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What Is the Hardest Language to Be taught for Non-English Audio system?

Studying Time: 7 minutes

There are many assets that may inform you the hardest languages to be taught when you communicate English. What when you’re ranging from one of many different 1000’s of languages on Earth, although? What’s the toughest language to be taught if English is just not your first language?

This can be a query you may resolve with a point of certainty when speaking a couple of single language. Nevertheless, when you think about all non-English audio system collectively, there isn’t only one reply. 

Somebody who speaks German, somebody who speaks Farsi, and somebody who speaks Vietnamese will seemingly have large variations in what languages they discover simple or exhausting to select up, as a result of the native languages they’re beginning with are so dissimilar from each other.

For instance, when you’re a Brazilian who speaks Portuguese, Russian would most likely be a difficult language so that you can be taught. Should you’re from Poland and grew up talking Polish, although, Russian seemingly wouldn’t be as troublesome for you as a result of it has extra in frequent along with your native language. Russian grammar and phonetics would sound extra acquainted to you, and a few Polish and Russian vocabulary is expounded.

The toughest languages so that you can be taught will rely on the languages you presently communicate, notably your native languages.

The toughest languages for non-English audio system

We researched the highest 5 most generally spoken non-English languages to see which languages are the toughest for his or her audio system to be taught.


English is taught in Chinese language faculties, so most Mandarin audio system are accustomed to English and the Latin script that makes up the English alphabet. Languages that don’t use a Latin script, although, have a tendency to provide Mandarin audio system probably the most bother.

Arabic is a language most Mandarin audio system will discover difficult. Its writing system is an abjad, which capabilities very in a different way from each Chinese language characters and the English alphabet as a result of it makes use of letters to symbolize consonants however not all vowels, and it makes use of a cursive script, so letters mix and alter types. Additionally, Arabic has a number of sounds that should be pronounced again within the throat, sounds that don’t happen in spoken Mandarin.

Different languages with non-Latin alphabets, similar to Russian and Greek, are additionally exhausting for Mandarin audio system. The Cyrillic alphabet that Russian makes use of could be particularly complicated for Chinese language learners as a result of it has letters that look much like English letters, however are pronounced utterly in a different way. A few of these pronunciations, such because the Russian letter Р which requires the speaker to make a rolling ‘r’ sound, don’t exist in Mandarin.

These languages even have grammar guidelines which are absent from Mandarin, together with noun instances, noun gender, and verb tenses. Greek particularly is a extremely inflected language, which implies its phrases usually change based mostly on grammatical classes similar to tense, quantity, and gender. Mandarin, in contrast, has little to no inflection.


  • Mandarin
  • Japanese
  • Vietnamese

Mandarin and Japanese are liable to provide Hindi audio system plenty of bother, largely as a result of they each contain studying utterly new methods of writing. Hindi makes use of an abugida, which is completely different from the English alphabet and from hànzì, a Chinese language script that makes use of characters to symbolize complete phrases and ideas. The Japanese writing system truly has three completely different scripts to be taught (two are syllabaries and one is a logographic script, much like Chinese language characters).

Between Japanese and Mandarin, Mandarin presents extra of a problem as a result of it’s a tonal language, which implies the pronunciation and tonal inflection of a phrase can change its that means. It additionally has a unique phrase order; In Hindi, like Japanese, the phrase order of primary sentences is subject-object-verb, however in Mandarin it’s subject-verb-object.

Vietnamese can also be troublesome for Hindi audio system because of its sentence construction and tones, although its writing system is simpler to be taught than that of both Japanese or Mandarin as a result of it makes use of a phonetic alphabet as a substitute of characters.

Spanish & French

  • Mandarin
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Arabic

We’re grouping Spanish and French (that are the world’s fourth and fifth most generally spoken languages, respectively) as a result of they’re each Romance languages, they usually’re related sufficient that each Spanish and French audio system will discover the identical languages troublesome for largely the identical causes.

The 2 languages are additionally related sufficient to English that the hardest languages for English audio system are usually the toughest for Spanish and French audio system as properly. Mandarin is hard to be taught as a result of it’s a tonal language and makes use of a logographic script, hànzì. To have the ability to learn and write, you need to be taught 1000’s of characters. Japanese requires a considerable amount of research to be taught as a result of its writing system contains three completely different scripts, and the language contains completely different vocabulary and grammatical types to make use of based mostly on social context. This technique of honorific speech is known as keigo.

Korean and Arabic will not be as exhausting, however they’re nonetheless difficult. Korean makes use of an alphabet, however in contrast to Spanish or French, its letters mix to type syllabic blocks. Additionally, a few of its letters are tough to pronounce, and Korean has its personal model of honorific speech that requires particular types of phrases relying on social context. Arabic’s writing system has a number of options that may confuse learners, together with leaving out most vowels, writing from proper to left, and letters altering form relying on their place in a phrase.

Spanish audio system do have one small comfort when studying Arabic: the languages share a shocking quantity of vocabulary. Round 4,000 Spanish phrases, together with “naranja” (orange) and “taza” (cup), are derived from Arabic phrases. 


Simply as studying Arabic is tough for Mandarin audio system, studying Mandarin is tough for Arabic audio system. Although folks accustomed to Arabic could discover Mandarin’s grammar guidelines refreshingly easy, studying tones generally is a massive stumbling block, and Mandarin characters, referred to as hànzì, are utterly completely different from the Arabic abjad.

One other troublesome language is Russian. Arabic audio system discover Russian grammar difficult as a result of it has numerous unfamiliar guidelines and a ton of exceptions to these guidelines. Pronunciation can also be tough as a result of phrase stress varies based mostly on context, and you may’t depend on just a few easy guidelines to be taught correct Russian pronunciation.

Lastly, there’s Finnish, which has a broad fame for being a troublesome language to be taught. A significant motive why is that Finnish has so many various noun instances and verb conjugations that may form phrases relying on their context. Arabic solely has three instances — nominative, genitive, and accusative — whereas Finnish has a staggering 15 instances. You may see this illustrated with some easy sentences centered across the Finnish phrase for home, “talo.”

  • The home is pink. – Talo on punainen.
  • I’m portray the home. – Maalaan taloa.
  • I reside in the home. – Asun talossa.
  • See you on the home. – Nähdään talolla.

What determines language problem?

Typically talking, distinction equals problem on the subject of studying a brand new language. There are a variety of ways in which a language can differ from your individual. The 4 key ways in which decide language studying problem are:

Linguistic distance

Languages could be grouped into language households based mostly on how they developed and customary ancestor languages. Linguistic distance is a measure of how associated one language is to a different language. The nearer a language is expounded to yours, the simpler it will likely be to be taught. Conversely, languages which are utterly unrelated to your language might be tougher and take longer to grasp. 

A giant motive for that is that languages which are associated often share a excessive variety of cognates, or phrases with an analogous look and that means. For instance of cognates, listed below are the phrases for “a smile” in numerous Romance languages:

French un sourire
Spanish una sonrisa
Portuguese um sorriso

Cognates could make a language really feel acquainted. A 2010 research that checked out immigrants to the Netherlands who have been studying Dutch discovered that individuals who spoke languages with plenty of Dutch cognates — similar to Swedish, German, and Danish — did higher on a Dutch language examination in comparison with individuals who spoke languages with few Dutch cognates, similar to French and Greek. 

By the best way, when you guessed that Dutch, Swedish, German, and Danish are a part of the identical language household, you’re proper! They’re all Germanic languages.


Grammar is the system that defines how phrases are fashioned and put collectively into sentences. Every language has its personal distinct set of those guidelines. In Spanish, for instance, verbs are conjugated in a different way relying on the sentence’s topic. The phrase “I communicate Spanish” could be “yo hablo Español,” whereas “you communicate Spanish” could be “tu hablas Español.”

A language’s grammar additionally determines the order of phrases in sentences. For example, in Italian, sentences are structured subject-verb-object (similar to “I threw the ball”). In Gaelic, although, verbs go at first of a sentence, so Gaelic sentences are structured verb-subject-object (“Threw I the ball”). Attempting to be taught a language that makes use of completely different grammar guidelines may imply retraining your mind to think about phrases and sentences in model new methods.


Human speech as a complete makes use of over 800 phonemes, that are the person sounds that act because the constructing blocks of spoken language. Nevertheless, most languages solely use just a few dozen of those sounds. Studying a language contains studying the best way to acknowledge and produce the phonemes that make up that language, and if lots of these sounds don’t exist in your native tongue, that’s an added stage of problem.

A Korean speaker studying Arabic, for instance, may need a tough time with the letter ح, which feels like an ‘h’ that’s pronounced utilizing the throat. The Korean language doesn’t have an equal phoneme.

Moreover, some languages similar to Mandarin, Thai, and Punjabi are tonal languages, the place tone and pronunciation work collectively to speak that means. Whilst you could possibly get by in non-tonal languages whereas making pronunciation errors, tonal languages demand extra care.

Writing system

If you wish to develop into proficient in a language, you’ll ultimately have to be taught no matter system of writing the language makes use of. Most main writing methods usually match into one in every of these classes:

  • Alphabets: These use letters to symbolize a language’s phonemes, that are each consonants and vowels. One instance is French.
  • Abjads: These usually use letters to symbolize solely consonants, whereas vowels are absent and should be inferred by the reader. One instance is Arabic.
  • Abugidas: These usually use letters to symbolize consonant-vowel combos. The default vowel sound of these letters is modified by utilizing a secondary image. One instance is Thai.
  • Logographic methods: These use characters to symbolize complete phrases or ideas. One instance is the Chinese language writing system hànzì.
  • Syllabaries: These use symbols to symbolize syllables. One instance is the Japanese writing system hiragana.

The simplest writing methods you may be taught are ones of the identical sort and that use the identical letters or characters as your native language, whereas the toughest writing methods to be taught are differing types altogether.

How does realizing a language’s problem assist?

Having the ability to choose how exhausting a language might be to be taught aids you in just a few methods. First, it helps you establish how a lot of a problem you’re up for in your language journey. Tackling a language that requires you to be taught a ton of recent phrases, guidelines, sounds, and symbols received’t be simple, however it may be a rewarding passion. It may additionally set you aside from different individuals who communicate your native language, since fewer persons are keen to be taught troublesome languages, usually.

On the flip aspect, you might be in search of a language that’s as simple to be taught as attainable, and with the ability to choose which languages are most much like your individual will aid you discover one.

Realizing language problem will even aid you provide you with a sensible timeline for studying. Even the best languages usually take just a few hundred hours of observe to develop into proficient, whereas more durable languages can take 1000’s of hours. Realizing how excessive a barrier you’re up in opposition to will aid you not get discouraged once you run into obstacles, in addition to savor the progress you make.

Whether or not you’re concerned about studying a simple or exhausting language, Rosetta Stone may help you obtain your language targets. With instruments like TruAccent, which provides you suggestions in your pronunciation whilst you observe talking out loud, you may have the help you’ll want to be taught at your individual tempo. Attempt it right this moment at



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