40

Let me break your question into several parts and answer them one by one. How much would a person not knowing Esperanto understand from a newspaper article in Esperanto? If you are asking solely about vocabulary, then from my experiences of teaching Esperanto worldwide, German speakers can recognize the origin of about 70% words and can directly understand ...


19

I found a quick breakdown in the Esperanto.net FAQ: About 75 % of Esperanto's vocabulary comes from Latin and Romance languages (especially French), about 20 % comes from Germanic languages (German and English), and the rest comes mainly from Slavic languages (Russian and Polish) and Greek (mostly scientific terms). And I got to learn something about the ...


17

According to Beyond Highbrow – Robert Lindsay, Icelandic is very hard to learn, much harder than Norwegian, German or Swedish. Part of the problem is pronunciation. The grammar is harder than German grammar, and there are almost no Latin-based words in it. The vocabulary is quite archaic. Modern loans are typically translated into Icelandic equivalents ...


13

The majority of Esperanto's original vocabulary came from French, German and English, so if you already speak any of these languages it would certainly give you a head start. According to La deveno de Esperanto by Geraldo Mattos, by 1987 an estimated 84% of Esperanto's basic vocabulary was Latinate, 14% Germanic, and 2% Slavic and Greek. The French ...


12

This is a non-scientific answer from a native Ukrainian. I have deliberately removed everything that is not related to language learning, e.g. explanations, historical references, and my extraordinarily important thoughts. :) UA is arguably more phonemic, hence easier to read. Most prominently, this includes vowels in unstressed syllables; they retain their ...


11

If my interpretation of your question as "except for English, what other languages are most often used for communication between people of different nations so that the language used for communication is foreign for all parties", then the answer is the following: In many areas of the world there are other so-called "auxiliary languages" that are used for ...


11

As you know, there are different strains of modern Hebrew pronunciation, including the two major ones: Ashkenazi and Sephardi (by the names I learned them, anyway). Ashkenazi pronunciation is influenced by Yiddish, which in turn is largely Germanic and features some other common European sounds. When I was in Israel, for example, I heard a lot of the uvular [...


9

According to the proportion of common lexemes, French, English and Italian are the most similar to Esperanto. The proportion of lexemes that are common to Esperanto and other languages: 91.64 percent French; 89.50 percent English; 89.12 percent Italian; 87.79 percent Portuguese; 87.12 percent Spanish; 81.70 percent German; 64.78 percent Latin; 53.26 percent ...


9

There are lots and lots of factors. I am going to list some of the major ones here: The language you start with: For example, Mandarin Chinese is ranked one of the hardest languages to learn as an English speaker. Mandarin Chinese could also be very easy for someone else with another language. Even English might be hard to some. Psychological Barriers: A ...


8

There are several criteria you can use: Mutual intelligibility. You can pick a language that is mutually intelligible with one of these you already know. For example, if you know English, a good candidate would be Scots. If you know German, you may consider learning Dutch or Yiddish. Pidgins and creoles. These are languages that developed in the situations ...


8

Please check Wikipedia's List of languages by number of native speakers. Mandarin is the biggest language, as expected, followed by Spanish, English (which we exclude for this question), Hindi, Arabic, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, ... You should not make too many assumptions about the foreign language skills of native speakers of big languages. When you ...


8

Other people have already commented on why Icelandic is hard for English speakers. Here are some reasons why it is easy compared to other languages: Icelandic has a relatively huge pop culture, some original and some in translation. When a language learner can spend hours listening to Icelandic pop, watching Icelandic TV and Movies, reading Icelandic ...


7

Yourself. The importance of an language varies from person to person. For me, the most important languages are Vietnamese and English since I use them regularly to speak with family and friends. Others though might say that they are irrelevant and their languages are more important. A debate is sure to erupt if we were to group all the languages by ...


7

Based on this wikipedia page, I would say your best shot would be to pick a language based on which country has the smallest number of English speakers, then figure out what the most popular websites/messaging apps in those countries are. For example, this website claims that the most popular messaging app in Russia is WhatsApp. I don't know much about ...


7

Edit: I've since been recording these cognates and creating open-source activities. I ended up finding a really good book which lists several cognates between all the Romance Languages. It's called EuroComRom - The Seven Sieves: How to Read All the Romance Languages Right Away. According to the book there are: 39 Pan-Romance (PR) words 108 words in 9 ...


6

They are mutually intelligible to a large degree. I know that from Per Langgård, one of the very few proficient second-language speakers of Greenlandic. He said that when he was in Nunavut, he spoke West Greenlandic, people answered in Inuktitut, and it worked quite well. So there is a lot in common in basic words and the structure of the two languages. But ...


6

I would like to add on to @PythonMaster's answer with this point. Other languages you already know: (Taking Mandarin Chinese from the other answer as well) I personally know Cantonese Chinese so Mandarin Chinese would be way less of a gap as learning from English. I am well acquainted with some Chinese (In general) grammar and sentence structure. Knowledge ...


6

For inherited cognates, my go-to scholarly source is Meyer-Lübke's Romanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. It is a bit hard to read, because it is in German and has a lot of abbreviations, but it is very comprehensive. A non-scholarly but easier to use source is Wiktionary. If, for example, you want to find the cognates of main (hand), you can go the French ...


5

This language school's website has hour estimates for how long it takes a Japanese speaker to learn various other languages based on their internal studies. I've attempted to translate it. The course names are somewhat confusing but they basically boils down to something like learn the minimum level needed when working/living abroad, learn to be able to do ...


5

The closest well known language is Ido. There are some other offsprings that are perhaps closer, but they are all rather esoteric ones. Knowing Ido would give you almost immediate good passive understanding of Esperanto, but active usage might suffer a lot from interference.


5

Efficacy: Italian is the way to go here, if you are Spanish speaking. I speak Portuguese myself and it is one of the most natural languages to understand, after Spanish. Speed: Italian as well, for the same reasons as cited before. It is just so much more like Spanish that will make the faster among the three. Stepping Stone: Inside the group, Italian as ...


5

Failure to understand what you read may be caused either by reader factors or text factors or environmental factors. Often a combination of two or more factors is the reason for misunderstanding. Reader factors include proficiency in the language of the text, especially vocabulary and grammar, background knowledge and interest in the topic of the text, and ...


4

I'd use the same list that Christophe Strobbe referenced, but with a few corrections. As he stated, the top 10 most spoken languages in the world (excluding English), ordered by native speakers, are Mandarin, Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, Japanese, Punjabi, and German. It isn't necessary to learn all of these languages to be able to ...


4

In addition to what has been listed by PythonMaster and SMS von der Tann, I would add the availability and quality of resources for studying the language. This includes the availability of courses (classes, online courses) and reference works (monolingual, bilingual and learner's dictionaries, grammars), as well as the willingness of speakers to help others ...


4

Most French words are derived from Latin roots, as are Spanish words. So the languages have a lot of cognates. Of course, words sometimes evolve differently, so having the same etymology doesn't guarantee having the same meaning. But it helps. Many families of French words come into two subfamilies: popular derivations (formes populaires), which have ...


4

A Swedish guy named Frederik (?) talks about the challenges of learnning Hungarian after learning it for roughly a month: In Indo-European languages, there is typically only one present tense, but in Hungarian there are two: one for "definite" and one for "indefinite". (What he means is indefinite versus definite conjugation. Note that English has the ...


3

The first thing that comes to mind is that in Norwegian and Danish, for example, verbs are only conjugated according to tense, and are the same for every person - this renders the language even simpler in the sense than most other languages - e.g. Jeg sover, du sover, han sover, vi sover, etc..., while in Icelandic that is not the case. Oh yeah by the way ...


3

Efficacy : I'm not entirely sure. My first guess would be Italian as I agree too that Italian is a bit closer to Spanish than it is to French. However, as you are fluent with English, you might see if you pick French that there is a lot of similarities between English and French, and between French and Spanish. French has a lot of difficult grammatical ...


3

Some ten years ago, I (a native German speaker) started learning Hungarian in an evening course and continued for roughly two years. After English, Polish and Spanish, this was my fourth foreign language. From my personal point of view, there are some misconceptions regarding Hungarian. The most prominent one is the "35 cases" thing. An example: apámé ...


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