Top 10 Most Difficult Languages to Learn for English Speakers

There are thousands of different languages spoken around the world. And It’s quite possible that you speak one of the language mentioned in this article, but other nine languages would certainly be difficult for you. Since this article is written in English, we are primarily focusing on English speakers, but still we tried hard to make this list as diverse as possible. So let’s know about 10 most difficult languages to learn for native English speakers.

10. Finnish

Finnish Alphabet

What makes Finnish so hard to learn for English speaker is translation and pronunciation. Finnish grammar rules are unimaginably crazy for an English speaker. It takes a real amount of hard work to translate from English, and even when that happens the result probably won’t be up to the mark. My advice, don’t try learn this language especially if you speak English.

9. Icelandic

Icelandic Alphabet

No foreign language is easy to learn, So is the same case for Icelandic. Different grammar rules make this language difficult to learn for an English speaker. Icelandic require a little more hard work than others, but once you understand the rules, you may finally be able to read this “Eyjafjallajökul”.

8. Hungarian

Hungarian language, alphabet

Hungarian language has some of strangest grammar rules in the world. It has 14 vowels and and 18 language cases that can go up to 30, compared that to English that has zero language cases. So, Hungarian language would certainly be a hard stone to crack for an English speaker. Hungarian language’s heavy reliance on idioms makes it even more difficult to understand. And the sentence structure of this language is completely different than most languages on earth. Bottom line, a great amount of hard work is required to learn this one.

7. Khoisan

Khoisan languages
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Khoisan languages are best known for their use of click consonants as phonemes, which makes them the most difficult languages to learn and speak for non-native people. These clicks are typically written with characters such as ǃ and ǂ. Clicks are quite versatile as consonants, as they involve two articulations of the tongue which can operate partially independently. Consequently, the languages with the greatest numbers of consonants in the world are Khoisan. The Juǀʼhoan language has 48 click consonants.

6. Sanskrit

Sanskrit alphabet

Although many English words are taken directly from this language. Words like Avatar, Karma, Crimson, Jungle, Bandanna etc are regularly used by English speakers. The reason Sanskrit is so much difficult to learn, is its completely unique grammar rules that are entirely different from English.

5. Russian

Russian language

Although it’s quite easy to mimic Russian in comedic manner, but to truly understand and respect language, you need some immense amount of time and hard work. Russian is comprised of alphabets completely unfamiliar to a English speaker. An Russian speaker must focus on stress to speak words properly, sometimes a slightest mistake can change the meaning of the word. And considering the a long going tension between Russia and the Western world, a teacher would be hard to find.

4. Arabic

arabic language

With over 420 million native speakers, Arabic certainty is one of the most spoken language in the world. The reason Arabic is so difficult to learn for English speaker is it contains sounds and alphabets that doesn’t even exist in English language. So, some serious amount of hard work is required to master this one.

3. Japanese

japanese language

It takes an immense amount of preparation and hard work only to get to the basics of this language. Japanese have thousands of different characters that have multiple pronunciations and meanings, which becomes even more difficult when you consider how these characters can be combined.

Japanese writing system primarily uses two syllabic (ormoraic) scripts, hiragana and katakana. After learning all that, you can finally put yourself to the hardships of speaking Japanese, that require even more practice and hard work. This language has no shortcuts to learn.

2. Korean

difficult languages to learn

That thing that makes this language so difficult to learn for anyone outside of Korea is its alienation. What I’m trying to say here is, this language is developed in very small and completely isolated part of the world. Which is why, Korean lacks any common ancestor with today’s surviving languages, though there is still a debate going on, whether Korean and Japanese are related to each other. But if you’re planning to learn Korean after hearing Gangnam Style, prepare yourself for some toe crushing hard work.

1. Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin)

Chinese language

Although many different languages are spoken in China but the most popular one is Mandarin (the first language spoken by highest number of people in the world), which is used by nearly 1 billion people for conversation.

Almost all the Chinese languages contain a large number of characters and you must recognize most of them in order the understand the language. You may need to recognize at least 3000 different character only to get to the basics. To read newspaper that number goes up to 4000. Today’s Chinese scholar may be able to recognize 10,000 characters, while dictionary contain more than whopping 40,000 characters. But that amount of work will only make you capable of writing or reading the Mandarin. Speaking this language is whole different story.