6 Hardest Languages to Learn for English Speakers And Why You Should Learn Them

6 Hardest Languages to Learn for English Speakers And Why You Should Learn Them

Do you like challenges?

 

Here’s a challenge: Why don’t you learn some of the hardest languages for English speakers?

Learning a new language is never an easy task, especially some of these most challenging ones.

 

And then, why spend so much time learning tough languages?

Before you make up your mind and stop reading, it can be a great adventure. 

So, let's see what some benefits of learning hard languages are.

Can We Divide Languages to Hard And Easy?

Are some languages really that hard to learn, while learning others can be a piece of cake?

Technically the answer is ‘no.’

Every language is easy and hard in its own way. 

Anyone can learn any language if we’re being honest.

 

However, learning new languages is a little bit different. Our native language shaped our experience, thought, desires, and memories.

When we come to the point of learning some other language, the level of difficulty depends mainly on how much different the foreign language is from our mother tongue.

Since some languages are unique, while others are very similar, we usually say that the first ones are 'hard,' while the latter is 'easy.'

But those aren't hard. They are just different, and it takes a little more time to figure out the logic, learn grammar rules, and memorize words.

The 6 Hardest Languages to Learn For English Speakers

According to the Defence Language Insitute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC),  languages are classified into four categories, mainly depending on English speakers’ needs to learn them.

The following languages belong to category III and IV, which means that English speakers have to spend approximately 44 to 64 weeks to learn them.

Chinese Mandarin

It is hard to start explaining the reasons why it is the hardest language to learn in the world.

Interestingly, Chinese Mandarin is also the most widely spoken language worldwide. With around 1.3 billion native speakers, it takes the first place in the world.

First of all, the writing system is hard for English speakers. This language doesn’t use letters but special characters, a nightmare for English speakers and for all who use letters in their native language. Additionally, there are thousands of characters, where each of them represents a word.

Then, there are tones. They are vital in Chinese because many words that differ only in intonation can have different meanings. Chinese Mandarin, for example, has four tones.

On the other hand, grammar is quite simple. You won’t suffer from verb conjugations, genders, or singular and plural nouns. Word order and contexts help you with these parts of the language.

Arabic

Arabic is one more challenging language to learn.

One of the features everyone Arabic is well-known is the alphabet. 

Unlike Chinese, Arabic uses letters, 28 of them. But the tricky part is that those aren’t Latin, but Arabic letters. They write from right to left, which is not hard once you get used to it. 

Over time, when they get used to so many vowels, English speakers develop a sense of Arabic letters, to this obstacle can be successfully overcome.

Grammar, however, is a challenging part. It is the whole process. There are so many rules that easily confuse English speakers. 

For example, Arabic has singular, plural, and dual forms for nouns. It means that if you have two things, it is expressed differently from having one or three, four, etc.

And then, consonants give meaning to a word; that is, they make the word root. Vowels are added between consonants to precise that word.

One more thing English speakers are very hard to get used to is the word order. In the sentences, the verb comes before the subject.

No matter how hard it seems, it would be ideal for you if you were an adventurous soul.

Japanese

Japanese writing is one of the things that can give a big headache to English speakers.

Its writing system is based on kanji, which are characters from Chinese. Therefore, some characters are similar between Japanese and Chinese.

Another set of characters Japanese use is called kana. Those are characters for foreign words, grammar marketers, and words that can't be represented with kanji.

If you thought that we've done with the challenging parts, you're so wrong. We have to mention grammar.

Japanese is also known for using postpositions instead of prepositions.

Moreover, the verb goes after the object in Japanese sentences, so you can learn everything completely different from English with Japanese.

Even though it isn't one of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers, many English natives successfully learned the Land of the Rising Sun language.

Russian

Some would say that English speakers exaggerate when they consider Russian as one of the hardest languages to learn, especially when they use the Cyrillic alphabet. Some letters aren't familiar, but many are used in the Latin alphabet, too.

Maybe English speakers can learn the alphabet successfully, but other things are quite hard, such as cases. Russian has six cases that help nouns change their form.

Spelling and pronunciation are problematic due to many consonants clustered together. 

And let’s not forget the verb ‘to be’ or better, the omission of the verb. In some sentences, they simply don’t use the verb. For example, if you want to say ‘Anne is a singer,’ you will say ‘Ана певица,’ which is ‘Anne singer.’

Despite all these difficulties (and many more), Russian is a magnificent and somehow ‘polite’ language that can be helpful not only for reading Russian fairytales but help you with your career, too.

The Russians also have the juiciest curse words you probably didn’t know but don’t tell that anyone.

Turkish

Turkish belongs to agglutinative languages, which makes it even more difficult than it already is.

It means that prefixes and suffixes are added to words to show you their meanings. In Turkish, you won't see prepositions used (or only a few). And the final results are long words, so long that you often need some time to read them and understand and repeat them.

Vowel harmony

But there is a light at the end of a tunnel, called grammar and spelling. Turkish grammar has only a few exceptions. The spelling is straightforward, and once you learn how to pronounce letters, you can start reading right away.

Language lovers, you may consider choosing Turkish as your next adventure.

Pashto

Pashto is the language spoken in Pakistan and Afganistan.

The reason why Pashto is one of the hardest languages to learn for English speakers is similar to Arabic.

Pashto alphabet is similar to Arabic, but that's not the hard part.

The most challenging thing is grammar. 

In Pashto, not only can you find prepositions and postpositions, but there are also ambipositions, which are words that fir to nouns.

Moreover, in Pashto, nouns agree with verbs, but which verbs and nouns agree depends on the tense.

But then, you hear native speakers talk, and you get so amused that no matter if is classified as one of the hardest languages, you would like to learn it.

Final Thoughts

These languages are classified as the hardest languages to learn for English speakers because of one main reason: differences.

All of them are unusual to English speakers due to the differences in the alphabet, grammar rules, pronunciation, etc.

What are the hardest languages to learn for English speakers?

Chinese Mandarin, Arabic, Japanese, Russian, Turkish, Pashto

Can We Divide Languages to Hard And Easy?

Are some languages really that hard to learn, while learning others can be a piece of cake? Technically the answer is ‘no.’ Every language is easy and hard in its own way. Anyone can learn any language if we’re being honest. However, learning new languages is a little bit different. Our native language shaped our experience, thought, desires, and memories. When we come to the point of learning some other language, the level of difficulty depends mainly on how much different the foreign language is from our mother tongue.

Is Russian hard to learn?

Some would say that English speakers exaggerate when they consider Russian as one of the hardest languages to learn, especially when they use the Cyrillic alphabet. Some letters aren't familiar, but many are used in the Latin alphabet, too. Maybe English speakers can learn the alphabet successfully, but other things are quite hard, such as cases. Russian has six cases that help nouns change their form. Spelling and pronunciation are problematic due to many consonants clustered together. And let’s not forget the verb ‘to be’ or better, the omission of the verb. In some sentences, they simply don’t use the verb.

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