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https://www.duolingo.com/LuchairF

Language difficulty list

LuchairF
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I am trying to work out where Irish would fit on this list http://www.effectivelanguagelearning.com/language-guide/language-difficulty Category 2 or 3?

2 years ago

26 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/HistoryCulture

For an Native English speaker? Maybe Category III

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tarjava

Those categories oddly match hurricane categories :P How much destruction does a language bring upon an English speaker mind? ;)

Irish might be III or IV I believe. The major mind boggling things to me are lenition and eclipsis, but I wouldn't put a jump to category IV on these two alone. Since there's not a ton of declension cases, I'm tempted to put it in III, but I'm not far enough into Irish grammar to judge correctly at this point.

I find their scale description misleading. It's not because something takes more hours to learn that it's necessarily more difficult, because it might be "more of the same thing" to learn. Japanese and Chinese are not "exceptionally difficult" in that manner, because their major difficulty lies in learning so many different characters, but their grammar is so much simpler than, say, any of the romance languages grammar (and French is put in category I? I'm surprised at that). Learning 5-10 characters a week is not complicated, but it does take time to reach the 1k+ level needed in Japanese to read basic texts without a dictionary (more required for Mandarin). But that's just it: learn characters and use them.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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Perhaps French was put into category I because of English’s stock of French-derived vocabulary, despite semantic shifts such as “demand” vs. demander.

My guess would have been category IV (if these categories are based upon the learning times for monolingual English speakers outside of Ireland), although Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian all have copulas, and they’re in category I. I’m surprised that Georgian is category IV rather than category V.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lilyanne_Matsuda

I honestly wonder where Japanese would fit in. XD

Everyone seems to say it's difficult, but I just don't understand why! >.<

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Windsaw

I failed learning Japanese because of two reasons: First, learning the Kanjis turned out to be a lot more complicated than I had anticipated. Because most signs can have multiple pronounciations and vice versa. That made immersing in the written language next to impossible. Second, Japanese has only a limited amount of syllables, many of which are far less common than others. Because of that, many words have multiple meanings (up to 9!) and the same syllables will be reused over and over again. Eventually, pretty much every new word sounded the same in my mind and creating memory hooks was next to impossible.

I hated to admit defeat, especially since most aspects of Japanes like grammar and pronounciation (at least to me as a german) are quite easy. Also, I never had any difficulties at all with honorifics or politeness rules.

To get over this defeat was part of why I started with Irish. So far I have less difficulties that I had to struggle with in Japanese. Grammar is more complicated but much less like other languages I know. Pronounciation comes relatively easy to me as a german, I expect native english speakers will have a harder time. Memory hooks are relatively easy to create.

My verdict: Category 2.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tarjava

The honorific/politeness words are as easy as other grammatical aspect to learn, it's how to properly use them "live" that is trickier. Using too high a level of politeness can be considered sarcastic (although as a foreigner, you are forgiven if you do not claim a high proficiency!), and using too low a level is also considered impolite, and you cannot rely on how someone addresses you to determine the level you should use to address them :) I actually liked learning about that while I was living there.

The trick to Japanese homophones is to learn words in a short context, but you are right that there are more than a few (although if you listen to native speakers, they will all pronounce those "homophones" differently, especially accents on vowel sounds).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Windsaw

If you use the normal polite form in Japanese (-san, -imasu) you should be able to get by everywhere, specially if you are visibly a foreigner. Use different politeness levels only if you are sure what you do.

The true homophones were not my main problem. It was overabundance of near-homophones. Meaning words with for example four syllables that share three of them (usually the most common) with many other totally unrelated words. It wasn't the problem that they were identical but that they started to blend together in my mind.

Of course Irish isn't totally free from this problem (ceachtar, cathair, ceathrar, cathaoir, ceathair) but I guess no language is.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lilyanne_Matsuda

Oh......I guess I never looked at it that way. XD

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HistoryCulture

I guess its because of all cultural differences between English and Japanese :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lilyanne_Matsuda

Or could it be the fact that we have 3 different ways of writing, and no plurals? XD

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tarjava

It's the kanji, nothing else. It takes time to memorize all of them. The pronunciation and the grammar is not worse or better than other languages, in fact, I find the grammar much simpler because there's no gender, declensions, and complicated conjugation of verbs.

Another difficulty of Japanese in my opinion is that if one is not immersed when studying, it is difficult to know the level of politeness required with different types of strangers. It's a sensibility one develops with exposure.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lilyanne_Matsuda

However, Chinese is totally reliant on kanji?

Japanese has two more types of writing that are fairly easy to learn. : o

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tarjava

I agree. My Japanese teacher made us learn the 45 hiragana in one week. We never used romaji. That sped up our learning.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/White_Cats

You from China ?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tarjava

Nope. I studied Mandarin and Japanese at a university. Japanese stuck the longest (6 years).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HistoryCulture

...or that...

I'd take Vietnamese over Japanese, with it's (pretty-much-latin script)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lilyanne_Matsuda

I guess. XD

Never really got the chance to look at Japanese from a foreigner's perspective, so... : P

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HistoryCulture

Well, I guess you looked at English and know how annoying the language is xD

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lilyanne_Matsuda

Not really. XD

Both Japanese and English were my first languages. ^-^

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HistoryCulture

You lucky person...you get 2 First languages....so jealous!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lilyanne_Matsuda

Heehee.....I guess. XD

My dad is Japanese-American, and my mom is Japanese, so yeah. XD

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/White_Cats

Oh, i like Japan. I hope go Japan 1 time ( I'm not so good at English. )

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/silmeth
silmeth
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Irish has only few of the Standard Average European (and has many non-SAE) features, so it makes it pretty hard for an English learner – as hard as some non-Indo-European languages are. But, on the other hand, it is in a Sprachbund with English and shares many words and some grammatical features with English.

Anyway, basing on the fact that the Slavic languages are in the group 4 (and they are pretty SAE-like), I would put Irish myself somewhere between the 4th and 5th one.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/patbo
patbo
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I'm not a native English speaker, but I would guess that (given a good teacher in both languages) Irish shouldn't be much harder than German for English speakers grammar-wise. Vocabulary might be a little more foreign.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Blonde_Mason

Hey i live in America and i think that Irish is a little hard but not too hard. like "i eat bread" or "he/she drinks water", etc. its all pretty easy but its confusing at first. BTW i gave u a lingot ;)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Blonde_Mason

btw i would think CAT III would work

2 years ago