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7 of the Easiest Foreign Languages to Learn

7 of the Easiest Foreign Languages to Learn

Who says learning a language needs to be hard?

The better question to ask is: which is the easiest language to learn in the shortest amount of time?

According to a European Commission survey in 2012, 61 per cent of British respondents could not speak a second language. In a world that’s becoming more multi-cultural and globalized by the second, getting by with just English is simply not enough. If that alone doesn’t get your juices flowing, knowing a foreign language has shown to help you make more money by adding 5-15% increase to one’s wage, and helps expand your career opportunities.

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    We’ve already written extensively about the most useful languages to learn, but how do we decide which is the easiest language to learn?

    Playing to your strengths

    One way to hack this process is to first understand that as English speakers, we have in our hands one of the most connected languages that exists. It’s linked to many European Germanic languages by descent or influence, and over 50 percent of English words stem from Latin or French.

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      ronen-et-al-book-translations

        This probably doesn’t come as a big surprise to most, as the structure, alphabet, and makeup of the language is very similar to Spanish, Italian, French, and other languages from the latin root.

        Bestselling author and polyglot, Tim Ferriss, says that you should consider a new language like a new sport.

        There are certain physical prerequisites (height is an advantage in basketball), rules (a runner must touch the bases in baseball), and so on that determine if you can become proficient at all, and—if so—how long it will take.

        For example, it would a wiser choice and indicate a higher likelihood of success if a professional water polo player decided to transition into playing handball: similar structures, rules, and physical requirements.

        However, it wouldn’t be too wise if Kobe Bryant started to play professional ice hockey. It involves learning too many new rules, an entire new skill (skating), and the likelihood of success decreases significantly (or will take 10x longer).

        Language learning is no different.

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        As a “professional” language learner, we need to first breakdown our strengths and our understanding of existing rules and structures. If you already speak English, picking a compatible language with similar sounds and word structure like Spanish, instead of a completely different root like Mandarin, could mean the difference between reaching conversation fluency in 3 months versus 3 years.

        The Golden Sentences

        If you want to determine which is the easiest language to learn, you should aim to answer the following questions first.

        1. Are there new grammatical structures that will postpone fluency?
        2. Are there new sounds that will double or quadruple the time it takes to acquire fluency? (particularly vowels)
        3. How similar is it to languages I already understand? What will help and what will interfere?
        4. All of which answer the question: How difficult will it be, and how long would it take to become fluent?

        An effective tool to use to answer all of these questions is called The Golden Sentences.

        It comprises eight sentences that expose much of the language, and quite a few deal breakers.

        The apple is red.
        It is John’s apple.
        I give John the apple.
        We give him the apple.
        He gives it to John.
        She gives it to him.
        I must give it to him.
        I want to give it to her.

        Here’s a directly translated version of these sentences in Spanish.

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          There’s a couple of reasons why these sentences are helpful:

          1. It shows you how verbs are conjugated based on the speaker (gender and number)
          2. You can see a high-level view of the fundamental sentence structures, which helps you answer questions like: is it subject-verb-object (SVO) like English and Chinese (“I eat the apple”), is it subject-object-verb (SOV) like Japanese (“I the apple eat”), or something else?
          3. The first three sentences shows you if the language has a noun case that may become a pain in the butt for you. For example in German, “the” might be der, das, die, dem, den and more depending on whether “the apple” is an object, indirect object, possessed by someone else, etc.

          If possible, we recommend you check with a language teacher to fully understand the translation of these sentences and how transferable your existing languages are.

          As a rule of thumb: use The Golden Sentences as your guiding map, before you choose the vehicle (the method). It will help you achieve your goals in half the time.

          Easiest language to learn

          Now let’s dive into dissecting which of the hundreds of languages that exist, is the easiest language to learn.

          We profiled each of the languages we’ll mention into the following categories:

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          • Speaking: This is based on the ease with which learners are able to pick up this language.
          • Grammar: Used as a criterion when ranking a given language as easy, moderately easy, or difficult to acquire.
          • Writing: In many languages, learning to speak first and write later makes the journey easier. Other languages are equally easy to speak and write. This item spells out the easiest languages to write alongside the most difficult. As with speaking, easy, moderately easy, and difficult were used to qualify each language.

          We’ve decided to rank the order of the languages from easiest to hardest to learn.

          1. Spanish

          Speaking: Very Easy
          Grammar: Very Easy
          Writing: Easy
          Overall: Very Easy

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            As English speakers, we can be thankful that Spanish pronunciations are one of the easiest to learn.
            Overall, Spanish has a shallow orthographic depth – meaning that most words are written as pronounced. This means that reading and writing in Spanish is a straightforward task.

            With only ten vowel and diphthong sounds (English has 20), and no unfamiliar phonemes except for the fun-to-pronounce letter ñ. This makes learning how to speak Spanish the easiest out of the bunch, and may give you the best return on your time and investment, as 37 per cent of employers rated Spanish as a critical language to know for employment.

            2. Italian

            Speaking: Easy
            Grammar: Easy
            Writing: Moderately Easy
            Overall: Easy

            italy

              Italian is the most “romantic” of the romance languages. Luckily its latin-rooted vocabulary translates into many similar Italian/English cognates, such as foresta (forest), calendario (calendar), and ambizioso (ambitious).

              Like Spanish, many of the words in Italian are written as pronounced. Moreover, the Italian sentence structure is highly rhythmic, with most words ending in vowels. This adds a musicality to the spoken language which makes it fairly simple to understand, and a spunky language to use.

              3. French

              Speaking: Moderate
              Grammar: Moderate
              Writing: Moderately Easy
              Overall: Moderate

              paris-france

                Welcome to the International language of love. Despite how different French may appear at first, linguists estimate that French has influenced up to a third of the modern English language.

                This may also explain why French’s Latin derivations make much of the vocabulary familiar to English speakers (edifice, royal, village). There are also more verb forms (17, compared to the English 12) and gendered nouns (le crayon, la table).

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                But it’s not all easy.

                Pronunciation in French is especially difficult, with vowel sounds and silent letters that you may not be used to in English.

                4. Portuguese

                Speaking: Moderate
                Grammar: Moderate
                Writing: Moderate
                Overall: Moderate

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                  With the Brazilian economy ranking 6th in the world, Portuguese has become a powerful language to learn. One great element of the language is that interrogatives are fairly easy, expressed by intonation alone (“You Like This?”) If you can say it in Portuguese, you can ask it. What’s more, in Brazilian Portuguese, there’s one catchall question tag form: não é.

                  The main difficulty with the pronunciation is the nasal vowel sounds that require some practice.

                  5. German

                  Speaking: Difficult
                  Grammar: Moderate
                  Writing: Moderate
                  Overall: Moderately Difficult

                  germany

                    For many English speakers, German is a difficult language to pick up. Its long words, four noun case endings, and rough pronunciation gives your tongue quite the work out each time you speak.

                    German is recognized as a very descriptive language. A good example is how they use the noun by combining the object with the action at hand.

                    Example: das Fernsehen – the television, combines the words fern, far, andsehen, watching, lit. far-watching.

                    On the other hand, German can be a fun language to learn and its use of grammar is considered to be quite logical, with many overlapping words in English. Just watch out for the exceptions to the rules!

                    6. Hindi

                    Speaking: Moderate
                    Grammar: Moderately Difficult
                    Writing: Difficult
                    Overall: Moderately Difficult

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                    bollywood-aishwarya-rai-red-sari-without-clothes-2062753630

                      There are many familiar words in English which are either Hindi or of Hindi origin. For example guru, jungle, karma, yoga, bungalow, cheetah, looting, thug and avatar. Hindi also uses lots of English words. They are read and pronounced as they are in English, but are written in Hindi. For example, डॉक्टर is pronounced doctor and स्टेशन is pronounced station.

                      This shows that while learning the vocabulary and pronunciation of Hindi may not to be too difficult due to its similarity to English, writing in Hindi is a different ball game.

                      7. Mandarin

                      Speaking: Difficult
                      Grammar: Difficult
                      Writing: Very Difficult
                      Overall: Very Difficult

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                        Last, but not least: Mandarin. We mainly put this here to show you the contrasting difference between the easiest language to learn (Spanish) and the hardest language to learn, for English speakers.

                        While language learners won’t struggle as much on the grammar, mastering the tones can be very difficult. Mandarin is a tonal language, which means the pitch or intonation used when a word is spoken impacts its meaning. For example, tang with a high tone means soup, but tang with a rising tone means sugar.

                        Learning Mandarin has its rewards though, providing cultural insights and knowledge. But according to the BBC, you’ll need to memorize over 2,000 characters to read a Chinese newspaper!

                        What’s the Easiest Language to Learn?

                        Winner: Spanish

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                          The clear winner for the easiest language to learn is Spanish. Everything from writing, grammar, and speaking will come more naturally to the English speaker: similar rules, structure, and latin roots.

                          It’ll be like going from playing football to ultimate Frisbee.

                          If you are interested in learning Spanish, you can take advantage of websites like Rype, which offers unlimited one-on-one Spanish lessons with a professional teacher online. This means you can learn anytime, anywhere, on-the-go.

                          We also recommend checking out this Complete Guide on How to Speak Spanish.

                          Over to you

                          What do you think is the easiest language to learn? Is there something we may have missed?

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                          Published on November 9, 2018

                          How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                          How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                          Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

                          Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

                          So, are you ready? Here we begin.

                          6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

                          When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

                          1. Spreadsheets and Databases

                          Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

                          To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

                          In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

                          • Microsoft Excel
                          • Microsoft Access
                          • Statistics
                          • Data Analytics
                          • Adobe Campaign
                          • Quickbooks
                          • XML Database management system
                          • Filemaker Pro
                          • MATLAB
                          • Hive
                          • FORTRAN
                          • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
                          • SAS

                          2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

                          Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

                          Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

                          • Content Management System (CMS)
                          • Google Analytics
                          • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
                          • Email Marketing
                          • Web Page Design
                          • WordPress
                          • Digital Media
                          • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
                          • Campaign Management Software

                          3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

                          A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

                          • Adobe Photoshop
                          • Adobe InDesign
                          • Adobe Illustrator
                          • AutoCAD
                          • CorelDRAW
                          • Microsoft Visual Studio
                          • Maya
                          • Microsoft Word
                          • Microsoft Publisher
                          • Operating Digital Cameras

                          4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

                          The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

                          To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

                          • HTML
                          • C/C++
                          • Java
                          • Python
                          • XML
                          • UI/UX
                          • LINUX
                          • CISC and RISC architecture
                          • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
                          • Memory Management
                          • PCB Layout
                          • SQL

                          5. IT Troubleshooting

                          Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

                          So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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                          • Backup management
                          • Diagnostics
                          • End User support
                          • Client-Server management
                          • Installation and configuration
                          • Issue tracking system (ITS)
                          • System administration
                          • Tech support

                          6. Enterprise Systems

                          Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

                          Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

                          The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

                          Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

                          Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

                          Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

                          1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

                          a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

                          Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

                          Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

                          b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

                          This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

                          c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

                          Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

                          Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

                          2. Rule the Social Media World

                          a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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                          Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

                          From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

                          b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

                          This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

                          c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

                          Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

                          Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

                          3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

                          a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

                          From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

                          b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

                          Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

                          The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

                          c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

                          The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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                          4. Live and Breathe Creativity

                          a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

                          It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

                          From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

                          b. Canva Design School

                          From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

                          c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

                          62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

                          d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

                          The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

                          Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

                          5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

                          a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

                          IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

                          It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

                          b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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                          The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

                          Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

                          The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

                          • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
                          • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
                          • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
                          • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
                          • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
                          • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
                          • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

                          Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

                          Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

                          1. Practice, Practice, Practice

                          It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

                          Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

                          2. Work on Your Efficiency

                          Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

                          For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

                          3. Look for Shortcuts

                          Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

                          4. Apply for an Internship

                          Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

                          By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

                          How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                          The Bottom Line

                          Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

                          So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

                          Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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