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What Are the Hardest Languages to Learn

WHAT ARE THE HARDEST

LANGUAGES TO LEARN?



A look at which languages are easiest and most difficult for English speakers to pick up.



THE FOREIGN SERVICE INSTITUTE OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE COMPILES LEARNING EXPECTATION FOR MANY LANGUAGES BASED ON THE AMOUNT OF TIME IT TAKEN A NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKER TO ACHIEVE SPEAKING AND READING PROFICIENCY.



Each Learner Is Different



The time it taken to learn a language depends on a number of factors:



How close the new language is to your native language or other languages you know.



How complex the language is



How many hours each week you devote to learning the language



The language learning resources available to you



Your motivation



Easy

Languages closely

Related to English



To achieve

language

proficiency...

23-24

weeks



575-600

class hours



Spain

329m

Spanish

Espanol



Dutch

21.7m

netherlands

Nederlands



Portuguese

Portugues

Portugal

178m



Swedish

Svenska

Sweden

8.3m



French

Francais

France

67.8m



Afrikaans

Afrikaans

South Africa

4.9m



Italian

Italiano

Italy

61.7m



Norwegian

Norsk

Norway

4.6m



Romanian

Romana

Romania

23.4m



number of native

speakers, in millions



Medium

Languages With Significant

Differences From English



To achieve language proficiency...



44 weeks



1,110

class hours



Hindi

India

182m



Thai

Thailand

20.4m



Russian

Russia

144m



Serbian

Serbia

16.4m



Vietnamese

Vietnam

68.6m



Greek

Greece

13.1m



Turkish

Turkey

50.8m



Hebrew

Israel

5.3m



Polish

Polski

Poland

40m



Finnish

Suomi

Finland

5m



[COUNTRY LANDMASSES NOT COMPARATIVELY SCALED]



number of native speakers, in millions



Hard

Languages That Are

Difficult for Native

English Speakers



To achieve

language

proficiency...



1.69 years

(88 weeks)



2,200

class hours

EGYPT

Country with greatest number of speakers

221 million native speakers:

Why it's difficult: Arabic has very few words

that resemble those of European languages.Written

Arabic also uses fewer vowels, which can be difficult

for those learning to read the language.



Japanese

JAPAN

Country with greatest number of speakers:

122 million native speakers

Why it's so difficult: Like Chinese, Japanese language

learners need to memorize thousands of characters.

Three different writing systems and two syllabary

systems add to the language's difficulty.



Chinese

CHINA

Country with greatest number of speakers:

1.2 billion native speakers

Why it's so difficult: Chinese is a tonal language,

in which meaning changes as you change the tone

of a word. Plus, thousands of characters and a

complex writing system make learning Chinese a

formidable task.



Korean

SOUTH KOREA

Country with greatest number of speakers

66.3 million native speakers

Why it's so difficult: Different sentences structure,

syntax, and verb conjugations make learning Korean

difficult for native English speakers. Written Korean

also relies on many Chinese characters.

What Are the Hardest Languages to Learn

shared by judithgold on Dec 15, 2011 in Education

What Are the Hardest Languages to Learn

shared by judithgold on Dec 15, 2011 in Education

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This infographic provides information for languages. It illustrates what are the easiest, mid and hardest languages to learn. It also provides an explanation of why the languages that are the hardest ...
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