LikeEnglish, Afrikaans is in the West Germanic language family.
UnlikeEnglish, its structure won’t make your head spin. A great featureof Afrikaans, especially for grammar-phobes, is its logical andnon-inflective structure.
UnlikeEnglish, there is no verb conjugation (swim, swam, swum). UnlikeRomance languages, there is no gender (unhomme, unefemme inFrench).
Another feature of Afrikaans is its vocabulary,which shares many Germanic-derived root words that are familiar toEnglish speakers.
Vocabulary-buildingis as easy as pointing to an object and asking, “Watis dit in Afrikaans?”
Wecan thank William the Conqueror for excellent, colour, identity,and about 8000 other French-derived English words left over from theNorman occupation.
Linguistsestimate that French has influenced up to a third of the modernEnglish language, from the language of the courts in the 11th centuryto modern terms like jene sais quoi, après-ski,and bourgeois.
Forlanguage learners, English has more in common lexically with Frenchthan any other Romance language.
Thismeans that French vocabulary is more familiar, recognisable, and easyto comprehend.
AdvancedFrench learners may struggle with its gendered nouns and 17 verbforms, but for conversational learning, it’s relatively facile.
Forlanguage learners, a great feature of Spanish is itsshallow orthographicdepth –that is, in most cases, words are written as pronounced.
Thismeans that reading and writing in Spanish is a straightforwardtask.
Pronunciation is also fairly easy for nativeEnglish speakers, with only ten vowel and diphthong sounds (Englishhas 20), and no unfamiliar phonemes except for the fun-to-pronounceletter ñ.
Grammaticallyspeaking, Spanish has fewer irregularities that other Romancelanguages.
Spanish is also an attractive second languagefor English speakers because of its international status.
Spanishis an official language on three continents, and with growingeconomies in Latin and South America, it’s a valuable professionalskill.