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The hardest language

[deactivated user]

    This one will be easier for those who currently are learning or have already learned several languages.

    What was the hardest language to get into? Being the alphabet, the grammar, the spelling, the accent... what was THE ONE hardest to crack.

    And kind of a sequence to this question...

    Have you ever given up on a language? I'm not saying after a couple of lessons... more like one or two months into it and reaching a point where you just felt like throwing your computer out the window and saying that's just not for me.

    (here's hope this discussion won't disappear)

    January 12, 2018



    English is quite difficult. The pronunciation makes no sense, so you have to learn it word-by-word. If you hear a strange word, knowing how to write it is challenging. It is, in fact, so difficult that they have spelling contests at school where they practice it.

    The prepositions are quite arbitrary, but this is the case with every language.

    English does not appreciate native words, but loans freely from every other language it encounters. This means that the vocabulary is very large and the spellings are even more nonsensical.

    I have given up trying to understand the system English people use for the clock. When is 12 pm or 12 am? What about 0 pm or 0 am? To make matters worse, they start their week from Sunday, not Monday.

    They also use obscure units of measurement, completely divorced from international standards. Cups, feet, miles, etc.

    They use capital letters for ordinary words like almost every word in a title, weekdays, months, Christmas, etc. Lots of excessive capitalization.

    They have not figured out combined words, so they have a different word for even related concepts. Even when they use combined words, their language is ill-suited for it. Consider the word "multiindex", and compare with the obvious solution of "multi-index". Which one is easier to understand?


    12 P.M. is noon. A.M. is midnight. 0 P.M. does not exist and 0 A.M is midnight on a twenty-four hour clock. Albeit twenty-four hour clocks are only really used by the military, hence the term military time. As for on Sunday and not Monday, well this is the way it was explained to me. The Sabbath is supposed to be the seventh day of the week and is on Saturday. When Rome adopted Catholicism they wanted to ❤❤❤❤ something up and made Sunday the holy day. I'm not sure why but maybe it had to do with Roman paganism. Anyway, since the holy day was now Sunday but was supposed to be the seventh day, many predominantly Catholic countries changed their calendar. I will admit that the imperial system of units sucks, but to my understanding it is more common in the United States than any other English speaking country. So saying that it's English's fault is a bit inaccurate. Oh! And as for the "excessive capitalization," the rules of English demand that all proper nouns be capitalized. What is a proper noun? In short, it's a noun that acts as a name. Monday, for instance, is the name of the second day of the week. All your other arguments I agree with whole-heartedly. As a final thought, I put more effort into my grammar in this comment than I usually do. My intention was to be a good representative of my language. Anyway, Have a nice day.


    For me, English was much easier than any other languages!


    Hungarian. Started learning it about 20 times because it's gorgeous and well... Budapest but I just cannot get the accent right. :D


    That's something I didn't expect. I expected Hungarian grammar to be hard but not phonetically tho.


    I think I can safely say that classical languages are extremely hard to get fluent in, as the material to actively engage with the language is very scarce and the more traditional methods are more (in my opinion, too much) focused on grammar and translation.

    I have been learning ancient Greek and Latin for quite some time now, but even though I have a bachelor in Classics, I am ashamed of admitting that I cannot read these two languages fluently, except maybe for easy Latin texts, but mostly medieval, not classical. Granted, there are some methods to train one self in reading with more ease and without the dictionary, but it's still a very different world from modern languages.

    Considering the modern language I know, I think modern Greek is still a challenge. Not because of the alphabet (it's a misconception to think that a different writing system is necessarily such a great obstacle, at least in the long run), but because every other language I know are quite close to each other: English, German, Dutch (native), French and Italian. There are even linguistic theories that state that these languages, including also Spanish and possibly others, form a Western-European Sprachbund, a group of languages that aren't genetically related (at least not necessarily; in this case they are, but Romance and Germanic languages are still genetically quite distinct) but share many common syntactical and conceptual elements. But my knowledge of ancient Greek helps with the modern variant, so I wouldn't consider that impossible either.

    I have never given up, although I admit I should start reviewing modern Greek in the near future. It would be a shame to forget all I've learned.


    Modern Greek is quite hard for me because of the spelling. I think having knowledge of Romance or Slavic grammar helps with Greek quite a bit but it’s not a Romance or Slavic language, so you need to treat it a little differently.


    Hungarian and Arabic are the most difficult ones I’ve been trying at so far. Hungarian has 16 cases, high agglutination and a large inventory of sounds while Arabic has a complex writing system paired with prefixes, suffixes and infixes (tiny word-changing pieces that go inside a word), in addition to consonants not common to other languages. I really want to learn Arabic and I love the way Hungarian sounds, so I’m trying to push forward despite their difficulties. Hungarian might be easier once I actually have some more Korean under my belt, and knowing a little bit of some languages that borrowed Arabic words (Swahili, Turkish) will give me advantage over some of the Arabic vocabulary, with the addition of the fact that Arabic is widely spoken (MSA and several dialects).


    Just curious, why would knowledge of Korean help with Hungarian? They aren't really related, right?


    Hungarian and Korean aren't related, though....


    Filipino, even I, as a native, views it as hard. I could simply speak Filipino fluently, but couldn't teach properly the proper usage of affixes.

    Central Tagbanwan is hard for me tho, although it is close to Tagalog, I couldn't get into its accent. Seems like I'm going to talk in Tenor to achieve it.


    This is me on Indonesian. I don't really have troubles with accents, though.


    For me at the moment, Hebrew is really difficult purely due to the alphabet. I know quite a few different alphabets already but with Hebrew the characters look so similar that no matter how many times I practice I am still unsure of what sounds they produce. I think if I can get past this barrier, learning the language won't be too difficult as word order etc. seems straight forward.

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