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Spanish. Is it easy? Hello everyone! I'd like to ask people, who learn Spanish. Is it easy or not (if we compare Spanish with another language, for example, French or English). Does  Spanish have difficult grammar rules, such as: cases, clanes, declines, etc.? And the last question, would it be easier for me, if I completely learnt English? Thank you.
Apr 2, 2018 10:19 AM
Comments · 17

Is it easy? I don't know. I find it quite logical.

First of all, no cases, no declensions. There are a lot of different tenses and two different moods but they follow patterns and even the irregular verbs follow patterns in their conjugations. Pronunciation is reasonably straightforward if your mother tongue is English, nearly all of the sounds exist in English. How it compares to Russian I'm not sure. The sounds English speakers typically struggle with are 'r' and 'rr'. I know some form of trilled 'r' exists in Russian so you have that advantage although Russians tend to pronounce it in a much stronger way than Spanish speakers do.

Like most European languages nouns have gender but it is normally easy to tell which, with some exceptions. Unlike English, the relationship between pronunciation and spelling is very clear. If you hear an unknown word you will know how to spell it providing you familiarise yourself with the alphabet (meaning that consequently you can look it up in a dictionary.) Listening is hard at the start, the language is stress-timed which means at the beginning when natives speak it sounds like a 'machine gun' but over time it gets easier.

If you know English it is an advantage in terms of accumulating vocabulary as there is a lot of vocabulary derived from Latin in English but it would probably be more advantageous to know another Romance language like Portuguese or Italian as these, like Spanish, evolved directly from Latin.

As your native language is a Slavic one you will probably find the use of articles difficult. But that would be the case for any language with articles.

April 2, 2018

I don't think it is ever "easy" to learn a foreign language. Spanish is the only language I have seriously tried to learn. I find it hard!

In the United States, Spanish has a reputation for being relatively "easy." In some high schools, students are required to study a language but have a choice. Student who want the "easiest" language will choose Spanish rather than German or Russian.

The U.S. State Department's Foreign Service Institute trains officials to speak foreign languages. They have made a list of relative difficulty which is often quoted. It is a measure of how much time it takes for native English speakers to reach a certain level of proficiency:

Category I: 23-24 weeks (575-600 hours): Languages closely related to English: Afrikaans, Danish, Dutch, French, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish.

Category II: 30 weeks (750 hours): Languages similar to English: German

Category III: 36 weeks (900 hours): Languages with linguistic and/or cultural differences from English: Indonesian, Malaysian, Swahili

Category IV: 44 weeks (1100 hours): Languages with significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English: Albanian, Amharic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Burmese, Croatian, Czech, Estonian, Finnish, Georgian, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Icelandic, Khmer, Lao, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Mongolian, Nepali, Pashto, Persian, Polish, Russian, Serbian Sinhala, Slovak, Slovenian, Taqaloq, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Xhosa, Zulu.

Category V: 88 weeks (2200 hours): Languages which are exceptionally difficult for native English speakers: Arabic, Cantonese (Chinese), Mandarin (Chinese), Japanese, Korean.

April 2, 2018

Spanish is one of the easiest languages to jump from English; they share the same alphabet, the sentence structure, and they are both heavily influenced by greek and roman. In many cases, you can almost translate a sentence word for word from English to Spanish, because a lot of the words are similar: police, policía; car, carro; station, estación; major, mayor; pyramid, pirámide, triangle, triángulo, etc. For example:

The police car was parked in front of the station.

El carro de policía estaba parqueado al frente de la estación.

At the zoo, I saw a gorilla, a giraffe, a lion, a tiger, and a llama.

En el zoológico (yo) vi un gorila, una jirafa, un león, un tigre, y una llama.

Of course these examples are loaded, but the point is that the correspondence that you see here will be present in a lot of sentences. The pronunciation is also extremely regular; unlike English, pretty much every character in Spanish has a unique sound, and it is always pronounced. The U.S dept. of State classifies Spanish (together with French, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian, and a few others) as a 'Level 1' language (with Level 5 being the most difficult), meaning that it is easy for an English speaker to pick it up after a relatively few hours of study, say 2,000 hours or so. I'd say that the main difficulty with Spanish is verbs: there are tons of tenses with their own nuances, sometimes so subtle that it is not rare to find native speakers that don't know how to use them correctly.

April 2, 2018
Hi amir, well its case to case me i grew up in philippines some of our words are in spanish, thats make it a BIT easier for filipino to learn spaninsh..
April 2, 2018

I don't think learning more English will help you learn Spanish. 

The first thing a native English speaker notices about Spanish is that it does have verb conjugations, similar to those of other "Romance" (Latin-based) languages. However, it does not have noun declensions. Spanish, I am told, has relatively few irregular verbs (compared to Portuguese, for example). 

Spanish uses the same alphabet as English. That's a big comfort factor for English speakers. Unlike English, the spelling is almost completely phonetic. I can read Spanish aloud without knowing what it means! 

Spanish pronunciation seems relatively easy, but I don't really know. Spanish speakers say my pronunciation is good, but they may be being polite. Spanish only has five vowels. It seems to be much easier for an English speaker to hear and pronounce the five Spanish vowels adequately, than it is for Spanish speaker to hear the difference between the dozen-to-twenty vowels and diphthongs of English.

In Spanish, words have gender. This is hard for English speakers. 

The vocabulary of English is strange; we have a double vocabulary, part from Anglo-Saxon, part from Latin by way of French. Many, many Spanish words have English cognates. There are large numbers of English words that can be converted to Spanish just by changing the spelling slightly, and vice versa. "National" becomes "nacional," "university" becomes "universidad," "connection" becomes "conexión." 

April 2, 2018
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