14 EASIEST LANGUAGES TO LEARN FOR ENGLISH SPEAKERS IN EUROPE
It's been said many times, but it always bears repeating: The European Union (EU) is the world's largest trade bloc. With some 500 million citizens speaking 24 official languages, you'll need to become familiar with several of them if you're planning on working in the EU. To start, make sure English isn't one of those languages! If your native language is English, consider choosing a country that uses another tongue as its first or second national language so you don't have to use Latin characters and numbers all over the place. That way, you can focus on becoming ever-so-fluent in just one other tongue when living abroad. Here are the 14 easiest languages for English speakers in Europe for jobs:
While an array of dialects exist in Denmark, the standard is pretty close to Sweden and Norway. That's why many consider it one of the easiest languages for English speakers. But don't expect that your native tongue will make it any easier! Danish grammar isn't simple: Compared with English, there are more cases and tenses to master; you'll also need to learn a few new verbs and vocabulary words because Old Norse — on which Danish is based — was not as heavily influenced by French or Latin as other European tongues.
2-3. Dutch & German (tie)
It shouldn't come as a surprise that these two Germanic cousins share first place among the easiest languages for English speakers. If you've studied German or Dutch before, you'll find the transition to either of these languages painless. That's because they're based on the same roots and even share some vocabulary. In both, you should expect to see less irregular spelling and a few similar grammar rules. Oddly enough, however, it can be easier for English speakers to pick up German than Dutch: The former is not only spoken in more countries than the latter (with large populations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland) but also has a more significant number of native speakers — just over 100 million.
4-5. French & Spanish (tie)
Suppose easy learning means memorising a limited arsenal of words used in several European languages like Italian or Portuguese. In that case, these two Romance language giants should be on top of your list. After all, both French and Spanish are spoken in various countries around the continent: France (obviously), Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Spain and even Italy. Because many Latin-based words have been modified over time (or straight up adopted from English), any knowledge you have will help when learning these two tongues.
A Slavic language that's difficult for English speakers? Not quite; it just takes longer to get used to its spelling rules than other languages like Russian or Czech. Once you've mastered those correctly by following the Polish alphabet guide, you'll quickly notice how similar this language is to Russian. You'll be able to speak with natives and understand their broken English just fine! Reading, however, is an entirely different story: 20% of the characters are signs that you won't find in Russian or any other Slavic language for that matter, which might make this one of the most complex languages for English speakers to read. That being said, Polish grammar can still be quite challenging — especially if you don't know German (especially verbs).
7-8. Portuguese & Italian (tie)
Just like French and Spanish, these two romance tongues were heavily influenced by Latin when developing over time. They share many similar words and grammar rules; plus, millions speak both across Europe and beyond. If you decide to tackle either of them, be prepared to spend at least a year and a half of your time living in this part of the world.
9-10. Swedish & Norwegian (tie)
Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian are so similar that many consider these three Nordic languages: Scandinavian. The grammar rules may be slightly different, but if you've studied any of them before, you'll find yourself picking up the others with ease. This is another case where knowing Danish would help you master both as they're based on it!
11-12 Russian & Ukrainian (tie)
You might think that learning Russian will make acquiring its closest relative easier but beware: Although both are Slavic tongues, Ukrainian has some features that are not found anywhere else in the region. That being said, the alphabet and many other traits are still incredibly similar — so similar that if you manage to master one of these languages, it should be reasonably simple to pick up the other (with a limited vocabulary).
13-14 French & Portuguese (tie)
Last but not least on our list are two more Romance language giants — French and Portuguese. Speakers of each can understand both spoken and written English without any problems whatsoever. You'll often find words borrowed from Latin, Greek or even German roots in either of these two tongues. If you're wondering why there's no Esperanto on this list, it might come as a surprise: Although it was developed with the intent of being a universal language, it's tough to learn and highly clunky. Plus, you'll find that many brainwashed Esperanto speakers are way too enthusiastic about their English-mangling mother tongue!
If you're still not sure how worthwhile your time investment is, ask yourself if it would be easier for you to go back in time or somehow remove all barriers when trying to communicate with people around the world (with no time warp involved). Suppose that sounds like an uphill battle, then these 11 languages are worth investing some serious energy into learning! But don't worry — once you realise how great it feels when a foreigner thanks you for speaking their language without any effort on your part.
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