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Rank the difficulty of the Duolingo languages! :)

Here is a list of them (not in order of difficulty)

Spanish French German Japanese Italian Portugese Dutch Irish Danish Swedish Turkish Esperanto Norwegian Ukrainian Russian Polish Welsh Hebrew Vietnamese Hungarian Greek Swahili Romanian

July 25, 2017



There's a few things that are misleading about the graph. Firstly, Hebrew is hard for the same reasons Arabic is hard (not written with vowels and fewer words that resemble English ones) but it's somehow ranked as medium. I would like them to explain why. Secondly, Korean has actually been ditching Chinese characters lately to the point where you might only see them in names or on TV. They use Hangul 98% of the time otherwise. Third, how the heck did Finnish get a medium ranking?!Finnish and it's cousins Estonian and Hungarian are notorious for heavy agglutination. And Vietnamese?! Did they even notice the six tones and compound word deal? I mean, I get why Thai is medium but... that's still kinda pushing it. I feel as if this graph is relying mostly on the script types and didn't do any actual research on the grammar.


This is based on actual class hours required to teach actual diplomats languages. What's one reason Arabic is so hard? Well, the fact the written form isn't actually used in normal interpersonal communication could be one. What's the deal with Korean? I'm not sure, but here's an account from one heck of a polyglot who lived in South Korea for years and certainly doesn't seem to disagree: http://www.foreignlanguageexpertise.com/about.html#lb

In the more complete version, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian are marked as harder cases within the very broad assortment of Category 4 languages, along with Georgian, Thai, and Vietnamese.


Okay, that would be the type of thing that would be a little more useful on a infograph like this. I'm not saying that the graph is entirely wrong but the explanations or lack thereof makes the entire thing feel incomplete. My main problem is the fact the main reasons they give that makes some of the languages "hard" could also be applied to, sometimes in a greater degree, the other languages that are "medium".


Where's Esperanto???


It's not on this specific list because this specific list is based on languages taught to U.S. diplomats for service abroad. Should Esperanto become a day-to-day language actually as opposed to theoretically useful for the conduct of diplomacy, then I suppose it will be allotted its own group at the very top ;)


Even though Esperanto has been proven to be 10 times easier as English for Japanese speakers, people still don't like to include it on language difficulty lists.


Yeah, I think it's cause not many people know about Esperanto, I did not know anything about Esperanto, but when I discovered it on Duolingo, I saw it was a very easy language, that's why it's on the first place of my list.


If it's anything 'official' people tend to only use natural languages because conlangs and Esperanto are highly debated about whether or not they should even be considered a language, I don't really want to go into it now though I find that the debate of Esperanto is similar to that of whether Pluto should be a planet xD


Firstly, I would like to say sorry, as I said, I didn't intend to be rude.

It is true that many people think (wrongly) that these shouldn't be considered languages. Even though there are even linguistics professors who think it, it is very anti-scientific and tendentious from them, and those who insist with these "selective classifications" and partialities are out of serious discussions related to it.

It doesn't kill to say again: sorry. I thought you were talking about serious academical discussions over this theme, not just the fact that it is an often debated discussion among many kind of people.


I don't intend to be rude (seriously, I don't), but it seems that you don't know the linguistic concept of what a language is. A language doesn't need to be natural to be considered a language (this is why Esperanto is called a costructed/ artificial language, but it stills a language).

There is no discussion among linguists if Esperanto is or not a language; it is a language, end (as well as languages constructed for artistic proposes, like Dothraki, High Valyrian, Na'vi, Sindarin, Quenya and Klingon, people accepting it or not).


In regards to your most recent comment : I never said it wasn't a language or that I held the belief it wasn't a language, I was pointing out that other people had the opinion which may be the reason it was not included


1.- Hebrew
2.- Japanese
3.- Hungarian
4.- Polish
5.- High Valyrian
6.- Vietnamese
7.- Swahili
8.- Irish
9.-Guaraní (Jopará)
10.- Turkish
11.- Russian
12.- Ukranian
13.- Dutch
14.- Welsh
15.- Greek
16.- Norwegian
17.- French
18.- Danish
19.- Portuguese
20.- Swedish
21.- Italian
22.- Romanian
23.- Catalan
24.- German
25.- English
26.- Esperanto
27.- Spanish (Native)

N°1 is the most difficult and N°27 is the easiest.


You forgot Romanian...


Great! I wasn't trying to be annoying or anything, I just wanted to let you know.


Swahili was pretty easy, the grammar is regular and so easy to understand, single verb sentences can be made into one word with no actual conjugation, person + tense + verb e.g. ninalala, ni - i, na - present tense, lala -sleeping. The only thing that is that vocabulary is pretty far off a lot of languages especially English ( quite a few loan words though ) so it could be kind of hard for you to memorize but do able with hard work :)


Of the languages Duolingo offers across the platforms....

Hardest: Irish, Welsh, Hebrew, Vietnamese, Hungarian, Guaraní

Sort of hard: Greek, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Japanese, Turkish, High Valyrian

Not too hard but very demanding: Esperanto, Swahili, Dutch, German, French, English, Romanian

Pretty easy: Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Italian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian


I find it fascinating you included Guaraní among your hardest. I have actually found it very easy considering how different it is from anything else I have studied. I would consider it not too hard, but very demanding just due to so much of the vocab sharing no roots with languages I know already other than Spanish borrowings.

I fully agree with Irish, Welsh, Hebrew, Vietnamese, and Hungarian being the hardest though. I really gave Welsh a go, but it just never gelled for me. I found it so hard to find patterns compared to other languages I've studied.


I fear the Duolingo Guaraní tree doesn't really provide good insight on Guaraní proper. If you look at the more natural translations (as opposed to the very Jopará ones provided by the course itself) that show up in some of the sentence discussions, they're very commonly quite different indeed, hinging on a very different collection of idioms, ways of saying things, etc. (not to mention a level of agglutination absent from the tree). I don't know if I'd compare it to a Hungarian, but certainly to a Turkish.

Of course, if you look at the question here as difficulty of Duolingo's take on the various languages, then, yes, Guaraní winds up fairly easy indeed.


Guaraní has a lot of grammatical features that are difficult for speakers of most European language speakers to handle. Other than the Spanish loanwords, Guaraní proves to be difficult for many reasons both grammatically and through vocabulary. From what I understand the one provided through Duolingo is a dialect with some of the most Spanish influence.


from hardest to easiest (my mother tongue is Portuguese):

1st: Vietnamese

2nd: Hebrew

3rd: Japanese

4th: Hungarian

5th: Irish

6th: Turkish

7th: Ukrainian

8th: Polish

9th: Russian

10th: German

11th: Welsh

12th: Swahili

13th: Romanian

14th: High Valyrian

15th: Guarani

16th: Greek

17th: Dutch

18th: Norwegian

19th: Danish/ Swedish

21st: French/ Italian

23rd: Catalan

24th: English

25th: Spanish

26th: Esperanto

27th: Portuguese


Dankon pro dirante, ke Esperanto estas la plej facila lingvo. La hispana estas tre facila por parolantoj de la portugala, cxu ne?


Jes, cxar la du lingvoj estas tre similaj! Mi ne parolas Esperanton bone, sed mi povas diri ke gxi estas la tre facila lingvo, ke mi lernis, kaj mi pensas, ke gxi povus esti la internacionala lingvo anstatauxe la Angla.


English is a hard language to learn for non native speakers


Esperanto is definitely the easiest language (unless you're a native speaker of Spanish or Portuguese and you're learning the other).


Esperanto is likely closer Spanish and Portuguese than to English. "estas" and "bone" are pretty close to "estás (estar)" and "bueno". Just an observation from a non-native but conversationally able Spanish student.

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