Scandinavian languages are hands down the easiest for verbs!

Easiest languages – from a Verb Blitz point of view!

As language nuts, we often get asked by tentative, wannabe linguaphiles: which is the easiest language to learn?

Well, we’re well-equipped to answer that.  That is, at least from the perspective of experts on one part of speech: the verb. We’ve worked tirelessly on verb drill apps for some time now. We love verbs. And it’s given us the kind of overview that language geeks like us crave.

Scandinavia has it! 🇩🇰🇳🇴🇸🇪

The verdict: the Scandinavian trio – Danish, Norwegian and Swedish – are by far the easiest languages to learn from a verbs point of view.

Why is this, you ask? Well, unusually for most European languages, verbs don’t change for person. That’s right – they’re the same all the way through I, you, he/she it, to we, you (plural) and they.

Times change…

It hasn’t always been that way. Their common parent language is Old Norse, which was chock-full of endings. It had a complex system of verb groups and endings for person, as well as tense and mood. In fact, modern Icelandic still has all those characteristic endings of Old Norse, while mainland Scandinavia has simplified them all away. And they really have simplified them to the max – even the verb ‘to be’, notoriously tricky across many languages, has just a single form per tense. Compare them in this table:

🇩🇰 🇳🇴 🇸🇪 🇬🇧🇺🇸🇦🇺🇳🇿
jeg er jeg er jag är I am
du er du er du är you are
han/hun/det er han/hun/det er han/hon/det är he/she/it is
vi er vi er vi är we are
I er dere er ni är you (plural) are
de er de er de är they are

English – usually the ‘easy grammar’ candidate – is left in the dust by the Scandies here!

Some caveats…

It’s not all plain sailing (is anything?). Like its Germanic cousins English, Dutch and German, the Scandinavian languages have a clutch of ‘strong’ verbs. These display patterns of ablaut (stem vowel change), often to indicate tense. Think of the English:

  • break – broke – broken

The past and past participle aren’t formed with the usual, regular -ed ending. Instead, the change of vowel tells us that they’re past tense forms. Likewise, in Norwegian, the same occurs:

  • brekke – brakk – brukket

However, if your native language is English, Dutch or German, you’ll be used to this system instinctually. Another reason the Scandinavian languages are easiest for verbs!

Complex can be good!

Also, let’s not discount the wonderful challenge – and logical beauty – of complex, highly inflected verb systems. There’s something deeply satisfying about getting all those Spanish / French / Polish / Hungarian endings right. Sometimes, easiest doesn’t mean more fulfilling!

Still, simplified verb systems are something that continue to make Danish, Norwegian and Swedish very attractive propositions for language learners. And of course, they have their own quirks and foibles in other parts of speech, just to ensure there’s still some level of challenge! 😁

Have a look for yourself! Try Geoglot’s free Verb Blitz apps for the Scandi languages:

Danish Verb Blitz for Android

Norwegian Verb Blitz for Android
Norwegian Verb Blitz for iOS

Swedish Verb Blitz for Android

Norwegian Flag Image

Norwegian learners: master those verbs with our new iOS app!

Finally, iPhone and iPad users can join the Verb Blitz party. Geoglot’s popular Norwegian Verb Blitz is now available as a free download on iOS!

Featuring a hefty verb bank of over 300 Bokmål verbs, it’s a great tool for learning some core norsk vocab. You can drill down into each of them for information on the simple past, past participle, and tense construction.

Powerful self-test drills

And what’s more, it’s a powerful drill tool, with several games for self-testing. These include:

  • Infinitive quizzes – drill those meanings!
  • Conjugation / tense quiz – can you pick the correct translation?
  • Gapfill quiz – hone those spelling skills

There’s also a nifty performance section, where you can see the verbs you’ve found trickiest throughout the exercises.

Norwegian verb quirks made easy

Typical for German languages on the Indo-European tree, Norwegian features a raft of so-called strong verbs. This means that the infinitive, simple past and past participle forms often differ in their vowel, amongst other things; compare “do – did – done” in English, another German languages. A good example is ‘to see’: in Norwegian, “se – så – sett” (see, saw, seen).

Norwegian Verb Blitz is full of these quirky strong verbs, giving learners plenty of material to chew on. But you’ll also find lots of regular, everyday verbs too, providing a rounded introduction to some essential core vocab in the language.

Download for free!

As with most of our apps, Norwegian Verb Blitz for iOS is a free app, supported by minimal in-app advertising. We’ll never put ads in an actual learning game, so they shouldn’t get in the way of your practice.

Norwegian Verb Blitz for iOS is available for free from the App Store now!

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Hungarian Verb Blitz released!

It’s always an exciting moment when we add a new language to the Verb Blitz range. This time, magyar [ˈmɒɟɒr] gets some attention with our release of Hungarian Verb Blitz for Android!

Every language has its interesting and different features, and Hungarian is no exception. What is particularly special about Hungarian is that transitive verbs have two forms: indefinite and definite. This means that the verb codes for whether its object has indefinite (like ‘a’) or definite (like ‘the’) status. You can read more about Hungarian indefinite and definite status in this very helpful Wikipedia article.

Note that when playing the games, you can use the settings to exclude definite forms, and just focus on the indefinite ones if you prefer. Likewise, you can turn on and off several of the tenses in the games if you prefer to focus on just the basic ones.

Otherwise, Hungarian verbs display a regularity that is rare in some of the more mainstream languages taught in schools and colleges. There are just a handful of very irregular verb paradigms, and once you have learnt the quirks of the language (such as vowel harmony), verb conjugation is not as hard as it first seems.

Click here to download Hungarian Verb Blitz for Android from the Google Play Store!

Hungarian Verb Blitz

Hungarian Verb Blitz

Icelandic holiday verbs : free worksheet

Learning Icelandic? Want to talk about your holidays past, present and future?

Our Nordic learning team has just put together this free worksheet to help you do just that! The worksheet features ten verb phrases to cover fun stuff you do on holiday. It’s completely in Icelandic, with spaces for you to write translations. And all ten verbs are presented in present, past and future examples, to really stretch your tense usage.

For talking about future plans, the team made use of the supremely useful Icelandic word ætla. While not strictly the grammatical future tense in Icelandic (this is formed with munu instead), it is a hugely useful little word for speaking about future intentions, covering the sense of ‘to intend to …‘ or ‘to be planning to …’ in English.

Click here to download “On Holiday” in Icelandic [PDF]

Happy learning, and please leave any feedback or suggestions for future worksheets in the comments!

Norwegian holiday verbs: free worksheet

Keen to share what they’ve been learning with the rest of the language learning community, the Geoglot team has been busy creating resources full of useful content for hacking your speaking skills.

In the first of a planned series of free downloadable materials, you can get some conversation Norwegian under your belt with this worksheet, focussing on ten useful verbs for talking about holidays in the present, past and future tenses.

Click here to download “Norwegian: Holiday Verbs” in Bokmål [PDF]

Enjoy, and leave any feedback and future resource requests in the comments!

Latvian verbs? No problem!

A brand new language joins the Verb Blitz range! Geoglot is pleased to announce the release of Latvian Verb Blitz for Android.

With over 100 core verbs in Latvian across the present, past and future tenses, it’s a great way to practise those tricky endings through interactive games. Not only that, but the verb bank is filled with some of the most common everyday words in Latvian, so it’s a great way to expand and consolidate your key vocabulary.

Latvian Verb Blitz for Android is free (supported by ads) from the Google Play Store at this link.

Happy learning!

Latvian Verb Blitz

Latvian Verb Blitz

 

Perfect your core Polish verbs!

Starting out in Polish? Then let Polish Verb Blitz help you on your grammatical journey with over 120 commonly used Polish verbs to perfect!

Featuring some of the most useful and frequently used words in the language, Polish Verb Blitz is a great way to build your core vocabulary, as well as practise your basic Polish conjugations. WIth a focus on the present tense, but also featuring perfective infinitive pairs where appropriate, the app has all the familiar Verb Blitz games to turn you into a verb whizz.

Polish Verb Blitz is a free app for Android, supported by banner ads (on static screens but never in games) to ensure that it is available for all learners.

Click here for Polish Verb Blitz on Google Play!

Polish Verb Blitz home screen menu

Polish Verb Blitz

Master Danish verbs: Danish Verb Blitz released!

Learners of dansk have been able to enjoy one of our earliest app releases, Danish Number Whizz, for some time. Now, a second app joins our Danish collection for Android, with the release of Danish Verb Blitz!

The tried-and-tested familiar format presents learners with a handy reference tool, vocabulary expander and drill machine all in one. Learn and practise Danish conjugations through the following features:

  • Infinitive quiz: what is the meaning of each Danish verb?
  • Conjugation quiz: how do you form tenses in Danish?
  • Snap quiz: do the translations match the sentences?
  • Gapfill: can you spell out the jumbled, missing words?

Danish Verb Blitz is free for Android, and available now from Google Play at this link.

Enjoy, and happy learning!

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