Which language is the simplest in the world?
New year, new resolutions! And why do not we learn a new language? Great idea ! But which language to choose? It should not take us either all our time, all our weekends and all our evenings, just not to give up in mid-February … With the 7,000 recorded living languages, and 51 living languages just in Europe. Is … It makes a choice!
It’s true that it would be nice, and I thought linguists had to find answers to this question. Well no. No single answer, no miracle recipe. I fell during my research on a real debacle about it!
And yes ! It is true that there are families of language that make it possible to classify languages according to their lexical roots and similarities. This can help you know which languages have the closest resemblance to yours. But in reality, the case is much more complicated. She is in fact extremely subjective. It depends on your interest in culture around the language, the languages your parents speak, where you lived, where you would like to travel, languages you learned in school …
So, find the criteria that can help you in your choice, review what might discourage you in your learning, help erase prejudices, and find the language that suits you!
Indeed, the first reason for being discouraged quickly is that the language is too difficult, too far from us, our interests … So, let’s turn to what seems a precaution, and look for languages that are more “close” to ours. But you will see that, already at this level, we have surprises!
It is true that by choosing a language close to your lexical level, you will have fewer new things to learn as a new alphabet or sounds that do not exist in your own language. But beware of the aprioris!
Languages that are similar to each other
I had two surprises by studying this diagram:Norwegian, Danish and Swedish are Germanic languages, while Finnish comes from the Finno-Ugric family. It is therefore a mistake to think that it will be easier for us to learn Finnish if we already have knowledge of Swedish!
According to the scheme, Romani would be easier to learn for us than English! I do not know about you, but as far as I’m concerned, the choice is made! Culture, films, songs … I would have a lot more ease and pleasure to immerse myself in English than the Romani level. But, to each his choice!
So, avoid basing your choice on your perception of distance from your own language. Do some research!
Let’s take a closer look at a language that seems to be difficult: Chinese. If the alphabet and tones are difficult, grammar is actually quite simple, virtually non-existent. Linguists have even developed a writing system that uses our alphabet: pinyin. Thus, one can imagine that if your real difficulty when you are learning a language is grammar, not pronunciation or comprehension, Chinese can be an option for you!
When I was younger, at school I was learning Spanish. And I used to watch a type series “Fame” without much interest apart as entertainment for a girl of 14 years. It was called “A Very Back”. I tried to put my hand on it recently by looking for a Spanish version on the internet, subtitled in Spanish, English or French, and did not arrive there! It turns out that this series was more successful in France than in Spain at the time, and so it was the end of my meager motivation to refresh my Spanish.
If the example is a little lame, it serves I hope to show how easy it is to get discouraged by lack of adequate resources. If it is difficult for me to find my series in a language as important as Spanish, it will not be easy to find resources that suit you in Latvian for example. Think about it!