spoken. Both languages have their pros and cons.
The Three Best Languages for Americans 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.
1. English. English is one of the most important languages for business, as it's spoken by around 1.35 billion people around the world as a first or second language. Many top economies also use English as an official language, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.Is Duolingo accurate? ›
Research has shown that Duolingo is an effective way to learn a new language, but don't just take our word for it: Hear from a few learners who have been using Duolingo to achieve their learning goals!What are 20 the easiest languages to learn? ›
- Spanish (3/30) Number of native speakers: 480 million. ...
- Dutch (3/30) Number of native speakers: 24 million. ...
- German (6/30) Number of native speakers: 95 million. ...
- Italian (7/30) ...
- Afrikaans (7/30) ...
- Esperanto (7/30) ...
- Portuguese (9/30) ...
- French (9/30)
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.How long does it realistically take to learn a language? ›
The correct answer is: “it depends,” but you probably already knew that. The next and most accurate answer is that it can take anywhere between three months to two years to learn how to speak, write, and read in a new language fluently.Can I learn any language in 1 month? ›
The brain will learn, but it takes time and don't put pressure on yourself to learn it in one month, three months, six months, nor is it even certain what it is you hope to achieve in one month, three months, six months. Because if it's a new language, you have no concept of how much there is in that language.Can I learn any language in 30 days? ›
Yes, you can learn a language in 30 days if you are really motivated, dedicated to that, and you can focus only on studying. Or if you live in a country where the language you're learning is the official one, and you are interacting with native speakers all day long.Can you really learn a language in 3 months? ›
To understand 95% of a language and become conversational fluent may require 3 months of applied learning; to reach the 98% threshold could require 10 years. There is a point of diminishing returns where, for most people, it makes more sense to acquire more languages (or other skills) vs.Can Duolingo make you fluent? ›
We see this question a lot and the answer is: yes. Duolingo is a free language-learning platform, and every language and lesson is totally free!
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!
Many people believe that you lose the ability to learn new languages as you get older. Language experts, however, will tell you that you're never too old to learn a new language. As you get older, it can be more difficult to learn a new language, though. Children and adults learn new languages in different ways.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 a week do you need to study to learn a language? ›
For most people, around 30 minutes of active study and 1 hour of language exposure a day is a schedule that will give you great results. It's a model that's sustainable over a long period to help you reach fluency. But of course, it all depends on your goals and expectations.Is 35 too late to learn a new language? ›
Many people believe that you lose the ability to learn new languages as you get older. Language experts, however, will tell you that you're never too old to learn a new language. As you get older, it can be more difficult to learn a new language, though.How many days a week should I practice a language? ›
If you have a very limited amount of time to devote, at a minimum spend 30 minutes each week in a one-on-one lesson with a professional teacher. Budget and time allowing, 3 lessons per week is a good goal. Those can either be 30 minute or 1 hour long lessons; clearly, 1 hour long lessons will move you along much ...Can you learn a new language at 40? ›
You can become a perfectly fluent speaker of a foreign language at any age, and small imperfections of grammar or accent often just add to the charm. Learn a new language.