What are the easiest languages to learn?

Well, if you’re Spanish – it could be Italian or Portuguese. If you’re Dutch, it could be German. But if you’re a native English speaker, it could well be Spanish or Portuguese. At Euroasia, we regularly get asked this question.  Especially by those trying to decide which language to learn and don’t have a specific preference or reason behind learning a language. There isn’t a “right answer” for this question, but one way of evaluating which language is easiest to learn is by

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looking at how close they are to English and how difficult they are.

The Defense Language Institute (DLI)* categorises languages into four levels of difficulty. Category I languages are easier to pick up, while moving on up through Category IV, language comprehension is more difficult, and the length of courses reflect that.

Category I languages, 26-week courses, include Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese.

Category II, 35 weeks, includes German and Indonesian

Category III, 48 weeks, includes Dari, Persian Farsi, Russian, Uzbek, Hindi, Urdu, Hebrew, Thai, Serbian Croatian, Tagalog, Turkish, Sorani and Kurmanji

Category IV, 64 weeks, includes Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, Korean, Japanese and Pashto

*  The Defense Language Institute (DLI) is a United States Department of Defense (DoD) educational and research institution, which provides linguistic and cultural instruction to the Department of Defense, other Federal Agencies and numerous customers around the world. The Defense Language Institute is responsible for the Defense Language Program, and the bulk of the Defense Language Institute’s activities involve educating DoD members in assigned languages, and international personnel in English. Other functions include planning, curriculum development, and research in second-language acquisition.

Check out Euroasia’s language courses, with summer school kicking off in January 2013. We offer a range of Category I, II, III and IV languages.

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About The Author

Kenneth is Director of Euroasia. He is passionate about languages and cultures.

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