https://www.duolingo.com/Rajabrahon12

What is the most difficult language that you have ever learnt ???

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October 26, 2017

71 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Woof.
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1: Arabic (By FAR.)

2: Japanese

3: Mandarin

4: Greek

5: Korean

6: Vietnamese

7: Turkish

8: Latin

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/OmegaGmaster
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You should have a look at the languages of the North Caucasus.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Woof.
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You should have a look at Arabic :P

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/OmegaGmaster
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I have looked at Arabic before, and here's what I've founs:

  • Arabic's 3 cases are nothing compared to Tsez's 64.
  • Arabic's phonology is no match to those of the North Caucasian languages.
  • Arabic's WEIRD verbs are no match for Circassian's EVEN WEIRDER verbs.

Doesn't mean Arabic isn't difficult, but I'm just saying the languages of the North Caucasus are much harder.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Woof.
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Woah...

But what about the alphabet?

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Trofaste
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The difficulty of learning a new alphabet is overrated, IMO. In fact, in some ways I consider it easier than learning a new sound system for an alphabet you already know (provided you use a decent system for learning it, of course). Sure, the symbols take a bit to get used to, but you're learning to associate the sounds of your new language with those symbols completely apart from the sounds of whatever languages you already speak that use another alphabet, rather than trying to associate sounds that don't really match from two languages with the same letter. For example, if I associate ר‎ (Resh) directly with the sound it represents, /ʁ/, I learn the sound more accurately than if I associate it with r, in English usually pronounced /ɹ/, and in Polish, /r/.

October 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/OmegaGmaster
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Most North Caucasian languages are written with variants of Cyrillic. Abkhaz's alphabet is probably the hardest to learn imo, while Ossetian's alphabet is the easiest.

October 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Woof.
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Trofaste, I actually love learning new alphabets, but Arabic was just insanely difficult

October 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BeCreative__
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انت تعرف عربي؟ كيف؟ واُكتُب بالعربي من فضلك حبيبي

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Woof.
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Arabic was so hard, I gave up, so I can't understand a word of that.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BeCreative__
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How much did you even learn then haha. And how. It was so hard you learned none? I wouldn't say you have learned it then.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Woof.
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I didn't learn very much, to be honest, and I've forgotten a lot.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Woof.
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I used memrise.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Woof.
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Yeah, memrise isn't that great, especially for Arabic. The way they (tried to) teach the alphabet was just awful.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BeCreative__
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Oh.

اين حاولت تعلمها؟

Where did you learn it. There aren't that may english speakers I have met learning it, especially in the US.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BeCreative__
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Got you. That definetely does not seem like the best method considering how hard it is, the script, emphatics, verbs, scructure, common use, verbal nouns, nouns that are doers the present progressive, that change in one of the 10 verb structure, some which don't exist, but thats fooshaa, which is considered standard, among the many many dialects, who some people say are easier, but there are so many, which sound different, and it can be hard to communicate with some of those people if they are beduins who have no formal education and roam around in deserts with sheep or sheep like animals all day, and keep in mind case, also the phonetics are hard to understand, and the structure for teaching it is not great in the untied states, and the structural knowledge that can come from courses—keeping in mind they can be very poor—is absolutely unrealistic to get out of memrise.

Oh and you got to learn how to use it too. Haha.

Above is the simple version of learning. I can see how you could have gotten lost with Memrise.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BeCreative__
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Yeah, I actually used memrise a year to learn the alphabet, and it helped a lot. Pero sí, es complicado.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Qiunnn
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I think they were listing the languages they attempted to learn not have learnt

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Woof.
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That is true for some, but most are ones I'm in the process of learning, like Latin and Japanese.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DesertRose966

It depends on what your native language is- If I speak English, I would find learning Romance and Germanic languages easier than learning, say, Russian or Chinese. I think Hindi was the most difficult for me, and I sorta gave up ;)

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Dcarl1
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I found Hindi fairly easy to pick up because the devangari alphabet was so logical and the rules of the language made sense to me. Plus, watching hundreds of Bollywood films had ingrained the sounds and a decently large if odd vocabulary. But, while easy to pick up and start, I found it quite hard to master and eventually decided I could not do both it and Italian and opted for Italian. I never got very good at Hindi sadly.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Rajabrahon12
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Japanese for sure :))

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Qiunnn
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I'm trying to learn Polish, and it seems quite difficult because of the phonetic system.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Trofaste
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Actually, once you get used to it, the phonetics are really not that hard, and you might well come to quite like them. It's very consistent too, so once you've learned it, you've learned it, not like the crazy almost randomness which is English phonetics.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Qiunnn
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Yh the rules are pretty rigid but quite foreign to me, it will take a while to get used to having to analyse a word and work out how it actually pronounced first

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Trofaste
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Yeah, it takes some getting used to, but trust me, it does get easier. The pronunciation, that is. The real excitement is in the grammar (just wait till you meet aspect). But that's why we have a team which is very good at explaining it! :)

October 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BeCreative__
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Well that is interesting. The cases are what get me, and its just so out of the blue that language. Not having strong connections to the other languages I know make it tough to learn

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Trofaste
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Cases are a bit of a tough nut at first, yes. But even those you come to like eventually. I did, anyway. It just took a lot longer than learning to like the phonetics. Now I get frustrated with English sometimes when I try to decline a noun and it doesn't work. :D

For learning cases, I recommend not focusing on the endings too much at first; there are so many patterns it's easy to get lost in endings and forget to learn other important things, like when to use which case. I would start with getting a general sense of when each case is used, eg. Nominative/Mianownik (learn the Polish names for things like cases; it's not that many words and you'll want to know them when using Polish only sources) is the subject, Accusative/Biernik is the direct object, etc., but don't worry about an exhaustive list of where Accusative is used yet. The Noun syntax section of the Wikipedia page on Polish grammar has a pretty decent summary. Once you've got the general idea, then start thinking more about learning endings and specifics of all the situations where cases are used (eg. which verbs take Genitive for the direct object).

If you (or anyone else) would like I can expand on this comment, but it's a bit off-topic here and would be much better suited to the Polish forum. The best place would probably be on one of the cases discussions linked in Jellei's amazing Useful Polish Discussions post, if you comment on one of those I'll see it and can respond there.

October 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BeCreative__
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I have never done cases with languages, though I have a basic understanding of them because I was just getting to know them in arabic, and I have a bit of assimilated knowledge of them. I just don't really want to deal with it, in all honesty.

October 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Tamuna10
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The hardest I've learned were Chinese (because of writing) and Japanese (again because of writing). The hardest among the ones I know is my native Georgian :) Because it has different script than Latin alphabet, very complex morphology, syntax and semantics systems, and really hard verbal conjugation and tense systems, as well as noun declensions. To be sincere, if it wasn't my native language, I would have never studied it, as hard as it is oO

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BeCreative__
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Oh neat. You are one of those people who know that language.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/OmegaGmaster
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I'm trying to learn Kabardian, a Northwest Caucasian language spoken by the Kabardins, one of the 12 Circassian tribes. I don't think the FSI took this language into account when making their languge difficulty ratings, because if they looked at it, I think it would be level 7, two levels above Chinese and Japanese. It's that difficult.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Qiunnn
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Could you expand on the features of Kabardian that make it so difficult, I'm quite curious as I have not heard much about it before

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/OmegaGmaster
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Oh, where to begin...

For one, Kabardian has an insane phonology. You have your friendly /k/, /g/, /t͡ʃ/ and many more other nice sounds, but then you have ejective versions of most of these sounds /kʼ/, /t͡ʃʼ/, labialized versions /kʷ/, /gʷ/ and labialized ejectives /kʼʷ/. In addition, there are so many additional phonemes that are not familiar to English speakers whatsoever, such as /ʁ/, /q͡χ/, /ɬ/, /ħ/, and so many more. In contrast, there are only 6 vowels /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/ and /ə/. (At one point in time there were only two vowels.)

If its phonology isn't bad enough, its grammar is WORSE. It's ergative-absolutive, meaning the grammatical case that marks the subject of an intransitive sentence can also act as the object of a transitive sentence. Even once you get past that strange concept, you have verbs to deal with. They have polypersonal agreement and the way it works can change depending on certain affixes. Speaking of affixes, there are a ton, from things like ability (I can do something) and reflexivity, to positional suffixes (indicating above, below), to weird suffixes like those indicating addition or joining, or indicating direction towards the side of something or someone. As you can see, Kabardian has a lot to offer. It's not for the lighthearted whatsoever.

To get a feel of the Kabardian language, take a look at this 45-letter word and its IPA transcription:

УкъысхуегъэкІэрэхъуэкІыжыфыхэмыгъуэкъымитІэ /wəqəsxʷeʁat͡ʃʼaraχʷat͡ʃʼəʒəfəxaməʁʷaqəmitʼa/

I forgot to mention Adyghe, a sibling language of Kabardian. It has even more sounds and slightly different affixes than Kabardian, making it more difficult.

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AKicsiMacska
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Wow!! I tried learning inupiaq a while ago, and it also is ergative-absolutive!

And it has weird sounds that english speakers don't have (like the ġ)

It also has a lot more grammatical cases than most other languages (maybe not more than most actually, but it has 12, I think)

It's probably the most difficult language I've ever tried to learn but it doesn't seem as difficult as Kabardian!

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/OmegaGmaster
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In terms of cases, it can get worse. The Northeast Caucasian language Tsez has 64 cases. ????????

October 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/alsoich
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French, because of the spelling (I can't speak it anymore)

October 26, 2017

[deactivated user]

    I started learning Italian but it got too much for me to learn. I was learning Spanish and French at the time.

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/Dcarl1
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    I gave up Italian in college for the same reason. I was taking French at the same time, which was stronger, and the French kept displacing the Italian. Still does sometimes, although I have not studied it in 30 years.

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/BeCreative__
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    Yeah, the spelling bugs me. I have gotten a little better though. One thing I love about spanish is how easy its phonetics are to grasp (and because the phonetics are so staightforward with the text, I love.. Knowing the vowel sounds, like 30% or more of the language is easy to pronounce. And the other rules are straightforwad. The thing that takes some more work is intonation and more absobrtion of colloquialism, but that is another story

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/warriorg315
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    I tried to learn Czech one time, but the spelling and pronunciation is hard. I started taking Japanese, but stopped because of my Italian. My dad speaks Japanese pretty fluently, so, not really a problem there. ;)

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/RuqiyaGeelle

    probably mandarin because of all the symbols and the pronunciation.

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/OmegaGmaster
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    Pronunciation is not difficult. The characters... yeah that's difficult.

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/Woof.
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    Pronunciation: Easy

    Tones: Hard

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/OmegaGmaster
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    Tones aren't hard either. There's only four straightforward tones, unlike Vietnamese.

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/Woof.
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    They're not extremely difficult, just slightly challenging.

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/EpicRuler1414
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    Chinese by far. A complicated symbol for every word you have to learn by heart with the exact order of writing each line of the symbol. And that’s forgetting the 4 tones which I find even harder than the symbols.

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/Qiunnn
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    The tones used are actually used in English in daily life as well. For example we use the second tone when asking a question.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUw6bqt3OfY&list=PLioS_-8erSI1QtzpKnvSnuK-Gsrev59GG

    These videos are pretty good at explaining

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/Njordisk
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    Great vids :)

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/AlexanderShterev

    Bulgarian

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/robin.fli
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    Japanese, Irish and Welsh.

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/isnottogive
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    In duolingo, that has to be Japanese. But of the ones I’ve taken classes of, that is a tie between German and Danish. (Danish for pronounciation and German for everything else)

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/liviagirl

    English. Because I was learning to walk at the same time. ;p

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/liviagirl

    But being literal.... I learned Latin at home, and that was difficult too. (But not as hard as English was. LOL!

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/BeCreative__
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    الغة العربية...........

    Arabic. Omg it is so hard. At least Fooshaa. And it is not that fun to learn for me. The root system is logical but complicated. The phonetics and hearing the language, even without dialect is not easy. I think I can, and I have, sit in a class where Fooshaa is being spoken and I can get a lot of it, and if I get a lot of it I am good with responding. But put a little variation on it and it becomes really hard. Absorbing new words in the language is difficult, even having spent a year doing it. There are cases too which I don't really even want to deal with, though I have assimilated some information tacitly from reading and listening.

    But damn, arabic is really hard. And one has to have the motivation to learn it, which I do not.

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/OmegaGmaster
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    Fusha is annoying. I don't like it to be honest. I prefer one of the other Arabic varieties.

    October 27, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/ZoranS.
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    Maltese.

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/BeCreative__
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    There is a lot to this. I think this learner struggled a lot more with the grammar than I did, and he reminds me of my classmates who needed time to assimilate stuff. I spent a year learning arabic, and was able to go into the 3rd year level speaking very well.

    The last section about FoosHaa is unerving, because learning arabic, or at least MSA, leads someone to knowing a language people don't use. If I got to the middle east, people who are educated will understand me, but me understanding them is tough.

    It is quite funny reading this and how the author described the grammar. I just accepted its like that, learned how to use it with applied examples, assimilating it into my speech to a high degree of rapidity, and I now know a good amount of a language that really isn't spoken. This article is telling

    October 27, 2017

    [deactivated user]

      Japanese.

      October 26, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/Katelynga13

      spainish

      October 26, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/OmegaGmaster
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      It's actually one of the easiest languages to learn.

      October 26, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/Woof.
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      *For English speakers

      October 26, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/Qiunnn
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      It really depends on the person, a younger child may find it extremely difficult whereas a teenager will find it easier, someone with no experience in language acquisition will find it harder, motivation, free time ect..

      October 26, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/pokeboy120
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      They're talking relative to other languages

      October 27, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/trw10608

      japanesse

      October 26, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/HexManiacSarina

      All of the languages I've ever tried to learn in order were Spanish, Hindi, Korean, Japanese, French, Swedish, Dutch, and German.

      Hardest one for me was Spanish. But, it's probably because it's the one I was the least interested in. I actually never really wanted to learn it, I just got put in it in high school because the class I really wanted was full, which was psychology. But it is what inspired me to learn languages.

      Easiest one would be Japanese, even though it's really..... Really long. But for me, the languages I like the most are easiest. But I know that might not be the case with everyone.

      Now, the only languages I care to learn are Japanese and Korean, but if I ever wanted to be a polyglot again, I would want to pick up Mandarin and Cantonese later in life.

      October 26, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/BeCreative__
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      Spanish is soo easy, but yes motivation exists.

      October 26, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/Keikou_
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      Russian, because the grammar really is a turn off.... I do like that it has only one past though, unlike Spanish, which has 18 past tenses or something!? Why do you need so many???

      October 26, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/isnottogive
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      Dude, there's only eight forms of past (at least in Castilian Spanish), and some we don't even use in everyday life XD

      October 26, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/DonkeyKongMain

      spanish

      October 27, 2017
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