A Guide to The Easiest World Languages to Learn

A Guide to The Easiest World Languages to Learn

If you’ve decided to learn a new language, good for you!

Next, you need to decide which language is best suited to you. Maybe you’d like to learn a business relevant language like Japanese? Perhaps one of the languages known for romance? Or, maybe a language you could use on your next holiday?

There are many different reasons to learn a new language, and while learning a new language requires dedication and practice; some are easier than others to master.

With that in mind, in this guide, we’ve put together our list of the languages that are great for English speaking beginners to learn, the estimated time it takes to gain a good grasp of the language as per the Foreign Service Institute, how many people around the world speak the language and which countries where this language might come in handy.

Hints & Tips to Learn a New Language

Open Up to Media in the New Language

Immerse yourself in various forms of media to cultivate your language skills. In addition to films, TV shows, and music, consider using illustrated books to make the jump between words and images. 

One effective method to learn a new language is to watch one of your favourite movies in your desired language since you’re probably familiar with the dialogue being spoken already and it’s easy to see the connection between your native language and your chosen one.

Engage in Conversation with Native Speakers

Interacting with individuals who speak the language as their mother tongue can provide valuable feedback on your progress. 

This enables learners to grasp the diverse contexts in which certain words or phrases are used, such as academic or informal settings. 

Conversing with native speakers facilitates a deeper understanding of connotations and word usage.

Apps, Podcasts, and Other Media for Practice

Language learning apps can aid in expanding your vocabulary, while podcasts can enhance your grasp of grammar and sentence structure.

Some of the best apps include:

  • Duolingo
  • HiNative
  • LinguaLift

Why Should You Learn a New Language?

Cultivate a Deeper Understanding of New Cultures

Discovering a new language can provide valuable insights into unfamiliar cultures. 

Alongside exploring vocabulary, syntax, and grammar, language learners can gain a better understanding of other communities by delving into the connotative meanings of words and their cultural significance.

Enhanced Creativity

The correlation between multilingualism and creativity has long been examined in academia. 

Studies have long revealed a connection between individuals proficient in multiple languages and their creative endeavours, including the art of problem-solving.

Language learners demonstrated a greater ability to tackle new problems, possibly due to their increased comfort in uncertain situations and unfamiliar environments with diverse cultures.

Maintain Brain Health

In addition to bolstering memory, knowing multiple languages can contribute to maintaining optimal brain health. Research indicates that multilingualism can lead to physical changes in the brain’s structure. This adaptability enables the brain to continuously develop, reorganise, and recover more efficiently.

Learning a new language can improve the brain’s flexibility, which plays a vital role in promoting overall brain health. If you’re keen to prioritise your brain’s wellbeing, embarking on a language-learning journey may prove beneficial.

8 Of the Easiest Languages to Learn

We’ve ranked eight of the World’s easiest languages to learn, how long it might take to learn them and which countries you might expect to hear them spoken.

#1: Norwegian

Estimated Learning Time: 23-24 weeks (575-600 hours)

Estimated Number of Speakers: 5.24 Million.

Spoken In: Norway, USA, Sweden, Denmark.

This might be a slightly unusual option for many, but we believe Norwegian is one of the best languages to learn for English speakers. This is because, along with English, Norwegian is a member of the Germanic language family. As a result, the two languages have vocabulary in common. A good example of this is the seasons of the year: winter in Norwegian is vinter and summer is sommer.

Another common thread with the Norwegian language is the grammar and structure of the sentences. The word order of a sentence is very similar to English and contains only one form of verb per tense.

For instance, if you were to ask: “Can you help me?” in Norwegian it would translate to “Kan du hjelpe meg?” – as you can see, the structure of the sentence, the spelling and the pronunciation of these words are instantly recognisable to an English speaker.

In many languages the pronunciation is incredibly important and often very nuanced. However, in the Norwegian language – again very similar to English – this isn’t as important, since there are many different accents, so there’s much more leeway in this respect.

#2: Swedish

Estimated Learning Time: 23-24 weeks (575-600 hours)

Estimated Number of Speakers: 10.5 Million. 

Spoken In: Sweden, Finland, USA, UK, Spain.

The second language we’ve chosen again comes from Scandinavia and is another member of the Germanic language family. Similar to Norwegian, Swedish is easy to grasp for most English speakers due to the number of cognates the two languages have in common.

Cognates are words that, although they come from two separate languages, sound and look very similar due to their shared familial language. For example, the word for contact in Swedish is “kontakta”, which both looks and sounds very similar.

Again, Swedish is relatively simple when it comes to grammar and sentence structure, since it’s very similar to English.

And thanks to brands like IKEA and H&M, Swedish food, furniture, and fashion are enjoying increased exposure here in the UK, which means Swedish is fast becoming a popular and relevant language to learn.

#3: Spanish

Estimated Learning Time: 23-24 weeks (575-600 hours)

Estimated Number of Speakers: 400 Million. 

Spoken In: Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Equatorial Guinea

Spanish has long been a favourite for English speakers looking to learn a new language; not least because of its romantic connotations, but also for its practicality and wide reach.

Spanish is one of the so-called “Romance languages”, and shares many cognates with the English language, which is why some basic words are picked up easily by English speaking tourists in Spanish-speaking countries. Here are a few good examples:

  • Correct > Correcto
  • Delicious > Delicioso
  • Curious > Curioso

In fact, many words aren’t just cognates, but are exactly the same. Here are a few:

  • Hospital
  • Alcohol
  • Inspector

Although Spanish pronunciation can be a little trickier than the two languages we’ve already mentioned above, the good news is that Spanish is a largely phonetic language, which means words are generally pronounced how they’re spelt.

It’s not all plain sailing however as the difficulty lies in the fact that some of the letters are pronounced differently from their English counterparts. For example in Spain; c is often pronounced th, v is often pronounced b & z is often pronounced th.

Spanish also has a few variable grammar rules and verb tenses, which can often confuse those learning the language at first. However, these more or less run parallel to those we use in the English language, so they’re relatively easy to pick up and understand.

One of the biggest reasons that people choose to learn Spanish is the sheer number of countries where the language is spoken. As explained on britannica.com, Spanish is spoken by around 400 million people across the globe, and is the third most studied language after English and French.

While Spanish is obviously spoken predominantly in Spain, it is also widely used as a first or second language for most South American countries, apart from Brazil where Portuguese is the primary language.

#4: Dutch

Estimated Learning Time: 23-24 weeks (575-600 hours)

Estimated Number of Speakers: 27 Million 

Spoken In: Netherlands, Belgium, Aruba, Sint Maarten, Suriname, and Curacao.

This is another Germanic language, and in addition to being the first language of most of the citizens of the Netherlands, it is used widely in Belgium too. After German and English, Dutch is the third-most spoken of the Germanic languages, which explains why the language shares so many features with both English and German.

Interestingly, Dutch shares many words with English that are spelled exactly the same way, which may lead beginners into believing Dutch is easier to learn than it really is. However, even though these words are spelt the same, in many cases they’re pronounced differently.

For example, “rat” still references the same small mammal and is spelt the same, but the Dutch pronunciation makes the word sound more like “rot”. There are also plenty of words that you will recognise, but some of these will be false cognates. For instance, the Dutch word “wet”, which you may assume means the same, actually means “law” in Dutch.

You may notice by now that we’ve included three Germanic languages in this list, but we haven’t included German. We chose not to include German because, although it shares plenty of cognates with English, the grammar makes German a particularly tricky language to grasp and master.

#5: Portuguese

Estimated Learning Time: 23-24 weeks (575-600 hours)

Estimated Number of Speakers: 240 Million.

Spoken In: Portugal, Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and the Principality of Sao Tome.

Portuguese is another “Romance” language, and one which is spoken not only in Portugal, but as the primary language in Brazil as well as in some parts of Africa and Asia.

Similar to Spanish, there are a large number of shared words, which makes taking up Portuguese as a language much easier. The same applies here as it does with Dutch though, there are a fair few false cognates. For example, if someone asks you about pasta in Portuguese, you’ll be given a folder and not a tasty meal!

Just like Spanish, Portuguese, particularly Brazilian Portuguese, is a language that benefits from global exposure. Brazilian culture, such as food and drink, music, films, and fashion, are now widely known across the globe, giving students ample opportunity to further their learning.

#7: Italian

Estimated Learning Time: 23-24 weeks (575-600 hours)

Estimated Number of Speakers: 85 Million 

Countries: Italy, San Marino, Switzerland, Vatican City.

This is another language that is said to be romantic, and while not as widely spoken as either Spanish or Portuguese, you’ll benefit from plenty of reach since there’s more than 85 million native speakers. 

With a root in Latin, learners will quickly recognise words and their meanings, such as “futuro” which means future and “lotteria” meaning lottery.

Italian culture has firm roots in Western countries, which means we’re already familiar with many phrases used every day without even realising – think espresso; ravioli; opera; piano; lava – the list is pretty considerable.

#8: French

Estimated Learning Time: 23-24 weeks (575-600 hours)

Estimated Number of Speakers: 200 Million.

Spoken In: Switzerland, Belgium, Monaco, Luxembourg, Belgium, Canada, Algeria, Burundi, Benin, Chad, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Guinea, Madagascar, Morocco, Rwanda, Togo, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Tunisia, Mauritius, Reunion, and Seychelles.

The last of the Romance languages in our roundup, French is a firm favourite with learners all over the world. Although not as easy to master as some of the other languages on our list, French and its sub-dialects are widely spoken, not just in France, but in Canada, Belgium, Switzerland and even many countries in Africa, such as the Ivory Coast, where French is the official language.

Just like the other Romance languages on our list, the biggest benefit of opting to study French is the considerable portion of shared words. However, this isn’t just because it shares similar linguistic roots.

Due to the considerable history of overlap between the two countries during war and conflict, much of the two languages have intersected over the centuries. In fact, from 1066, French was the official language of the courts, nobility and government in England for nearly 300 years.

Today, French words are used on a daily basis in the English language, such as champagne, cliché and even television. The same applies to the French language with words such as weekend and brainstorming creeping into everyday use.

Initially French pronunciation is a little awkward, but we’re used to hearing French accents in our culture, particularly from films and sports stars – so it’s quite easy to pick up with some practice.


In the modern world learning a second language can be an incredibly beneficial string to your bow – both personally and professionally. With a plethora of free language learning apps, it has never been easier to start learning a language.

Continued globalisation and increasingly improved technology mean that the world is seemingly smaller than it’s ever been, where diverse cultures and communities are frequently in contact with each other.

If you have any further questions on what we’ve covered in this blog, or you’re interested in hearing more about any of our other services, get in touch today.