What is the easiest east Asian language to learn?

I speak English of course but I speak fluent Spanish too. I really, really want to learn Vietnamese because it's one of the most popular languages in Texas & it could come in handy in my future career.





My school only offers Chinese(I love the way it sounds) & Japanese and I'm looking into the graduate schools I hope to apply to and most only teach Chinese, Japanese and one of them Korean.

Which is easiest? Chinese, Vietnamese or Japanese?

Also, is French easy for someone who speaks Spanish? My bffl is Hispanic(speaks fluent Spanish) but struggled with it...lol


Most Helpful Girl

  • Korean is easy. You can learn how to read/write hangul in like one hour, but I think Chinese and Japanese are probably more useful so you may want to go with one of those. If you are a fluent Spanish speaker I think you will have an easier time with pronunciation for Japanese and maybe Korean. Actually, it really depends on how you are with languages. Some people just have an incredible ability to pick up languages easily while others struggle. Then your interest level also helps. I know some people who have learned okay Korean just from watching k-dramas and such, and I don't think that would have happened if their interest didn't fuel their ability to pick up the language.

    • I think its vietnamese coz the are using latin alphabet i have made some vietnamese friends on penpaland com i can recommed this website to learn vietnamese

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What Guys Said 18

  • I speak Spanish and am fluent in English, I am taking Chinese in school since it proved hard to learn on my own, and difficult when it came to phonetics, but I studied English mostly by myself, so did with japanese, but japanese while not as "easy" as English is MUCH easier than Chinese, Chinese has the EASIEST grammar of any language for what I can see, but everything else is quite harder than average, but is NICE to learn it, I am loving it, japanese has a VERY different grammar, but sounds are much easier than any other I have heard, for what I know, japanese and korean have this quite unusual sintaxis (kind of like Yoda) and it takes a while to get used to it, but is not that hard.

    I know nothing about vietnamese, but you asked which is the easiest Asian language to learn? IMO Russian. I practice languages in Livemocha(dot)com, there are not a lot of japanese guys there, and those who are are VERY shy, but while I did not get all the japanese practice I hoped for I got lots of russian attention, since most study English and/or Spanish, they were like "can I practice with you?" and I accepted, and w/o even intending too I got grip of some russian, and found that there were LOTS of cognates with BOTH English and Spanish, and also the grammar, when I was unable to relate it to something I know in English, very usually I can do it with Spanish, like knowing BOTH helps a lot to better understand russian.

    among the languages that are SIMILAR to Spanish, french is surely the hardest or less related, I undertand some words but not a lot, italian is much more alike, but the one that is the closest is portuguese, the brazilian kind mostly, I have never studied it, but I watch a movie and understand pretty much anything, only like 10 sentences in a 2 hours long movie scape my understanding, I could speak very little, and even less correctly if I intended to, but understand it is easy, I guess, with practice and a book I would speak it nicely FAST, that may be the easiest language to learn for a Spanish speaker.

  • Go for Vietnamese.


    + it's writing system is easier (It's using the Latin alphabet).

    + The grammar is nearly exactly the same as in Chinese - so it's pretty simple too.

    + Chinese and Japanese are like "trendy" languages, meaning a lot of people are learning it. If you stick to Vietnamese though, you'll have less competition.

    + Vietnamese is the most popular East Asian foreign language in Asia, especially in Taiwan and Thailand.


    - In oral, Vietnamese has one tone more than the Chinese. But it's still manageable.

    - learning material in Vietnamese is pretty poor, because not many Western people are learning this language

    The pros still outwaged the cons. So, I'd go for Vietnamese. If you decide to choose Vietnamse you have to decide which dialect you want to learn. I'd recommend the Northern dialect since it's the standard, meaning North and South Vietnamese will understand you. Yet learning materials in the Southern dialect are more common than in Northern dialect.

    Good luck, in what ever language you may choose.

  • French is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn because they are fairly similar, as is Spanish. Knowing Spanish can only help your French because French and Spanish are both romance languages and more similar to each other grammatically than to English. It will also help with learning vocabulary as many words will be similar.

    Chinese: Similar to English grammar in some ways as it is an isolating language like English which means few complex endings on words. It also has the same sentence structure Subject verb and then Object.

    Hard part is Chinese is a tonal which means that the meaning of a word can change depending on if you say it with a rising tone or a flat tone. There is 4 tones in Mandarin and 6 in Cantonese. English isn't tonal so pronunciation can be hard.

    Writing system is difficult. Each symbol counts as a word.

    Japanese: pronunciation is very similar to English. Some sounds are different but easy enough to learn. Elongated vowels will be the hardest thing at first.

    Grammar is the hard part. There is nothing similar to English in Japanese grammar. The sentence structure goes Subject Object Verb. Verbs have endings based on respect and there are verb forms that have no English correspondent. It's tough but very interesting.

    Writing System: you are going to learn three writing systems for Japanese including the Chinese system. The other two are syllabaries. Every symbol is a syllable, Those are relatively simple but integrating all of them can be difficult.

    Vietnamese; Is again a tonal language with 6 tones with different kinds of voicing that are never used in English. Some other difficult sounds are in the language too

    Grammar: vietnamese is isolating like English and is Subject Verb Object, but has complicated noun categories.

    In any Asian language the vocabulary isn't going to be similar to English unless they have borrowed a word directly from English.

    Hope this Helps

  • Sorry there are no 'easy' east Asian languages for a Western person, they are ALL very difficult since they aren't related to any Wester languages morphologically.

    I know, I'm still trying to learn Chinese!

    • Actually, some Asian languages are just fine. If you're on the lookout for an Asian language that is quick to learn, but also useful and interesting, take a good at Malay. It might sound exotic, but is in fact one of the easier languages to master! Malay uses the Latin alphabet, the pronunciation can be picked up in no time, and its grammar is straightforward with no conjugation, plural or tenses. Better yet, it is spoken by over 270 million people across Southeast Asia!


    • Chinese also has no conjugation or plural, my friend, but since there is no syntactical or morphological connection to any Western language, no Western person would find it 'easy' to learn.

  • Probably Japanese or maybe Korean...to my knowledge neither are tonal languages, so you won't have to worry about modulating syllables in specific tones lest you say a different word than you intend. Most Chinese dialects and Vietnamese are tonal.

    I've found that Indonesian isn't too hard, I've picked up a little with almost no study, but I doubt there's much demand for linguists there.

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What Girls Said 13

  • I learnt cantonese by watching too much drama (yeah I could speak cantonese + the hong kies admitted that I sound normal to them). I'm currently learning japanese language, the only problems that people might have when they newly learn japanese is probably the grammar structure, it's SOV (subject object verb) which totally backwards compare to English language. I speak turkish too, this language is a bitch (has so many suffixes + exceptions) but it's grammar structure is similar to japanese language (SOV) + their alphabet is fairly easy to catch up (same with English alphabet with additional of ÇGISÖÜ). Now, as in pronounciation, japanese language is the easiest to pronounce (maybe because I'm asian, but my turkish friends do sound funny in class and stutter a lot), you will not have much problem there, but most people have problem with the kanji (my classmates are still struggling to memorize the hiragana + katakana). No surprise there, even some high school graduates in japan can't read their own newspaper properly without the aid of the furigana sometimes. So, Chinese language main barrier is the tonation + their Chinese lettering, and japanese has no pronounciation problem but they have 3 writing systems (hiragana, katakana + kanji which is similar to Chinese). So I can't really say which one is hardest, if you think you are up to memorizing how to write over tonation, pick Chinese, if you think you will have problem in prononciation, pick japanese (but you still have to learn kanji).

  • Vietnamese is easier, IMO. I speak it so...

    I think Korean and Japanese are easy to learn.

    Chinese, not so much.. Probably more than 4800 hours to learn. Depends on how dedicated you are to learning it.

  • I took Japanese and it wasn't too difficult. I think its easier for Spanish speakers to pronounce japanese words. But I don't know about the other languages, so I have nothing to compare it to.

  • I suggest you go for Japanese. Chinese is my native language but I actually find it harder to learn than English. A lot of my friends have learnt to speak Japanese fluently enough to communicate with the local simply by watching Japanese movies and reading grammar books so I assume it should be quite easy to learn.

    I don't know if French is easy for someone who speaks Spanish, but I've been taking French for a semester and I find it easy enough to learn as long as you spend time working on it and don't give yourself too much pressure.

    hope this helps:-)

  • Maybe Chinese is too hard for you because the pronunciation is very different from other languages and the character is really complicated.I think Japanese is easier than Chinese.

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