|Subject: Re: Language learning|
I'm new to this group and I found out this discussion to be very
interesting. I'm a Czech of origin.
Comparing to the USA we're very small country. That's one of the
reasons why our people have to speak at least one foreign language.
I like learning foreign languages and I'd like to share some of mine
experience. I speak Czech, Slovak (of course, we used to be one
republic), Russian (unfortunately it was compulsory to learn this
language from our childhood because of our big brother:-), German
(because of our big neighbour), English (because it was close to
German), French (because 60% of English words come from French, so I
could save my memory capacity), Italian (because it's just an easier
French)and Arabic (because I wanted to speak some total different
1. English - To me the easiest language to learn was English -
somebody told it is very close to German. It is true because
the English used to be actually German language back more than 1000
years ago. But as you know, England used to be occupied by French
for almost two centuries and French language penetrated into English.
But the old English made that mixture of these two languages easier
and cut almost all gramatical exceptions (which are really crazy:-)
2. German - You, English native speakers may recognize a lot of
similar words and also pronunciation could be OK with you (they
pronounce every letter, so you shouldn't learn every word with its
pronunciation) but I guess the grammar would be difficult to you. Bad
think is that you have to learn thousands of endings. That's a
little bit disadvantage. But I'd say that this language would the
easiest for you.
3. French - as I mentioned above, English words are about 60 % based
on French. There should be not big problem with the grammar itself to
you (for instance the plural ending is -s which is the same like in
English) but you have to learn a lot of exceptions. The worst think
is the pronunciation.
4. Italian and Spanish - these languages are very similar to each
other. For Americans, the Spanish language would be more useful
because of your neighbours and immigrants. Similar to Germans, they
pronounce every letter and reading or speaking shouldn't be difficult
to you. I don't know about Spanish but Italian grammar is not that
difficult and I personally would say it is quite easy language.
5. Any Slavic language - all of them are very close and similar. I'd
say, if Slavics speak slowly, they understand each other no matter
where they are from. Pronounciation is not difficult (needs just a
little bit training) but the grammar is more than difficult. I
wouldn't recommend it as an easy language.
You should also think about some more things - first, why do you want
to learn foreign language, second - if you want just to be able to
speak few words or if you want to be able to understand tv or read
newspapers, simply said on which level you want to speak and third -
very important - will you be able to use that language you're going
to learn ?
If I were American, I personally would learn Spanish or French.
Both are spoken worldwide and both have something to do with English.
And you can use both within your Northern American continent.
Last advice - you have to start speaking your desired language very
soon because it is the best way how to learn foreign languages.