reply to post by rogertom
All languages are equal in "difficulty" or "easiness" depending on how you want to say it. There are some languages that are easier for English
speakers to learn because they are related to English (such as German) or because they use a lot of similar big words (such as French or Spanish) or
because they use the same lettering (which has nothing to do with learning the language, so much as becoming literate in it, which are different
For a Chinese speaker, English would be easier than Spanish, despite the equal difference of writing between both. That is because Chinese and English
are both analytical languages with simplistic morphology. Morphology is the way that words change (ran/run, for a basic example) to reflect meaning.
Chinese has very little morphology, and syntax is totally important (syntax being the ordering of words in a phrase). Spanish, on the other hand, like
Turkish, Japanese, Italian, Russian, Arabic and many others are all big on morphology, where words have multiple different endings creating different
meanings. For example, in English and Chinese, the difference between "I run" and "You run" is wholly a matter of the appearance of the pronoun
"I" or "you". In Spanish, on the other hand, the difference rests in the end of the word: corro (I run), corres (you run), corremos (we run), etc.
Also, for an English speaker, learning any related language, distant or proximate, is better than unrelated languages because of cognates. Cognates
are words that have a similar phonology (sounds) and similar semantics (meaning), so for English, that would be languages as remote as Portuguese,
Czech, Hindi and Persian (Farsi) - all related to English. Languages like Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Finnish, Hungarian, Chinese, Swahili, Yoruba,
Japanese and Samoan do not share such similar words, so they are "harder" to learn.
All this of course, has to do with adult learners. Children, especially babies that have not even learned their first language yet, are all
predisposed to learning any one of these languages with no difficulty.