https://www.duolingo.com/Migueloooche

From Easiest To Hardest, How Would You Rank the Difficulty Of The Romance Languages?

  • 21
  • 17
  • 16
  • 12
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

In my personal opinion being born into a monolingual English speaking household I'd have to say,

  1. Spanish
  2. Italian
  3. Catalan
  4. Portuguese
  5. French
  6. Romanian
1 year ago

21 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Ken335502
  • 21
  • 21
  • 17
  • 17
  • 16
  • 16
  • 13
  • 13
  • 12
  • 12
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 2

I've studied four of these languages, and I've dabbled in Catalan and Romanian, and I would say, for an English speaker, they would order like this:

  1. Spanish, it's pronunciation is completely regular, except for 'mismo', as far as I can tell. The declension is very simple (o/a/os/as or e/e/es/es for the most part), and the verb conjugation is very regular (the only big exception are the root ablauts).

  2. Portuguese, it's generally very similar to Spanish when written, though the plural is slightly more complicated (l-is and ção). The pronunciation is less regular than Spanish, though still quite simple.

  3. Catalan*. I don't know much Catalan, but from what I can tell, the plural is generally regular (-/a/s/es). The conjugation also seems a little more complicated than Spanish and Portuguese, though I'm not sure.

  4. French. It has the largest vocabulary shared with English, and the spellings of the cognates are many times identical, as the vast majority of Romance words came from French. The nouns are somewhat difficult, as there are a few strange plurals (al-aux, eau-eaux, etc.), and the gender of words are comparatively much more difficult to remember (o vs. a in most Romance languages). There are fewer verb conjugations in French, as the preterite and subjunctive past are only used in writing, and the future subjunctive is gone, though there are many more irregular verbs than in the other Romance languages. The pronunciation, though actually mostly regular, is quite difficult, due to the amount of silent letters.

  5. Italian. Though the pronunciation, declensions, and conjugations are much more regular than French's, the cognates in Italian tend to look more different, as Italian split early during the evolution of the Romance languages. The plural is different from English (o/e-i, a-e), though as it does exist in English, this isn't too hard to get used to. The spelling is completely regular.

  6. Romanian. I also don't know much about Romanian, but it is the only Romance languages to decline for cases, and the definiteness is conveyed by a suffix, not a article. It also has three genders instead of two (and I believe that neuter looks like masculine in singular and feminine in plural, so recognizing neuter nouns is non-trivial), so its nouns are definitely the hardest of the six languages. It has some (I'm not sure how much) loans from Slavic languages, as well as Hungarian and Turkish, so it probably has the most dissimilar vocabulary from English. From a glance, the verb conjugation system also seems more complicated than the other five.

Note that I learnt these languages in the following order: French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and this could have changed the order (most likely, I think, the placement of French).

EDIT: Spanish and Portuguese also regularized the composite past, using 'haber' and 'ter', respectively, and don't use 'ser'. So that also makes them comparatively easier for English speakers.

EDIT: Romanian does the above as well.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rucho94
  • 20
  • 19
  • 17
  • 17
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 13
  • 9
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 1222

About Romanian: the verbal conjugation (in the PRESENT tense) is indeed more complicated than in other Romance languages, but the other tenses aren't a pain in the ass, really. And speaking about tenses, Romanian has way fewer than its sisters (and it also only uses ONE auxiliary verb to build the composite past tense). So don't get scared of it. (I speak all these Romance languages). :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ken335502
  • 21
  • 21
  • 17
  • 17
  • 16
  • 16
  • 13
  • 13
  • 12
  • 12
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 2

Is it way fewer? From the Wikipedia page, I see all the forms, except for future subjunctive, and the conditional looks like a simple construction. Unless some of these are rarely used.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rucho94
  • 20
  • 19
  • 17
  • 17
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 13
  • 9
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 1222

Yup. Of them all you would only need 10 or 11. Some of these tenses are just popular variations of another tense. Romanian verbs, if you ignore the present tense, are a walk in the park, really. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Migueloooche
  • 21
  • 17
  • 16
  • 12
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Very interesting and well done in-depth analysis :D Here's a lingot (;

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ken335502
  • 21
  • 21
  • 17
  • 17
  • 16
  • 16
  • 13
  • 13
  • 12
  • 12
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 2

Thanks!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/otsogutxi
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 22
  • 16
  • 12
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5

It's hard for me to really rank the Romance languages, but there are two bands or tiers that I can distinguish:

Tier 1 (Easier): Spanish, Catalan, and Portuguese. Tier 2 (Harder): Italian, French, and Romanian.

Tier 1: These languages are all very similar, and once you learn one you will learn the others very easily. They don't have much irregularities in comparison to the Tier 2 languages. The grammar is a bit more straightforward and the vocabulary has a slightly more English influence.

Tier 2: These languages are slightly different. Knowing one might give you a bit of an advantage learning another one, but they do have noticeable differences. Their grammars have odd quirks and the vocabulary has a bit less English influence than Tier 1.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ken335502
  • 21
  • 21
  • 17
  • 17
  • 16
  • 16
  • 13
  • 13
  • 12
  • 12
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 2

I don't think English has any significant influence on any of these languages. Perhaps you meant 'similarity to English words'?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/otsogutxi
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 22
  • 16
  • 12
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5

Yes that's what I meant:)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NtateNarin
  • 25
  • 25
  • 22
  • 5
  • 5

I've only worked on 3 Romance languages, but from easiest to hardest, in my opinion, is 1. Spanish, 2. Italian, and 3. French.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BonBonChat
  • 16
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 56

1.Italian 2. Spanish 3. Portuguese 4. French. 5. Catalan 6. Romanian

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 23
  • 16
  • 13
  • 13
  • 11
  • 11
  • 11
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 700

Spanish

Portuguese

French

Catalan

Italian

Romanian

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/knudvaneeden
  • 18
  • 17
  • 12
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

From easiest to most difficult: 1. Italian, 2. Portuguese, 3. French, 4. Spanish, 5. Romanian.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Liebert_
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 23
  • 20
  • 19
  • 16
  • 15
  • 9
  • 8

1 - Romanian (The Romanian's grammar is rather difficult for me, and its pronounciation is not that easy 'cause it is full of strange sounds which are not found in other Romance languages) 2 - Portuguese [Its grammar is full of irregularities when it comes about pronounciation (the sounds of the letters ã, ão, em, en, etc.), accentuation (there are four accents which are: ~, ^, ´, `; the last one is a pain in the ass) and other things.) 3 - French (French's pronounciation is not so easy as well, the sound of the R letter is a challenge for beginners; French is a language which requires a lot of prepositions which the most used, required are: de, à; In addition, the words' order in a sentence is not as free as Portuguese and Spanish are.) 4 - Spanish ( Spanish is not a difficult language when it comes to pronounciation, once you learn the basics you can read most of the words in Spanish; For being a poetic language, the word order is quite free, so this make this language easier than the others above; Well, as someone who have been learning this language since a child, Spanish grammar is pretty intelligible) 5 - Italian ( l'italiano è più facile!! :])

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NathanJho_
  1. French 2. Spanish 3. Italian 4. Portuguese 5. Catalan 6. Romanian
1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Boujleba
  • 25
  • 25
  • 18
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5

Don't forget Galego everyone! It's one of the easiest ones.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Boujleba
  • 25
  • 25
  • 18
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5

If you know Spanish and Portuguese, then you understand probably somewhere between 99 and 100% of Galego.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/txlsu
  • 25
  • 25
  • 10
  • 10
  • 2
  • 1036

I know I'm in the minority here, but I actually think French is easier than Spanish overall, mostly just because of how hard Spanish verb conjugations are. I don't know enough about the other ones to rate them.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/knudvaneeden
  • 18
  • 17
  • 12
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Agreed.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wyqtor
  • 25
  • 23
  • 22
  • 20
  • 20
  • 19
  • 19
  • 18
  • 17
  • 17
  • 17
  • 16
  • 15
  • 13
  • 13
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1499
  1. Romanian (I am Romanian myself, so...)

  2. Spanish

  3. Italian (I bet most fellow Romanians would disagree with me and place Italian in front of Spanish)

  4. Portuguese

  5. Catalan (but this may just be because I am not that familiar with it)

  6. French (the French like to do things their own special way when it comes to language as well)

The biggest difficulty for me when learning other Romance languages is the subjunctive mood. Romanian subjunctive should be like a walk in the park compared to the other Romance languages.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rucho94
  • 20
  • 19
  • 17
  • 17
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 13
  • 9
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 1222

Foreigner speaker of Romanian here, I second your affirmation about the Romanian subjunctive. It's really easy, if compared with other Romance languages. :)

1 year ago
Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.