We're all familiar with the ease of learning a language relative to English, but what about the relationships between different languages? For example, I speak Spanish, and of the other Romance languages, Italian is the easiest for me. There may be more similarities with Portuguese, but Italian parses the same, the letters are pronounced the same, and it's very easy to distinguish words. Sometimes it just sounds like Spanish with an Italian accent, and most of the Italians I've met seem to think they darn near speak Spanish already. (Hence the joke about the Italian going into the restaurant in Madrid and ordering "pane con burro.")
What are some other languages are available at a steep discount from a nearby language? For example, if you speak Danish, is Swedish a piece of cake to master? For non-English speaking natives, what is the closest language to your native tongue?
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