Which Romance language(s) would you consider the easiest? What about hardest?
For me, I am finding French to be quite a bit simpler than the others, save for trying to fit liaisons into my natural speech. Portuguese is second easiest for me.
I haven't tried Romanian, but it has some Slavic influences mixed in, so that's enough to place it as the hardest Romance language for me. Italian would be the second hardest, due to all of the tenses and the different ending and article patterns than I am used to in other languages.
Spanish I would place as a sort of middleman, with remember irregular verb conjugations in different tenses being the only real problem for me, along with the stem changers.
I actually find Spanish easier than French but spelling isn't my strong suit. I think it's debatable though because English has many French loanwords, and French makes larger words out of smaller ones, however Spanish is almost entirely phonetic.
Anyway, for me, I'd say that in order from easiest to hardest; Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan, French, Romanian. Most of the other not-so-widely-spoken Romance languages are harder to learn simply due to the lack of resources.
From an English speaker's point of view, I would say (easiest to hardest):
Pronounciation/spelling: Italian, Spanish, Romanian (the language is not as phonetic as some might think but the exceptions are not that many!), Portuguese/French
Grammar: Italian/French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian (definitely the closest to Latin and hence most complex)
Vocabulary: French (the influence from French to English and back is huge), Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian (way too many Slavic, Greek and Turkish words make up the current language; NOTE: this can be a small blessing when looking at those related non-Romance languages!).
Well, I can say I find the start of the Romanian course on here to be a bit difficult. If I was to rank it based on my perception right now, it would be Romanian, French (though I am aware of the higher lexical similarity with English, and my perspective is clearly influenced by the languages I know), Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish (easiest on this end). You can look at this, but it doesn't look at everything from an english perspective if that is your native language:
And lexical similarity shouldn't be confused with easiness, but it is a measures vocab similarities across languages—structures, roots of a language and other factors can make it more or less difficult for different people. And don't forget base language too! and knowledge of other languages. Because which is the easiest language to learn. And which is the easiest from English are too different questions. (and then we could factor in knowledge of other languages and other factors, and keep getting a more complex picture. But I gave you my response! (which is based a lot of factors, like some peoples responses will be).
I find Spanish to be the easiest. Not only is it really phonetic (at least compared to French, which is the only other language I've studied in school) I find the conjugations logical having practiced them, and I think the syntax is fantastic. Especially compared to French, I really appreciate the minimal use of articles and subject pronouns. I'm sure if I were more serious about practicing French, I would get used to the (in my opinion, difficult to understand) pronunciations and syntax. I don't think I've worked with any of the other Romance languages enough to rank them, but so far, Italian is somewhere in the middle, with Catalan closer to the French end just because I don't have a feel for the phonetics yet. So, in total, I think Spanish is easiest, then Italian, Catalan, and French.
I think it all depends on your previous knowledge and exposure. When I was just learning Portuguese, I couldn't learn Spanish at all because it was so similar and I kept getting confused. Now, I find Spanish to be very simple and I can more or less understand it, but speaking is a challenge because Portuguese always gets in the way XD French isn't very phonetic, so learning proper spelling and proper pronunciations can be a challenge, but it's pretty straight forward once you get used to it. I would say Italian is the hardest (I've never had experience with Romanian). It's supposed to be similar to Portuguese and Spanish, but when I look at an Italian text, I can't understand anything. There was a time when I tried to learn a bit.. I found it too difficult and quit.... maybe someday I'll give it another chance ;)
Having studied Latin, I naturally find the languages closer to that mother language easier to learn. I'd probably say Italian is the easiest in that respect, and French and Portuguese would be the hardest; I haven't studied Romanian, so I can't really give a judgement on that, but I suppose that the lexical influences of Slavic languages and others might pose a challenge - for me, at least. In the end, however, it depends a lot on your base language, which Romance language you learn first, which other non-Romance languages you know (Dutch, German and especially English share a lot of vocab with French) and how easy it is to get exposed to one of the languages. For a European student, Portuguese is quite obscure, as Portugal has only 11 mln inhabitants (opposed to Romania's 20 mln), but globally, and especially in the Americas, Portuguese is a massive language and dwarfs Romanian easily. A student from, say, Argentina, would not have much trouble to get involved with Portuguese. Finally, another important factor would be your own interests. Of course a fascination with the countries of origin is helpful, but also history, literature and art can be an important factor. It is not without reason that Italian and French are such popular languages.
I think, on duolingo, I would rank it like this, starting with the most difficult;
Romanian, Italian, French, Spanish, portuguese
Romanian Has less cognates to english, and it has different ways to do things (like "the"). Italian is really confusing to me because of all the different "the"s! You have "La, il, gli, i, le, l' and lo" and it's confusing because there are two ways to say 'the' when talking about masculine plural and feminine plural, etc. French has weird rules for objects of verbs. You can't say "I eat bread" you have to say "I eat of the bread" (Je mange pain is incorrect, while Je mange du pain is correct). Spanish and portuguese are very similar, but spanish has some stuff that doesn't really make sense, at least to me (Like why is it "Me gustan las hamberguesas" but not "Las Hamberguesas me gustan" because "hamberguesas" would be the subject of the verb, and in basically every other spanish sentence starts with the subject!) And portuguese is at the bottom of my list because so far (I'm not very far) it seems pretty straight forward and less confusing than spanish. (even though spanish rarely confuses me, gustar being basically the only thing)
Well with Spanish, Gustar can be translated as 'to please.' I english, when I say:
I like the moon_ I am the subject (I am doing the action in liking the object, the moon)
BUT, with spanish, its not the same way. A literal english translation to how this could look in Spanish is:
The moon pleases me
In this case, the moon is the Subject. In Spanish, it looks like this:
Me gusta la luna
While in english it is thought of that we are the ones doing the liking (like linguistically, not completely meaning wise for this example), the moon is the actor in Spanish because it is doing the action to us. Does that make sense?
And the verb gustar, changes based on if the object is plural or not.
Me gusA el queso
Me GustAN los quesos
This is because, gramatically speaking but not with just meaning, the cheeses, which are plural in the second case, are the subject or they are doing the action. They or pleasing us, or we can just say in English I like the Cheeses. Does that make sense?
Thank you! That makes perfect sense, but that isn’t what I meant.
I meant in Spanish, the subject usually comes first. Like
”Yo como pan”
With “yo” being the subject. But also for non pronouns. Like
”El gato bebe leche**
With “el gato” being the subject.
So why then, is it “Me gustan los gatos”
When “los gatos” is the subject??
Why isn’t it ”Los gatos me gustan”
I think Spanish is the easiest Portuguese is similar but harder because the words are not always written in the same way as they are pronounced (English has this problem too) Italian seems pretty easy but i never tried to learn it french is quite hard and Romanian is very different but i'm not sure if its harder than french.
I learnt Spanish and Italian (finished the trees in that sequence) and tried Portuguese and French (trees unfinished). I found Spanish and Italian are the easiest to learn. Next comes Portuguese (some difficulty with the accent) and the most difficult (for me) was French because of the accent and pronunciation.