28 Easiest Languages for English Speakers to Learn, Ranked
More than 40 percent of the world is bilingual, meaning people can speak two languages fluently. And another 17 percent can speak more than two languages. However, it’s a different story in the United States. Less than 22 percent of the U.S. population speaks a language other than English.
Still, there is strength in speaking more than one language. Not only can you connect with others by speaking additional languages, but research shows bilingual people can learn new words faster and establish stronger reading skills, are better at coming up with solutions to problems and are stronger multitaskers. They also earn an average 11 percent more than single-language speakers, and their dual-speaking skills have been found to delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Ready to learn a new language? These are the 28 easiest languages to learn for English speakers.
Category III Languages
With many languages not connected to the Latin alphabet, you’ll need 1,100 hours of practice to proficiently speak Category III languages, according to Rosetta Stone.
The following are some of the easiest in this category.
RELATED: 25 Hardest Languages to Learn, Ranked
No. of speakers: 5.2 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Albania
* Number of speakers data was sourced fromWorldData.info unless otherwise noted.
Why Albanian Is So Easy to Learn
The majority of people who speak Albanian — 98 percent — reside in Albania, the Balkan country located along the Adriatic Sea.
Borrowing from Greek, Latin and other Indo-European languages, Albanian words can have similarities to English and romance languages.
No. of speakers: 11 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Czechia
Why Czech Is So Easy to Learn
Most people who speak Czech live in Czechia (aka the Czech Republic) and Slovakia, which was once united with its neighbor when the Soviet Union combined the region into Czechoslovakia.
Slavic languages don’t use a lot of verb tenses, so conjugating is easier for English speakers attempting to learn Czech. However, it does have several noun declensions and rather complex grammar rules that could trip you up.
No. of speakers: 62 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Middle East and Central Asia
Why Farsi Is So Easy to Learn
One of the world’s most spoken languages, Farsi, or Persian, is often confused with Arabic due to the location of its native speakers. Although written similarly, it is more closely related to English and languages found in India.
The Farsi language uses subject-object-verb grammar and a straightforward language that English speakers can quickly pick up, although it is written from right to left and has more letters in its alphabet.
No. of speakers: 5.4 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Finland
Why Finnish Is So Easy to Learn
Although most Finnish is spoken by natives of Finland (93 percent) and Scandinavia, Finnish is easy to learn because its words aren’t gendered. Speakers don’t have to remember if something is masculine or feminine and switch words to accommodate.
It’s also a phonetic language, so reading a word and saying a word match.
No. of speakers: 12.2 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Greece and Cyprus
Why Greek Is So Easy to Learn
There are nearly 150,000 English words that have evolved from Greek, with an alphabet and vocabulary that coincides with much of modern-day English.
Greek uses gender-specific grammar, which can be tricky for a first-timer but can be easy to pick up if you already speak a romance language.
No. of speakers: 9 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Israel, Palestine and Jewish communities
Why Hebrew Is So Easy to Learn
Hebrew is predominantly spoken in Jewish communities and is considered an ancient language that nearly died out centuries ago. It has similarities to Arabic, Russian and Germanic vocabulary, making it easy for those who speak English to learn.
However, it's written from right to left, has some unique pronunciation and may include tongue twisters for new adopters, but a good language program will help you overcome those sounds.
Why Hindi Is So Easy to Learn
One of the most widely spoken languages in the world and the official language of India, modern-day Hindi dates back to the 11th century.
Although Hindi uses its own Devanagari alphabet, gender-specific nouns and complex conjugation, it resembles Arabic, which is quite difficult to learn. Unlike Arabic, however, Hindi is written from left to right.
No. of speakers: 350,000
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Iceland
Why Icelandic Is So Easy to Learn
Some claim Icelandic is difficult to learn, but it is classified as a Category III and can be mastered with 1,100 hours of practice. Related to the extinct Old Norse language, Icelandic is particularly tricky because of its pronunciation. Plus, reading and writing are unique because letters are diacritic, meaning many have accents and signs attached.
That said, once you understand the letters, the language is considered easier to master, as it is a North Germanic language with similarities to English.
No. of speakers: 38.7 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Poland and Eastern Europe
Why Polish Is So Easy to Learn
Polish can be found across Eastern Europe but its speakers and people live worldwide, most commonly in the United States, Brazil and Argentina.
Like Czech, Polish is a Slavic language, and although there are unique sounds and grammar, it uses a Latin alphabet.
No. of speakers: 156.6 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Eurasia
Why Russian Is So Easy to Learn
While predominantly spoken in Russia, Russian is the official language of Belarus and Kazakhstan and is heavily used in 19 other countries, including Ukraine and Poland, making it one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world.
A complex language, it can be mastered with 1,100 hours through daily practice.
No. of speakers: 64 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: The Philippines
Why Tagalog Is So Easy to Learn
Tagalong is one of two official languages in the Philippines and is widely spoken in three other countries as the mother tongue. Still, one-third of Tagalong speakers live outside the Philippines.
Although the grammar is very different from English, its alphabet is based on the Baybayin alphabet, and everything is written out in Roman letters, which helps new learners. There are also no silent letters to cause confusion.
No. of speakers: 39.8 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Thailand
Why Thai Is So Easy to Learn
Spoken by more than half of the people living in Thailand — home to a whopping 71 different languages — Thai is actually one of the more difficult languages to learn on this list.
Its vocabulary is monosyllabic, meaning that many words are used or even repeated in order to create one word or phrase, and its grammar follows a subject-verb-object format. On top of that, it has 18 vowel sounds and 21 consonants. Still, with practice, the language falls into a Category III level for English speakers.
No. of speakers: 77.8 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Turkey and Cyprus
Why Turkish Is So Easy to Learn
The official language of Turkey and Cyprus, Turkish is actually spoken in many areas of the Middle East and Europe, including Germany, Greece, Austria and Bulgaria.
While closely connected to Arabic and Persian, Turkish is written with Roman script and builds its vocabulary with a limited core vocabulary, making it very simple to learn.
No. of speakers: 86.5 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Vietnam, Australia and the U.S.
Why Vietnamese Is So Easy to Learn
Just as Turkish has a logical vocabulary structure that is easy to follow, so is Vietnamese. And it doesn’t use genders, articles or cases in its entirely active-tense grammar.
That said, the tones used in speaking can be a bit of a struggle but are quickly learned. It also has some words that stem from English and French.
Category II Languages
To reach a professional working proficiency in Category II languages, Rosetta Stone finds it takes 900 hours of practice.
The following languages are considered Category II languages.
No. of speakers: 130 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland
Why German Is So Easy to Learn
Both English and German share a start in Germanic Indo-European languages, making this widely spoken language one of the easiest for English speakers to pick up.
The language is similar to English in its grammar rules, phonetic spelling and sounds, and many new learners discover an array of English words that stem from German.
No. of speakers: 11 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: The Caribbean, the U.S., Canada and France
Why Haitian Creole Is So Easy to Learn
If you think Haitian Creole is only spoken in Haiti, you may be quite surprised how much of it is actually spoken across North America. In fact, Haitian Creole is the third-most spoken language in Florida.
With many words shared with English and French languages, Haitian Creole rarely uses inflections, conjugation and different genders in its nouns.
No. of speakers: 198 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Indonesia
Why Indonesian Is So Easy to Learn
Although Indonesian is one of the most-spoken languages in the world, it's still found predominantly in Indonesia. All other countries where it is spoken, such as Taiwan and Australia, have less than 1 percent of their population using it.
With many words shared with Dutch, which originated from the French and English languages, there are a lot of familiar words, grammar and speech patterns that are easy to discern as a native English speaker. It even uses the same alphabet.
No. of speakers: 33.12 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Indonesia and Malaysia
Why Malay Is So Easy to Learn
Malay is very close to Indonesian, and every reason it’s easier to learn Indonesian is the same for Malay.
It's also an official language of Indonesia as well as Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia.
No. of speakers: 16 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: East Africa
Why Swahili Is So Easy to Learn
Widely spoken in more than 14 East African nations, including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, the language’s true name is Kiswahili.
Although it bears little resemblance to English, Swahili is considered one of the easier languages to learn as pronunciation and seeing words written for reading are easy to pick up. Where you may struggle is with its grammar, as the structure can be complex.
Category I Languages
The easiest languages to learn are those most closely related to English. These languages often have similar vocabulary and grammar rules and, according to Rosetta Stone, take 600 to 750 hours of practice to reach a working proficiency.
That means the following languages can be picked up by English speakers the fastest.
No. of speakers: 5.5 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Denmark
Why Danish Is So Easy to Learn
Many words found in the Danish language have similarities to English and German. It’s easier to read and understand than it is to speak it, however, as the sounds used are more unique than in other languages.
While predominantly spoken in Denmark, where it originated, parts of Germany and Greenland also use Danish.
No. of speakers: 23 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Netherlands, Belgium, the Caribbean
Why Dutch Is So Easy to Learn
Considered by many foreign language educators to be the easiest language for English speakers to learn, Dutch has roots in Germanic languages. In fact, learning Dutch can lead to an easier learning of German and other Scandinavian languages.
With the Dutch exploration into the Caribbean, Dutch is widely spoken in Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten — each a Dutch territory.
No. of speakers: 300 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: France, Belgium, Monaco, Switzerland, Canada and Western Africa
Why French Is So Easy to Learn
While the majority of French is spoken in France and its current and former territories, it can be found across the world, including Canada and the states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Louisiana.
The fifth most-spoken language worldwide, French is one of the five most popular romance languages, meaning it is derived from Latin. French keeps its language active, has verbs similar to English and offers a predictable pattern to determine word gender.
No. of speakers: 55.5 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Italy and Switzerland
Why Italian Is So Easy to Learn
Italy, the birthplace of Italian, is also the birthplace of Latin, the father of the romance languages. After the Roman Empire fell, the classical use of Latin evolved into Italian, which became commonplace by the 14th century.
Many English words derive from both Latin and Italian words, and with this familiarity, English speakers find it very easy to learn Italian. In fact, fluency can be achieved in 600 hours or less of study.
No. of speakers: 4.4 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Norway
Why Norwegian Is So Easy to Learn
Many communities across the U.S., including parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota, still speak Norwegian. The language is also found in parts of Canada, Iceland and Sweden.
A northern Germanic language, Norwegian uses the same linguistic patterns and vocabulary as English, and some foreign language educators even classify it as the easiest language for English speakers to learn due to the similarities.
No. of speakers: 200 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Brazil and Portugal
Why Portuguese Is So Easy to Learn
Another one of the top romance languages, Portuguese is found in Europe, Africa, South America and North America, and it's the ninth most-spoken language around the world.
With its roots in Latin, the vocabulary, sounds and alphabet are familiar to English speakers, but trouble arises with verb conjugation and genders.
No. of speakers: 17.2 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Romania and the Republic of Moldova
Why Romanian Is So Easy to Learn
Romanian can be found in central Europe in countries bordering Romania and the Adriatic and Black seas. Although not widely spoken outside of those areas and not often studied as a second language, it is an easier language to learn as it, too, is a romance language.
While it has bases in Latin and shares words with English, it also combines Slavic languages, which means those speaking Slavic variations can easily pick up Romanian.
No. of speakers: 500 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: The Americas and Iberia
Why Spanish Is So Easy to Learn
Eight percent of the world’s population speaks Spanish, with 13 percent of the U.S. speaking it as a first language and 12 million people in the U.S. bilingual in English and Spanish.
The primary language of 20 countries, Spanish is one of the most studied foreign languages and one of the easiest to learn. Another romance language, foreign language educators say new users can become fluent in Spanish in just 24 weeks.
No. of speakers: 9.7 million
Where it’s most commonly spoken: Sweden and Finland
Why Swedish Is So Easy to Learn
Similar to Norwegian and rooted in northern Germanic origins, Swedish is another extremely easy language to learn, as it shares the same patterns. One of its challenges, however, is understanding its word genders.
Unlike Norwegian, which spread due to its Viking ancestry, Swedish is mostly spoken in Scandinavia and areas along the Baltic Sea.