I suspect what he means is that when you start out as a baby with an empty speech center, it takes just about the same amount of effort to fill it up with language, regardless of which particular language is involved. This discussion is about the difficulty of learning a second language once your speech center has been shaped with the paradigms of your first. As we've been told here by our colleagues, some pairs of languages make for an excruciatingly difficult transition while others are easier. Moreover, all speakers of one particular language do not agree on which of the others are easier or harder. Clearly we each learn our native language a little differently and develop unique synaptic circuits. The French, especially the Germanic Franks in the north, are tres chauvinistique about their beloved language. You might have better luck with the Celtic Gauls in the south. A friend who speaks French but not well rang up a Parisian hotel to make a reservation and started the conversation with, Parlez-vous anglais? The innkeeper replied Non and hung up on her. I doubt that the Germans will be any more pleased with a foreigner's attempts to streamline their language than the French. I think we Americans put up with that about as graciously as any people. We actually find foreign accents and blunders to be kind of charming, or at the very least entertaining. An illustration of my own point. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! As a native speaker of English I found Mandarin to be the absolute easiest of the many languages I have encountered. Its grammar is even simpler than ours, with really only two parts of speech, no inflections, and a word-building engine that is even more fabulous than that of German. While Spanish is not the most difficult language I've studied, its vast array of verb conjugations, with tenses we can't even imagine a use for, is bewildering. And having to remember to put gender and number even on a bloody adjective seems like nothing more than a cruel trick played on foreigners. Japanese is not difficult for us to learn in pidgin so we can make ourselves understood. But the Japanese are the last people on earth you want to insult by speaking a pidgin version of their language--more so even than the French. In Japanese your verb forms change depending on your social status relative to the person you're addressing. A friend who lived in Japan and speaks the language fluently was hired to translate a novel from English to Japanese. He had to subcontract out all the women's dialog to a Japanese lady. He realized that he understood it when he heard it, but since he had never actually spoken it he couldn't get it right.