questionswhat is the easiest second language for an middle…

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I'm in a similar position as you....I would benefit greatly to learn conversational Spanish, but haven't found a good way to do it yet. To answer your question, I have heard that Spanish is a fairly simple language to learn, but you need the basics first...feminine, masculine, past and present tenses, etc. Good luck!

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I say go Spanish as well. There seem to be so many more uses for Spanish speakers than someone who can fluently speak Hindi, or some other language that you may never have to know for your job.

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I'd go with Spanish. The pronunciation is easy to learn, since each vowel only has one sound. "A" is always pronounced "ah", ten times out of ten. It could actually be useful to know Spanish, depending on how close to the border you live. Also, in addition to the pronunciation being a breeze to learn, the vocabulary shouldn't be too hard to pick up. In fact, some of the words are either similar or exactly the same. Check out this list.
http://dr1.com/forums/spanish-101/40105-spanish-words-similar-english.html

Beats the heck outta learnin' Mandarin.

edit: What they said. Oh, and I'm a fan of "the Pimsleur method" for learning languages. It's basically a bunch of CDs or mp3s, and you do one half hour lesson a day. I learned conversational French (good enough to get around Paris without a phrasebook) in less than a month.

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Lifehacker recently had an article on learning a new language that I thought was useful. The article linked to a site for the US Foreign Service Institute where they give estimated difficulties of different languages for native English speakers. I've linked both below if you're interested.

http://lifehacker.com/5903288/i-learned-to-speak-four-languages-in-a-few-years-heres-how

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@misuhsipee: I can't believe they put Nørwegian in the easy list. Sure it uses a mostly Roman alphabet, but have you been to an Ikea lately? That Nordic stuff's impossible.

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@rprebel: Ha I'll take your word for it because I have no idea. The only thing I noticed was their omission of German, which is a language I am interested in learning.

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@rprebel: It's a weird list. There's only one African language - and it's really a European colonial language - unless you count Arabic (which, btw, is definitely not as hard as, say Vietnamese - a tonal language for pete's sake!). Swahili should be on there, since it's a pretty easy language to learn and very useful, as it's a lingua franca throughout East Africa.

Also, Korean shouldn't be in the hard list (whereas Vietnamese should), since the Korean script was designed to be easy to learn (and phonetic, like the Roman script), and the pronunciation is also consistent, like Spanish (which, btw, I agree is a good - easy and useful - first second-language to learn).

I've always found the State Department's language stuff to be weird, though.

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@jsimsace: The current thinking in second language learning is that the immersion technique works better than starting with grammar. I personally have learned two unrelated languages (to varying levels) that are completely different from English in my thirties, and I found that doing both - immersing myself in conversation AND studying grammar was most helpful. (It would drive me nuts not to know the why but only the how.)

I found a book once that was geared towards Peace Corps volunteers. The best piece of advice it gave, which works with any language, is to think up a sentence you need or want to say, figure out how to say it in your target language, and then try it out on someone. Hopefully they'll correct you, and/or respond with something that you can then work on figuring out and following up on. It sounds tedious, but it makes a lot more sense than spending a week on customs office conversations you'll never need.

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If you're willing to consider it, I think sign language would be the second easiest.

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I'd suggest picking the language of a culture you're interested in or connected to. Sure, it'd be easier to initially pick up if the language is similar to English, but keeping you interested beyond the basics requires a motivating factor in it. If you've wanted to visit France, then having a trip as a goal will keep you motivated to learn French.

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I would say any latin language is probably easier, although english is germanic in origin so the word styling will seem similar but sentence structure is quite a bit different. I took german first, then spanish, then french. French by far for me was the easiest, but since it was my third language I already knew how to learn a language and having some spanish it was a very simple jump.

After re-reading the above paragraph that came off more pretentious than intended. I should note this was all in high school and all I really remember from any of the languages are "blode affe" = "stupid monkey" in german, "cerveza" = "beer" in spanish, and "ferme la bouche" = "shut up" in french. All phrases I'm sure would get me far while traveling...

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Spanish has been the easiest for me to learn (as a native English speaker), and that's in comparison to Bulgarian (Slavic), and Japanese (impossible).

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@susan11125: I studied American Sign Language and Spanish at the same time, and I would second that.