10 Easiest Languages to Learn For English Speakers (30 Weeks or Less)

Learning a new language can be incredibly rewarding— it opens up a whole world of possibilities in your career and allows you to communicate with people from around the globe. But which languages are easiest for English speakers to learn?

Determining Language Difficulty

The FSI language ranking system can help you determine the difficulty levels of different languages, particularly the amount of time and commitment required. While there is no one true “easiest language,” as the answer would be totally subjective, we know that some languages take less time to learn than others.

When you lead a busy life, it is hard to get the time to study languages, so finding an easy one might just be what you need to get the ball rolling. By choosing a language from our list, it is possible to achieve fluency in a relatively short amount of time if that is your goal.

Category I Languages

If you’re an English speaker, learning a new language doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are several languages that can be learned relatively quickly— typically within 24-30 weeks (or 600-750 class hours)— enabling you to reach professional working proficiency with the right amount of commitment and dedication. These easiest languages include Danish, Dutch, French, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish and Afrikaans, which are known as Category I languages in the FSI language ranking system. 

With these languages, you can achieve an advanced level of fluency (equivalent to B2/C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). So if you’re looking to add a foreign language to your repertoire, these could be great places to start! 

These languages are all part of the Romance or Germanic languages and have some shared characteristics with English, which make them easier to learn than languages from other families.

Here is our comprehensive guide to the top ten languages that are most accessible for native English speakers.

Danish (24 Weeks)

  • The official language of Denmark and the Faroe Islands
  • Danish is closely related to Norwegian and Swedish
  • Also spoken in Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, and the USA
  • 5.6 million people worldwide speak Danish

Common Danish Words and Phrases

  • Hello — Hej
  • Thank you — Tak
  • Yes — Ja
  • No — Nej
  • Goodbye — Farvel

A Bit of Background About The Language

Danish is a North Germanic language with roots in Old Norse and is one of the fastest languages for English speakers to learn. It is closely related to Swedish and Norwegian, making it possible for speakers of these languages to understand one another.

Compared to English, Danish has three extra vowels: Æ, Ø, and Å. Additionally, Danish has 27 distinct vowel phonemes.

One distinctive feature of Danish is its ability to form long words by combining different words together; an example being ‘Speciallægepraksisplanlægningsstabiliseringsperiode,’ which means “production facility of storage shelves of boxes for notebooks for the calculations of multiplication tables.”

Fun Facts About Denmark

In case you didn’t know, Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world, scoring an impressive second place in the UN World Happiness Report.

Interestingly, Danes have no direct translation for “please,” which may seem a little rude to other countries!

The Danes are cycling addicts, with Copenhageners cycling an average of 3km per day. More than 50% of Copenhagers cycle to work every day, and there are more than 12,000 kilometers of cycle tracks around the country!

In terms of the terrain, there are no mountains in Denmark! It is a mostly flat seaside country bordered by the Baltic and North Seas.

Dutch (24 Weeks)

  • The official language of The Netherlands, Belgium (The northern region called Flanders), Suriname, and Caribean islands: Sint Maarten, Aruba, and Curaçao
  • Closely related to English, German, and Afrikaans
  • Also spoken by small numbers in Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, the United States and Australia
  • Approximately 23 million people worldwide speak Dutch as their mother-tongue

Common Dutch Words and Phrases

  • Hello — Hallo
  • Thank you — Dank je wel
  • Yes — Ja
  • No — Nee
  • Goodbye — Dag

A Bit of Background About The Language

Dutch is the third most widely spoken Germanic language after English and German, and is one of the quickest languages to learn. Dutch uses the same alphabet as English, with just a few variations in pronunciation.

Interestingly, over 150,000 Americans speak Dutch in their homes and it is one of the top 15 languages in the states of Delaware, Indiana and Ohio.

In terms of pronunciation, Dutch has some of the same sounds as English, with some variations in vowels and consonants; for example, the letter “a” is pronounced differently from English (more like “ah”), and the “j” is pronounced similarly to the “y” sound in English.

If you didn’t know, English borrowed many Dutch words, including some common nouns and verbs. For example, the English word “booze” derives from the Dutch word “buizen,” and “cook stems” from the Dutch word “koekjes.”

Fun Facts About The Netherlands

The Netherlands is home to some of the most beautiful canals in the world, as well as breathtaking landscapes and stunning tulip fields.

The Dutch are big beer drinkers, consuming an average of 79.3 liters per person per year!

The Netherlands is known for its delicious cheese, which is its most prominent export. Gouda cheese is the most famous, which is aged from several weeks to seven years.

Dutch men are some of the tallest in the world, with the average height being 183cm (6ft) for men and 171cm (5ft 7in) for women.

French (30 Weeks)

  • Historically spoken in France and Southern Belgium, and is an official language across 29 countries on multiple continents.
  • Also spoken in parts of Canada, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the United States, among many other places
  • Approximately 97.6 million people worldwide speak French as their mother tongue.

Common French Words and Phrases

  • Hello — Bonjour
  • Thank you — Merci
  • Yes — Oui
  • No — Non
  • Goodbye — Au revoir

A Bit of Background About The Language

French is a Romance language derived from Vulgar Latin and is the fifth most spoken language in the world. It also includes words from Gaulish and Germanic languages. The language influences English, with approximately 45% of English words with French origins.

French has a great number of homophones, which are words that have the same pronunciation but a different meaning. For example, “night” and “knight” are homophones in English.

French has a few tricky letters to pronounce, such as “ju” “i” and “y.” The letter “j” is pronounced like “jhee” while the letter “i” is pronounced like the long “ee” sound in English. The letter “y” is also pronounced differently in French, sounding more like a long two-syllable word, “ee-greck.”

French also has several different accents to get your head around, such as é, è, ê, and ë. But don’t be put off by that; French is still one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn.

Fun Facts About France

France is the birthplace of some of the world’s most famous fashion designers, such as Coco Chanel and Louis Vuitton.

The French are renowned for their love of food and are highly regarded for their cuisine around the world. Meals play a big part in their social life as most meals are eaten together with others. They have a reputation for taking their time to enjoy meals and savoring every bite.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris is one of the world’s most famous landmarks and a symbol of France. It is also the tallest structure in Paris, standing 330m (1,083ft) tall!

The French are known for their love of art; France was home to some of the world’s greatest artists, including Claude Monet and Henri Matisse.

Italian (24 weeks)

  • The official language of Italy, Switzerland, Vatican City and San Marino, Slovenia and Croatia
  • It is spoken in Monaco, Luxembourg, Belgium, and many other countries on multiple continents
  • Approximately 63 million people worldwide speak Italian as their mother tongue

Common Italian Words and Phrases

  • Hello – Ciao
  • Thank you – Grazie
  • Yes – Sì
  • No – No
  • Goodbye – Arrivederci

A Bit of Background About The Language

Italian is a Romance language, descended from Vulgar Latin. It is the fourth most studied language in the world, after English, Spanish, and Mandarin. It is similar to all Romance languages, especially French, Catalan, Sardinian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

There are only 21 letters in the Italian alphabet. J, K, W, X, and Y are used in foreign words or old writings and are considered one of the closest languages to Latin.

Italian is completely phonetic, which means its pronunciation rules are always constant. Once you learn the rules, you can successfully pronounce any Italian word in written form, even if you haven’t heard it spoken before.

Fun Facts About Italy

Italy is the home of many famous works of art, such as Michelangelo’s “David” and Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.

Italy is widely known for its delicious cuisine. Pizza and pasta are both traditional Italian dishes that have become popular all over the world.

Italy is home to the world’s oldest university, the University of Bologna. It was founded in 1088 and continues to operate to this day.

The Italian city of Venice has been a popular tourist destination for centuries and is known for its alleyways, bridges, and beautiful architecture. It is often referred to as the “Floating City” as the buildings look like they rise from the water.

Norwegian (24 weeks)

  • Historically spoken in Scandinavia and is an official language in Norway
  • It is also spoken in Sweden, Denmark, the United States and Canada
  • Approximately 5 million people worldwide speak Norwegian as their mother tongue

Common Norwegian Words and Phrases

  • Hello — Hallo
  • Thank you — Takk
  • Yes — Ja
  • No — Nei
  • Goodbye — Ha det

A Bit of Background About The Language

Norwegian is a North Germanic language derived from Old Norse and is closely related to Danish and Swedish. It has two written forms, one known as Bokmål, which is the more common form, and Nynorsk.

Norwegian has three genders for nouns — masculine, feminine, and neuter. While many languages give you some clue what gender it is, for example -o for masculine and -a for feminine, there is no clear indication in Norweigan.

English speakers typically find Norwegian easy to learn due to the similarities in grammar and vocabulary, as both languages belong to the Germanic language family.

Fun Facts About Norway

Norway is home to the world’s northernmost city, Longyearbyen, located at 78°N on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard.

Norway is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream destination with its abundance of hiking trails and ski resorts.

The Sami people are the indigenous people of Norway, and their traditional culture is still alive today. The Sami also have a unique language (Sámi), which is the other official language of Norway.

Norwegians drink a lot of coffee, up to 5.5 kg per person each year, which is three times more than any other country. That’s why Norway is known as a land of coffee.

Norway, one of the Nordic countries, is situated on the west coast of Europe and receives more direct exposure to the sun than many other countries. Commonly referred to as “The Land Of The Midnight Sun,” you can expect the sun to never actually set for a 76-day period from May to late July. From September to March, Norway is also renowned for its season of the Northern Lights.

Portuguese (24 weeks)

  • The main countries where Portuguese is spoken include Brazil, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Angola
  • It is also spoken by minorities in Equatorial Guinea, Macau, East Timor, Cape Verde, and others
  • Approximately 232 million people worldwide speak Portuguese as their mother tongue

Common Portuguese Words and Phrases 

  • Hello — Olá
  • Thank you — Obrigado/a
  • Yes — Sim
  • No — Não
  • Goodbye — Adeus

A Bit of Background About The Language

Portuguese is a Romance language closely related to Spanish and is one of the easiest languages to learn. It descended from Vulgar Latin, the spoken language during Roman times.

Portuguese is the sixth most natively spoken language in the world and the fastest-growing European language behind English.

It is considered a mostly phonetic language – once you learn how it sounds, reading it becomes quite easy! Portuguese also has only 23 letters in its alphabet (K, W and Y only appear in foreign words).

Portuguese from Brazil and Portuguese from Portugal have considerable differences; for example, the second-person pronouns tu and vós are commonly used in Portugal, while Brazil favors the pronouns você and vocês.

Fun Facts About Portugal 

Portugal is home to some of the world’s oldest cities, such as Lisbon and Porto. The ancient architecture is a sight to behold!

The Portuguese exploration opened up the way to many important discoveries during the European Age of Discovery and Exploration. They reached India, established trading posts in Asia and Africa, and settled in what is now Brazil, resulting in one of the most influential empires.

Football (soccer) is one of the most popular sports in Portugal, and it even has its own national team! It has become the tenth nation to win the European Championships and is known for one of the greatest football players, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Portugal ranked fourth on the Global Peace Index (GPI) in 2021, establishing itself as one of the world’s most peaceful countries, behind Iceland, New Zealand, and Denmark. Consequently, Portugal has low levels of violence and is among the safest countries globally.

Romanian (24 weeks)

  • Romanian is spoken mainly in Romania and Moldova
  • It is also spoken by a minority in Serbia, Ukraine and others
  • It is the primary language for around 17.2 million people worldwide

Common Romanian Words and Phrases 

  • Hello — Salut
  • Thank you — Mulțumesc
  • Yes — Da
  • No — Nu
  • Goodbye — La revedere

A Bit of Background About The Language 

Romanian is a Romance language derived from Latin, similar to French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. It has been influenced by the Slavic languages due to the neighboring Slavic-speaking countries.

Romanian is a phonetic language like Italian, which makes it quite easy to read and pronounce. Romanian grammar, on the other hand, is known to be challenging because nouns and verbs are known to have many different forms and may change depending on their relationship in the sentence.

Romanian spelling is based on the Latin alphabet, with some additional letters added. It also uses diacritical marks that modify the pronunciation of certain vowels and consonants, for example, â, î ș, ț.

Fun Facts About Romania 

The Parliament Palace in Bucharest is an incredibly large and grand building, with dimensions measuring 240 meters long, 270 meters wide, and 86 meters high. Built over 12 floors, it consists of an impressive 1,100 rooms and is officially the second-largest building in the world.

Vampire folklore has its roots in Transylvania, a region located in central Romania. Many people believe vampires originated here due to Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel, where Dracula came from.

Romania is famous for its bear population – it is home to 60% of European bears! Many exotic animals can be found in Romania, such as the Eurasian lynx (its national animal), the Carpathian chamois (which looks a bit like a goat and antelope), and the great white pelican (one of Romania’s national symbols).

Romania has a rich food culture with plenty of traditional dishes such as sarmale (stuffed cabbage rolls), mămăligă (cornmeal porridge), and ciorbă de burt ă (a creamy, sour, and garlicky soup). Traditional desserts include papanasi, clatite and placinte.

Spanish (24 weeks)

  • Spanish is spoken in many countries, including Mexico, Spain, and many South American countries, such as Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Peru, and others
  • Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States
  • Approximately 486 million people worldwide speak Spanish as their mother tongue

Common Spanish Words and Phrases 

  • Hello — Hola
  • Thank you — Gracias
  • Yes — Sí
  • No — No
  • Goodbye — Adiós

A Bit of Background About The Language

Spanish is a Romance language originating from Latin and is one of the fastest languages to learn. It has significantly been influenced by Arabic. Spanish is the second most widely spoken language globally and is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn.

Spanish is often referred to by two different names – Castellano and Español. The former refers to the dialect of Spanish spoken in the northern and central parts of Spain and occasionally refers to all varieties of Spanish spoken within Spain as opposed to Latin American Spanish. In some regions, these terms are used differently based on political or social views. 

Luckily, Spanish is a phonetic language, so it’s easy to read and pronounce. It also has a greater variety of grammar than English; for example, they have two verbs for “to be,” which are “ser” and “estar.”

Fun Facts About Spain 

Spain is the world’s second most visited country, after France. Tourists flock from all over the globe to explore its stunning beaches, vibrant cities, and unique culture.

In Spain, people like to take siestas (naps) in the afternoon — this tradition dates back centuries! The custom actually originated with the ancient Romans in Italy. The Roman tradition of telling time-based on the position of the sun included a break around noon, during their sixth hour, known as “sexta” in Latin. This is where the word “siesta” comes from!

The Spanish Flamenco dance has been declared one of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage — you can see performances in many theaters throughout Spain.

Tapas are small dishes that are served with drinks, often as appetizers. This is a unique tradition in Spanish culture — it has become popular around the world and can be found in many bars and restaurants. There are endless varieties of tapas to choose from, ranging from patatas bravas (spicy potatoes) to pinchos (slices of bread topped with some meat, fish, seafood or cheese).

There are beautiful works of art across Spain, from Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona to the Prado Museum’s vast collection of artistic masterpieces that date from the 12th to the 20th century. The cities of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, and Granada all have breathtaking monuments and architecture worthy of exploration.

The Running of The Bulls Festival (La Feria de San Fermin) is one of the many unique festivals that take place in Spain. It takes place every year in Pamplona from July 7th-14th. The religious festival celebrates the city’s patron saint, San Fermin, and features daily races of bulls through the city streets.

Swedish (24 weeks)

  • Swedish is spoken by about 9.7 million speakers worldwide, mainly in Sweden and Finland.
  • Swedish ranks the 14th most-spoken language in Europe

Common Swedish Words and Phrases 

  • Hello – Hej
  • Thank you – Tack
  • Yes – Ja
  • No – Nej
  • Goodbye – Adjö

A Bit of Background About The Language

Swedish is a North Germanic language related to Danish and Norwegian and is one of the fastest languages to learn. Swedish speakers usually find it easier to understand written Norwegian and Danish more than the spoken language because of the variations in tone, accent, and intonation.

Modern Swedish has two genders (common and neuter) and doesn’t conjugate verbs based on person or number. Like the other Scandinavian languages, every verb is the same, regardless of who said it. For example, in English we say “I am,” “you are,” “he is,” but in Swedish, you can replace “is,” “am” and “are” with är.

Fun Facts About Sweden 

In Sweden, taking off your shoes when entering someone’s home is customary — this is a sign of respect for the house and host.

Majorly talented music producers and songwriters come from Sweden, including Max Martin and Shellback. They have worked with top artists such as Ariana Grande, Britney Spears, Katie Perry, Taylor Swift, and The Weeknd.

There are more than 95,000 lakes in Sweden where swimming is allowed. Sweden also has approximately 60,000 km of rivers in total length. Due to its abundance of moving water and biomass, Sweden is able to rely heavily on renewable energy sources.

The Ice Hotel in the village of Jukkasjärvi is a unique attraction that draws visitors from all over the world. Every year, two-tonne blocks of ice from the nearby Torne River are used to construct the hotel. During the cold season, builders and artists work together to create a one-of-a-kind hotel that is different each time. The completed creation is a stunning structure made entirely of ice and snow.


  • Afrikaans is spoken by over 18.8 million people worldwide, with 7.2 million native speakers
  • In South Africa, Afrikaans is one of the eleven official languages and is spoken by a portion of the population in Namibia as their first language.
  • Additionally, Afrikaans is spoken in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Common Afrikaans Words and Phrases 

  • Hello — Hallo
  • Thank you — Dankie
  • Yes — Ja
  • No — Nee
  • Goodbye — Totsiens

A Bit of Background About The Language

Afrikaans is a West Germanic language that developed from Dutch dialects spoken by Dutch settlers who arrived in South Africa during the 17th century.

Around 90 to 95% of the vocabulary comes from Dutch; other languages, such as German and the Khoisan languages of Southern Africa, have contributed to its development.

Afrikaans has several unique features, including simplified grammar rules and phonetic spellings. Afrikaans is its own language, and learning this language is much simpler than Dutch.

Afrikaans is spoken by 7 million people in South Africa, which is about 13.5% of the population. It is the third most common indigenous language after Zulu and Xhosa.

Fun Facts About South Africa 

South Africa is known for its beautiful beaches, wildlife safaris, and delicious cuisine. It is also home to ten World Heritage Sites, including Victoria Falls and Robben Island.

South Africans celebrate Freedom Day on April 27th every year, which marks the anniversary of the country’s first democratic elections in 1994.

As far back as 1655, South Africa has been making wines! Today, there are approximately 500 wineries across the country producing some of the world’s finest vintages.

South African braai (barbecue) is a popular pastime for South Africans. A traditional braai consists of meat such as steak, boerewors (sausage), and lamb chops cooked over an open fire. This is accompanied by side dishes like pap (porridge-like maize dish) and chakalaka (spicy baked beans and vegetables).

Which Language Are You Going to Learn?

This concludes our list of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers. Each language is unique and comes from a place with its own culture, values, and ideas. You will also notice some connections between languages as they borrow words from one another, and research shows that the more languages you learn, the easier it gets. I invite you now to challenge yourself with one of these languages and pick up an app like Babbel to get started learning!

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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