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Easiest language to learn?

Food?Food? Registered User
edited November 2006 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm transferring to IU next year, and I have to take 4 semesters of a foreign language to get my degree. I took 2 semesters of French in highschool and I'm taking French 101 at my current university, but I'm not interested in it at all and so I really have no motivation to learn it; I would hate having to do any more. Thus, I'm considering learning another language. What's an easy one to go with?

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Posts

  • Joseph StalinJoseph Stalin Registered User
    edited November 2006
    ASL

    Joseph Stalin on
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  • ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2006
    Turkish is very easy to learn.

    ege02 on
  • Chop LogicChop Logic Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Spanish isn't so bad, and it can be useful as hell, depending on where you live, even little things like asking where something is or describing things.

    Chop Logic on
  • DynagripDynagrip destroy everything you touch Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    Spanish is really really easy. Go for that.

    Dynagrip on
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  • HiredGunHiredGun Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Spanish. If you speak English, it's the easiest other language to learn, assuming you're really going for ease. I would encourage you to try out something more challenging, though, in the hopes that you might actually enjoy it.

    HiredGun on
  • KalTorakKalTorak One way or another, they all end up in the Undercity.Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I like Latin b/c usually you don't have to speak it. Although my experience with it was four years of High school classes, so your college course experience might vary.

    Spanish is easy just b/c you can tell how to pronounce pretty much any word by how it's spelled. I've heard that learning German isn't too bad - most of the time the sentence structure is the same as English.

    KalTorak on
  • Food?Food? Registered User
    edited November 2006
    I thought German was supposed to be easier than Spanish, since it's in the same language "group" that English is (I thought Spanish was with French?).

    Food? on
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  • NibbleNibble Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    German, Dutch, and Afrikaans are fairly easy for English speakers to learn. They're very closely related.

    |EDIT| But maybe you should just go for something you're interested in or could find useful in the future. Low-level courses in any language are pretty easy.

    Nibble on
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  • deadonthestreetdeadonthestreet Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Food? wrote:
    I thought German was supposed to be easier than Spanish, since it's in the same language "group" that English is (I thought Spanish was with French?).
    German was frustratingly difficult for me.

    But it could have been due to a terrible teacher.

    deadonthestreet on
  • SteevLSteevL What can I do for you? Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Food? wrote:
    I thought German was supposed to be easier than Spanish, since it's in the same language "group" that English is (I thought Spanish was with French?).

    You are correct. German and English are both Germanic languages, while French and Spanish are a part of the Romance language family.

    I took Spanish in middle and high school and did not enjoy it. In college I took German and found it much easier than I had expected. Of course, it helped that I was genuinely interested in learning the language.

    SteevL on
  • SceptreSceptre Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    SteevL wrote:
    Food? wrote:
    I thought German was supposed to be easier than Spanish, since it's in the same language "group" that English is (I thought Spanish was with French?).

    You are correct. German and English are both Germanic languages, while French and Spanish are a part of the Romance language family.

    I took Spanish in middle and high school and did not enjoy it. In college I took German and found it much easier than I had expected. Of course, it helped that I was genuinely interested in learning the language.

    I find French also to be quite easily picked up.

    Sceptre on
  • Food?Food? Registered User
    edited November 2006
    I don't like french because of all the feminine/masculine stuff, as well as verbs/adjectives going in different places depending on certain things and etc.

    Food? on
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  • SerpentSerpent Sometimes Vancouver, BC, sometimes Brisbane, QLDRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Food? wrote:
    I don't like french because of all the feminine/masculine stuff, as well as verbs/adjectives going in different places depending on certain things and etc.

    you will not like spanish.

    Serpent on
  • ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2006
    Well german also has neutral in addition to feminine/masculine, so you probably won't like it either.

    ege02 on
  • Rear Admiral ChocoRear Admiral Choco Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Don't a bunch of languages have feminine/masculine?

    Rear Admiral Choco on
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  • Joe Camacho MKIIJoe Camacho MKII Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Serpent wrote:
    Food? wrote:
    I don't like french because of all the feminine/masculine stuff, as well as verbs/adjectives going in different places depending on certain things and etc.

    you will not like spanish.

    Seriously, It is EASIER for a spanish speaker to learn english, but it's not the other way around.

    Spanish shares quite the same structure as French, both being romance languages, coming from Latin. But spanish is easier, for one thing there are very few syllables that don't sound as the sound of the letter, contrary to the few words I have seen in french.

    Most of the time, english speakers just need to read spanish words with the "short" sound of vowels. Then it's just a case of learning the "ch" sound, the "Ñ" sound, that the "H" is silent without the "c" what's the sound of "gue" and "ge".. Etc.

    Although Verbs are going to frustrate you, because there isn't a point of comparable with english verbs. Aside from the meaning of course. Tenses are a bitch in spanish.

    But, if you have to choose from French or Spanish, I would recommend spanish. If you live in the US, it would be easier for you to find a place to practice spanish with native speakers than with french.

    Joe Camacho MKII on
    steam_sig.png I edit my posts a lot.
  • The NazariteThe Nazarite Registered User
    edited November 2006
    If you don't go with Spanish, you should go with German probably. I think it's very close gramatically with English, but has a different vocabulary.

    But, I would think that learning and memorizing vocab words would be much easier than having to learn and get the feel of a different gramatical system. Learning a new gramatical system, at least with my experience with Spanish, requires an entirely different way of thinking.

    The Nazarite on
  • Dark MoonDark Moon Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    ege02 wrote:
    Well german also has neutral in addition to feminine/masculine, so you probably won't like it either.

    Definitely true. Oh lordy, before you just know what's correct just by how the phrase sounds (read lots of books) there are a lot of tables and charts and Dativ/Akkusativ regarding feminine/masculine/neutrum and how they effect your article and your adjective endings and verb endings and...well, I really disliked german grammar for my first many years of schooling. The only upside is that there aren't many exceptions to these charts, so once you know your basic rules you can be correct 99% of the time.

    Dark Moon on
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  • matthias00matthias00 Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Dark Moon wrote:
    ege02 wrote:
    Well german also has neutral in addition to feminine/masculine, so you probably won't like it either.

    Definitely true. Oh lordy, before you just know what's correct just by how the phrase sounds (read lots of books) there are a lot of tables and charts and Dativ/Akkusativ regarding feminine/masculine/neutrum and how they effect your article and your adjective endings and verb endings and...well, I really disliked german grammar for my first many years of schooling. The only upside is that there aren't many exceptions to these charts, so once you know your basic rules you can be correct 99% of the time.

    Really, German is easy to learn. The grammar was my biggest problem, particularly articles, but native German speakers COMPLIMENTED me on my article usage and grammar when I was over there. It's really a simple language to learn, half the words sound a lot like their english counterparts, too, so that's a big plus as well.

    matthias00 on
  • ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2006
    matthias00 wrote:
    It's really a simple language to learn, half the words sound a lot like their english counterparts, too, so that's a big plus as well.

    Pff. Try Italian. The entire language is pretty much English words with oni/ina/ino at the end.

    Honestly though, OP, if you really wanna learn a cool language, regardless of difficulty, learn Russian. It has a different language and therefore might be a bit challenging, but in less than two decades Russia will become a major world market and business opportunities there will florish. There will be a shortage of Russian speakers.

    But then I see learning languages as an investment for the future. Maybe that's not your type of thing.

    ege02 on
  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    Chop Logic wrote:
    Spanish isn't so bad, and it can be useful as hell, depending on where you live, even little things like asking where something is or describing things.
    I'd go for Spanish, since its pretty widely spoken in the US anyway. Useful++. I think this 'ease' thing is a problem, though, assuming you're not just referring to tricky pronunciation stuff. You're never going to be able to cruise a language subject, it takes work. The only 'difficult' part after that is applying yourself, and if you find that a problem, a language course could beef up your skills in that area.

    The Cat on
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  • homeobockshomeobocks Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Food? wrote:
    I thought German was supposed to be easier than Spanish, since it's in the same language "group" that English is (I thought Spanish was with French?).
    English is kinda the lone ranger. It doesn't cleanly fit into other language groups. It's vocabulary and grammar are influenced mainly by both German and French. German has a bunch of added difficulties, though: the sentence ordering is more alien than French's (or so it seems to me), it has 3 noun genders, it has some sounds that are pretty hard to prounounce (while in French and Spanish are pretty straight-forward), and plurals are irregular. I'd say that, to an English speaker, French is easier than German and Spanish is dumbed-down French (except is uses the subjunctive way more than French, but that's OK once you get over it).

    homeobocks on
  • minor threatminor threat Registered User
    edited November 2006
    if you're very visually oriented i would highly recommend taking an American Sign Language class, if it's offered at your college. it's a beautiful language and pretty easy to learn.

    minor threat on
  • BasarBasar IstanbulRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I am a native Turkish speaker.

    English was easy to learn. My self-assessment is near native-speaker level.

    German was incredibly hard to learn for me. I would rate myself a 8 out of 10.

    Italian was easier than German but still much harder than English. I'd rate myself 6 out of 10.

    I am taking French lessons right now (my company pays for it), will report back in 6 months or so.

    Next in line: Mandarin + Arabic + Russian.

    Basar on
    i live in a country with a batshit crazy president and no, english is not my first language

  • meekermeeker Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Farsi, it is all about the Farsi... Then get a job with the CIA when we are at war with Iran. :shock:

    meeker on
  • Wombthrasher DeathmetalWombthrasher Deathmetal Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Latin is very useful from an academic standpoint, and it isn't too horribly difficult since so many languages take things from it. Once you get it down decently, you'll be able to pick up other romantic languages somewhat more easily.

    But it's worthless aside from this, so if you want something practical take Spanish.

    Wombthrasher Deathmetal on
  • BenditBendit Cømþü†€r Šýš†emš Anålýš† Ðeñv€r¸ ColørådøRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Basar, you can "learn" 25 languages if you want, doesn't mean you are fluent in them.

    I am fully fluent in french(native) and english.

    It took me a lot of time to attain fluency in english. I have achieved that by immersion. I now live in the US where I speak english on a daily basis.

    Bottom line, you need immersion if you want to be fluent. So if you live in the US, obviously spanish would be a better choice as you have a better chance of using the language often. That's the only way for adults to learn a language and be good at it.

    I am sorry to say that high school french that is taught here in the US is somewhat pathetic. I have several people at work that try to talk to me in french. Truth is, with high school french their language level is less than a 2 year old child.

    Another poster mentioned that spanish verbs are going to be a bitch. Yes, just like french, you will need to learn all the pronouns, all the tenses etc. There is no other way. It cannot easely be "picked up", unless you dont mind sounding like a 2 year old kid when you want to ask for a beer at a mexican bar or something.

    so the question is, what are your intentions? You eventually want to be fluent?

    Bendit on
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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Yeah, just go with Chinese. No conjugation!

    Honestly, you'd probably enjoy spanish if you must take a language. Check to see if you even need to take one, of course; you may not need to. If you have a background in french, even if you didn't like it it should speed up your spanish learning.

    Spanish is a very easy language to speak, once you understand how to pronounce it. Subsequently, it is a very easy language to "figure out," as things are put together logically, and match.

    EggyToast on
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  • Brodo FagginsBrodo Faggins Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    People say bad things about Japanese and how hard it is, but really, it's pretty easy to learn, provided your professor is actually pretty good at teaching (like mine is).

    I wouldn't recommend it if you haven't had a lot of previous exposure to Asian languages. Something to keep in mind.

    Chinese and Russian would be the most economically beneficial for you to learn. China has a booming middle class, and economists estimate that it will overtake America as the world leader. I do hate how archaic it is, though.

    Although you don't like the whole feminine/masculine thing in Spanish, it's really just a matter of which words end in -a or -o, and using the appropriate la or el. I recommend you take it. Really easy to learn, alphabet is nearly identical, though conjugation can sometimes be a huge bitch.

    Brodo Faggins on
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  • MunroMunro Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    There is no answer to this question. It's not easy to learn another language pretty much ever... It starts easy everytime and you hit those upper levels and it gets tough. You really have to work at it.

    That having been said, go for a language you'd be interested in, that's connected to a culture you'd be interested in studying... that's probably the only thing that'll make it any easier on you. German, French and Spanish all involve comparable amounts of work... some eastern languages are farther up there in terms of difficulty, but if you're interested in them you could definitely do well in the course as long as you acknowledge and work with the knowledge that you have to put a lot into language studies.

    Munro on
  • eltowereltower Registered User
    edited November 2006
    As I stand: I'm native in Spanish, Serbian and English, having spoken those three from a very young age.

    I learnt French with relative ease but the accent was a bit painful until I managed to get a month long job in Paris.

    Personally I think a next language should really come from your own interests. If you have no interest at all, chances are you won't learn it.

    In terms of usefulness for an English speaker? I'd go with Spanish or French, but both languages have relatively different pronunciations from each other, let alone from English. Spanish has a lot of Arabic influence in the hard 'hh', 'rr', 'jj', etc. while French is a little bit more melodic.

    One thing I found curious is that a slavic language (at least Serbian does) has a very basic and down to earth form of pronouncing letters - one sound per letter, as opposed to more than one way to randomly pronounce letters in English - which I suppose may make languages like Russian easy to learn if you're up to the challenge.

    eltower on
  • GodGod Registered User
    edited November 2006
    I took French for two years in middle school and one in high school, which is to say that I don't know any French. I didn't much like the language either. At college I'm in my third semester of German and like it very much. I think it's easier, but that's probably a personal thing. If you don't like the masculine/feminine thing (who does!?) then it might be scary... flashback for all you who took German!

    DER DIE DAS DIE
    DEN DIE DAS DIE
    DEM DER DEM DEN
    DES DER DES DER

    These all mean "the" and are used in nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive cases for masculine, femininte, neuter, and plural nouns (some of which need different endings depending on the gender/case). It really is a lot easier than it sounds, though. Another good thing about German is that once you get the hand of pronunciation, spelling words is really easy. No crap like in English where comb, bomb, and tomb are pronounced three different ways. I remember French pronunciation giving me a headache.

    Du solltest Deutsch lernen! Es ist eine schöne Sprache!

    God on
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  • BasarBasar IstanbulRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Bendit wrote:
    Basar, you can "learn" 25 languages if you want, doesn't mean you are fluent in them.

    I am fully fluent in french(native) and english.

    It took me a lot of time to attain fluency in english. I have achieved that by immersion. I now live in the US where I speak english on a daily basis.

    I have been living in the U.S. for 7 years and lived in Germany for 8 months (5+3). As I said, most people cannot tell whether I am a native English speaker or not because I have been speaking it for 15 years (8 years in Turkey where I went to a private school where English was the primary language). I already had some knowledge of German before living in Germany so I'd say I am pretty fluent in most situations. I have passed Goethe Institute's C2 examination so if I live another year or so in Germany, probably will be near native level. Italian I am not so fluent in but I hope to move there in a few years, so that'll help but I think it will be harder than English and German due to hundreds of different accents. Italian in general is really easy to pronounce for us Turks because we use the same vocal structure...

    Anyways, if you want to become fluent, you can do it without living there but it will be much much much more harder. I have seen it happen numerous times. Heck, I work in an international organization with 10,000+ international employees and most of them learn and become fluent in numerous languages with employer sponsored courses.

    Basar on
    i live in a country with a batshit crazy president and no, english is not my first language

  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Food? wrote:
    I'm transferring to IU next year, and I have to take 4 semesters of a foreign language to get my degree. I took 2 semesters of French in highschool and I'm taking French 101 at my current university, but I'm not interested in it at all and so I really have no motivation to learn it; I would hate having to do any more. Thus, I'm considering learning another language. What's an easy one to go with?

    I would choose whatever language you think you'd use most, not what you think is easiest. Over the years I've taken German, Italian, and Japanese (the WWII connection is purely coincidental) and picked up a lot of Spanish. Out of those four I don't remember a damn thing about German or Italian because I never use them. What little Spanish and Japanese I retain are only from frequent exposure.

    Is there a country or culture you're interested in? Do you have any friends or relatives whose first language isn't English? Is there anyplace you've ever wanted to travel? Those are the questions I'd be asking if I were trying to pick a second language.

    For what it's worth, though, out of the four languages I mentioned, spoken Japanese was by far the easiest. I found the grammar to be very logical and consistent. Written was another story - kanji was very confusing for me. But that could very well be because I didn't try hard enough.

    Feral on
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  • krapst78krapst78 Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I could probably teach you to "read" Korean in an hour, maybe two hours tops. The Korean written language is almost purely phonetic, so if you know the alphabet, you can basically "read" and "speak" Korean. Understanding what you read and say is a completely different story.

    krapst78 on
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  • Food?Food? Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Bendit wrote:
    so the question is, what are your intentions? You eventually want to be fluent?

    Haha not really, I just have to take 4 semesters worth, and since I'm lazy and not terribly interested in learning a foreign language (I can't see how it applies to Film and Video Production or Computer Science, which I'm studying), I just want something I can pick up easily and keep me at least somewhat engaged. At this point ASL doesn't sound like a bad idea, since I'm not learning an entire new language, but just how to link symbols and movements to words.

    Food? on
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  • BasarBasar IstanbulRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Food? wrote:
    Bendit wrote:
    so the question is, what are your intentions? You eventually want to be fluent?

    Haha not really, I just have to take 4 semesters worth, and since I'm lazy and not terribly interested in learning a foreign language (I can't see how it applies to Film and Video Production or Computer Science, which I'm studying), I just want something I can pick up easily and keep me at least somewhat engaged. At this point ASL doesn't sound like a bad idea, since I'm not learning an entire new language, but just how to link symbols and movements to words.

    You are an American, aren't you? :roll:

    Basar on
    i live in a country with a batshit crazy president and no, english is not my first language

  • itylusitylus Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Esperanto is the easiest language to learn, because its grammar is almost perfectly regular. Failing that, though, I'd go for Spanish, which is fairly regular and which isn't hard to make a start in.

    Or sign language, because that is just cool.

    itylus on
  • Just Like ThatJust Like That Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Just Like That on
  • VirumVirum Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I've taken Biblical Greek, Latin, French, and currently taking German.

    So far German has been the easiest for me, but I don't know if that is because I want to learn it and the fact that I've already taken three different languages.

    Virum on
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