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https://www.duolingo.com/anthgrl

The Hardest Languages to Learn?

anthgrl
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Sorry if this has been shared already. It's such a common question here in the discussions that I thought some of you might be interested.

http://matadornetwork.com/bnt/hardest-languages-learn/

Language difficulty is subjective, of course (and it looks like these are based on the difficulty for a native English speaker). What do you think? Has anyone here learned one of these languages already? Are there any others that you think ought to be on the list?

Personally, I would have thought that polysynthetic languages like First Nations or Siberian languages would be pretty far up there on the difficulty scale. But maybe these languages aren't 'big' enough, since the list is apparently based on FSI rankings.

2 years ago

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Akvamariin
Akvamariin
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Languages that have almost no resources and very few native speakers can be very hard to learn, at least on an advanced level. Such languages often have "different" or complicated grammar as well. Like some minority languages that you mentioned.

Many "difficult" languages can be learnt by spending a lot of dedicated learning and using the internet to look things up and connect with natives but when there is a lack of resources and native speakers you will have to make more effort to learn the language, like traveling to an area where it is spoken, an option that is not available for everyone. And some will not find the motivation for it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elizabeth261736

It's difficult to impossible to learn a language that you don't want to learn. All others are possible.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/km.s
km.s
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well, I think Xhosa is harder

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GerdW.
GerdW.
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Polysynthetic languages are indeed incredibly difficult. But these lists rarely include such languages. Maybe the authors don't even know they exist. Lists like these are not to be taken seriously, they are more like clickbait for blogs and completely irrelevant.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SuperSquashMann
SuperSquashMann
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With resources being equal, each language presents different challenges. For example, German shares many features and words with English, but has four cases and arbitrary gendered nouns. Alternately, Mandarin Chinese has a comparatively simple grammar, but presents the challenge of memorizing the characters and pronouncing the tones correctly.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Olbapz
Olbapz
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I'm not from England, but I thought I read somewhere about how high Basque (Euskara) ranked on the list of difficult languages to learn in England's foreign service. It's not near a priority language needed like others on matador's list, but for a language that uses a latin-based script, it still poses a high challenge for an English speaker I would think.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salapls
salapls
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Many people say german is a difficult language. I have studied german and basque on my own and, comparing to basque, I didn't find german difficult. Basque verbs conjugation is crazy (It depends on the subject, the direct object and the indirect object). The language has more than ten cases, subordinate clauses are created by inflecting whole sentences and the order of words is just the opposite of the English's. Here are some simple examples:

I give you a book----> Liburua ematen dizut. I give you books----> Liburuak ematen dizkizut. You give me books----> Liburuak ematen dizkidazu. You have given me books---->Liburuak eman dizkidazu.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Olbapz
Olbapz
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Personally, I don't really get intimidated by grammar alone anymore. Languages that claim to be 'difficult' because of grammar, are perhaps just a little less misunderstood. Don't get me wrong, Basque totally has a very unique and dynamic grammatical structure that can be incredibly foreign to many and therefore seems impossible to learn when compared to other languages. Still, Basque's issue that challenges English speakers is the lack of really really good learning material. Duolingo could do wonders for Basque. ;) I hope at some point they give it the real chance it deserves to have greater exposure to the world.

2 years ago