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Top 5 Hardest Languages to Learn

The Top 5 Hardest Languages for an English Speaker to Learn

5. Mandarin

Like many Asian languages, Mandarin does not have an alphabet; however, it has wide variety of different characters, which there are over 50,000 in total. However, only 20,000 are in use. Also, an educated Chinese person will know around 8,000 characters, and you will only need 2,000-3,000 to read a newspaper. Also, Mandarin is a tonal language, which means that the pitch or a slightly different pronunciation may mean a different word. Luckily the grammar and the word order are very similar to English, and once you are confident with the characters, it gets gradually easier.

4. Japanese

Japanese has three different writing systems which mean you will have to learn all three; however the most common writing system is Kanji. The grammar is very contrasting compared to English. Luckily, there are no gendered objects so you will never have to guess the gender of an object. However, unlike Asian languages like Mandarin or Cantonese, Japanese is not a tonal language and there are only five basic vowels, which makes the language much easier when you are listening to a Japanese speaker.

3. Hungarian

Hungarian is a bit of a strange and different language in Europe as it is of a few languages which have no European roots. The Hungarian language is part of a very different family along with Finnish and Estonian. This is daunting for an English speaker to learn, as there are almost no cognate or similar words like it in English. Furthermore, Hungarian has 14 different vowels, which gives the language some tough pronunciations to master, and the grammar is also tricky to master. Hungarian grammar is considered some of the hardest grammar in the world with complicated word endings and tough word placements, and the vocabulary is very different compared to English, so learning the words with no English similarities/routes will be much harder to learn.

2. Arabic

Unfortunately, wherever you go in the Arab world, people will speak many different dialects of Arabic, spoken in different countries and regions, and most are not intelligible, which means you will have to learn one specific dialect or standard Arabic (MSA), which people will speak as a second language only to their own dialect. Luckily for Standard Arabic, it has an alphabet which is quite straightforward to learn, and consistent, but the exotic sounds to these words are pretty tough for English speakers. The grammar is pretty complicated, as there are many exceptions.

1. Finnish

Probably the hardest language for English speakers to learn is Finnish. The Finnish grammar is very complicated, and there are 15 cases! Luckily, the spelling is pretty predictable, and the pronunciation of the words are pretty simple. Like Hungarian, Finnish has no connection with other Indo European languages like French or German, which makes the words very hard, as there is no connection. Furthermore, according to the IFS, Finnish will take around 2,200 hours to learn. That is roughly 91 days, which is similar to learning Arabic or Mandarin! One Finnish word can be translated into a sentence in English; for example, the word "söisinköhän." This single word could be translated as the English sentence ‘I’m wondering if I should eat something.’

To Conclude: Although these languages may seem hard, once you learn the language, you will feel much more a sense of achievement if you had learned Spanish, and gradually, things will get a lot easier once you understand the basics. And you learning a new language will open you up to new places and people and unlock a very great and beautiful culture.

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Top 5 Hardest Languages to Learn
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