The Top 3 Easiest Foreign Languages to Learn for British People
11th Nov 2013
As Germanic and Romance dialects are related, the easiest languages for English mother tongue speakers to learn are:
Like English, Afrikaans is in the West Germanic language family. Unlike English, its structure won’t make your head spin. A great feature of Afrikaans, especially for grammar-phobes, is its logical and non-inflective structure. Unlike English, there is no verb conjugation (swim, swam, swum). Unlike Romance languages, there is no gender (un homme, une femme in French).
Another feature of Afrikaans is its vocabulary, which shares many Germanic-derived root words that are familiar to English speakers. Vocabulary-building is as easy as pointing to an object and asking, “Wat is dit in Afrikaans?”
We can thank William the Conqueror for excellent, colour, identity, and about 8000 other French-derived English words left over from the Norman occupation. Linguists estimate that French has influenced up to a third of the modern English language, from the language of the courts in the 11th century to modern terms like je ne sais quoi, après-ski, and bourgeois.
For language learners, English has more in common lexically with French than any other Romance language. This means that French vocabulary is more familiar, recognisable, and easy to comprehend. Advanced French learners may struggle with its gendered nouns and 17 verb forms, but for conversational learning, it’s relatively facile.
For language learners, a great feature of Spanish is its shallow orthographic depth – that is, in most cases, words are written as pronounced. This means that reading and writing in Spanish is a straightforward task.
Pronunciation is also fairly easy for native English speakers, with only ten vowel and diphthong sounds (English has 20), and no unfamiliar phonemes except for the fun-to-pronounce letter ñ. Grammatically speaking, Spanish has fewer irregularities that other Romance languages.
Spanish is also an attractive second language for English speakers because of its international status. Spanish is an official language on three continents, and with growing economies in Latin and South America, it’s a valuable professional skill. In a Telegraph survey,37 per cent of employers rated Spanish as a useful language to know.
If you need any help with the translation or interpreting into and out of these or any other languages, please contact our team on 020 7253 7700 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Marina Amores Rodriguez, Interpreting Booking Coordinator
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