What languages are easy to learn for Spanish speakers? Given enough time and dedication, you can learn any language you set your mind to,. A good language tutor and study materials help a lot, of course. That said, some languages take more work than others. To learn fast, choose a language that shares similarities with a language you already know.
Whether your native tongue is Spanish or you have learned Spanish from lessons, the five Romance languages will be the quickest to pick up. They will most likely require the least effort and the shortest amount of time to reach fluency. Here are more details about the five easiest languages to learn as a Spanish speaker.
All about Romance languages
For Spanish speakers, the five easiest languages to learn will be other Romance languages. Why? Because they are all based on Latin, these Romance languages share similar alphabets, vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. Along with Spanish, the major Romance languages are Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, and Catalan.
But how similar is their vocabulary, really? Though not every word has the same root, you can see below that Romance languages have plenty in common. Take a look:
|(cheers) to your health||salud||saúde||salute||(à ta) santé||sănătate|
|game||el juego||o jôgo||il giuoco||le jeu||joc|
How can I, the author of this article, be sure that Portuguese is one of the easiest languages to learn for Spanish speakers? Personal experience! After a trip to Brazil, I noticed how similar the vocabulary and grammar were. I looked up blogs about pronunciation and within days I was able to have basic conversations with hotel staff, taxi drivers and restaurant servers. Impressive, considering that most people I met in Brazil assured me they couldn’t speak any Spanish. The best part of learning Portuguese if you already know Spanish? The articles and gender rules are nearly identical. Finally, all those hours of memorizing the gender of inanimate objects in Spanish are paying off.
Besides Brazil and Portugal, there are plenty of Portuguese-speaking countries where being fluent will help you. Angola, Mozambique Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe are all coastal or island countries in Africa where Portuguese is spoken alongside non-colonial indigenous languages. Portuguese will also help you navigate East Timor and Macau in Asia. Fun food fact: the most delicious pasteis de nata or Portuguese egg tart I’ve ever eaten was in Macau.
French is another of the easiest languages to learn for Spanish speakers. Many of my native Spanish-speaking friends who grew up in Mexico City studied French in school. France is a top travel destination in the world due to its cuisine, wine and fashion. Plus, French often appears on lists of ‘best languages to learn’ or ‘prettiest sounding languages in the world’. The French language has a global reputation for its romantic and elegant sound.
There is also a popular work-study visa program for Mexican citizens to live temporarily in Canada. Many Mexican students, who already have a solid grasp of English, take the opportunity to become multilingual by studying in Quebec and learning Quebecois French. If people from Mexico find French one of the easiest languages for Spanish speakers to learn, then you will too.
Moving east from the Hexagone into the most famous boot, you might also consider Italian as a language easier to learn as a Spanish speaker. Italy is a popular tourist destination since it is the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. Speaking Italian is useful too. It can help you to navigate an Italian vacation and fully experience the cuisine, weather, history, fashion and culture of this country in southern Europe.
Italian is spoken by 85 million people worldwide. Beyond Italy, it’s also the official language in Vatican City, San Marino and Switzerland. It’s also common to hear and see Italian in Greece, Croatia and Albania. After enjoying a fabulous pizza on vacation in Croatia, I fully realized how much cultural influence Italy has on the coastal Balkan countries.
Romanian also ranks as one of the easiest languages to learn for Spanish speakers. Though Romanian is closer to Italian than Spanish, it is also more isolated from southern Europe. This means it remained more intact as an offshoot of Vulgar Latin, so it retains its original Latin grammar. On the other hand, Romance languages influenced each other as they developed. Romanian also has unique influences that other Romance languages do not have, namely Slavic and Hungarian.
Moldovan, a form of Dacoromanian, is the national language of Moldova. As Romania’s neighbor, some say Moldovan is the local name for Romanian. Others say they are two distinct languages. Regardless, I have seen for myself how similar this language is to Spanish. When I worked in microfinance assisting Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs in the US, I hired a Moldovan intern. Though she never studied Spanish, she was able to communicate with our immigrant and refugee clients from Latin America starting on day one. With daily conversation, she was fluent in professional-level Spanish within a matter of months. If a Moldovan speaker can learn Spanish that fast, it’s safe to assume that a fluent Spanish speaker can do the same in Moldova and Romania.
Catalan is the final language we think is easiest to learn for Spanish speakers. Catalan is one of four official languages of Spain and the only official language of Andorra, a small country between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains. Though not as widespread as the Iberio-Romance language of Portuguese, Catalan has over 10 million native speakers worldwide. 4 million of those native Catalan speakers live within Spain itself. Catalan is another outlier since it is an Occitano-Romance language with less shared vocabulary than other Romance languages with Spanish. A majority of Catalonians are educated entirely in Catalan and are fiercely proud of their language. That means if you travel or live in Catalonia, its capital city Barcelona and nearby areas, Catalan (not Spanish) is the best way to socialize with local people.
- Catalan: Hola! Bon dia! Com estas?
- Spanish: ¡Hola! ¡Buenos días! ¿Cómo estás?
- English: Hello! Good morning! How are you?
The differences between Catalan vs. Spanish include vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling and grammar. Still, you can see that some phrases are similar enough to learn quickly.
Romance languages are the way to go
Now that you know Romance languages are the easiest languages to learn for Spanish speakers, which one would you consider studying? All five of the languages we mentioned share plenty of vocabulary and pronunciation rules with Spanish. The language that is truly the easiest to learn will be the one you are most interested in. For me, a trip to Brazil sparked my interest in Portuguese and everything is tudo bem (todo bien, all good). For you, it might be Italian pizza in Croatia or a Moldovan coworker who inspires you to study a new language. With so much Spanish grammar already under your belt, I encourage you to give it a try. Becoming multilingual is easier than you think.