Top 10 Languages That are Harder to Learn for All Speakers

English speakers often find themselves wondering how other languages are structured after hearing them. English speakers are also curious about which languages are the hardest to learn.

There is a great deal of diversity in the languages of the world. Some things are common to the most difficult languages for English speakers to master.

The language has a different alphabet, lacks cognates, and has grammatical concepts foreign to English speakers. You may want to start with the hardest languages to the learners if you’re really looking for a challenge.


10 – Arabic

Arabic tops the list of languages that are the most difficult to learn, according to the Foreign Service Institute. For English speakers, this Semitic language poses many challenges to fluency. Arabic uses a different script.

Each letter has its own form based on its position in the word. Regional dialects also vary widely. There are many dialects of Arabic. You may have to learn a completely different pronunciation of Arabic in Morocco than in Bahrain.

The Arabic language, however, is also widely used, sacred to one of the largest religious groups on earth, and offers a chance to study a language with a wide geographical spread. It has been long since Donovan wrote about why he believes Arabic is an easy language. Arabic is actually an incredibly simple language to learn and speak fluently. The Foreign Service Institute got it wrong.

9 – Basque

The Basque language is also seen in top 10 hardest languages to learn. It is believed by some that this language isolate might be related to Georgian, another language isolate.

There are many noun cases and an unfamiliar ergative-absolutive grammar system making this one difficult to understand. While this is the case, learning Basque can be enjoyable and give you a new perspective on the world.

8 – Finnish

Many reasons make Finnish one of the most difficult languages. Finns are known for their difficult grammar. The word order is confusing to English speakers.

It is even more challenging to communicate with Finns in person because many don’t follow these rules. However, once you get past the grammar, you’ll discover that it’s written as it’s pronounced and has fewer letters than English.

7 – Hungarian

Finnish and Hungarian are related. Hungarian is regarded as one of the hardest and difficult languages to learn for English speakers to learn, comparable to Finnish.

There are over a dozen forms in this language that are not in English, making it seem baffling. In addition, there are many idioms in Hungarian which aren’t obvious when you’re studying it.

Meanwhile, Hungarian is becoming more and more popular as a language to learn. You’ll discover one of Europe’s most fascinating cultures when you learn it.

6 – Japanese

A single alphabet is not enough for the Japanese.  Choosing this option will require you to become familiar with three different types of writing systems.

Learning Japanese is not an easy task.  It is surprising how easy it is to speak Japanese. The language does not have any tones. Japanese sounds are familiar to English speakers.  If you want to learn Japanese, you should start with the spoken language.

5 – Korean

In many ways, Korean is quite similar to Japanese, but it is also one of the most challenging languages for English-speakers. Korean is written in Hangul, which is syllabic.

Despite being straightforward, Hangul can be challenging for English speakers.

Rather than an alphabet, it is a syllabic system. English speakers often struggle to understand the word order, honorifics, and levels of respect. Korean is simple in grammar and pronunciation compared to many European languages, making it easy to learn.

4 – Mandarian

There are actually more Mandarin Chinese speakers in the world than any other language. Despite having a reputation for being difficult to learn for English speakers, millions of expats speak, read, and write Chinese.

The tones and writing system of Chinese have given Chinese this reputation for being difficult. There are four tones in Mandarin Chinese. When you misunderstand a native speaker, you are likely to be met with a blank stare.

This is also true in writing. Just to read a newspaper, you will need about two thousand characters. But there are many rewards. China has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. If you are fluent in Chinese, you’ll be able to communicate with millions of Chinese consumers.

3 – Navajo

Since Navajo is so obscure, it was used as a code during World War II to convey information. This Native American language has a proud history and is still alive today (though in decline).

Consider the fact that this one approaches the world from a very different perspective if you want to make it your own. Many English speakers will struggle to learn even the basics.

English has many sounds that are unique to the language. Word lengths are not the same, and verbs are descriptive. It is difficult to translate adjectives, which further complicates the process.

Knowing even a few words of this language can connect you to your roots and the original inhabitants of the region if this language is a part of your heritage or if you live in the region

2 – Russian

Though many people believe that Russian is one of the toughest languages to learn, it is actually quite simple. The Russian language uses the Cyrillic script.

Grammar is challenging even for native speakers, as stress changes regularly. If you’re a beginner, you’ll probably approximate certain sounds at best. The rules are not absolute.

The consonant clusters in this language are unfamiliar to many Americans, and it has a large case system. In addition, it is the seventh largest language on the planet.

It belongs to the same family as other languages. Once you master it, you’ll find learning other Slavic languages easier, such as Bulgarian and Czech.

1 – Vietnamese

A fast-growing nation in Asia, Vietnam speaks Vietnamese as its official language. Many of its neighbors share difficulties with Vietnam. Tonal languages require mastery of each tone and how it is used.

There are also formal relationships between Vietnamese people. In order to speak with anyone, from a close relative to an older individual that you’ve just met, you need to know which form to use.

It can make you appear rude if you use the wrong form. While the alphabet is familiar, there are diacritical marks on many letters that indicate pronunciation.

They need to be written correctly. English speakers can find it challenging to learn Vietnamese. It can, however, be truly worth it as soon as you order the delicious food and explore this lovely, elegant country.

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