What is the hardest language to learn?

Which languages are the hardest to learn? It depends on whether we’re talking about a first or second language. Children acquire their native language effortlessly, regardless of the language. Learning another language later on, however, is a different matter.

When it comes to learning difficulty, not all languages are created equal. Some are simply much harder to learn than others. Some languages do have far more complicated word-building rules than others, and others have far more complex sound patterns or sentence structures.

But despite differences in individual areas of a language, researchers have not found anyone language or group of languages to be clearly more difficult or complicated in all areas.

Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese are so are closely related, and a speaker of one can learn any of the others fairly easily. Likewise, English, Dutch, and German are closely related, having all descended from an earlier language called Germanic, so it would be relatively easy for an English speaker to learn Dutch or German.

Thus, how difficult it is to learn a language depends on how much it has in common with the language (or languages) that you already speak. Learning a language that is closely related to your native language can be easier than learning one that is very different.

Top 20 hardest languages to learn

Hardest LanguagesCountries
TaaBotswana, Namibia
XhosaSouth Africa
BasqueSpain and France
ArabicArab nations.
BasqueSpain and France
NavajoUnited States
AfrikaansSouth Africa and Namibia

From the table above, Mandarin is unanimously considered the toughest language to master in the world. In short, no one language or group of languages can be said to be harder than the rest. All languages are easy for infants to learn; it’s only those of us who grew up speaking something else that find them difficult.


Source cited:

https://www.linguisticsociety.org/content/why-do-some-people-have-accent, https://www.telc.net/en/about-telc/news/detail/5-most-difficult-languages-in-the-world-to-learn.html, https://www.dliflc.edu/about/languages-at-dliflc/

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