Originally Posted by Fabienne
How easy it will be for a person to learn German will greatly depend on their native tongue. Dutch speakers always amaze me in that. As a native French speaker, I found it much harder than English, but less so than Russian, for example. It's infuriating that I can understand 80% of Spanish or Italian without ever having studied these languages, whereas Russian still evades me after 5 years of study.
ChÃ¨re Fabienne, we are latins so it is easier for us to learn or understand without formal study latin languages.
I do speak French, Spanish, Italian and have good understanding of Portuguese and even Romanian.
The germanic languages are harder to learn for us as their grammar and vocabulary are different, being english a mix of germanic and latin languages .
However I find Germanic grammar very logic and once when you learned the basic building blocks of the language and understood the 4 grammatical modes ( nominativ, dativ, genitiv, akusativ, that exist also in our latin languages but we don't notice it as the declensions are not that evident ) it gets fairly easy to understand, after that the vocabulary learning take a little time but it comes little by little well.
I do speak High German, but alas here were I live now the people speak the "Swiss German" that is not as many people believe a regional german, but a whole language on itself with different basics, ( the basic verbs, conjugations, prepositions and adverbs are different from high German). I have a basic understanding of the dialect now as I am inmersed in this environment I am learning it fast anyway.
Slavic languages, on the other hand are the most difficult language to learn. With 7 grammatical cases, all of them with declension by gender, number and case, applied to nouns, adjectives and adverbs. It is a real nightmare to learn, without even mention the vocabulary that is completely different from latin and germanic languages.
I did started to learn Czech/Slovak with more emphasys on Slovak ( as I had a girlfriend at Bratislava at that time ). and I now understand the very basics. Russian interest me, but the different alphabet ( Cyrillic ) discouraged me. The same as with Greek.
Anyway, once you have learned one language or two, the next ones come easier as you then understand how languages are structured. Something that I never put my interest on when I was a monoglot. I allways found language and grammar studies boring at that time.
I think most native english speakers have more difficulty learning other languages as their language has an oversimplified grammar.