English is the most widely spoken language in the world. Its use is likely to even increase in the next few decades. Many people argue that this is a good thing, because English is relatively easy to learn and no matter where you come from, you will always be able to acquire it without great difficulty.

Is the English language really so easy to learn? From a European point of view, this can best be answered by comparing it to some other European languages. From my experience, it is true that

English is very easy to learn in the early stages of acquiring the language. Regarding simple sentences like What is your name and How old are you, English has a similar sentence structure to German. Many words are similar too, because both languages are Germanic. Therefore, basic grammar is very easy to learn.

If you asked German students with about two years of English at school, most of them will undoubtedly say that English is easier to learn than another foreign language like French. I can confirm that from my own school years. I was quite enthusiastic when I started learning English at the age of 10, but with French it was different. An important reason for this was that the language was so complicated and involved a lot of studying. In the early stages of learning English, there was little more to do than learning vocabulary. With French, however, a lot of grammar was involved from the beginning. I decided for myself that Romanic languages were hard to learn and I would not bother to try hard with French at least I had my good marks in English.

At the age of 16, I continued my education in an economic grammar school "Wirtschaftsgymnasium, where I had to choose a second foreign language along with English. As I was fed up with French, I chose Italian. This time I was much more motivated than I had been when I learned French, and I did learn my verb forms along with studying many other grammar rules. Actually, Italian is not too different from French, many aspects of the grammar are similar. In my first year of studying Italian, I had to put in a lot of time and effort in order to achieve good grades. However, as time went on I found out that once you had a solid foundation, learning Italian was easier. It has more rigid rules than English, which makes it easier to form correct sentences. In my last year of studying Italian, I had to do very little work and my grades stayed the same. In contrast, I saw that my progress in English was getting slower the longer I studied the language.

Therefore, there is no straightforward answer to the question whether English is a language easy to acquire it depends on the level you want to reach.