If you are planning to visit a different country, learning a few words and phrases can make things a lot easier. Knowing the language and even different dialects could also help you integrate better if you choose to move.
But where in Europe is it easiest to learn the local language?
Learning platform Preply looked at 29 European countries to discover which were the easiest to visit and live in when it comes to languages.
They ranked the nations from most challenging to least based on criteria including their English proficiency scores, native languages, accents, dialects and the average cost of a language lesson.
What are the least challenging countries for languages?
Serbia comes in third place thanks to its cheap language lessons. These cost on average €19 per session. It has just two official languages, Serbian and Albanian. When it comes to dialects and accents, eight in total are recognised including Shtokavian, Eastern Herzegovian and Šumadija–Vojvodina.
Its lowest score came in English proficiency where it came 13th out of the 29 countries analysed.
In joint third place is Portugal, mostly due to its only spoken language being Portuguese. But, if you are thinking of visiting or moving there, there are ten different regional dialects to learn. Many people in the country, however, do speak English. It came in 7th position in the rankings for English proficiency. It also places in the top ten for cheapest language lessons at €21 a session.
Second place for the least challenging countries for linguistics is Ireland. Gaelic is Ireland’s only other spoken language aside from English and it has just four recognised regional dialects. It also claims the highest spot for English proficiency (joint with the UK). But, if you want to learn Gaelic then lessons work out at an average of €23 per session.
The easiest country in Europe to navigate linguistically according to Preply is Romania. It has three official spoken languages: Romanian, Hungarian and German. The country also has the least number of registered accents and dialects – Wallachia, Moldavia and Banat.
Though it came in the middle of the list for English proficiency, private lessons in Romania cost an average of €15 – the third cheapest overall.
What are the most challenging countries for languages?
In terms of regional variations, the country with the most accents and dialects was the Netherlands. This one country alone has 70 variations. Norway, the UK and Turkey follow close behind with 60 and 52 respectively.
Near the top for the most challenging countries table were France and Switzerland. France had the lowest English proficiency score and language lessons will cost you an average of €26. There are a total of 40 unique regional dialects and accents in France.
There are four different official languages in Switzerland: German, French, Italian and Romansch. The country also comes out near the bottom for its English proficiency score.
But the country with the most linguistic hurdles for visitors and expats was Czech Republic. Private language lessons cost an average of €72 and, though it only has one official language (Czech), there are 26 different spoken dialects and accents.