Why Spanish is the Easiest Language to Learn for English Speakers
Are you wondering what the easiest language to learn for English speakers is?
Maybe you need to choose another language in college, or maybe you are planning on studying, living or working abroad and want to get prepared. Maybe you just want to challenge yourself and learn at least one or one more foreign language.
Whatever your case is, I’ll tell you: you should consider Spanish.
Yes, it’s true—Spanish is the easiest language to learn for English speakers.
I know what you want to tell me: “Wait a minute! There are English-speaking expats living in Latin America or Spain who, despite having lived many years in Spanish immersion, can only say a few simple words and phrases!”
While that’s also true, don’t confuse individual abilities and motivation with straight facts.
And straight facts are what we’re going to explore!
If you want to learn another language and English is your mother tongue, you will be most successful if you choose Spanish.
Read on, and you’ll learn why it’s so. I’ll explain to you why some languages might be simply harder than others and why Spanish is the easiest language to learn for English speakers. I’ll give you arguments that are difficult to debate.
Let’s jump right in.
Why Are Some Languages Easier to Learn Than Others?
It’s true that there is no such thing as a universally easy language and that not everybody learns at the same speed. However, there are some that will seem easier to learn for you. Why?
Let me explain.
It’ll be less arduous for you to learn a language related to your native one or to the languages you already know. You’ll find similar vocabulary and similar word order in a sentence.
Some languages are more complicated than others because their system of sounds is different from yours. Sometimes, you’ll not hear a difference between one sound or the other because your ear is not accustomed to recognizing it, nor your throat to pronounce it.
I’ve never been a good singer myself, and the tone system in Chinese is a huge obstacle for me. There is also a language in Southern Africa called Taa with more than 100 sounds! Just imagine!
Grammar is also important. Of course, you don’t expect a foreign language to have a grammar system identical to yours, but there are nations whose way of thinking is so different from ours and their language structure reflects it.
Welsh people, for example, start a sentence with a verb instead of a subject. If you’re studying it, it’ll take time to get used to this.
Years ago, I struggled with genders of German nouns that made no sense to me (why is “knife” neutral, “fork” feminine, and “spoon” masculine?) but still, German has only three genders.
Imagine Shona, a language of Zimbabwe, with 20 different genders! Definitely not the easiest language to learn for English speakers.
5 Reasons Why Spanish the Easiest Language to Learn for English Speakers
There are many reasons why Spanish is the easiest language to learn for English speakers and no wonder it’s so often chosen to learn. Obviously, you need to put some effort into it and find your own motivation but the odds are on your side.
Here are 5 reasons why Spanish is the easiest language to learn for English speakers:
Have you ever tried to learn Russian, or Greek, or Chinese, or Arabic? If you did, you know what I’m talking about. If you look at the text written in one of them, you won’t be able to understand anything nor read it. Why? Different alphabet.
There are 8 alphabet groups in the world that people still use today:
Are you surprised you didn’t see Chinese on that list? Well, that’s because the Chinese group of languages does not use alphabets, but characters known as “glyphs.”
Latin script—the one you are reading—is only one of eight possibilities you may encounter while approaching a new language and its alphabet.
You surely know the Spanish uses the Latin alphabet too, so after getting acquainted with some not-so-complicated pronunciation rules, you’ll be able to read it very quickly.
2. Common roots
Although English and Spanish do not belong to the same family of languages (English is Germanic and Spanish is part of the Romance group), they share a lot of common history.
They both come from the Proto-Indo-European family, as most languages in Europe do and are therefore similar. This is in contrast, for example, to Arabic languages. And although English is Germanic in its roots in terms of grammar and sounds, a huge part of its vocabulary is Romance or Latin. What’s more, like in Spanish, scientific words come from Classical Greek.
The strong relations between England and France at some point in history caused the English language to appropriate many French words, which are usually similar to Spanish.
Spanish, on the other hand, “suffered” some Germanic influence during the early middle ages which lead to a group of words of Germanic origin that look similar to their English equivalents. One is example is the Spanish word yelmo, “helmet” in English, which originated from the prot-germanic word “helmaz.”
For all the above reasons almost half of the vocabulary in English is kind of similar to words in Spanish and there are numerous cognates between these two.
What are cognates?
These are words you already understand in another language before you even start learning it. Words that exist in two languages, have the same origin and are spelled in a similar or identical way.
If it wasn’t for the accent marks in some Spanish words you wouldn’t be able to distinguish which column is in English and which one in Spanish!
If you want to read more about English and Spanish cognates, check out Easy Cognates for the Beginning Spanish Learners.
3. Easy Pronunciation
Have you heard that Spanish is a phonetic language? Yes, it is—meaning that it’s pronounced as it’s written (much more often than in English). Apart from some exceptions, if you learn how to pronounce a combination of certain letters, you can rest assured that they’ll always be pronounced the same way.
For example, the vowel combination “ea” will always sound the same in Spanish (like “eh-ah”), but has several different pronunciations in English.
Take a look: hear, early, breakfast, peach, pear, steak, heart.
Now put yourself in the shoes of an English learner! But for you, this is one more reason why Spanish is the easiest language to learn for English speakers.
4. Easy Grammar
Contrary to some beliefs, Spanish grammar is easy. It’s a language with many regularities and very few exceptions.
Spanish nouns have only two genders and the rules to distinguish them are very straightforward. If a word finishes with an -o, it is masculine, if with an -a, it’s feminine. You’ll learn all the exceptions to this rule in a very short time, as there aren’t too many.
What’s more, the sentences follow the same order as in English: Subject-Verb-Object and questions are even easier. No need for the auxiliary verbs “do” or “does,” and no need to change word order. Simply heighten the intonation of your voice at the end of a sentence, or add verdad at the end, and it becomes a question.
Juan quiere a Ana.
Juan loves Ana.
Juan quiere a Ana?
Does Juan love Ana?
Juan quiere a Ana, verdad?
Juan loves Ana, doesn’t he?
I don’t know about you, but for me, it looks much easier in Spanish.
And what about irregular verbs? Well, they are not that irregular as you might suppose and even they can be divided in groups that will always follow the same pattern. You don’t need to memorize almost 200 irregular verbs like in English.
Are you more and more convinced that Spanish is the easiest language to learn for English speakers? Let’s see one more.
5. Popularity and Easy-to-Find Resources
You’ve surely heard that Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world after Chinese. However, Chinese speakers are mostly in China, and you’ll find Spanish speakers in many countries! Only five countries use Chinese as an official language in contrast to 20 countries that count Spanish as their official one.
Apart from that, Spanish-speaking communities are all over the world.
There are over 41 million Spanish speakers only in the United States. As far as Europe is concerned, there are about 150,000 people speaking Spanish as their mother tongue in Switzerland, and a significant number in Gibraltar and Andorra.
Large Spanish-speaking immigrant communities are in the Netherlands, Italy, France, Portugal, Belgium, and the United Kingdom. Morocco, and The Philippines are other countries where you’ll easily find people who understand and speak Spanish.
In terms of resources, Spanish is easy to study. You can use songs, movies, series, books and it’s not complicated to find them.
Spanish singers are always on top of any music charts. Who hasn’t heard of Shakira or Jennifer López? Read the article about 10 Most Famous Spanish Songs Within the Last 10 Years to make your personal playlist.
Spanish movies and series are extremely popular and easy to find in their original version or with subtitles. Do you remember “Money Heist,” La Casa de Papel in Spanish? What a series! If you need more inspiration read 8 of the Best Spanish TV Shows for Adults in 2020 or 5 Awesome Spanish Movies on Netflix to Watch Right Now.
There are also many Spanish-speaking writers who’ve been popular and are relatively easy to read. Maybe you won’t start with Cervantes but Isabel Allende from Chile or Carlos Ruiz Zafón from Spain are very engaging. If you want to get to know more Spanish writers, read 20 Fascinating Spanish Books for Adult Beginners.
And what do you think? Did I convince you that Spanish is the easiest language to learn for English speakers? If you look again at all the arguments mentioned above, you cannot deny it. So, why not give it a try? Why not do something crazy today? Sign up for a free class to check if Spanish is the easiest language to learn for English speakers. Our professional teachers from Guatemala are prepared to give classes to absolute beginners and they will make you speak from day one!
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