Interested in learning a foreign language, but need one that’s easy and time-efficient to pick up? The Foreign Service Institute has done the handy task of sorting major languages around the world into 5 categories of difficulty according to their differences from English, and Reddit user Fummy has translated that data into a color-coded map to make it all simpler.


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The Romance languages, based mainly on Latin, are among the most approachable, and include French, Spanish, and Italian. Tongues like Dutch, Danish, and Swedish share common roots with English, meaning half your work is done already if you choose to learn them. You’re looking at about 6 months of study to achieve proficiency in any of these ‘Category I’ languages.

Are you leaning further towards Japanese, Korean, or Arabic? Get ready for a mammoth 2 years of practice, one of which should be in-country. These are 3 of the languages that make up the fearsome ‘Category V,’ as they’re about as different from English as black is from white.

Scroll down to see all of the statistics for yourself, and if you’re ready to embark on a linguistic journey, you can find free online courses straight from the FSI, the Defense Language Institute, and the Peace-Corps here.

More info: Reddit, FSI (h/t)