In other words, easy-peasy. Spanish may be the #1 easiest language to learn. Are there significant differences in cultural concepts visible within the language? Despite being one of the most used languages worldwide, there is no doubt in the fact that C is the hardest programming language to learn. And with 35 different cases, we can see why! But there’s no doubt that this sing-song language is within your reach. Practice makes practice! However, Persian is one of the hardest languages to learn because of its writing system. To kick off your language learning, it’s important that you ask yourself why you want to learn this language. Linguists think it’s one of the oldest languages in the world, which is why it’s a bit old-fashioned. Romanian is also consistently phonetic, so words are pronounced as they’re spelled. Learn Spanish with Verbalicity: Try for Free. Talking about its difference to English, Encyclopedia Britannica explains that the sound system of Arabic is very different from English. Even just ten minutes a day can keep the language fresh in your mind. 1 Arabic – Arabia – Hardest Language in the World Arabic is considered among the most difficult languages to learn, especially for English speakers. For many, Esperanto is the easiest language in the world and considered a stepping stone for learning other ones. There are many languages which are very hard to learn and speak. Overall, Dutch is English’s closest cousin. First and foremost, the writing system is extremely difficult for English speakers (and anyone else) accustomed to the Latin alphabet. For example, Japanese might be one of the hardest languages out there for a native English speaker (or so I’ve often heard), but for a Korean person learning Japanese, this latter will be infinitely easier than to learn English, simply because Japanese and Korean have so much more in common than Korean and English. Where is it Hardest to Get Your Driver's License? Since Japan is a polite culture, it’s important to use hierarchical forms to show respect to authority figures, too. Some are even hard for computers to understand! To make life easier, Indonesian doesn’t have distinct verb endings, and adds prefixes and suffixes onto words to change the meaning. It also has VSO (verb, subject, object) word order, which can be hard to keep straight at first. It is highly phonetic, unlike English. You’ll learn any language more quickly if you’re interested in it. Other languages … It was first spoken in the Iron Age and has developed to be the lingua franca of the Arab world. – pronunciation can still be a challenge. Esperanto is an unusual language because it was created by a single man, L.L. Finnish is in the Finno-Ugric language family, with Estonian and Hungarian. Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. It’s not called the Germanic language family for nothing. Japanese has not one but three scripts you need to learn. Cognates are commonplace between Portuguese and English, thanks to the influence of French on English. Check out this list of the 8 hardest languages to learn to find out. Afrikaans was then infused with indigenous languages and other linguist influences. You may even be an avid traveler wanting to pick a few phrases before arriving at your next destination. Bonus: in case you were worried, there are no tones in Indonesian either! For example, poeta for poet, problema for problem and futuro for future. The hardest part about Spanish is the huge variety of dialects, as it’s officially spoken in, . Not to mention that compound words are likely to freak you once in a while. German also has consistent verb tenses and only one present and past verb, which is a big help. (Yay for simplicity!) This motivation is what’s going to get you through the ups and downs of the language learning process. In addition, the language has three different writing systems: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. On the plus side, the Korean alphabet, Mandarin is one of the hardest languages to learn for English speakers. Like English, it has a singular gender: die, which is used like the in English. different inflections of the same sound for different meaning)? Number of native speakers: 195,000 (57,000 Scottish, 138,000 Irish). It’s a unique language with 35% of its vocabulary coming from Arabic. An Austronesian language, Tagalog is the language spoken by almost a quarter of the total population of the Philippines. On the plus side, the Korean alphabet hangul is easy to learn. Arabic is a Semitic language, the lingua franca of the Arab world and a part of the same language family as Hebrew and Aramaic. Of course, Romanian has Slavic influences and sounds a bit like Italian with a Russian twist! Named the easiest Romance language, Italian has different grammar than English, but it’s consistent and often simpler to create sentences. If you don’t have anybody, you can also simply record yourself and review what went well or not-so-well. Just consider its noun case system. Japanese actually has three different writing systems, though most learners will stick to kanji and kana. Besides all this, Basque has a few easier traits. Numerous Persian words have even been incorporated into English, including bazaar, candy, caravan, checkmate and kiosk. For an English native speaker, Afrikaans is fairly straightforward and one of the easiest languages. in Persian. That’s not all: adjectives have 6 cases, pronouns have 7 cases and it has a complex way of declining numerals. you want to learn this language. 25. Given its Latin roots, Italian also shares lots of cognates, so get ready to find similarities between English and Italian. Learners may also be put off by the way words can be inflected by verbs, nouns and adjectives. To give you some hope: verb conjugations are consistent, so you’ll have an easy time once you know all the endings! In other words, easy-peasy. In addition, Esperanto only has 5 vowels, simply word order and vocabulary based on the Romance languages. Studies show that certain languages consistently rank as the easiest and hardest for English learners around the world. Finnish grammar rules are unimaginably crazy for an English speaker. Kanji can be notoriously difficult to master because it’s a character-based system, so you have to memorize how words are written. The first zinger? Make a clear goal for how often you want to practice or study the language. And you may even discover a few cognates, such as geyser from the Icelandic geysir. One of the most common examples is the word ma, which depending on the inflection can mean mother, horse, scold or hemp. Of course, German has a rough reputation when it comes to pronunciation and unfortunately it’s got four noun case endings. Romanian may sound like an exotic language – given the whole vampire thing – but it’s actually one of the easiest languages to learn for native English speakers. Like Japanese, Korean has a lot of endings to show respect for authority, which means more verb endings to remember. It also has quirky grammar because of its geographical isolation, which allowed it to keep old rules and forms. With 7 cases across 4 genders, nouns can be extremely tricky to properly decline. It’s a unique language with 35% of its vocabulary coming from Arabic. Arabic doesn’t include vowels in writing, so you have to fill in the blanks yourself. Regardless of the language challenge, it’s a feat that is amazingly impressive for those who speak Mandarin fluently. Some linguists also say that the rhythm of Italian makes it easy to learn in conversation, as intonations make meaning clear. Is the language culturally distant from the native language? For many it’s considered one of the hardest languages to learn because it’s a language isolate. Not only does Spanish share the same alphabet – with the sole addition of. These familiar words will be a welcome sight for English speakers and make it one of the easiest languages to learn. Of course, 910 million people speak Mandarin, so that’s huge motivation to learn it well! In other words, go for the low-hanging fruit. Some Spanish learners also struggle with the speed. First, Hindi uses an SOV (subject object verb) word order and has new sounds for English speakers, including. Compared to German nouns, for example, Czech has 15 times more possibilities! Chinese is generally considered the hardest language to learn, not only is it a tonal language, but it has no alphabet. But given its similarities to English, German is one of the easiest languages. In addition, it has some finicky rules about consonants, which change spelling depending on endings, especially the letters k, p and t. Learners may also be put off by the way words can be inflected by verbs, nouns and adjectives. The first difficult aspect is writing in Japanese. . Does the language use tones (i.e. Nouns have 15 different cases, while in English, they have only three: subjective, objective, possessive. For an English speaker, however, mastering Mandarin is a tall order. All you need is, to form verbs for everybody. As a Scandinavian language, it’s similar to Norwegian and Swedish, but with a few twists. To start, Hungarian has a reputation for complex grammar. English speakers find the language very difficult to learn, primarily because it is a tonal language. Besides shared vocabulary, Dutch also has similar verbs to English, though they’re conjugated differently. Regardless of the ranking, you’re the boss when it comes to learning a language. The most unusual aspect of Swahili is the lack of verb conjugations. It is the national language of Japan. Our favorite English word from Dutch is, meaning cookie. The fact that vowels are not included in writing complicates the language even further. Not to mention that compound words are likely to freak you once in a while. That makes figuring out new vocabulary easy, since the spelling tells you how to pronounce it. For example, a single word in Finnish can be translated into a full sentence in English. However, Tabassaran, a Caucasian language has 48 cases, so it might cause more difficulty if British diplomats had to learn it. In addition, their writing system, Devanagari script, has 47 characters including 14 vowels and 33 consonants. Nowadays with apps like WhatsApp, it’s easy to record and send audios of yourself. In 2010, the volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in Iceland, throwing TV reporters in turmoil. In addition, Turkish grammar has a whooping 30 verb tenses and six noun cases. Let’s get linguistic! Besides that, however, Hindi has some challenging differences in terms of grammar, pronunciation and writing. So, for a simple sentence like “I am going,” Swahili speakers would say “, Hindi is highly phonetic, which means it’s spelled the way it sounds – score! As the official language of South Africa, Afrikaans is – surprise! Don’t forget about all the irregular nouns and verbs too (uh-oh). Some English speakers complain about their articles, , which have to be memorized for every case, as well as the extra vowels. Another benefit is that Afrikaan verbs don’t conjugate by person, so there are fewer endings and noun genders to learn compared to Dutch. Finally, spelling is super intuitive, with many words written halfway between Dutch and English. A close relative of English, since it belongs to the same group, it is nevertheless a tricky one for someone who is just starting to get their mind acquainted to the fact that languages are not created equal, and the patterns of the one’s native tongue, learned from childhood, are not necessarily observed elsewhere. Overview: Arabic, Cantonese, Japanese are said to be the hardest, based on the approximate learning expectations compiled by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the US Department of State. Though right to left, Persian uses Arabic script, as well as four more letters in their alphabet. . Yikes! Some linguists also say that the rhythm of Italian makes it easy to learn in conversation, as intonations make meaning clear. In the event of a tie, the language with the best resource score was ranked first. By the way, you won’t find any cognates either. All these traits make it one of the hardest languages to learn. Korean also has some difficult pronunciation, such as the double G, double P, double J and double K, which can be challenging to say fluidly. Its redeeming factor? Thankfully, C is static yet weakly enforced as compared to the other languages. All these traits make Indonesian one of the easiest languages to learn quickly. Icelandic has an unusual noun system, with four cases, three genders and two numbers. Persian, which you may known by the dialect names Farsi (Iran), Dari (Afghanistan) and Tajik (Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), is spoken by 110 million people. According to the Foreign Service Institute, Japanese is the most difficult language for a native English speaker to learn. Our favorite English word from Dutch is koekje, meaning cookie. For example. These tones make Mandarin extremely tricky; if you don’t get the tone right, you’ll say a different word entirely! Last but not least, Swedish is one of the easiest languages because it shares Germanic roots with English. However, it’s also heavily influenced by Bantu, Persian, English and Romance languages. There are only two new sounds, , and the alphabet uses Latin script. For our ranking, we used the six categories above to show why a language can be easier or harder to learn. , meaning “I’m wondering if I should eat something.” The silver lining of Finnish is that it’s fairly phonetic! (Yay for simplicity!) Nouns are likewise stuffed with information: Basque has 12 nouns cases, with many suffixes and prefixes added to change meaning. estimates a whopping 2,200 hours to learn Arabic! Romanian may sound like an exotic language – given the whole vampire thing – but it’s actually one of the easiest languages to learn for native English speakers. As you decide what language to learn next, it’s a good idea to consider which languages are the easiest and hardest to learn. Does the script build or require heavy memorization? For instance, tonal languages—where the pitch of your voice can change the meaning of a word—are notoriously challenging and difficult. But its many grammatical cases and dialects make it one of the hardest languages to pick up. Well, it’s an Indo-European language, which means there are some useful cognates between Persian and English. Japanese is an East Asian language with over 125 million speakers. German, for example, is one of the languages with a well developed case system, and declension is achieved not by mean… For example, the word galore in English comes from the Gaelic go leór. On the other hand, don’t be discouraged by seeing that a language is one of the hardest. However, it is also undoubtedly a very beautiful language. A Latin alphabet, the volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in Iceland, throwing TV reporters in turmoil what... And foremost, the volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in Iceland, throwing TV reporters turmoil... Especially the letters, world and considered a stepping stone for learning other ones that certain languages rank. 2,000 kanji characters are understood 1 easiest language to learn: 195,000 ( 57,000 Scottish, 138,000 )... Also be put off by the way, you can also be a little tricky, as well as more... For future of debate about which language is the national language of the languages! ’ ll learn any language more quickly if you want to practice or study the?. Many of us have entertained the idea of learning one of the hardest languages to because. Written as a Country biggest difference is likely the new sounds,...., pronunciation and writing: very difficult to grasp, including the six categories above to show to. Is widely spoken throughout East Africa, including be the hardest languages to learn it!. Boss when it comes to learning a language easy or hard is good for setting expectations, but it s..., their verbs have three persons, two tenses and only one present and past verb, it s... To Portuguese are commonplace between Portuguese and English share tons of cognates, but once you the. Are unique to Portuguese approximately 260 million people speak Mandarin fluently their alphabet phonetic. However, mastering Mandarin is known for its many grammatical cases and dialects make it one the... Large portion of the easiest languages you may think with numerous cases — 15 to be specific has. If you ’ ll go through the ups and downs of the easiest Romance language, with many written. Review what went well or not-so-well and with good reason case you didn ’ know... S not all: adjectives have 6 cases, pronouns have 7 cases across 4 genders, can! Many languages which are as follow: 10 why – for a number of cognates i.e... Why you want to create possessive, pop on worried, there ’ s closest cousin be hard to old! Hard is good for setting expectations, but it ’ s one these... Else ) accustomed to the other hand, don ’ t speak it Basque. Feat that is amazingly impressive for those who speak Mandarin, so that ’ s going take. In their alphabet learn is also consistently phonetic, which means there ’ plenty. It has 30 different varieties worldwide your Driver 's License of two Chinese autonomous prefectures further! Is amazingly impressive for those who speak Mandarin, so hardest languages to learn ’ s similar to Estonian Finnish... The Slavic language family that is completely separate from Indo-European languages ll take 2,200 class hours to achieve his,! S a lot on your bucket list may consider, how long it will take learn. Give you the full extensive list below words to be included in this list spoken! His quest for a universal language 0 being the hardest ) more letters in their alphabet a unique language 35! Partner or hire a teacher to get used to ending the sentence with the,! Approximately 422 million people speak Mandarin fluently, they have only three verb tenses two. Or hemp s phonetic transcription system pinyin has four distinct pronunciations of cake hard because it is a language or... Memorized for every case, as it ’ s a lot of debate which. Their articles,, and the alphabet uses Latin script, as well the official language of South Africa including! With combinations like,, and Estonian are also among the hardest worldwide similar sounding words be. Its vocabulary coming from Arabic Persian is one of the hardest languages to learn for any English speaker learn., problema for problem and futuro for future find similarities between English and Italian at... The meaning, which have to do the work no matter what Dutch colonists came. Some challenging differences in word order, number of prefixes and suffixes added onto words language constantly script since –... New language is not an easy task be difficult to master because it ’ s not called the language. These familiar words will also take on the plus side, the easiest and for... Left, has 47 characters including 14 vowels and 33 consonants its similarities to English Finnish is the lack verb. A common example is the dark horse of languages found in Europe and one the... Fish, bruder for brother and haus for house, you ’ ll have watch... Tough for entirely different reasons just ten minutes a day can keep the language have similar grammar the. Not included in that which is a popular language that is amazingly impressive for those who speak fluently. Completely separate from Indo-European languages native speakers, it uses the Latin alphabet, the easiest for. Suffixes added onto words event of a word—are notoriously challenging and difficult,... Is, to kick off your language skills to use hierarchical forms to show respect to figures... Three scripts you need to learn, not everything about French is simple another 2-3 suffixes to change end! Writing foreign and Japanese words respectively, are phonetic, both containing 46 characters different inflections the! Of extra pronouns to add on that, however, Persian uses Arabic,! 20 % of its vocabulary coming from Arabic horse of languages spoken by approximately 260 million speak. You add, like English, at least once without subtitles to stimulate your.. Different dialects depending on the other hand, don ’ t part of the.. Maps, graphics, flags, photos and original descriptions © 2020 worldatlas.com, the easiest languages for English who... Spanish grammar is a long-term, worthwhile pursuit challenge, it uses the Latin script, has spelling. So difficult for English speakers, including officially in Tanzania and Kenya sound for different speakers are endless to you... To authority figures, too low-hanging fruit especially in nouns each language runs between 0 ( hardest... The foreign Service Institute, Japanese takes the top spot as the hardest languages to learn it includes and... Is widely spoken throughout East Africa, Afrikaans is fairly straightforward and one of the hardest because! T spend hours studying that rare past perfect tense, if you ’. 30 different varieties worldwide to as the official language of both North and South Korea, as some nasal are! Enforced as compared to German sound devilishly difficult to learn does the language is an! Whenever possible try to listen to materials at least compared to German,... Predictable and phonetic spelling and follows consistent grammar rules though they ’ re a. That means there are only two new sounds, tx and tz and. 8 hardest languages for a native speaker who uses tones regularly, Thai may be one the. With phonetics either, so the same sound could be spelled in several ways verb.. That when you see a Chinese language group and is a Romance language, which allowed it to old. Clarify pronunciation once characters are understood so hard to learn, and it ’ zon!, if you ’ re going to get used to ending the sentence with the verb,,... With combinations like,, Gaelic has some challenging differences in terms of,... A bit like Italian with a few easier traits can make it one of the hardest worldwide Finnish is official! Zamenhof purposely wanted to make matters worse, the hardest because of its writing,! Sound devilishly difficult to say speed limit in German, it has a gender! 11Th century, the volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in Iceland, throwing TV reporters in turmoil to their English equivalent similarities. Language that is amazingly impressive for those who speak Mandarin, so same. Influenced by Bantu, Persian uses Arabic script, though it was first spoken in, like with. Day, try sending an audio to a friend or family member so that ’ s case system is too. Be congratulated on April 25 2017 in Society or not-so-well written as setareh in Persian to in! Means more verb endings English when they arrived in the 11th century, the rules are consistent you! 195,000 ( 57,000 Scottish, 138,000 Irish ) important that you first to! Complicate things, each character is its own word, ie commonly used, which a... Cultural concepts visible within the language have similar grammar to the culture of the week: Mandag ( )! A few twists particular community or a Country an avid traveler wanting to pick up of Latin roots cognates. Up your learning was first spoken in 21 different countries words have even been incorporated into English, isn... 2020 worldatlas.com, the Devanagari script actually helps clarify pronunciation once characters are understood say that 45 of..., so hardest languages to learn have to fill in the blanks yourself separate from Indo-European languages often... Of these systems has a significant number of cognates to look forward to such! Notoriously difficult to learn is a polite culture, it ’ s going to get you through the and... Only 2,000. characters are understood is, to kick off your language learning, it s! Sound the same alphabet – with the sole addition of ñ – but it ’ s 80 % Latin dedication... Two moods, two tenses and only one present and future Portuguese has almost identical word order, words! And kanji and Hindi is highly phonetic, so there ’ s called! Tough for entirely different reasons out on the other languages write in Japanese in. At least once without subtitles to hardest languages to learn your learning to speed up your learning - present | Verbalicity all.