11 Easy Languages For Non-Native English Speakers to Learn (2023)

Wondering what's an easy language you can learn as a non-English speaker?We often interact with many language lovers from around the world who can understand basic (or even good) English but aren't 100% fluent yet. In this case, the language options one can learn easily will differ from a native English speaker.

Why is this the case? Let us quickly explain.

‍

Language Family Trees

Just like our own heritage, foreign languages have their own family backgrounds. The majority of languages have its roots from one or two generic languages, like Indo-European.

Over time, the new variance of languages began to form but many of these languages share a lot in common. For example, Spanish and Portuguese (both from the Latin family) have similar words, grammar structures, and more, making it easy to learn if you already know the other.

Yes, this means that languages that are in the same language family are easier to learn than languages outside of their family. Makes sense in hindsight, right?

OK, that's enough language history lesson for today. Let's move on to sharing some easy languages for non-English speakers to learn!

11 Easy Languages For Non-Native English Speakers to Learn (1)

(Video) Learning Prepositions of Places in Portuguese | Super Easy Portuguese 11

In order for us to determine which languages are easy to learn, we had to look at the main factors required to learn a language.With that said, we considered:

  • Accent Pronunciation
  • Common Vocabulary
  • Cognates
  • Native speakers available to practice with
  • and more

We wrote a post about the easiest languages to learn for English speakers, which allowed us to focus on a specific language family. However, since 'non-English' speakers are fairly broad, we're going to categorize our answer based on the most popular language groups.
‍

11 Easy Languages to Non-English Speakers to Learn
‍

Germanic Languages

Germanic languages originate from the Indo-European family, containing many of the common languages we know and love today. They include languages like Greek, Swedish, Danish, and even English!For those who already speak one of these Germanic languages, the following languages will be easy to learn.
‍*The following is listed in no particular order*
‍

‍1. English

‍# of speakers: 983 million
Overall easiness: 8/10

You're probably not surprised by this one. English is the international language used for entertainment, politics, business, and more. Given how accessible it is to learn, many people from around the world are at least proficient in the language. This makes it easier to go from beginner/intermediate to advanced level rather quickly.
‍

‍2. German

‍# of native speakers: 129 million
Overall easiness: 6.5/10

German is rooted as a West Germanic language, like English, and those who are somewhat proficient in English, Dutch, Yiddish, or more will have a much easier time learning. For example, notice the similarities in German and Dutch in the example below: "What came first: the chicken or the egg?"

11 Easy Languages For Non-Native English Speakers to Learn (2)

‍

3. Norwegian

‍# of native speakers: 5 million (2014)
Overall easiness: 6/10

Most people wouldn't be able to recognize a Norwegian accent right off the bat. Main reason being, it's not a very common language that's portrayed in the media, unless you're from a Scandinavian country. Overall, it's not vastly different from its fellow family languages, but given the lack of resources to learn and practice, it can be harder than most.

(Video) Native English Speakers DON'T SAY this

11 Easy Languages For Non-Native English Speakers to Learn (3)

‍

4. Swedish‍

# of native speakers: 9.2 million

Overall easiness: 7/10

Swedish is a preferred language by most when compared to Dutch or Norwegian. That's because Swedish is known to contain fewer conjugations than Dutch. In addition, there are more resources to learn Swedish because of its International popularity and the higher number of native speakers versus Norwegian.
‍

Romance Languages

11 Easy Languages For Non-Native English Speakers to Learn (4)

Ah yes. The languages of love. It's one of the most common languages sought out by western countries, because of the popularity it has received in the media. From Spanish to French, you'll find great poets, authors, and contemporary music created using these beautiful languages.
‍

‍5. Spanish

‍# of native speakers: 527 million
Overall easiness: 9/10

Spanish is by far the most spoken language out of the Romance language. It's the top 3 most spoken language in the world, and it's commonly used by people living in Europe, South America, and North America. You'll find plenty of Spanish learning resources, native speakers, and commonality if you can already speak one of the Romance languages.
‍

‍6. Italian

‍# of native speakers: 66 million
Overall easiness: 8/10

What's a standout feature about Italian is that it's written as it is spelled, causing very little confusion for pronunciation. In addition, Italian has fewer verb forms than French or Spanish. However, given its low number of speakers, you won't find as many speaking opportunities compared to these other Romance languages.Bonus: Italian words end in vowels, so you'll often hear something like "I would like to order-a some ice-cream-a."
‍

(Video) Easiest languages to learn as a native English speaker

‍7. Portuguese

‍# of native speakers: 229 million
Overall easiness: 8/10

Portuguese shares a lot of commonality amongst its Romance partners on a grammatical basis. For those of you looking to learn just enough to make a small conversation, you're covered. Since most small talk conversations are similar, you can easily 'disguise' yourself as a confident Portuguese speaker! The hard part for some non-English speakers is the nasal vowel sounds that are required for the Portuguese accent.
‍

‍8. French

‍# of native speakers: 229 million

Overall easiness: 7.5/10

Even though French is part of the Romance language, it's not the easiest language to learn despite how popular it is. Sure, you can find plenty of learning material online to practice your skills. But the makeup of the language itself is where the challenge is.Compared to English, there are more verb forms (17 versus 12) and pronunciation is always tricky with silent letters and vowel sounds.
‍

Sino-Tibetan Language Speakers

11 Easy Languages For Non-Native English Speakers to Learn (5)

9. Mandarin

‍# of native speakers: 1.09 billion
Overall easiness: 7.5/10

Yes, the mother of all languages. Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world reaching over a billion speakers in total.Despite how the media portrays Mandarin (as one of the hardest languages to learn), it has many components that make it easy. Compared to Indo-European languages, words in Mandarin have only one grammatical form.

Many English speakers note the difficulty of speaking Mandarin because there are no direct translations to the English language. But if English isn't your first language, then this shouldn't necessarily apply to you!
‍

‍10. Cantonese

‍# of native speakers: 72 million
Overall easiness: 6.5/10

Compared to Mandarin, Cantonese is a noticeably harder language to learn. Couple of main reasons being: it's not as popular (fewer resources), and there are more tones (eight versus four) you need to learn. The environment is a huge factor when it comes to how fast you can learn a language, and compared to Mandarin, there are fewer opportunities to practice Cantonese.

(Video) Can British Find Hidden English Native Speaker Between English Learners?

Overall, if you already speak a language in the Sino-Tibetan family, such as Mandarin or Thai, it is easier.
‍

‍11. Thai

‍# of native speakers: 44 million
Overall easiness: 7/10

Like some of its fellow language members, Thai contains many tones (five), consisting of over 44 consonants and 36 vowels. This means that the same word can mean five different things, depending on how it's said.

So yes, it is a difficult language to learn. Is it impossible? Absolutely not!

It's just a different language, with different components than we're normally used to.
‍

So what's the easiest language to learn for Non-English speakers?

You may have already guessed that there's no definite answer to this question. The easiness of a language will be based on what language you can already speak, your environment, and your motivations.

There are plenty of people who have no background in a particular language but are so motivated to become fluent, that they can learn in half the time. On the other hand, a native Spanish speaker can easily pick up Portuguese with very little effort, given how similar it is.

What's important is that you take these 3 factors into account: environment, current language knowledge, and personal motivation. If you can find a language that fits into all three, then you've hit jackpot.

But don't worry about perfection.

What's important is the journey of learning, embracing the struggle, and having fun along the way building real relationships.

FAQs

What is the easiest language to learn for non native English speakers? ›

1. Norwegian. This may come as a surprise, but we have ranked Norwegian as the easiest language to learn for English speakers. Norwegian is a member of the Germanic family of languages — just like English!

What are the top 10 easiest languages to learn for English speakers? ›

10 Easiest Languages to Learn for English Speakers
  • Spanish. As the official language in 20 countries, our top pick has to be Spanish. ...
  • Norwegian. ...
  • Swedish. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • Dutch. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • French. ...
  • Indonesian.
18 May 2019

What is the #1 language spoken by non English speakers? ›

Mandarin (1,117 million speakers)

Mandarin is not actually a language, but a set of dialects of the Chinese language.

What are the top 5 hardest languages to learn for non English speakers? ›

10 Hardest Languages to Learn for Non English Speakers
  1. Arabic. The prime language of every Islamic country, at least 2 people speak Arabic out of 100 on average. ...
  2. Russian. ...
  3. Mandarin. ...
  4. German. ...
  5. Dutch. ...
  6. Swahili. ...
  7. Spanish. ...
  8. FRENCH.
26 Apr 2022

Is Japanese or Korean easier to learn? ›

Unlike other East-Asian languages, Korean isn't a tonal language. This means, that the meaning of the word doesn't change, regardless of what your accent is like. This makes learning Korean much easier than Japanese.

What is the 10 hardest language in the world? ›

Unbabel Translates the 10 Hardest Languages to Learn, So You Don't Have To
  1. Mandarin. Mandarin is spoken by 70% of the Chinese population, and is the most spoken language in the world. ...
  2. Arabic. ...
  3. 3. Japanese. ...
  4. Hungarian. ...
  5. Korean. ...
  6. Finnish. ...
  7. Basque. ...
  8. Navajo.
16 Sept 2022

Can you learn 2 languages at once? ›

Answer: Thankfully, your brain can definitely handle learning two (or more!) languages at once! (Two down, 6,998 to go.) But there are also some ways you can make this linguistic task easier on yourself.

What are the Top 5 easiest languages? ›

5 easy languages to learn
  • English. It's the most widely spoken language in the world, making practice possible. ...
  • French. French has over 100 million native speakers and is – as the official language in 28 countries – spoken on almost every continent. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • Swahili.
29 Feb 2016

What is the simplest language? ›

Riau Indonesian is different from most other languages in how simple it is. There are no endings of any substance, no tones, no articles, and no word order. There is only a little bit of indicating things in time.

What is the most useful language to learn other than English? ›

Mandarin

With over one billion Mandarin Chinese speakers worldwide, it was on the list of the most important languages to learn. While most speakers are located in China, the country is emerging as a global power, making it increasingly crucial for businesses to have team members that know Chinese.

What country speaks the purest English? ›

The Netherlands has been ranked the world's best non-native speakers of English in a yearly international ranking.
...
Revealed: The World's Best Non-Native English Speaking Countries, 2019.
Rank1
CountryNetherlands
Score70.27
ProficiencyVery high
99 more columns
5 Nov 2019

What language is closest English? ›

The closest language to English is one called Frisian, which is a Germanic language spoken by a small population of about 480,000 people. There are three separate dialects of the language, and it's only spoken at the southern fringes of the North Sea in the Netherlands and Germany.

What is the top 20 most spoken language in the world? ›

These are the most spoken languages in the world
  • English – 1,121 million speakers. ...
  • Mandarin Chinese – 1,107 million speakers. ...
  • Hindi – 698 million speakers. ...
  • Spanish – 512 million speakers. ...
  • French – 284 million speakers. ...
  • Arabic – 273 million speakers. ...
  • Bengali – 265 million inhabitants. ...
  • Russian – 258 million speakers.
4 Jun 2022

Which language is most easiest? ›

15 of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers - ranked
  • Frisian. Frisian is thought to be one of the languages most closely related to English, and therefore also the easiest for English-speakers to pick up. ...
  • Dutch. ...
  • Norwegian. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • French. ...
  • Swedish.
24 Oct 2021

Is Japanese harder than English? ›

The Japanese language is considered one of the most difficult to learn by many English speakers. With three separate writing systems, an opposite sentence structure to English, and a complicated hierarchy of politeness, it's decidedly complex. But how hard is it to learn Japanese?

Which language has hardest grammar? ›

Hungarian grammar seems like the road to death for an English speaker. Because Hungarian grammar rules are the most difficult to learn, this language has 26 different cases. The suffixes dictate the tense and possession and not the word order. That's is how most of the European languages deal with this problem.

What language is useful to learn? ›

8 Useful Languages to Learn
  • English. You might be surprised that English isn't the most commonly spoken language in the world. ...
  • Chinese. With more than 1 billion native speakers, Chinese dominates Asia and the world as the most frequently spoken language. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • Arabic. ...
  • French. ...
  • German. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • Russian.

Is Japanese or Chinese harder? ›

Japanese is slightly easier to learn. But, Chinese is much more widely spoken. Both languages have their pros and cons.

Should I learn Chinese or Japanese? ›

If you're interested in learning Japanese with anime, J-pop, or because you love Japanese food and culture, then the choice is easy. On the other hand, for those interested in Chinese history and how it shaped many other Asian cultures, learning Chinese would be a great way to gain more insight.

What is the cutest language? ›

Here are (in no particular order) the 10 most beautiful languages in the world, according to Busuu's experts
  • Italian. When it comes to the most attractive languages, for many people the native language of Italy likely springs to mind. ...
  • Arabic. ...
  • English. ...
  • (Brazilian) Portuguese. ...
  • 5. Japanese. ...
  • Turkish. ...
  • French.
1 Jul 2021

What are the 3 most beautiful languages? ›

And the most beautiful languages in the world are…
  • FRENCH – MOST BEAUTIFUL SPOKEN LANGUAGE. If there is a language which draws a unanimous worldwide consent regarding its beauty, it is French. ...
  • GERMAN – MOST BEAUTIFUL SUNG LANGUAGE. ...
  • ARABIC – MOST BEAUTIFUL WRITTEN LANGUAGE. ...
  • ITALIAN – MOST BEAUTIFUL BODY LANGUAGE.
18 Aug 2016

What is the hottest language? ›

What are the world's sexiest languages?
  • French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, among others are legit Romance languages becaue of their Latin roots.
  • French is the sexiest language, because, as native speakers will tell you, French words encourage the lips to be pursed.
14 Sept 2020

What is the 2nd hardest language to learn? ›

2. Arabic. Arabic is the queen of poetic languages, the 6th official language of the UN and second on our list of toughest languages to learn.

What is the 3 hardest language to learn? ›

Generally, if you're an English speaker with no exposure to other languages, here are some of the most challenging and difficult languages to learn: Mandarin Chinese. Arabic. Vietnamese.

What is the 7 hardest language to learn? ›

7 Most Difficult Languages to Learn for Native English Speakers
  • 1 – Chinese (Mandarin)
  • 2 – Arabic.
  • 3 – Japanese.
  • 4 – Korean.
  • 5 – Hungarian.
  • 6 – Finnish.
  • 7 – Xhosa.
7 Feb 2020

Is it possible to learn 10 languages? ›

Is It Even Possible to Learn 10 Languages? Short answer: yes. Many polyglots say they've learned 10 or more languages—it's been said that the 19th-century priest Giuseppe Mezzofanti spoke 50 languages!

How many hours a day should you study a language? ›

For most people, around 30 minutes of active study and 1 hour of language exposure a day is a schedule that will give you great results. It's a model that's sustainable over a long period to help you reach fluency.

How can I learn a language quickly? ›

Top tips from experts to learn a language quickly
  1. Take risks and speak the language whenever you can.
  2. Read children's books and comic books in the foreign language.
  3. Consume foreign language media.
  4. Immerse yourself in the local culture.
  5. Make use of free foreign language podcasts and apps.
3 Mar 2015

What is the least famous language? ›

Ongota (Ethiopia)

Spoken only in the eastern African state of Ethiopia, there were only 10 remaining fluent speakers as of 2007. The language is so small that it shares the name of the tiny agrarian village that houses all ten of its remaining speakers.

What are the top 3 hardest languages to speak? ›

8 Hardest Languages to Learn In The World For English Speakers
  • Mandarin. Number of native speakers: 1.2 billion. ...
  • Icelandic. Number of native speakers: 330,000. ...
  • 3. Japanese. Number of native speakers: 122 million. ...
  • Hungarian. Number of native speakers: 13 million. ...
  • Arabic. Number of native speakers: 221 million. ...
  • Polish.
22 Jan 2021

What is the least hardest language? ›

Spanish (3/30)

Spanish may be the #1 easiest language to learn. Not only does Spanish share the same alphabet – with the sole addition of ñ – but it's also phonetic. That makes figuring out new vocabulary easy, since the spelling tells you how to pronounce it.

What language has the shortest words? ›

The Central dialect of Rotokas possesses one of the world's smallest phoneme inventories. (Only the Pirahã language has been claimed to have fewer.) The alphabet consists of twelve letters, representing eleven phonemes.

What language has least letters? ›

Language with the shortest alphabet: Rotokas (12 letters). Approx. 4300 people speak this East Papuan language. They live primarily in the Bougainville Province of Papua New Guinea.

Which second language is the most useful? ›

Without a doubt, Spanish is one of the most valuable second languages if you're in the United States-even if you never plan to travel outside the country. That's because it's the most common language in the US aside from English. It's also the most “in-demand” language among US employers.

Which language will be most useful in the future? ›

The 10 Best Languages to Learn in 2023 (and where to learn them)
  1. Chinese. Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world—spoken in some form by 1.2 billion people—so it only makes sense to include it on this list. ...
  2. Spanish. ...
  3. Korean. ...
  4. French. ...
  5. German. ...
  6. 6. Japanese. ...
  7. Italian. ...
  8. Portuguese.
23 Nov 2022

Which foreign language is in demand? ›

With a total of 79.9 million speakers in 29 countries, French is still a very popular language today. In fact, it's estimated that around 194.2 million people also speak French as a second language, and that number is projected to rise to 750 million by 2050, possibly even overtaking English and Mandarin.

Which country is the real English? ›

England and the Scottish Lowlands, countries of the United Kingdom, are the birthplace of the English language, and the modern form of the language has been being spread around the world since the 17th century, first by the worldwide influence of the United Kingdom, and more recently by that of the United States.

Which country English is easy? ›

The Netherlands has emerged as the nation with the highest English language proficiency, according to the EF English Proficiency Index, with a score of 72.

Which country has the easiest English accent? ›

But, there're many differences between American and Canadian accents. For the entire world, American accent is most universal. British, Scottish, Irish and Australian accents are pretty unfamiliar with all ears of the people around the globe. Irish English is the easiest to understand.

What language is easiest for English speakers? ›

Easiest (about 600 hours of study)

Of these, Spanish and Italian are the easiest for native English speakers to learn, followed by Portuguese and finally French.

What is the 2nd closest language to English? ›

2. Closest (Definitely Distinct) Language: Frisian. While there are only around 480,000 Frisian native speakers today, Frisian was a popular language in the middle ages.

When was English first spoken? ›

3) The Anglo-Saxon migration

Old English was first spoken in the 5th century, and it looks incomprehensible to today's English-speakers. To give you an idea of just how different it was, the language the Angles brought with them had three genders (masculine, feminine, and neutral).

Which language is the oldest? ›

The world's 10 oldest languages in the world
  1. Egyptian – 2690 BC (circa. 4700 years old) ...
  2. Sanskrit – 1500 BC (circa. 3500 years old) ...
  3. Greek – 1450 BC (circa. 3500 years old) ...
  4. Chinese – 1250 BC (circa. 3300 years old) ...
  5. Aramaic – 1100 BC (circa. 3100 years old) ...
  6. Hebrew – 1000 BC (circa. 3000 years old)
2 Mar 2022

What is the 5 most spoken language? ›

When tallied according to number of native speakers only, these are the most spoken languages in the world.
  1. Chinese — 1.3 Billion Native Speakers. ...
  2. Spanish — 471 Million Native Speakers. ...
  3. English — 370 Million Native Speakers. ...
  4. Hindi — 342 Million Native Speakers. ...
  5. Arabic — 315 Million Native Speakers.
2 Jun 2021

What is the 13th most spoken language in the world? ›

Let's have a look at the 20 most spoken languages in the world.
  • Swahili. ...
  • Javanese. ...
  • Turkish. ...
  • Korean. ...
  • Telugu. ...
  • Marathi. ...
  • Urdu. Urdu is an official language of Pakistan and people living in India also speaks this language. ...
  • Tamil.
22 Jun 2021

What is the hardest language to learn for non-native English speakers? ›

The Japanese language is universally considered one of the hardest languages to learn. With three different alphabets and hard pronunciations, the Japanese language deserves its own language group.

What is the hardest language to learn for non-native speakers? ›

If you don't speak English, the hardest language to learn would be Spanish. Spanish is a Romance language that is spoken in many parts of the world. It is also one of the most difficult languages to learn because it has many sounds and grammar rules that are different from English.

What is the best non English language to learn? ›

The 7 Best Languages To Learn
  1. Spanish. Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language after Mandarin, and not a surprise at the top of languages to learn. ...
  2. German. ...
  3. Arabic. ...
  4. Mandarin. ...
  5. Portuguese. ...
  6. Russian. ...
  7. French.
19 Oct 2022

What is the easiest language to learn for foreign speakers? ›

The top 5 easiest languages to learn, according to Busuu's experts
  1. Spanish. Spelling: Very easy. Pronunciation: Very easy. ...
  2. Italian. Spelling: Fairly easy. Pronunciation: Very easy. ...
  3. French. Spelling: Fairly easy. Pronunciation: Slightly challenging. ...
  4. German. Spelling: Challenging. ...
  5. Portuguese. Spelling: Very challenging.
7 Jan 2022

What is the easiest Lang? ›

Easiest (about 600 hours of study)

Of these, Spanish and Italian are the easiest for native English speakers to learn, followed by Portuguese and finally French.

What is the top 10 hardest language in the world? ›

Unbabel Translates the 10 Hardest Languages to Learn, So You Don't Have To
  1. Mandarin. Mandarin is spoken by 70% of the Chinese population, and is the most spoken language in the world. ...
  2. Arabic. ...
  3. 3. Japanese. ...
  4. Hungarian. ...
  5. Korean. ...
  6. Finnish. ...
  7. Basque. ...
  8. Navajo.
16 Sept 2022

What is the most unpopular language? ›

Current data states that there are only 7 remaining speakers of the language. Written records are available, such as a dictionary and several books that show the grammar and syntax of the Dumi language. Dumi is the world's least spoken language and one of the rarest.

Which language is closest to English? ›

The closest language to English is one called Frisian, which is a Germanic language spoken by a small population of about 480,000 people. There are three separate dialects of the language, and it's only spoken at the southern fringes of the North Sea in the Netherlands and Germany.

What 2 languages are the most similar? ›

The most mutually intelligible pair is Spanish and Portuguese. In some cases, TV stations don't even translate between the two languages, instead assuming that Spanish-speaking audiences would understand Portuguese and Portuguese-speaking audiences would understand Spanish.

Which foreign language is best for future? ›

Top 10 Languages To Learn For Future
  • Chinese – Mandarin. The Chinese economy is one of the top growing economies. ...
  • Languages Of Future – Spanish. ...
  • Indo-Aryan Languages. ...
  • Languages Of Future – Arabic. ...
  • Languages Of Future – Russian. ...
  • German. ...
  • Languages Of Future – Japanese. ...
  • Languages Of Future – Portuguese.
29 Jan 2021

Videos

1. The secrets of learning a new language | Lýdia Machová
(TED)
2. Struggles of a Non-Native English Speaker
(theunfocused)
3. Everything We Think We Know About Early Human History is Wrong | David Wengrow on Downstream
(Novara Media)
4. Why do I speak 5 languages? | Russia's ethnic minority language, how I learned English & more
(Eli from Russia)
5. Comparison: Easiest Languages to Learn for Native English Speakers with Trump
(Comparison BigData)
6. THIS is How You Will Understand Native English Speakers 👂
(mmmEnglish)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rubie Ullrich

Last Updated: 12/28/2022

Views: 6315

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rubie Ullrich

Birthday: 1998-02-02

Address: 743 Stoltenberg Center, Genovevaville, NJ 59925-3119

Phone: +2202978377583

Job: Administration Engineer

Hobby: Surfing, Sailing, Listening to music, Web surfing, Kitesurfing, Geocaching, Backpacking

Introduction: My name is Rubie Ullrich, I am a enthusiastic, perfect, tender, vivacious, talented, famous, delightful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.