Blaveloper

For beginners: "What language should I learn"? "What is the easiest one"? (NOT MY QUESTION!)

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On 3/25/2016 at 0:52 PM, 111kg said:

Glad to see another Romanian on this forum.

 

Now, I do believe that there is no point in learning a foreign language if you don't plan to immerse in that culture or at least be in touch with it. Why? Because once you stop using it for a while, you lose it. You wasted so much time of your life just so you can brag that you know a language you'll never use inreal life.

Moreover, I do believe that English and Spanish are the easiest languages you can learn. For the Europeans living within the former Roman empire borders, it's quite easy to learn Italian, French and Spanish or even Portuguese (but with a little bit of struggle).

I don't agree that it's not worth it to learn a language if you're not going to use it in that language's culture. There have been studies that show how the process of learning new languages actually causes positive changes in your brain that can have a lot of benefits, even if you don't remember the language forever. For one thing, once you have those connections in your brain, it allows you to learn languages more easily in the future. It also helps you with things like critical thinking and abstract problem solving. Definitely not a waste of time.

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@flovo I think that what you are talking about has cultural and political issues. While Romands always are thinking that in the eyes of Swiss-Germans their opinion has less worth, Swiss-Germans don't have this feeling. So therefore Romands rather want to avoid learning German, while Swiss-Germans don't care, or in fact, they try to speak rather in French or Italian to communicate with each other, because they are aware of how Romands and Ticinesi are feeling, and try to make a difference. I hope it makes sense to you, what I am trying to say! 

 

I for myself think, that everyone should learn the language they are interested in. Or looking for the reason why someone wants to study a language even. And then I'm certain that you'll find the language in which you'll be passionate in it, and you may understand why it doesn't matter how difficult a language is to study. =) 

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Well I can tell you that if you're currently looking to learn a new language besides english as your main, I recommend you to try Italian since it is not too hard when talking about the pronuntiation of their words, I actually speak English and Spanish, both fluently but it seems kinda boring for me to start a new lane on the language learning thing, btu as I said, I personally recomend you to try Italian, you will not regret it.

(SPANISH is not one ofthe easiest, it is my mother language and I cant even get to speak it properly, too mych vocabulary and rules, you can try but you will last forever trying)

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33 minutes ago, Arly said:

Well I can tell you that if you're currently looking to learn a new language besides english as your main, I recommend you to try Italian since it is not too hard when talking about the pronuntiation of their words, I actually speak English and Spanish, both fluently but it seems kinda boring for me to start a new lane on the language learning thing, btu as I said, I personally recomend you to try Italian, you will not regret it.

(SPANISH is not one ofthe easiest, it is my mother language and I cant even get to speak it properly, too mych vocabulary and rules, you can try but you will last forever trying)

That's exactly not what this topic is about.

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Apparently Esperanto is one of the easiest, if not the easiest, languages in the world to learn. It was made by L. L. Zamenhof, and up two million people worldwide speak it. Its vocabulary is mainly from Romance languages, with a Slavic sound inventory. 

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I am sure there is a culture you are drawn to; why not try to start learning their language? The love for the culture may motivate the learning process and make it easier.

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If I were to advise anyone, I'd say go off your interest, your needs and go from there. I may be passionate about Danish, but that doesn't mean it'll be of interest to the next person.  -and for me, the best way to remain passionate about learning a language is to be truly interested in it for whatever personal reason you have unique to yourself. I also don't think it's possible to say 1 language is easier than another, because we all have varying abilities for different languages depending on many different factors including our own native languages. For instance, in my experience, a lot of the Americans I know seem to find learning Setswana fairly easy to learn, whereas Brits just can't seem to get their heads around it. I can't understand why it's easier for them, and none of our friends can explain it.

 

 

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I believe that it's all related to your native language, based on your native language and even your second language, you get a different level of difficulty when it comes about learning new languages. For someone speaking Spanish, it would be a lot easier to learn Italian or even French as they are proven to be all descendants of the Latin language. On the other hand, for someone whose first language is Mandarin, it'll be very hard to learn the French language for example, as first that someone must get used to the Latin alphabet and to the different morphological structures in French language. So it's all related to your first language and the region you've been born.

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While I believe part of this is true, other parts I have to disagree with. What is easiest to learn depends on many factors including what the language is, what language you already speak, and what kind of learner you are, etc, etc. I think the easiest languages to learn are those that are alike to your own. For example if you speak English, the easiest languages to learn (given that you have the time, resources and are an efficient learner) would be Spanish, French, Italian and Dutch. If you're looking for an easy language to learn I would choose one with the same syntax of your own. Also I have a friend who has learned Japanese but yet doesn't really like the culture, she lives in the U.S and has many Japanese friends with whom she gets to converse with in their native tongue. As for me I have gotten pretty far in Spanish, but there culture is something I haven't even given much thought to whether I like it or not. I think instead it has to do with your reasoning behind why you want to learn it in the first place, rather than if you like where the language came from. 

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A safe choice is Esperanto. A very flexible language that will provide you with the foundations of efficient language learning for latin derived language given its proximity to them all. Specially french.

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As a beginner, I think the language you should learn depends on where you live. I stay in Georgia and I live around a lot of Spanish-speaking natives. I take Spanish classes and I am able to practice Spanish in my hometown. Although, it is also best to follow your heart as well. My sister take French courses because she loves it. There is no right or wrong answer to your question. 

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I will suggest English to everyone because it's an international language so you can use it frequently. If you move to some other country and you don't now their native language so English language will help to communicate with other people in that country. It is also useful to grow your career in th right direction.  

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When I "studied" Spanish in college, Professor Morales told us that the best way to learn a language is to put yourself in that culture, in the middle of it. It forces you to use the language. You have no other choice if you want to communicate. 

 

He said, once you start "thinking" in the language, you've passed your greatest hurdle. 

 

That's where I want to be.

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Learning language depends on your interest and ability. There is no such language as easy to learn language or hard to learn language. However, when the language you want to learn is on the same language family (your spoken language), it becomes little easy to learn another language. For example, if you know Hindi, you will find easy to learn Sanskrit.

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Technically, "the easiest" language to learn will be the language most related to the one you already speak. A good example of this is Spanish for Portuguese speakers. The languages are similar and share a latin base. The actual ease of learning a language often comes down to perception. The more motivated a learner is, or the more enjoyable the learning experience is, the higher the likelihood that the experience will seem easier.

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I've always liked the idea of learning Spanish and I think the little I have learnt I found easier than other languages and that is because I like the language, it appeals to me on a personal level. It is always easier to learn something you are interested in rather than something you have to learn. Being a native English speaker I find that people in Britain are not pushed to learn another language when they are young because as a nation we just expect everyone else to have learnt English. I wish learning languages had been made more of a priority in school, especially European languages and I wish we had had more choice because as an adult I find learning languages very difficult.

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I am not a language teacher but I was advise to learn a language that will benefit me. I chose Spanish because it is the second popular language in the United States. It has similarities with the English language. I'm nowhere near an expert on these things but I think Spanish is easier.

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I totally agree with a lot of comments here, there's no such thing as an easy language. Not really, because it's all relative. What's easy to me, may be harder for the next person. The language that may be easy to me, may be made easy by the fact that I have a vested interest in learning it, I'm passionate about the country, language, culture, history etc I may have a familial link to it, or maybe I absolutely have to learn it because it affords certain lucrative opportunities. I guess you could say it goes in 'swings and round abouts'. I've heard from a few friends that German is actually an easy language to learn. But when I listen to people speaking it, I always feel like I'd seriously struggle with wrapping my tongue around the pronunciation. It's so far removed from anything I know.

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On 3/31/2016 at 5:49 PM, rustedrazors said:

I don't agree that it's not worth it to learn a language if you're not going to use it in that language's culture. There have been studies that show how the process of learning new languages actually causes positive changes in your brain that can have a lot of benefits, even if you don't remember the language forever. For one thing, once you have those connections in your brain, it allows you to learn languages more easily in the future. It also helps you with things like critical thinking and abstract problem solving. Definitely not a waste of time.

This may be too late, but here goes: Yes, I still maintain my point of view. :) Why would anyone waste time on learning a new language that they won't use. They will simply forget it, because that is what happens when you don't get to use what you learned.

You could still learn a new useful language and have the same benefits.

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I've found myself asking those same questions. I may be a little more lazy than some people. I've always thought to go towards the easiest language opposed to a language of a culture I love. Now that I've read your thread I think I will follow your suggestion. If I fall in love with a culture I can reward myself for learning their language by visiting, and speaking to people in their native tongue!

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Well, I don't think there is any language that is the easiest one in the world. It depends upon how quickly the learner can learn it. And, I don't think anyone would learn a language just because it is regarded as 'the easiest one!'  There has to be a motive to learn the language. For instance, if I'm planning to move to a certain country, then I would have to definitely learn the particular language no matter if it is easy or tough. 

But if I'd be planning to move to Asia or to Europe, then I'm sure I'd have many options to choose as to which country to move in and which language to learn. In that case, my advice would be simple: learn English, Chinese and Hindi. Chinese is the toughest language among all. But if you learn these three languages no matter how easy or tough you find it, you will find it very easy to interact with most of the people because these are the three most commonly used languages over the world. 

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I  would say that holiday destinations are a good motivator in learning a new language. I went to Majorca on holiday and the fact that we had to do some food shopping, I was prompted to learn a few words like the names of the foods in case I was looking for them in the store and I could not find them. You need to the find the language that you will enjoy learning and which will not become a drag after a few lessons. So shop around and you will definitely find what you are looking for.

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I'm quite exposed to different languages like English, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean. Putting English aside, I think Japanese is the easiest for me to learn. I love how their syllables are not complicated and you can even learn the basics of the language on your own. I've tried that before through some websites and it worked. However, since I didn't actually use it, I somehow forgot most of it. But, yes, in my opinion, I think Japanese is pretty easy.

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English is my first language. I found learning Spanish to be extremely easy. It took me three months of constantly using it to be able to write it without many problems. After that I began speaking it out loud and it took me less than a year to become fluent. It is very similar to English so that helped a lot for me. Then again, I have a passion for Spanish. I am currently learning Chinese and I have found it significantly more difficult that learning Spanish. The most important thing is to submerge yourself in the language. Do this by surrounding yourself with native speakers.

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There are two different questions being asked here, and I think they are tied together, but not fully. "Which language should I learn?" is only partially impacted by "What is the easiest one?" Easy, too, is a difficult label to slap on a language, and just because one language is easier for one person doesn't mean that a different one won't be easier for someone else.

If I was deciding what language to learn, I'd ask myself the following questions:

1. What language(s) and culture(s) do you love?
I agree with everyone else saying that love is a big part of what will make a language both "easier" and more worthwhile to a new learner. If you're interested, you're going to want to learn, you're going to have an easier time motivating yourself, and you're likely to seek out more opportunities to use the language and keep those particular muscles stretched. And hold that thought, because that relates to question #3. But first...

2. What language(s) are you going to need soon? What would most benefit you?
Obviously, if you find yourself about to move to a new country, and they speak a different language, it would benefit you to learn that language. But sometimes a language isn't vital, but would still be incredibly useful. If you live in an area with a lot of Spanish speakers, it might be easier to get a job if you also speak Spanish, or the pay rate at a particular job might be more, so learning Spanish could actively benefit you even if it's not, strictly-speaking, necessary. If you're a teacher in an area with a fair number of Russian-speaking families, you might want to learn Russian. Do you have family that lives in France that you don't actually have to visit, but might want to someday? That's a reason to at least consider learning French. Most sources say that if you want to practice Vodou, you need to show respect to the lwa by speaking Kreyòl to them, not English, so learning Kreyòl would have religious purposes. And so on.

3. What language(s) are you going to have a lot of opportunities to use?
If you need or would benefit from a language, as above, you're probably going to have a lot of opportunities to use it. But sometimes you don't really need a specific language and there are none that would really benefit you, or maybe there are a few that might be a good idea to learn but you just have absolutely no interest in them. All right. Sometimes, if you love a language or a culture, you're still going to have a lot of opportunities to use it, because you'll seek those opportunities out. Do you have friends who are bilingual whose languages interest you?  Would you eventually like to live in a specific country (and is this more than a pipe dream)? Do you know of a guaranteed way you can get practice in? Do you watch a lot of Brazilian soap operas, or French films, or K-dramas, or anime?

4. (Optional) What language(s) would be "easiest" in that they are closest to your own?
There is something behind the idea that similar languages are easier for learners to wrap their brains around. Maybe you don't care about this step, and that's perfectly valid. But some people are uncertain about their ability to motivate themselves through learning a language with, say, a completely different writing system, or would feel more comfortable starting out learning a Romance language if their native language is English (or another Romance language), due to the similarities - kind of like dipping one's toes in the pool. Maybe you're not sure you could handle learning Chinese right off the bat, or maybe it's a hard choice between Russian or Italian if you're a native English speaker and you decide that Russian might just be a more difficult to motivate yourself through, just different enough that it would get too frustrating. That's perfectly valid.

Now, for example, I absolutely love Japanese, German, and Kreyòl. But I live in Florida, and there are a lot of benefits to knowing Spanish around here; some jobs hire looking for that specifically, and a place I used to work paid at least fifty cents extra to employees who could speak both Spanish and English. Kreyòl is less immediately important to me because I don't live near a Vodou community, but I have a slightly more mild interest in Greece and Greek and I'm a practicing Hellenist, so learning Greek might be interesting and even beneficial. And finally, I would have the easiest time stretching my language muscles when it comes to Spanish and Japanese, since there is such a large Spanish-speaking community where I live and I watch and listen to a lot of things that are in Japanese; Greek is a solid third prospect, because while I'd be using it privately, I'd still be using it consistently. And if I'm unsure about completely different writing systems, Spanish is my safest bet by far, just to ease myself into language learning.

Because of going through all those questions, I've learned that while I love German and Kreyòl, it might not be reasonable to expect to learn them right now, or at least not without difficulty, and they wouldn't be useful to me at all right now; I've also realized that Spanish might be the most useful language for me to learn, even if it's not one of my favorites. At that point, I'd just have to weigh my own personal options and preferences. Do I prioritize usefulness, or do I prioritize love? Do I brace myself and decide I'm going to give a language with a totally alternate writing system a try, or do I feel that I'd be too confused by it and might not be able to keep myself from giving up? If I do decide to give Japanese or Greek a try, do I prioritize something that would let me understand more media, or something that might be useful for my religion, neither of which are vital?

I hope using these questions helps somebody else out there out. Good luck with making your decisions, and good luck with learning the language you decide!

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