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Germanic V Latin for English L1

So I have been raised is a monolingual American family all my life with very or no exposure to any other languages besides the basics like hello and stuff. So when I started learning languages I always thought the easier ones were the Germanic since English is part of that family but has Latin loan words. But I often found that, especially Spanish and Portuguese, were much easier than Danish or Dutch or Swedish. I know the FSI says they are all level 1. But also Italian and French and Romanian are definitely harder than Spanish Portuguese and the Germanic Languages. Am I alone in thinking this? Or are my thoughts replicated

May 28, 2018



Around 60% of English's vocabulary is from Latin or French (which brings us back to Latin). That helps us get comfortable with the vocabulary.

The Germanic languages can be taught with both familiar vocabulary (40%) and familiar grammar, if done right. German itself is intimidating to English speakers due to the cases, but Dutch can be easier than Spanish if taught from the right perspective.

I'm a Latin teacher, so the Romance Languages aren't strange to me but I've also studied Dutch, German, and Swedish. It's all a matter of perspective.

And I have to disagree about Italian. It is only marginally harder than Spanish, with very comparable grammar.


Are your levels on Duolingo an accurate representation of how much you know about these languages? If so, I would say the reason is that you haven't yet come across the things in Spanish and Portuguese that are usually difficult for English native speakers, such as the use of past tenses or the subjunctive mood. If not, I'd suggest you specify what exactly you find hard or easy about them, so peoples can more easily compare their experience to yours.

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