Thanks to the Foreign Service Institute, native English speakers can estimate how long it might take them to learn each of the over 65 foreign languages. The state department has classified languages into categories and further divided them by learning time.
Here are some that language learners might pick up in 24 weeks.
Learning a language in a mere six months may sound like a distant possibility, but it’s absolutely possible as long as you see it, not as a foreign language, but as a first cousin of your native tongue. Case in point: Dutch.
As a fellow Germanic language, Dutch shares many similarities with English and German, from spelling to vocabulary. You can even say it sounds like a perfect mix of the two. However, sound and meaning are precisely why you have to actually learn this language.
While many words in Dutch might be spelled as they are in the English language, they may either be pronounced differently or retain a false friendship. The Dutch word map comes to mind, which actually means ‘file’ in English.
You may be surprised to find that Norwegian, a language you might not have heard a lick of, is one of the simplest languages to learn for an English speaker. However, like Dutch, English, and German, Norwegian also belongs to the Germanic family.
Thus, it shares quite a few similarities with English, from vocabulary to word order and more. Norwegian also has simple grammar and an uncannily diverse way of pronouncing the same word, which means there isn’t really a wrong way of uttering words.
All languages are theorized to have been derived from a single protolanguage, so it’s not too outlandish to assume an English speaker can learn a language outside the Germanic family in six months.
Let’s move on to the Romance family, and look at Italian for a bit. Due to sharing Latin roots with English, you’ll find that Italian shares many friends with your language. Moreover, globalism has enabled many borrowed and loanwords to be exchanged between the two.
If you look closely at words like influenza, terracotta, stanza, and so on, you’ll find that they sound more like Italian than English.
Fun Language Acquisition: Learning Italian with Stories
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