Are you wondering about what language is most similar to English? Of Course, you are. Several people are curious to know what languages are most similar to English. Well, there are different languages which are somewhat similar to English. It is simple to assume that English is similar to French because of its vocabulary. English is a Germanic language. So, we can say that it is also similar to German. However, determining what language is most similar to English is a little more difficult than you might imagine. Let’s take a look at why.


  1. Scots


Scots is perhaps the closest language to English. We use the word perhaps because the language is frequently seen as a dialect of English rather than a separate language. In reality, according to a Scottish government survey from 2010, 64 percent of Scots do not consider it a separate language.


Because both languages originated from Old English. We can clearly conclude that English and Scots are highly similar (Anglo-Saxon). Scots was the primary language of Scotland due to the political division.  After that, English became the official language of the United Kingdom and the United States. And it gradually overtook ordinary speech. Despite this, Scots has not faded and remains an important part of Scottish culture.


  1. Frisian


If you are searching for a close cousin of English which is also a unique language, that is Frisian. The Frisian language family consists of three languages spoken in areas of the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany. It is a West Germanic language with a lexical similarity of 80% to English. Check out how its dialects match up to English:


English West Frisian Saterland Frisian North Frisian
Welcome Wolkom Wailkuumen Waljkiimen
Good Morning Goeie Moarn Moarn Moin


Frisian was once a widely spoken language in the Middle Ages. For hundreds of years, the Kingdom of Frisia was an independent country until disastrous flooding killed the population. Dutch became the region’s official language in 1500, and Frisian has been on the decline since then.


  1. Dutch


This lowlands language, which is related to Dutch, is the next closest cousin on our list. Dutch is a West Germanic language that derived from Proto-Germanic, just as Frisian and English. As a result, Dutch includes numerous terms and phrases that are similar to English. As well as a comparable grammatical structure.


Consider the following Dutch phrase: “Ik heb een probleem.” If we translate it to English, it means “I have a problem”. As you undoubtedly noticed how similar they are. It is simple to observe that the grammatical structure is similar to English.


It is no surprise that Dutch is one of the simplest languages to learn for English speakers. Dutch speakers are among the most fluent non-native English speakers in the world. Moreover, English is quite similar to Afrikaans. It is a South African language based on Dutch but with more local vocabulary.


  1. German


Anyone who has attempted to study German will testify to its difficulty. But it is the other languages on this list. English came from the same base language: Proto-Germanic. This is why English and German have a lot of vocabulary in common.


Take a look at the following instances from German, Dutch, and English to see how much vocabulary they share:


English  Dutch German
Water Water Wasser
Better Beter Besser


Because of all of this similarity in sound and meaning. English and German are regarded as 60% lexically similar.


  1. French


Sacre bleu! (Sacrifice) T The language that English speakers seem to think is the most fashionable is not even our closest relative! However, researchers have shown that English and French share a vocabulary similarity of 27%. English people use several terms of French origin on a daily basis. That is not even including the French words that have become so common in English that is nearly a strategic error.


If you are an aspiring student, you might be asking why English is so similar to French. Well, French belongs to a different language family, the Romance languages. There are several points of differences among English and French. The majority of this copied vocabulary comes from the Norman Invasion of Britain.


The Duke of Normandy took much of modern-day England in 1066. The nobles began speaking Old French. If you ever decide to learn French, you may thank him for the 1,500+ common cognates that you won’t need to learn.


To Sum Up


So, above we have discussed what language is most similar to English. We have discussed 5 languages. You have heard their names already. They are Scots, Frisian, Dutch, German, and French. But Frisian may be the first time. The reason behind this is only 480,000 Fresian native speakers are right now. The number of Friesians is slowly declining. Dutch has become their native language. That is why we had hardly heard the name of the Fresian language. Moreover, the rest of the languages are somewhat similar to English. We have also gone through some of the examples. So, in the end, I hope this what language is most similar to English blog helps you. 

By Deepti

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