In these economically difficult times, learning a new language can help you to get ahead in your career, make it easier to communicate in a foreign country, or can just be fun to do! But, if English is your primary tongue, what languages are the easiest to learn?
To discover this, you have to take several different factors into consideration. How committed are you to learning the language? How often will you get the opportunity to practice the language? Finally, what is the difficulty of the language by comparing alphabets and the phonetics of the new tongue?
Spanish: This is the most used secondary language spoken in the United States. There are Spanish-speaking people found in every U.S. state. The language is straight-forward with a familiar sound to the people of the United States.
French: Mainly used in Canada, the French language has many words found in English. The language is more complex than Spanish, but since it is a world language, there are plenty of resources for the person who is eager to learn this romantic language.
Italian: This language is similar and as straight-forward as Spanish. It is easy to learn and has the clearest enunciation among Latin language. You can find this language in the United States in such places as the opera or Italian secular music. Other choices are within ethnic areas of larger cities. My suggestion is just take a trip to Italy to fully embrace this language.
German: Another European language found mainly in its home country, German has a rough, guttural sound. The language is overall more complex, but easy to get started in. The enunciation is very clear, so it is an easy language to understand. There are many German films available to practice with and if you are in the military, travel to German-speaking regions is often an option. Additionally, Germany is a beautiful country to visit and is highly encouraged.
Portuguese: This language might not have been on your list of the five easiest languages to learn, but it is in the same level of complexity as the other four. Often overlooked, Portuguese is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It is also a must-have if you plan on traveling to Portugal or Brazil.
Ultimately, learning a new language is up to you. You have to be willing to put in many hours of study (most experts put this time at about 600 hours), find interaction with the language through media or people speaking in the tongue, and the familiarity and ease with the English language.
Other good languages to learn are Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and Hindi, but I did not use these on the list since they require learning new alphabets and structures that are very different than the English language. Find a language that you are comfortable with and start learning. You’ll thank yourself for your accomplishment and broaden your horizons.