French. Like all romance languages, French has a few difficulties for prospective speakers. There are more verb forms (17, compared to the English 12) and gendered nouns (le crayon, la table). Pronunciation is especially difficult in French, with vowel sounds and silent letters.
I think it is perceived that Spanish is easier to learn because it is a much more phonetic language, which makes it easier to determine the pronunciation of a word just by looking at the spelling. French is harder than Spanish overall, but from a English-speaker perspective French is closer.
Despite these difficulties, English is actually the easiest language in the world to learn. Unlike other languages, English has no cases, no gender, no word agreement, and arguably has a simple grammar system.
This is their biggest advantage when learning Chinese. It is however understandable that some learners think Chinese is a difficult language. In the UK, Chinese is not the first foreign language choice, while European languages such as French, Spanish and German are much more popular.
No language is easy to learn, except perhaps those you learned as an infant, but languages you can immerse yourself in are easier than those you cannot. Latin is not necessarily any harder than any modern language and may be easier for some to learn than the daughter languages of Latin, like French or Italian.
Worldwide, around 120 million people speak some form of German as their first language. German is easier for a native English speaker to learn than many people realize. Not surprisingly, English and German share thousands of cognates – words that sound the same and have the same meanings.
Some people say that the Russian language can be hard to learn. This is not really true, learning Russian is no harder than learning other languages. The main difficulty for a lot of people is learning the new grammar structure. In fact, there are many things that make Russian easier to learn than other languages.
And sure, that's true of German too. Plus, some German learners get flustered by the absurdly long words, and unusual grammar structure. However, I don't believe that any language is harder to learn than another. German is one example of a language that is in many ways easier to learn than English.
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 for English speakers to learn. According to recent statistics, Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the world, with over 400 million native speakers.
Spanish is considered one of the easiest languages for a native English speaker to learn. The grammar and sentence structure are different from English, but simpler. Because both languages have Latin roots, they also share thousands of cognates – words that sound the same and have the same meanings.
I would say that it is a more difficult language to learn than Spanish in both grammar and pronunciation, and more difficult than French in grammar. However, if you have any knowledge of Spanish or French (or even Portuguese or another Romance language), Italian will be a lot easier for you to learn.
Learning Portuguese. Portuguese is not so difficult for a native English speaker to learn. The grammar and sentence structure are different from English, but simpler. The accent has more in common with American English than Spanish has, and it's not so difficult to pick up new sounds like nasal vowels.
Top 10 Hardest Languages For Translators to Learn
- Mandarin. Mandarin is a language within the Chinese language group and is actually the most spoken language in the world.
As Gustav Meeuwenfiaster noted in a comment to Diego Hernandez's answer, Frisian is the closest to English. Dutch and Afrikaans come next. Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are also quite close. These are all Germanic languages and share a common (long extinct) ancestor.
We've decided to rank the order from easiest languages to learn to the hardest.
- Spanish. Speaking: Very Easy. Grammar: Very Easy.
- Italian. Speaking: Easy. Grammar: Easy.
- French. Speaking: Moderate. Grammar: Moderate.
- Portuguese. Speaking: Moderate.
- German. Speaking: Difficult.
- Hindi. Speaking: Moderate.
- Mandarin. Speaking: Difficult.
9 easy languages for English speakers
- Swedish. A fellow Germanic language, Swedish has some vocabulary common with English (mus for “mouse”, kung for “king”), and a similar syntax too.