Learning a new language can be hard, especially if you already have a high level of proficiency in English. If you are an English speaker looking to learn a new language, you may find that the task is far more difficult than it seems. In this article, we will explore how English speakers are learning languages and what their reasons for doing so are.
What are the Hardest Languages to Learn for English Speakers?
There are hundreds of languages in the world. If you want to learn a new language, you should focus on learning the hardest ones first. If you can’t make yourself speak a difficult language, then how will you ever get to fluency? Here’s our list of the most difficult languages for English speakers.
Arabic is one of the hardest languages for English (and other Romance language) speakers to learn. Arabic combines a phonemic and logographic writing system, which makes it unlike any other written language as far as pronouns are concerned. Also, learners have a hard time with their grammar: It’s predominantly verb-based; there is no tenses and syntax doesn’t follow traditional rules. If you want to start learning Arabic at an intermediate or advanced level, then you better speak good English.
French is a difficult language to learn for an English speaker mainly because it doesn’t have many short Turkish words or loanwords that flow easily into the old tongue. If you want to learn French at an intermediate or advanced level, then you should already be acquainted with Spanish and Italian languages first. Chinese: Just like Arabic, Mandarin has its own writing system which makes learning it impossible for English (and other Romance) speakers. Basic grammar is stem-based on gender, which makes it different from any other western writing system.
This tongue is a real pain if you do not have high language skills to start off learning but offers versatile expressions and unlike French has a ton of loan words that make the transition easier for foreign learners who are familiar with Italian or Spanish languages first.
Korean is another difficult language for English speakers to learn because it needs high linguistic skills to even begin learning. It has a better-written form and less phonetic variation than Chinese, thus making it easier for Westerners who study their Asian languages. Also, there are more loanwords in Korean that make the transition easier from other Asian languages too.
Japanese also has its own written language counterparts but still makes it difficult for beginners in a foreign tongue. You definitely need to study Chinese first if you start learning this one as lower difficulties can often make things easier than Arabic, French or German tongues.
This is another language that requires high linguistic skills to even begin learning but with a little time, it becomes manageable enough for English speakers. Chinese as compared to any other Asian language helps learners in focusing and retaining the grammar structure much easier since there are many examples of irregular verbs in both spoken and written forms. Additionally, most commonly used words revolve around key themes such as business transactions or daily goods making the learner’s tasks simpler than say Japanese or Korean, where the focus tends to be more on the academic side of things.
Vietnamese is similar in writing structure to Chinese and Korean, but even more pronouncedly so because of the abundance of slang. There are many loanwords that make it easier for other Asian speakers who have studied their respective languages first. Also, pronunciation changes as a foreign speaker approach Metro-Vietnam with its slight differences from the Latin script used in Western Europe + Asia.
Thai’s hardest to learn is its own written language but still not too difficult for people with a reasonable amount of skill or education in English or Thai. Pronunciation can be challenging at times as it isn’t taught as early and is differentiated from Thais who have studied their respective scripts first.
Although Russian has a lot of letters and seems complex for first-time learners at times it is not an incredibly difficult language to learn. The most challenging part when learning strategy terms or gendered pronouns will be having success with them.
10th easiest European language. By far the hardest Slavic languages to master are Polish, Czech and Macedonian (which includes Bulgarian). Although all have alphabetical differences within their written
forms they use the same Latin alphabet. Czech and Slovak are very similar languages that have a common origin in the Magyar language, with many words having the same meaning between these two dialects. Some of their differences arise when added to those currently spoken by Russians and Ukrainians.
11. Mandarin Chinese
The difficulty of Mandarin varies greatly depending on the learner and what language they have previously studied. Swedish, Korean and Vietnamese are all more difficult than Chinese to learn first due to the abundance of terms in their respective languages that need to be learned before tackling this difficult script.
Right after Hungarian and Czech comes Serbia, which also consists of four different dialects that use the Cyrillic alphabet based on old medieval manuscript traditions/targets (not adapted to modern means). Written in the early medieval script but still, almost a century later it has already fallen out 14% from its peak – while Russian has entered 16th place at 19% slip.
Hungarian is a very commonly spoken language in Central and Eastern Europe with 73 million native speakers (2017). Because of its large influence on other Slavic languages, there are many similarities between it and Serbian due to the common origins shared by all these. It’s still widely used now as a lingua franca for business purposes throughout Southern Euitophia, especially among people who work in multinational companies or institutions that require fluency across several different states due to its highly dominant position in the region.
Portuguese is a Romance language spoken by 210.2 million people as the official and de facto first language in five South American countries Brazil, Portugal, Angola (the last two where it has equal with Spanish), Mozambique and Cape Verde – with 15 more countries being co-official also; Italian (in Switzerland) after four years left at 6th place. You May Want To Read: hardest languages to learn.
Why is Russian so hard for English speakers to learn?
What makes it more difficult to learn than, say French? There are several factors at work:
A. Two radically different writing systems right from the beginning = extremely redundant learning curve.
B. Exclusivity of usage within a language family/dialect group (even when not official government use).
C. Intrinsic complexity of grammar structure and vocabulary.
What is the hardest language in the world to learn?
There are languages that have few native speakers or simply no one speaks any of them at all. The hardiest example of this is Chinese, with a total population of less than 0.001% and available words in the language estimated to be 4’000’000 (3 million) which equates to just 831 on average per person while English has 390 million though we can only use 12 out of these words meaning each dictionary word takes up 22,000 words of which English is slightly longer than combined.
In conclusion, each language is unique in its own way, its grammar has to be learned and after it becomes “second nature” the alienating part occurs when trying to speak or edit documents written in that dialect. There will always be linguistic differences (which makes learning faster each time – though this may not convince doubters) or local colloquialisms which create additional instances of complications.