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What languages are around the same difficulty as German?

There are many easier like French, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian and harder lile Russian, Japanese, Arabic. But what languages are in between like German?

July 15, 2017



Russian and French are probably some the in-between ones. I don't think Russian is terribly difficult (as is all the other Slavic languages) because it's still in the PIE family of languages. French on the other hand has notorious spelling. Sure, it's related to Spanish and Portuguese, but I couldn't spell simple French from ear if my life depended on it.

I'd say Swahili is also in-between-ish for English speakers just because the vocabulary isn't like the ones seen in PIE languages. It also has a large class/gender system.

EDIT: now that I think about it, Dutch is about the same as German. Romanian is also sort of tricky in a fun way.


I don't think the claim that Russian is a fair bit harder than German would find much objection among experienced English-native learners of both. Russian has a tiny fraction of the quantity of obvious cognates, a sufficient enough factor to pretty much seal the matter in my eyes.


True but I would still categorize it as an in-between sort of language since there are many non-European languages much, much harder than the Slavic languages, although things like Russian are slightly harder than German (I find both of them to be equally hard for similar reasons but English speakers have an easier time with German because of the language family).


I find both of them to be equally hard for similar reasons

Do you also speak a Slavic language? I haven't really ever tried German, but I've taken a look at Dutch, and the difficulty of retaining the vocabulary just doesn't come anywhere close to the difficulty of learning new Russian words. Frankly, I've found it easier to remember new Hungarian words than Russian ones.


It depends on which languages you've already learned and languages that you haven't learned. I started doing German and it was hard for me so I tried Dutch. When I went back to German (thanks to the bots) :), it became easier.


Icelandic? It seems like the only Germanic language that rivals German in difficulty.


You should try Danish. The grammar is easy, but that compensates for the difficult pronunciation.


I would say Dutch and Afrikaáns.


Why Afrikaans? It's even less grammatically complicated than Swedish and Norwegian.


Danish. Turkish, maybe. Hope this helps :)


Danish is closer to Swedish and Norwegian, it's easier to learn according to many people. I think you might be talking about Dutch?


It could just be me, but I find that Dutch is significantly easier than German. It would be a good choice too though as it's a cool language.

To be frank I don't know much about Danish but I have heard that it is considered the hardest out of the Scandinavian languages (probably mainly due to its awkward pronunciation), so I feel like it could be on the same difficulty level as German while Swedish and Norwegian are, I think, easier than German.

Language difficulty can be a pretty subjective topic though :-)


Danish also has a pretty unphonetic writing system I believe.


If you are wondering about languages here on Duolingo, try Swahili, Welsh, Irish, Dutch, or Romanian. They present a bit of challenge but aren't so crazily complex. I have tried each of these courses and they are fun!


Here's a listing people like to use (based on classroom hours to fluency for U.S. State Dept. personnel as I understand it): http://www.effectivelanguagelearning.com/language-guide/language-difficulty

In short, Swahili and Indonesian/Malaysian. Swahili and Indonesian are simpler than most natural languages I think because they have historically been trade languages spoken mostly by non-native speakers, so unduly complicated grammar, etc. probably got "worn away" over time. Now they are national lingua francas still spoken mostly by non-native speakers. They're still harder than the closely related languages, however, because of a dearth of familiar vocabulary.


You should try Icelandic

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