According to conventional wisdom, Spanish is theoretically one of the easiest foreign languages for English-speaking people to pick up. This is because the Spanish alphabet is straightforward — every letter, or combination of letters, carries the same sound, in every instance. In contrast, new English speakers, for example, must learn to determine when the letter e
is silent, as in came
, or when to use the e
sound in eggs
as opposed to the e
sound in create
. (In Spanish, the letter e
always sounds as it does in enchilada
Other romance languages, like French and Italian, are similar to Spanish, but they are not considered quite as easy to pick up. Just remember, what comes naturally to one person may be entirely different for another. You might find yourself struggling in French class when Russian seems to flow naturally from your tongue.
Which foreign language looks best on college applications? To a large degree, that depends on the schools you'd like to attend and the degree you wish to pursue. Do you picture yourself working with people? The number of Spanish-speaking Americans is growing, so learning Spanish may help you communicate with the most people. Do you want to study engineering? Maybe German is the right language for you. Would you like a career in business or the government? Consider studying Chinese. Do you love technology? Maybe learning Japanese would be a good fit. Do you plan to go to medical school or law school? Learning Latin may help you get through it. Think about your goals and interests and you'll probably find a foreign language that fits.