The easiest languages to learn vs the hardest

Anna Allgaier

*You’ve stumbled across my blog, huzzah! My name’s Anna and I’m a Content Marketing Manager here at Wise. When learning how to become a linguistic genius, please bear in mind that all the lols and opinions come from me, not Wise. So if you read something you aren’t a fan of, or you just have a question, reach out to me. Maybe even in one of the snazzy new languages you’ve learnt.

At Wise, our mission is to make it as easy as possible for you and your money to go all around the world. But you know what else makes travel and moving abroad easier? No?

Learning the language you silly billy.

I’ve looked into the world’s languages of love before, but if you’re looking to do more than flirt (not sure why) then here’s a look into the easiest languages to learn vs the hardest. So whether you’re looking for a linguistic challenge or a quick tick in the bilingual box this’ll have something for you.

After having a chat with some of our Wiser’s and prowling the www, I’ve come up with this list 👇

😎Learn the language of low fees😎

The “easiest” languages to learn (apparently)

There are two types of people in this world. People who call themselves linguists, and people whose language knowledge goes as far as “dónde está la biblioteca.” Bet I didn’t even spell that right, so you can guess which category I fall under. Sorry Spain.

According to our bilingual Wiser’s Germanic languages are the easiest to learn if you already speak English and knowing a Latin language can open a lot of doors as there are lots of similarities between them all. Here’s the breakdown:


Not only is French a total language of love its spoken by about 300 million people worldwide, so it’ll definitely come in handy and if you learn it you’ll sound all sexy and sophisticated, which is never a bad thing.

Nailing the accent is a tricky one admittedly but, there are heaps of similarities to the English language and the rules are relatively simple compared to other lingos.


20 countries around the world speak Spanish and it's the second most spoken language in the world. The pronunciation is far easier to pick up than French as its phonetic. There are some tricky grammar and tenses rules, but that’s to be expected with any language you’re picking up for the first time.


Now, this one may come as a surprise to you because it sounds rather complicated and the pronunciation is a little daunting. The language opens a lot of doors and is spoken by over 234 million people globally, it’s also routed in Latin, making it easier for lots of us to pick up.


Dutch is the third most spoken Germanic language and with around 24 million people worldwide speaking it. It also sounds super cool and some of their insults are hilarious. So there’s that.

The language has a lot of similarities to English and even shares some of the same words, just with different pronunciation. The same can be said for German.


Funnily enough, language platform Babbel have actually named Norwegian as the easiest language for English speakers to learn. It’s a Germanic language, the pronunciation is relatively simple, there’s a lot of shared vocabulary with English and the way the sentences are structured also bears similarity to the English language.


Alright, don’t know about you but I’m super grateful this one’s on the list because who doesn’t want to move to Italy and literally bathe in pasta?

There are around 63 million native speakers around the world, the vocab is dropped into English from time to time and the sentence structure isn’t “oh my god I can’t do this” levels of intimidating.


WILD CARD. Bet you didn’t expect to see this bad boy on the list. Well, according to the internet, and one of our lovely Wiser’s, Indonesian is very easy for English speakers to learn. Why? It uses the Latin alphabet, words are pronounced as they are written, and there are no verb conjunctions so you can kiss scary grammar rules goodbye.

The hardest languages to learn (definitely)

Pretty sure none of these will take you by surprise, and if you learnt one of the below as a second language I take my hat off to you. If you just like a challenge, well I take my hat off to you too. I’m out of hats.

Mandarin Chinese

Yes, Mandarin is spoken by over a billion people worldwide, but you know what? It’s so hard that it's considered admirable to even be able to look up words in the Chinese dictionary, AS A CHINESE PERSON thanks to the characters that are used to describe words. The language isn’t phonetic, the tone you use when pronouncing words changes the meaning and the written language is difficult to grasp, especially if your first language is routed in either Latin.


Arabic is a beautiful language and has a ton of words we don’t have in English, a lot of which are really, really melodious and poetic. It’s spoken by over 300 million people and according to the Foreign Services Institute it is so hard it can take up to two years to learn the language. As such a widely used language, there are a myriad of dialects and different uses of vocab to learn. The writing is, of course, also from right to left which can be confusing at first.


Spoken by 76 million people natively, Vietnamese can be a bit of a roughie for English speakers. It’s an Austroasiatic language, and has six tonal shifts, which, like Mandarin, means everything lies on how you say the word both in pitch and pronunciation.


I love the Fins, they take Eurovision seriously, they love a Sauna and their liquorice is banging.
While I love them, I’m not sure if the language is one I’ll be picking up anytime soon. Yes, it’s spoken by over 5 million people, but it’s also got a pretty tricky case and vowel system, tricky grammar and pronunciation that isn’t the easiest for an English speaker to pick up.


Anyone else totally obsessed with Netflix’s Japanese reality TV show Terrace House? Well, if not, shame on you, but it’s a great way to get started with the language. 128 million people speak it and it has thousands of different characters you need to learn in order to get by. It’s said you need at least 2000 of these in your arsenal to be able to have a basic level of Japanese. As a culture with a lot of etiquette rules, you’ll also need to master the different words used when speaking respectfully to someone. This is known as “keigo” speech.


The world is obsessed with Korean culture. K-pop, K-beauty, K-EVERYTHING. 80 million people across Korea (North and South) speak it and it’s actually got a fairly simple alphabet thanks to King Sejong the Great. In 1443 he wanted to make writing in Korean easier, so with the help of some very smart scholars, they created the current alphabet system “Hangul” which only has 24 symbols to learn. That being said, speaking the language is a different story due to pronunciation and word order.


Last but not least, Hungarian. Great spas, great goulash, tricky grammar and pronunciation. There are a lot of different vowels, 14 to be precise, all of which need to be pronounced differently. It’s also not phonetic, for instance, “sz” is pronounced as just “s”.

There it is, the easiest languages to learn vs the hardest. Hopefully you now feel inspired, not scared off. If you happen to learn one of the above languages, and move abroad or pop on a plane for a trip, consider using Wise to make your life easier.

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Money without borders

Find out more

Tips, news and updates for your location