Language is the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way.
If you want to know any country’s culture then you must know their language very well.
Whether you want to study abroad, volunteer, or just take a gap year, your time spent abroad is the perfect opportunity to learn a new language — or start to. The problem is, if you are short on time or notorious for picking the most difficult tasks, you might be wary of taking on such an arduous journey.
Luckily, there are a few languages that can be much easier for English-speakers to learn than most. If you want to learn a new tongue as a native English-speaker, consider these languages first.
As English speakers, we can be thankful that Spanish pronunciations are one of the easiest to learn. Overall, Spanish has a shallow orthographic depth – meaning that most words are written as pronounced. This means that reading and writing in Spanish is a straightforward task. With only ten vowel and diphthong sounds (English has 20), and no unfamiliar phonemes except for the fun-to-pronounce letter ñ. This makes learning how to speak Spanish the easiest out of the bunch and may give you the best return on your time and investment, as 37 per cent of employers rated Spanish as a critical language to know for employment.
Surprisingly, French is ranked #18 of the world’s most spoken languages. Nevertheless, it is widespread and in popular tourist destinations. Over 75 million people speak French. As a Romance language with Latin roots, French shares similar vocabulary with English. In fact, French is said to share the most vocabulary words with the English language. Certain vowel pronunciations, gender usage, and verb forms can be difficult for beginners. There are more than 35 countries and dependent entities where French is an official language, most of which are on the continent of Africa and Europe, including France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Ivory Coast, and Senegal. In North America, Canada and Haiti as well as French territories in the Caribbean also speak French as an official language.
Italian is the most “romantic” of the romance languages. Luckily its latin-rooted vocabulary translates into many similar Italian/English cognates, such as foresta (forest), calendario (calendar), and ambizioso (ambitious). Like Spanish, many of the words in Italian are written as pronounced. Moreover, the Italian sentence structure is highly rhythmic, with most words ending in vowels. This adds a musicality to the spoken language which makes it fairly simple to understand, and a spunky language to use.
Many people have no idea that Romanian is a Romance language. Because it isn’t spoken as widely as the other Romance languages, English-speakers often forget to consider it when searching for “easy” languages to learn. More than 26 million people speak Romanian around the world. If you studied Latin for your SATs or similar college entry exams, you’ll find Romanian roots to be pretty darn close to Latin — much more so than other Romance languages. You may find it difficult to practice Romanian unless you are in countries that speak it as a first or second language. You will notice Romanian spoken the most when visiting Romania, Republic of Moldova, Hungary, Ukraine, and Serbia.
For many English speakers, German is a difficult language to pick up. Its long words, four noun case endings, and rough pronunciation gives your tongue quite the workout each time you speak. German is recognized as a very descriptive language. A good example is how they use the noun by combining the object with the action on hand. Example: das Fernsehen – the television, combines the words fern, far, andsehen, watching, lit. far-watching. On the other hand, German can be a fun language to learn and the grammar’s considered to be quite logical, with many overlapping words in English. Just watch out for the exceptions to the rules!