What is the Easiest Spoken Language to Learn?

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In summary: Indo/Western, so may not qualify...FWIW, my parents were polyglot, but I was unable to grok any language beyond my native English (regional) until I met BASIC in ~1978...Many native Malaysians can't speak Malaysian. The common language is English, but this is unofficial.@BWV , @Hornbein , to be more precise, the language spoken in Malaysia is Malay, not Malaysian.Officially, the Malay language is called "Bahasa Melayu" (similar to Indonesia, where the official language is called "Bahasa Indonesia").
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What is the easiest foreign language to learn?

It depends strongly on your native language. To mitigate this, I'm making the rule that the language has to be in a different language group than your native tongue. You English speakers are forbidden to chose any Indo-European language.
 
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  • #2
Hornbein said:
What is the easiest foreign language to learn?

It depends strongly on your native language. To mitigate this, I'm making the rule that the language has to be in a different language group than your native tongue. You English speakers are forbidden to chose any Indo-European language.
That may be too restrictive. For English native speakers, maybe tell them, "You are forbidden to choose any Germanic language". Even about this, not everybody will agree.
 
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Your rule would seem to rule out American's learning British "English", which I consider to be quite difficult. I mean, they get SO many things wrong. And don't even get me started on their pronunciation. :oldlaugh:
 
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  • #4
Hornbein said:
You English speakers are forbidden to chose any Indo-European language.
Yea, always dumping on perceived success. What difference does "easy" make if it is a language you can't do much with?
 
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Pig Latin.
 
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phinds said:
Your rule would seem to rule out American's learning British "English"
Do they not know the difference between plurals and possessive in England?
 
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  • #8
FORTRAN
 
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  • #9
Vanadium 50 said:
FORTRAN
In grad school I had a language requirement to fulfill.
Somehow I worked it so I could do that with computer language. 😀
 
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  • #10
BillTre said:
In grad school I had a language requirement to fulfill.
I did too. It was not difficult:

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?
Si Señor!
Close enough. Next!
 
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  • #12
Hornbein said:
What is the easiest foreign language to learn?
 
  • #13
Hornbein said:
Many native Malaysians can't speak Malaysian.
Is it Malaysian or Maylay?
 
  • #14
Hornbein said:
What is the easiest foreign language to learn?

It depends strongly on your native language. To mitigate this, I'm making the rule that the language has to be in a different language group than your native tongue. You English speakers are forbidden to chose any Indo-European...
I think the title and your post are two different things essentially. The title is an interesting question, "what is the easiest language to learn?" This should be for anyone in my view, so in terms of grammar, cases, vocabulary, phonetics.

The second part as @symbolipoint pointed out is a completely different scenario.
Would someone from France find Swahili easier than a Peruvian learning Welsh. How would you measure it?
 
  • #15
Think back, everyone, to the time you were learning your FIRST language. You did not previously speak or use *or read or write another. You were learning just your first language and maybe NONE others. How difficult or easy was this?*Excuse me. The emphasis for this topic was made toward Speaking a language and that is the emphasis which should be kept.
 
  • #16
symbolipoint said:
Think back, everyone, to the time you were learning your FIRST language. You did not previously speak or use or read or write another. You were learning just your first language and maybe NONE others. How difficult or easy was this?
That's a long time ago but my memories tell me it was easy. I just remember speaking English.
I wish mathematics would have fell into my lap just like that, at 2.
 
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  • #17
Vanadium 50 said:
FORTRAN
1 or 4? :devil:
 
  • #18
Vanadium 50 said:
FORTRAN
( One should not really give a comment like what I'll do here on a topic like this one, but...)

BASIC is (of the older style) easier, but then neither is a spoken language. They are written and graphical; that is how they are handled or communicated. Computer programming languages are not spoken human languages.

But then again, did mommy and daddy teach their child FORTRAN during his or her first four years of life? THAT would be interesting.
 
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symbolipoint said:
But then again, did mommy and daddy teach their child FORTRAN during his or her first four years of life? THAT would be interesting.
It's a whole new world, baby! :wink:

1667518137620.png

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url...d=0CA4Q3YkBahcKEwi49teimpP7AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQAw
 
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I'm told Esperanto is probably the easiest, but has roots in Indo/Western, so may not qualify...

FWIW, my parents were polyglot, but I was unable to grok any language beyond my native English (regional) until I met BASIC in ~1978...
 
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  • #21
Hornbein said:
Indonesian and Malaysian are about 90% the same.

Many native Malaysians can't speak Malaysian. The common language is English, but this is unofficial.
@BWV , @Hornbein , to be more precise, the language spoken in Malaysia is Malay, not Malaysian.

Officially, the Malay language is called "Bahasa Melayu" (similar to Indonesia, where the official language is called "Bahasa Indonesia").

It is true though that Indonesian and Malay language are in fact largely the same language, both derived from a standardized form of the Malay language based on Classical Malay, and where it served as a lingua franca throughout the various regions of what is now modern-day Malaysia and Indonesia.

As for the claim that many native Malaysians can't speak Malay, that is not strictly speaking true. All members of the Malay ethnic group in Malaysia can speak Malay, and the Malay language (as an official language) is taught to all students. It is true that some members of the non-Malay ethnic groups in Malaysia (e.g. ethnic Chinese, ethnic Indians, non-Malay indigenous groups like the Iban or Kadazan in Sarawak, etc.) may only have a limited degree of fluency in Malay (although I suspect that fluency in Malay is pretty widespread, along with English).
 
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  • #22
StatGuy2000 said:
As for the claim the many native Malaysians can't speak Malay, that is not strictly speaking true.
I'm getting dizzy... o0)
 
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  • #23
StatGuy2000 said:
@BWV , @Hornbein . It is true that some members of the non-Malay ethnic groups in Malaysia (e.g. ethnic Chinese, ethnic Indians, non-Malay indigenous groups like the Iban or Kadazan in Sarawak, etc.) may only have a limited degree fluency in Malay (although I suspect that fluency in Malay is pretty widespread, along with English).
There are plenty of non-Malay Malaysians, mostly ethnic Chinese and Tamils. They have their own school systems in their own language. I've been to Malaysia and it's not unusual that they can't speak Malaysian as well as do I, sometimes not at all.

I've been to restaurants off the tourist track and the menu was in English because it's the unofficial common language.

I've also been the hills of Malaysia and couldn't understand a word the natives said (unless they used English).
 
  • #24
berkeman said:
I'm getting dizzy... o0)
Me too and I'm British! To understand language you have to know about history. Who went where and when and what they left behind. Evolution in action.
 
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  • #25
pinball1970 said:
Me too and I'm British! To understand language you have to know about history. Who went where and when and what they left behind. Evolution in action.
That right there should spark a discussion about formal and informal language instruction and language learning.
 
  • #26
I also once overheard a Malaysian Tamil family talking amongst themselves in English. It seems it was the language they used at home. I suppose it was the children's native language.
 

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