“The Most Difficult Languages to Learn, Ranked”

For many people, learning languages ​​is very rewarding, interesting and a bit challenging

It takes time, discipline and a well of motivation that you will need to refill

This is why it can be useful to know the difficulty level of a language compared to a native speaker

There are language difficulty ratings, so you can smoothly identify target posts at realistic distances

In this post, we’ll look at the easiest and hardest languages ​​to learn, factors that determine language difficulty, and a comprehensive ranking of the world’s most spoken languages, including how long it takes to learn each language

>> Dive right in: Get a complete list of languages ​​sorted by difficulty

How to determine language difficulty?

Determining language difficulty requires a bird’s-eye view of how languages ​​relate to each other

With over 70 years of experience teaching languages ​​to US government employees, they have compiled a comprehensive and widely recognized list of language rankings

Their criteria is essentially tied to the average length of time it takes a student to learn a language, which we’ll dive into in the next chapter

Now let’s look at the individual components of each language that affect difficulty levels:

When we talk about linguistic distance, we are talking about fundamental differences between languages ​​and how and from where they evolved

Spanish, French and Italian are descendants of Latin and share many similarities

If you want to see closely related languages, we recommend diving into the world of language families, or groups of languages ​​that all share the same native language

Unlike the similarities between the Romance languages ​​listed above, German and Mandarin, two languages ​​from different families with completely unique writing systems, could not be further apart linguistically

Importantly, the further away your native language is from the language you are learning, the harder it may be for you to find a new language

In English it is acceptable to say “you bought five books”

However, to translate the same statement into Mandarin, you would need a base word

Like a pack of wolves or a gas tank, “books” in Mandarin requires the word bên to refer to a unit of five books

This is just one example of unique grammar rules found in other languages

Grammar can be difficult even in your native language

If you want to make learning easier, finding a language based on familiar or easy-to-learn grammar rules can help reduce the difficulty level of the language

It means “ice skating” in German German is often preceded by a hard-to-learn accent and an enthusiastically long vocabulary

It is also rated as one of the easier languages ​​to master, as you will see in the list below

German and English belong to the same Germanic language family, so their linguistic proximity prevails

And while mastering a German accent can be tricky, most speakers will understand what you’re saying by mistake

When it comes to pronunciation, the real difficulty factor comes with tonal languages

These languages, including Vietnamese and Mandarin, require correct pronunciation and inflection to create the meaning of each word

Four different Mandarin tones give the same word “ma” four very different meanings

As an English speaker, you will encounter three types of writing systems:

Languages ​​that use the same Latin alphabet as you find in English Languages ​​that have their own unique alphabets Languages ​​that are based on unique writing systems

Languages ​​that fall into the first category are often the easiest languages ​​to learn

Since you are already familiar with the alphabet, you understand the symbols and most of the letter sounds

Thus, improving reading and writing skills in that language takes much less time

The languages ​​you will find in the second category are quite complex

You will have to learn a whole new alphabet and memorize the sounds of the corresponding letters

For example, Mandarin has a logo writing system where characters correspond to different syllables in each word

The ranking includes the world’s most widely spoken languages

With more than 7,000 languages ​​spoken worldwide, it is difficult to list them all

This list contains the languages ​​spoken by the majority of the world’s population

The Foreign Service Institute provides time estimates along with difficulty ratings, but it’s important to note that each language has different goals

The time estimates here reflect how long it would take the average person to reach a level 3 skill level, which is pretty smooth by most standards

If your goals are more in line with level 1 or 2 skills, you will learn the language even faster

They are very closely related to English, so many of the same grammar rules and similar vocabulary apply

Although German belongs to the same family as English, it has a higher level of complexity than other Germanic languages ​​due to its nuanced pronunciation

You will notice that many of these languages ​​do not use the Latin alphabet

Proficiency in these languages ​​takes approximately 88 weeks (2200 hours of practice)

Proficiency in these languages ​​takes approximately 88 weeks (2200 hours of practice)

Proficiency in these languages ​​takes approximately 88 weeks (2200 hours of practice)

Proficiency in these languages ​​takes approximately 88 weeks (2200 hours of practice)

These languages ​​are highly nuanced, with complex rules of grammar and pronunciation

But don’t let their place on this list put you off diving, we’ve created courses to help you learn quickly and efficiently!

How can I use difficulty ratings to benefit language learning?

There is no set deadline for how long it will take to learn a language, but language difficulty ratings are useful goal posts to help you on your journey

Learning a language is a marathon, not a sprint

It’s also easier to always keep your eye on the prize, your personal language goals

Regardless of the difficulty level of your new language, Rosetta Stone makes learning easy, efficient and fun

The best time to start learning a language is today

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