Spanish: It is one of the romance languages, covering 22 countries with a minimum of four hundred million speakers worldwide. By many standards, it is very easy to learn for English speakers as the vocabulary is simple and straightforward. It is also similar to English because of their root.
French: French may be hard to learn for non English speakers. But for English speakers is fairly easy for similar reasons as Spanish. French has harder grammar than Spanish but it can be learned fairly easy.
Italian: This is another romantic language with very easy vocabulary. It is a very rhythmic language that has most of its words ending in vowels. Since its vocabulary is rooted in Latin, it makes it easy for people who speak the Indo-European Latin-influenced languages to learn it.
@kcb It’s true that motivation plays a big role but I don’t agree with you. Because if you have same motivation for learning traditional Chinese and Esperanto if you are Spanish native speaker… What would be easier?
@cazasigiloso Except that a law degree requires a GED or equivalent. I disagree with the analogy even if it was fixed. To learn Esperanto would take a very long time for me because I’m not motivated to learn it. The point is that motivation is more important for success, not that there can’t be a convoluted counterexample. Whether the thing is easy or not matters little if there is no/little motivation. There is no point in pretending that ‘difficulty’ of a language matters when there isn’t the motivation to learn. You might be equally motivated to learn different languages in hypothetical land, but in reality that isn’t the case. Motivation fluctuates unexpectedly, changing the difficulty of a language dramatically. Staying motivated is far more important than how easy someone rates a language. Motivation is the critical factor in success.
So what makes a language easy is that somebody is motivated? I’ll be sure to go my English speaking native friends that study Mandarin and tell them how easy it is because they are motivated. I’ll swing by the FSI Chinese graduates that had to spend 3.5 times more hours learning Mandarin to reach the equivalent level of the FSI graduates that learned Spanish that because they like it, it is easy.
I’ll also tell that to the neurosurgical resident that did 4 years of college, 4 years of medicine, and a 7 year residency at 100+ hours a week that because he is “motivated”, it is easier to do than a Physican Assistant degree, which requires 4 years of college and a 2 years masters. (no residency)
To further disprove your fallacy, what if two monolingual English-speaking Americans decide to study a foreign language. One picks Dutch and the other picks Mandarin. They are both motivated and study/speak/practice 40 hours a week. Why does the Dutch student reach advanced levels relatively quickly and the other person doesn’t?
But no, all languages have the same difficulty, just like all degree programs, and all achievements in life.
@cazasigiloso You do that and continue missing the point. No language is easy. I never said motivation makes it happen overnight. Also never said they were equally difficult either. Only that motivation was the most relevant factor. But you go ahead and keep arguing with strawmen. Just know that I won’t be participating in your soliloquy.
@kcb: Motivation doesn’t make something easier or harder. The similarity of the target language to your language is one of the main factors that makes a language hard or not.
Motivation helps you accomplish goals, but it doesn’t make them “easy.” My major in college required much less time studying than Engineering students; it was MUCH easier than their majors. They put in a lot of hours. Although to be fair, most people in the know do know that Engineering is the hardest undergrad major for almost everybody. To pass in some other majors, you can literally just do an all nighter once a week and write some last minute essay. My lazy friend was like this, he almost never studied.
I don’t care if you respond to my posts. Do what you want.
After several years with Russian, French now feels like a breeze with much quicker rewards of being able to read real books so soon. Shared vocabulary and barely any cases makes at least passive understand much less of a struggle.
The 3 easiest languages? Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, very regular, very phonetic, what you see is what you get, not many pitfalls, etc. (I left Esperanto and Interlingua apart because they are artificial auxiliary languages and I don’t know if those count for your question)