EASIEST Language to learn for a native english speaker? (24)

1 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-17 00:29 ID:e3ugIcHf

What is the absolute easiest language to learn for a native English speaker? Would Japanese be easy, and how hard is Kanji? (I'd love to learn both)

I've been hearing about Tok Pisin. Where can I start learning this? Is there any lessons, a book, etc.?

Do not say Pig Latin.

2 Name: 43 : 2007-11-17 03:18 ID:qD1MQ7YX

I enquired to the Japanese embassy (because they provide lessons) when I was interested in Japanese lessons and they told me it'd take me 8 years to master it to the level of a Japanese college student.

So I forgo about learning it.

3 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-17 07:26 ID:Heaven



maybe Esperanto, or maybe Dutch.

4 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-17 13:17 ID:9FaTxHzG


5 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-17 15:59 ID:5IDZT/aT

Trust me, Japanese is one of the most difficult languages for a native English speaker to learn especially Kanji and what >>2 said is absolutely truth. I'm not saying that you shouldn't try but at least prepare for a tough and long time challange if you do. Let me give you one example:
The Kanji of head(lead/initiate): 頭 in Chinese is pronounced "tau" under any circumstances such as 頭髮"tau fat"(hair), 頭痛"tau tong"(headache).
But in Japanese:
頭痛(headache) is pronounced "ZU tsuu"
頭髮(hair) is pronounced "TOU hatsu"
音頭(a kind of traditional music) is pronounced "on DO"
頭文字(initial) is pronounced "KASHIRA moji"
頭金(down payment) is pronounced "ATAMA kin"
And this is not a single case. All the Japanese Kanji have multiple pronunciations(from 2 to 5). I think you've got the picture now.

6 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-17 18:09 ID:e3ugIcHf

>>3 Where would I learn Esperanto?

7 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-17 18:44 ID:I43bfeBd


You're really exaggerating there - most kanji only have two readings (on and kun), and some only have a single reading.
Kanji having more readings are rather the exception.
Chinese hanzi can also have more than one reading!

Besides that, the proper Japanese character for "hair" is 髪 (kami) - which already refers exclusively to hair on the head, so saying "head hair" (頭髪) is totally pointless.
Other hair (not on the head) is refered to as 毛, as e.g. in 体毛 (taimou) "body hair".
Also, it's not uncommon to find ヘア (from English), e.g. ヘアカラー "hair colour" (i.e. dye), ショートヘア "short hair" or ヘアドライヤー "hair dryer".

8 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-18 04:48 ID:zVsrgo2a

Obviously, French, or German.

9 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-18 18:57 ID:DZ8QZp37

Esperanto is supposedly the easiest language to learn.

10 Name: 43 : 2007-11-21 20:27 ID:pikCy6Jm


French has it's pros and cons: A great deal of words in the english language were adopted from french so the vocabulary might not represent a challenge, however, the grammar is challenging, not to mention the pronunciation and the use of genders for nouns.

11 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-24 13:36 ID:tGOqqQW2

Well. If you start learning a language that'll definitely be cool, as almost none of you English-speaking idiots master something else than your own primitive language.

If you want to speak... try German for Hell's sake!

12 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-25 00:46 ID:cMcnW6tO

Go for the Western European stuff if you want easy. Spanish, German, French, etc.

13 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-12-04 12:50 ID:GuiT7O1V

the vocabulary is actually pretty confusing. Many french words received a different meaning than its english counterpart. actuel doens't mean actual.

14 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-12-08 12:36 ID:Heaven

The reason why most English speakers don't bother learning a second language is simple -- because people in other languages decide they will all learn English!

15 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-02-23 06:23 ID:9+M+PBoW

Just because two words are derived from the same root doesn't mean they aren't the same. You aren't going to get far at all in the heavily evolved Romance and Slavic languages if you don't drop that misconception ASAP.

The easiest I've heard is actually Ido. The fact that maybe only one or two people here will know what I'm talking about is a testament to its usefulness.

All languages have to have a certain amount of complexity and hardness in order to be able to neatly convey we necessarily need to convey in the modern world.

The easiest language, I would say, is Spanish as the Mexican dialect is heavy on English loanwords and even if you're learning literary-level Spanish-Spanish you're going to see a bunch of familiar roots. French is more difficult than Spanish for an English speaker to initially get into due to more exotic pronunciation, and has a similar complexity of grammar. Dutch is overall probably the language most similar to English, but like German it suffers from nastily hard grammar. Case endings are very tough to master, and are required for even the simplest phrases. Slavic languages suffer from case endings a lot, too, though they're generally really cool languages.

Japanese, Chinese, and Korean are all languages that operate totally differently from English; you'll need to wipe your mind of your English preconceptions before you can gain any proficiency in them with anything. The only one of them that even uses spaces is Korean. Of the three, Korean is probably the easiest overall due to its intuitive alphabet. Chinese is easier than Japanese to get into, as there are few complex grammar rules, but a lot harder to master. All three languages have fairly intuitive grammar with few rules and exceptions once you get your hands around it, compared to European languages.

16 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-02-26 19:09 ID:Z6mKBGWD

this is somewhat true
because english is widely spoken in the world english speakers have lost alot of incentive to learn another language.

17 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-02-26 19:56 ID:z8PQBJfY

It's rather difficult to decide upon one's first second language as a native English speaker, considering how ubiquitous the English language is worldwide. It does earn respect from one's peers however, if you select a language that's thought of as exotic (Mandarin, Japanese, Russian, Vietnamese, etc.). It's even better when you can get in some conversations with native speakers, if you can find them!

18 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-03-17 22:34 ID:+MBXG3AI

There is no answer to this question. All languages have their own complexities, and from a strictly linguistic perspective, are about equally difficult to master. But I'm a native English speaker, have studied many languages, and can speak six comfortably.

In my experience, the Austronesian languages (Indonesian/Malay and related tongues) are some of the simplest to get started with. They use the Roman alphabet, exhibit regular, phonetic spelling (so you can always tell how to pronounce something by the way it's spelled, unlike with English) and do not decline at all (so words don't change to mark conjugation, tense, or number). It makes it quite easy to begin speaking.

19 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-03-25 00:06 ID:EZbEjTKq

I think swedish is rather easy and we have a very close ancestral language bond.
Also, don't listen to those who say Japanese is difficult; like laser, Japanese is not difficult! Its easy to pronounce, the meaning of many words are built up in beautiful Compounds. Vocabulary and Grammar are wonderful and logical and Kana are pretty simple as well.

Kanji though... are difficult even though its a kinda neat system it really shackles you into illiteracy above basic issues of Shounen Jump & Sunday.
So, you can learn to SPEAK Japanese easily but READING is another issue.

20 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-03-25 23:02 ID:EZbEjTKq

No. 19 here, I also really like Mandarin Chinese. A very easy grammar to get into and short words that aren't too difficult to pronounce, and tones for me are actually very fun!

21 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-03-26 07:01 ID:GdBot0Kr

There is an answer to it...

Pig Latin.

22 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-03-26 17:50 ID:+MBXG3AI

Pig Latin's not a language, it's a ludling--essentially, a language game.

23 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-04-07 12:47 ID:bGJxhJrx

Read "The Mother Tongue" by Bill Bryson. It gives an overview of the history of the English language without getting overly complex about things. It is good at showing which languages share some similar roots with modern English (e.g. Norman French, Viking Scandinavian, Old Germanic languages.) it doesn't tell you what is the best, because a.) it is a book about English and b.) that is a ridiculously complex question due to the changes in English over time, and the very personal nature of language learning. I'd personally say either French or Spanish, simply because they are the most useful languages world wide that share some roots with English.

24 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-04-09 02:49 ID:47hEwwjw

adding a bit to >>23
Spanish is easy because most of what you learn in the beginning of the course is familiar to English speakers, just with more conjugations. However, when you make it to subtle differences, like the past tenses, the subjunctive, and the various crazy uses of prepositions, it can get a little tough.

It all boils down to personal preferences, but most likely it would be something out of Europe. None have outrageous grammatical structures. Besides the pronunciations and vocabulary, one can learn them well with a year or so of dedicated study.

pick something from europe you like, try it, stick with it.
probably won't be that hard for you in the long run.

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