Knowing several foreign languages is always a powerful and valuable asset. With each new language, we gain a new perspective and a new way of looking at the world, and it opens up a lot of unique and exciting opportunities.
Moreover, studies have shown that learning a new language can add between 11–35 per cent to your salary and increase your chances of being hired.
Of course, learning another language isn't an easy feat - it's a winding path that takes time and hard work. However, according to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), the United States federal government's institution that has an extensive experience on teaching languages to U.S. diplomats, on average, learners can achieve proficiency considerably faster if they study languages that are more or less similar to the languages they already know.
For example, English and Spanish have a similar syntax and thousands of cognates or words (like actor, color, doctor) that are spelled exactly or nearly the same and often have similar meaning. There are several other languages (FSI calls them "Category I Languages") that take the least amount of time to learn (24-30 weeks) to achieve proficiency if you are an English speaker.
Here are the easiest languages to learn if you already speak English:
Dutch - 24 weeks
Similar words: creatief (creative), water, huis (house), beter (better)
Danish - 24 weeks
Similar words: kat (cat), kold (cold), privat (private), kvalitet (quality)
Italian - 24 weeks
Similar words: abilità (ability), brevità (brevity), memorabile (memorable), liberazione (liberation)
Norwegian - 24 weeks
Similar words: gress (grass), vindu (window), svømme (swim), vis (wise)
Spanish - 24 weeks
Swedish - 24 weeks
Romanian - 24 weeks
Portuguese - 24 weeks
French - 30 weeks
Want to boost your English skills and confidence? Join classmates from around the world in 100% online teacher-led classes and interactive lessons at LEO International Online School. We have beginner to advanced-level ESL classes to improve your proficiency levels in English. Check our English courses here and our other courses here, and don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.