When it comes to learning a new language, choosing one can be overwhelming. There are over 7,000 languages spoken in the world, and each one has its unique features and benefits. For people who are interested in learning a Romance language, the decision can be even more difficult.
Romance languages are a family of languages that share a common origin, the Latin language spoken by the Roman Empire. Today, there are several Romance languages to choose from, including Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Catalan. In this blog post, we will explore which is the best Romance language to learn and why, from my point of view.
Why learn a Romance language?
Before we dive into which Romance language is the best to learn, let’s first discuss why you should learn a Romance language. Romance languages are spoken by over 800 million people worldwide, making them some of the most widely spoken languages in the world. These languages are also spoken in some of the most beautiful and romantic countries, such as Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal.
All Romance languages are beautiful, Italian being the most melodious, French the most elegant, Spanish the most passionate and Portuguese the sweetest. Learning a Romance language can not only be rewarding but also practical, as it can help you communicate with people when traveling or conducting business in these countries.
Why Spanish is the best Romance language to learn?
Out of all the Romance languages, I believe that Spanish is the best language to learn. Here are some reasons why:
1. The number of speakers and countries
Spanish is the second-most spoken language in the world, with over 460 million speakers worldwide. It is the official language of 21 countries, including Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Peru, etc. By learning Spanish, you can communicate with people from all these countries and immerse yourself in their unique cultures.
2. Easy to learn other Romance languages
Learning Spanish can also make it easier to learn other Romance languages such as Italian, Portuguese, and Catalan. These languages share many similarities with Spanish, including vocabulary and grammar. Once you have a good grasp of Spanish, you will find it much easier to learn these other languages. I think, we are all agreed with this quote:
“ Learning Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian are like a combo. When you learn one of them and the other two, it’s almost for free”
Spanish is also one of the easier languages to pronounce. Spanish words are always pronounced as they are written, whereas in Italian, the use of “e” and “o” does not indicate the position of stress or vowel height. Unlike French and Portuguese, which has many silent letters, vowel reduction or Nasal sound, Spanish pronunciation is straightforward and easy to learn.
The only problem of Spanish is the pronunciation of R, it depends on which is your mother tongues, it could be easier for Russian speakers and will be a challenge for Chinese or Japanese speakers.
4. Job opportunities
Spanish is an increasingly important language in the business world. Many companies are looking for employees who can speak Spanish, especially in industries such as finance, hospitality, and healthcare. According to the Instituto Cervantes, the United States is already the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, after Mexico.
As of 2021, there are over 60 million Spanish speakers in the United States, and it is estimated that this number will continue to grow. By 2050, it is projected that the United States will have the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world, surpassing even Mexico. By learning Spanish, you can improve your job prospects and open up new career opportunities.
Why not French?
While French is also a beautiful and romantic language, there are several reasons why it may not be the best Romance language to learn. Here are some of the reasons:
French pronunciation can be difficult for non-native speakers. French has many silent letters, and the pronunciation of certain sounds can be tricky. This can make it challenging for beginners to learn and can be frustrating for those who are not good at pronunciation. Find out more why French Pronunciation is so different compare to other Romance languages in this post.
French grammar is also more complex than Spanish grammar. French has many verb conjugations and tenses, which can be overwhelming for beginners. It also has gendered nouns, which can be confusing for people who are not used to this concept. Even for French native speakers, I have many French friends who are still struggling with Subjunctive.
3. Fewer speakers and countries
French is spoken by fewer people than Spanish. It is the official language of 29 countries, including France, Canada, and Belgium, but has fewer total speakers than Spanish. This means that if you learn French, you may have fewer opportunities to use it than if you learn Spanish.
Why not Italian or Portuguese?
Italian and Portuguese are also beautiful languages with rich cultures, but there are several reasons why they may not be the best Romance languages to learn.
1. Fewer speakers and countries
Italian and Portuguese are spoken by fewer people than Spanish. Italian is the official language of Italy, San Marino, and Vatican City, while Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, and several African countries. While these languages may have smaller speaker populations, they are still important languages to learn if you have a specific interest in the cultures and countries where they are spoken.
2. More challenging grammar
Italian has more verb conjugations and uses articles differently than Spanish. While, Portuguese also has a quite a same verb system with fewer tenses and conjugations than Spanish. Especially, if you learn Brazilian Portuguese, they use Você (it means you) for both formal and informal context.
3. Less widely used
While Italian and Portuguese are important languages to learn, they are not as widely used in business and commerce as Spanish. If you are looking to improve your job prospects, Spanish may be a better choice as it is more commonly used in international business.
Last but not least, if you are a language lover, you can learn as many romance languages as you want. If you are a fan of art, or you want to study art or literature, I strongly recommend learning French. Or If you love music and Brazilian Carnival, then learning Portuguese is a right decision.
In my case, I decided to learn Italian, just because I believe it is the most beautiful language in words and I want to experience and immerse myself in the Italian language. Ultimately, the best Romance language to learn depends on your personal interests and goals.