20 Hardest Languages to Learn for English Speakers – Recommended.
Top 20 Hardest Languages to Learn Now: Do you know the hardest languages to learn in the world?. then this article is for you. It is known that learning a new language is always difficult but with persistence, you can do it.
Mastering or start learning a difficult language is also good for your brain, with research showing that it can lead to improved memory skills and increased focus.
A person who can interact with people using basic phrases is better than seeing another language as gibberish.
What is the Hardest Language to Learn?
There’s a lot of debate about which language is the most difficult to learn. Plus, those that are difficult to pick up are usually tough for entirely different reasons.
For instance, tonal languages—where the pitch of your voice can change the meaning of a word—are notoriously challenging and difficult. Other languages are difficult because the independent writing systems are so different: reading and writing right-to-left, using characters, etc.
Moreover, there are languages that have either incredibly rigid or extremely loose rules for grammar. If a language has one, two, or all three of those hurdles, it can get frustrating and be considered hard to learn.
Hardest Languages to Learn for English Speakers
When it comes to the ease of learning a new language, no two languages are similar. That’s because the ease of learning depends on the native language.
Mandarin is a language within the Chinese language group and is actually the most spoken language in the world.
Another hurdle is the four tones: Chinese is a tonal language, and words have different meanings depending on the intonation.
For example, mai with a falling tone means “sell” (mài卖) – but when pronounced with a tone that falls and then rises, it means “buy” (măi买).
To the beginner, Arabic might look totally impenetrable due to its exotic script. But apart from the fact that vowels are often omitted and one or two other complications, the alphabet is not so difficult to learn.
Unfortunately, the writing is just the start. Arabic has some pretty tough grammar to get to grips with. And some of the sounds will need practice.
If you think standard Chinese is testing, try Cantonese. Mandarin has four clearly defined tones, unbelievably, nobody really knows how many there are in Cantonese. It’s somewhere between six and nine, depending on who you ask.
However, many overseas Chinese are Cantonese speakers, so you stand a good chance of finding someone to practise with.
If you want to try getting your tongue around a language that’s devilishly hard to pronounce, Vietnamese could be the one for you.
It features six tones (two of which are particularly tricky), a large number of vowel sounds and several sounds that are unlike anything in English.
Northern Vietnamese is also quite different from the Vietnamese of the south, adding another layer of difficulty.
One positive is that modern Vietnamese is written in a version of the Latin alphabet.That said, there are quite a few extra accents and tone marks that you will have to contend with.
Thai is another tonal language, although its five tones are relatively easy to master.
However, unlike Vietnamese, it’s written in its own unique script. And Thai writing is a particular challenge.
A large number of letters is not the biggest issue (there are 44 consonants and 15 vowel symbols). But some sounds have more than one letter. And you need to remember which one is used in any particular word.
Japanese has a reputation for being one of the world’s hardest languages, and for good reason. It has not one but three scripts you need to learn Japanese.
Hiragana and Katakana, used mainly for writing foreign and Japanese words respectively, are phonetic, both containing 46 characters.
Much more difficult is Kanji, a system based on Chinese characters, of which several thousand are in common use.
Hindi is another challenging tongue for speakers of English to learn for many of the same reasons as Arabic.
There’s a new alphabet to tackle, there are some sounds that will require work. And there’s some tricky grammar to master.
The big advantage is that, with around 120 million native speakers, you won’t be short of partners to practise with.
The Russian language is evaluated a 2 of 3 in difficulty by the (FSI), which positions languages based on how long it would take the average native English speaker to learn it, so it’s not as difficult as some of the other languages on this list.
It uses a Cyrillic alphabet made up of letters both familiar and unfamiliar to us.
It is also the hardest language to learn ranked as Russian uses many consonants bunched together like Polish which makes spelling and pronunciation a challenge.
Czech is a language that lulls you into a false sense of security. But although it’s written in the Latin script, don’t let it fool you – it’s a notoriously tough tongue to conquer.
To the untrained ear, it’s easy to mistake for the Russian language. And like Russian, it makes use of cases – this time, seven. It also has no fewer than FOUR genders, so expect Czech grammar to drive you nuts.
Hungarian grammar is actually so hard to learn for English speakers due to its most difficult rules with 26 different cases which it includes in the list of hardest languages to learn.
Not only this but there are also some essential cultural implications that make it more difficult to learn in separation that’s why most of the European languages face this problem.
The Korean alphabet was actually created by King Sejong the Great in 1443. He wanted to develop a simplified writing system specifically suited to the Korean language.
He set up a committee of scholars who developed the alphabet that is still in use today, known as “Hangul.” Hangul consists of just 24 symbols, of which 10 are vowels and 14 are consonants.
Finnish is the official language of European countries like Finland and Sweden and is known as one of the hardest languages to speak and learn because of its complex case and vowel systems, hard grammar rules and the fact that the language is very different from its Latin and Germanic counterparts.
As a result, learning and mastering this language is extremely taxing yet rewarding.
The trickiest part of Mongolian is the pronunciation. Once you’ve got that down, the grammar is not so hard, as long as you know Finnish.
Moreover, the alphabet’s is a breeze, assuming you can read Russian. If you don’t meet those two criteria, though, it is a very challenging language to master.
Icelandic is near as difficult as some of the languages on this list of hardest languages to learn.
The fact that it is spoken by less than 400,000 people on one island and is mostly unchanged since Iceland was established in the 9th and 10th centuries mean that is also pretty complex and distinctive.
Georgian has its own writing system that no other language uses. And a lot of the letters look surprisingly similar.
For example, ვ, კ, პ, ჰ, ყ, ფ, გ, and ც are all different letters that you might have a hard time distinguishing between if you’re new to the game. The pronunciation is also pretty challenging for native English speakers.
Compared to the Finno-Ugric languages on the list (Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian), the seven cases you have to contend with in Polish don’t seem too intimidating. The pronunciation is what will get you.
However, there are a lot of sounds that simply aren’t present in the English language and require a lot of practice to master.
The most obvious impediment to learning Greek is the alphabet.
The grammar can also be a little tricky, with some unusual conjugations, lots of rules, and gendered nouns. And pronunciation requires some practice because there are sounds that don’t have an equivalent in English.
Albanian’s 36-letter alphabet should clue you in that attempting to master this language is going to be a wild ride.
Turkish is an agglutinative language, which means, in crude terms, that complex words are formed by tacking stuff on without changing the previous stuff at all.
It is pretty foreign to English speakers, but if you speak Japanese, Korean, or Finnish (which are all also on this list), you won’t have such a hard time grasping it.
Navajo is hard enough to figure out that code talkers in World War II used the language to develop a code for communicating that the Germans wouldn’t be able to track.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which language is the most difficult for people to learn?
Mandarin is unanimously considered the toughest language to master in the world! Spoken by over a billion people in the world, the language can be extremely difficult for people whose native languages use the Latin writing system.
2. What is the hardest language to learn for English speakers?
Still the hardest language to learn for English speakers is Mandarin. Spoken by over a billion people in the world.
3. What’s the easiest and the hardest language to learn?
Spanish is the #1 easiest language to learn
4. What is the most difficult language you taught yourself?
There’s a lot of debate about which language is the most difficult to learn. Those languages that are difficult to pick up are usually tough for entirely different reasons from one persons to another.
5. What’s the hardest language to learn on Earth as of 2019?
Mandarin is considered the toughest language to learn in the world! especially for those using the Latin writing system.
6. What are some of the toughest languages to learn?
7. Is English the hardest language to learn? Why or why not?
The English language is widely regarded as one of the most difficult to master. Because of its unpredictable spelling and challenging to learn grammar, it is challenging for both learners and native speakers.
8. What language is the hardest to learn for Americans?
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