The #1 easiest language to learn? (140)

1 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-03-17 13:34 ID:Heaven

Which would it be?

(I know it depends on a lot of various factors, but fact remains: some languages are just easier than others, right?)

91 Name: LinguaOtaku : 2007-09-04 13:25 ID:1+CnouDw


Technically you're incorrect here.

[set up] should be considered a ditransitive verb as it takes two objects ([us] and [the bomb]). By their very nature ditransitive verbs often lead to semantic and/or lexical ambiguity, leading to two readings of this sentence:

They [set up us the bomb].

lit. [Certain people mechanically facilitated the use of an explosive incendiary device for me and my comrades.]


They set up [us the bomb].

lit. [Certain people mechanically facilitated the use of me, an explosive incendiary device.]

Whilst the second of these is nonsense it's still a valid reading, therefore it could be argued that it has two different readings.

Also in English, word order is ALWAYS SVO. Sometimes we can omit the agentive object or passivise it to become the subject, but you'll never see a verb or object initial sentence in English.

Also, WITH and FOR are prepositions that can only occur in certain circumstances (ie. prepositional phrases indicating certain situations) and therefore are not difficult for non-native speakers to learn.'re correct. Lol ^_____^.

92 Name: LinguaOtaku : 2007-09-04 13:26 ID:1+CnouDw

Above link should be to



93 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-10-18 15:57 ID:GxlVtAXI

japanese is the easiest language to learn if you have not meet a single language before, it is it's simplicity that causes ppl from english/ other backgrounds can't help thinking complicatedly

in japanese understood things are left from the sentence, thus it's a non-moron language

altough it's sov in structure, your hardly find sov in conversation, usually you only see ov as subjects are mostly understood

english is quite easy after i've been educated for years, it only needs activation basics and after you passed that activation basics, viola you own the language!

chinese is also quite easy for westerners after the grammar is romanized , which before was like japanese/korean , though the hardest part of chinese is the writing, i can't imagine how long will it take me to fully understand commonly used characters if my mom didn't send me to a chinese school since primary education

94 Name: That GUy : 2007-12-11 02:59 ID:gtcPteRz

I don't know, Dutch is pretty easy to learn. HTML is pretty easy to learn too, as is PHP....Or even Gnome (

95 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-12-12 03:13 ID:GMfA+DkT

English is pretty easy.
Also, non-written japanese is pretty simple (because 57357357657675 kanjis make it pretty imposible to read/write)

96 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-12-12 13:32 ID:VBe2PSPD


I don't think you know much about Japanese.

There are 2000 recommended Kanji that are composed of a few hundred radicals and parts. Most Kanji even consist of other Kanji, which is exactly the same as combining letters in English to form a word.

97 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-12-12 22:48 ID:OSHbawSo

I found Cantonese REALLY easy once it was romanized for me.
Right now I've been starting Japanese and Spanish at the same time.
Here's to Taco Sushi!

98 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-12-13 02:41 ID:Heaven

Of course the "They set up us the bomb" example isn't exactly good English in the first place. It's like "Write me a letter", the proper form would be "Write a letter TO me", or "They set up the bomb FOR us."

99 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-12-17 22:46 ID:I8XGF62t


Wouldn't that just be an indirect object, with the (to) being understood?

100 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-12-18 02:22 ID:xws5t8eJ

The pronounciations are really very difficult (and often at disasterous results! e.g.: buy and sell sounds awfully alike, and often distinguished from context)

101 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-12-30 04:31 ID:5OqJpDyt

What is meant by "activation basics"?

102 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-12-30 09:11 ID:Sj0Uke1w

TeX is easy to learn.

103 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-12-30 10:40 ID:VBe2PSPD


Nope. English does have some remnants of the dative case, though the declension is gone, you can still use the sentence structure as before, instead of using prepositions.

I.e. "Write me a letter" is correct, like German "Schreib mir einen Brief", or Russian "Напиши мне письмо".

In English, however, you can also use the preposition: "Write a letter to me"
In Russian, this is incorrect. "Напиши письмо для меня" won't do.
In modern German, I think you can do it, too, but I'm not sure. "Schreib einen Brief zu mir" (interestingly, the pronoun is still in dative, but that's because of the particular preposition, and thus irrelevant)

On the other hand, in New Norwegian, you can only say "Skriv eit brev til meg" with the preposition, while in Bokmål you can say "Skriv meg et brev" without the preposition, though that form is becoming obsolete here as well, since it's no longer a case language.

Interesting how languages evolve and shit.

104 Name: Jason : 2008-02-20 09:21 ID:4L6E6UQL

Icelandic is widely speculated as being the hardest language in the world to date.

105 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-02-20 20:16 ID:6dHLEVL+


106 Name: Frank : 2008-03-08 10:02 ID:xUTIKwey

I like turtles.

107 Name: Frank : 2008-03-08 10:03 ID:xUTIKwey

I like turtles.

108 Name: John Stonecutter : 2008-03-08 10:05 ID:xUTIKwey

A quote from Jane Wagner

I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.

~Jane Wagner

109 Name: John Stonecutter : 2008-03-08 10:06 ID:xUTIKwey

A quote from Jane Wagner

I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.

~Jane Wagner

110 Name: John Stonecutter : 2008-03-08 10:06 ID:xUTIKwey

A quote from Jane Wagner

I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.

~Jane Wagner

111 Name: John Stonecutter : 2008-03-08 10:06 ID:xUTIKwey

A quote from Jane Wagner

I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.

~Jane Wagner

112 Name: John Stonecutter : 2008-03-08 10:06 ID:xUTIKwey

A quote from Jane Wagner

I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.

~Jane Wagner

113 Name: John Stonecutter : 2008-03-08 10:06 ID:xUTIKwey

A quote from Jane Wagner

I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.

~Jane Wagner

114 Name: John Stonecutter : 2008-03-08 10:06 ID:xUTIKwey

A quote from Jane Wagner

I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.

~Jane Wagner

115 Name: John Stonecutter : 2008-03-08 10:07 ID:xUTIKwey

Hmmmm.. I don't know why it posted my post seven times?

116 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-03-09 02:38 ID:Q2QobEsq


Your internets had a deep inner need to complain.

117 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-03-09 20:22 ID:6lfxox3Y

Perhaps you're just a complete moron.

118 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-03-09 22:17 ID:Sj0Uke1w

I blame Parkinsons.

119 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-02 00:18 ID:9Q7X7Rd3

It's easier to learn a language that shares more in common with a language you already know. This includes vocabulary, grammar rules, and phonology. For example, English borrows a wealth of words from French and Latin, which makes picking up the vocabulary faster. English and French also have both become less inflected and more isolating over time (that is, word order and linking words like prepositions and auxiliary verbs do more to determine syntax than various inflections of verbs, nouns, pronouns, and adjectives do).Mandarin Chinese is an isolating language like English (even more so, actually); but the writing system, lexicon, and phonology are all grossly different.

Other factors are motivational: psychological and sociological. For example, you may be more interested in learning Russian because of romantic notions of old Czarist Russia or the Soviet Union, or you may simply enjoy Russian literature. On the other hand, an immigrant coming to the United States experiences considerable sociological pressure to learn English (employment, fewer xenophobic responses, etc.).

120 Name: nativekwelguy : 2008-07-18 01:32 ID:E3xreQqZ

the navajo language is the hardest to learn i know that for sure

121 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-07-22 20:38 ID:kzNRT5jo

Aleut and some Papuan dialects are supposed to be miserably difficult.

122 Name: Charly : 2008-07-31 14:05 ID:Xthd6Dd+

I'm learning Russian (7th language up to now) and it's freakingly difficult. The writing more than the speaking though...

I think the easiest language to learn would be Hindi. I understand about 60% of the language, all learned watching Bollywood movies. Never picked up a book about it, seriously. And I don't even count this as a language I know, because i haven't learned to write it yet. Maybe next year.

123 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-09-26 03:42 ID:konsxdAe

Thai, I've been told, is remarkably simple.

124 Name: snan : 2009-05-16 09:26 ID:EBCd57r9

There's not much to learn about Lojban, and if you're already at least a little familiar with modern programming languages (like Javascript), you can pick it up. There's a huge lack of learning materials for non-nerds, though.

As for understanding it; well, that's another matter. Take for example, the sentence:

.i lo broda cu me ko'a.o'onai co'a ko'e

It takes some getting used to. Even after you've learned the grammar, you might want to tell the other speaker to

.i ko jabre lonu tavla

which means "Speak slower."

125 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-06-08 06:39 ID:AY6JHQwm

Keep in mind the method of teaching is most important.

My 8+ years of French in the Canadian school system taught me almost nothing. However, after one summer of self study and four months in Quebec, I could speak and understand French fluently and a friend told me that my French accent was indistinguishable from a native speaker's.

Also, some aspects of languages come easier for some.

For me, tonal languages are extremely difficult, but I have no problem with a new alphabet (Cyrillic fluency took one week). Also, memorizing noun genders comes easily, but I have some trouble with tenses and cases (Finnish rage).

126 Name: That Polyglot Bastard : 2009-07-16 22:41 ID:Y0RZmaWg


>>Thai, I've been told, is remarkably simple

I don't know about "remarkably" simple, but it shares a lot of the characteristics that make it easy to pick up the basics of many Asian languages. It's an almost-entirely isolating language, so you don't need to change word forms to conjugate or decline words. And the syntax, once you get the patterns, is pretty straightforward. Also, like most Asian languages, there are no genders, no articles, etc.

With that said, it also has its challenging aspects. There are five tones--intone the word "five" wrong and it's an obscenity; intone the word "near" wrong and it means "far." Also, it has some vowels that European-language speakers have a hard time pronouncing correctly, as well as a few tricky consonants (syllable-initial /ng/, a crucial differentiation between voiceless aspirated and non-aspirated consonants--/k/ vs. /kh/ that a lot of people can't hear, etc.) My family lived in Thailand for a while when I was in high school, and my parents didn't have an ear for the language--they learned a lot of words and basic grammar, but nobody could understand them. I, on the other hand, picked it up quite readily.

The orthography's tough for a lot of people, too--it's an elaborate (60+ letters) and not-entirely-phonetic writing system, and written Thai doesn't use punctuation or put spaces between words--it can be hard if you're trying to look up unfamiliar words to know where they begin and end. As a result, I know many foreigners who've lived in Thailand for years without learning to read or write. It took me several years of fairly dedicated study to be able to read comfortably, and my handwriting looks like a child's.

Oh, and finally, as with all languages, there are many syntactic and stylistic nuances and idioms that may take years to master. So while it's pretty easy to learn to make basic conversation if you've got a good ear for tones and unfamiliar sounds, true mastery takes a long time. Which is true of all languages, of course, and which is why this thread is basically meaningless.

127 Name: That Polyglot Bastard : 2009-07-16 23:17 ID:Y0RZmaWg


>>Mandarin Chinese is an isolating language like English

I'm not sure where you got this definition, but English is in no way an isolating language--of course, definitions vary, but no language with prefixes or suffixes of any sort (including plural markers, and most compound words) is considered isolating. Sorry, I'm not trying to be a dick, it just sprung to mind since I was writing about isolating languages just one post ago.

128 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-02-04 18:50 ID:/Z8DVonc

It's also been demonstrated that babies learn signed languages more readily than spoken languages.

129 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-02-04 23:08 ID:7s6ffdpp


130 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-07-06 23:18 ID:/0413ClT


Dumbass, Italian and Spanish are mutually unintelligible. Spanish is closer to Portuguese than to Italian and it is still not the same Language.

131 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-09-19 16:09 ID:ZJJZcG6u

Not really, if a spanish speaker talks slowly, an italian will pretty much get the gist of what they're talking about. If there's some word that the italian can't understand, just trying some synonyms will do the trick.
I hear that this doesn't work as smoothly for the other way around, though. Don't ask me why.

132 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-12-10 22:59 ID:A0rpeaXl

Easiest language to learn? One that is closest to your native language.
If you are French, you can learn Spanish or Italian very easily, since they're all very close to each other.
If you are German, you can learn Dutch or English easily.

All it matters is that the languages share the same root and it becomes easy. There's not one language easier than the other for everyone, it all depends on your native one.

133 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-12-11 05:30 ID:NhaQo9kJ

Malay or Indonesian

134 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-12-29 11:13 ID:j+ur0Sfj

>>132 This's no fact. I know English (not very well) and Russian as a native, and begin learning Italian. It's easier then it seem due to the large number of Latin loans into both languages and extremely simple to study orthography system, that's even more simple than in Spanish.

135 Name: forsure : 2011-01-22 02:24 ID:QyNLTLBH


136 Name: Rhetorical question? : 2011-02-25 07:01 ID:Wa5BJ3mC

There is no such one answer.
It is highly subjective, depending on what your native language is, as many has probably pointed out earlier.
I'm of Korean descent, but English is my first language. I absolutely suck at Korean spelling.
It's pretty much how much effort you are willing to put into learning a language. But I should also point out that you could be at it for years, and one day, it just clicks -obviously you won't be a prodigy at the language all of a sudden, but a incomprehensible grammar rule in the language you're learning, you can suddenly understand. I'm pretty sure that every single language follows certain distinctive grammar rules, even if they have multiple exceptions.. The exceptions just take time to get used to.. It's really mysterious how the brain understands language, i think.

137 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2011-05-05 04:26 ID:508bHE5O

The easiest language to learn would probably be the language(s) closest to the student's native tongue. For instance, I'm a native English speaker so I could probably pick up German pretty fast since the two are close cousins.

It also has a lot to do with how dedicated you are to learning and also how your brain is wired. Some people are just born with a natural affinity to linguistics.

138 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2011-05-10 22:05 ID:AgxRxkRP

Japanese is quite simple.

139 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2011-10-05 20:40 ID:Fhi130DM

Esperanto, of course. The grammar is very regular, pronunciation is easy: some Asians may struggle with the R/L, and Spanish speakers with V, but otherwise it's ok. Orthography is dead simple, and a small set of word roots will take you a long way.

If any language beats Esperanto in terms of ease of learning, I'm interested in hearing about it.

140 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2011-11-22 02:47 ID:lb4igXLd

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