Learning a language is a marathon, not a sprint. Editor's note: You can use our free language tool to make your own vocabulary lists, and record your own phrases. . Russian. It takes approximately 24-30 weeks (600-750 hours of practice) to reach professional working proficiency in these languages. But the fun doesn't stop there. For example, if youre a Brazilian who speaks Portuguese, Russian would probably be a tricky language for you to learn. As it happens, I disagree. Albanian nouns have both a case and a number, requiring the learner to memorize each noun. However, its universally acknowledged that Slavic languages dont belong to the easiest languages to learn, especially for English speakers. So, what are the origins of the Slavic languages, and what are they? Arabic. Haitian Creole. Another intriguing yet foreign concept to many English speakers, for instance, is the emphasis on respectful speech. Whether for gaining a deeper cultural understanding of a country or for the simple necessity of co-existing and even performing business, multilingual speakers put themselves at the forefront of new possibilities. Mandarin is one of the few languages ranked as the most difficult to learn for English speakers by the Foreign Service Institute. The two languages are also similar enough to English that the hardest languages for English speakers tend to be the hardest for Spanish and French speakers as well. The silent D, can really throw learners for a loop, with the DD in jeg hedder sounding more like an L. Along with finding places to use Gaelic (theres a major drop in usage in Ireland, never mind globally), the language also has many grammatical cases and dialects that prove hard to pick up. Some languages, such as Arabic and Russian, are notoriously difficult to learn for English speakers. What Level Of Difficulty Is Mandarin. Japanese. Phonetically, there are more than 20 vowel sounds in the Danish language. So, you might be able to get by in Jordan, but have a hard time in Kuwait. By the way, if you guessed that Dutch, Swedish, German, and Danish are part of the same language family, youre right! The Foreign Service Institute is a reliable industry expert here. Expect to spend around 1,100 hours in class to attain speaking and reading proficiency, according to the FSI. When it comes to pronunciation, the real difficulty factor comes into play for tonal languages. And for some useful wisdom from a "dead" language, here are 40 Latin Phrases So Genius You'll Sound Like a Master Orator. Modern Greek is maybe the easiest language to learn that uses a different alphabet. Generally speaking, difference equals difficulty when it comes to learning a new language. This means that, rather than containing individual prepositions, prefixes and suffixes are added onto words. The Greek language is very difficult for English speakers to learn, but the effort required to learn the language is worth it. Each language has its own distinct set of these rules. A language tends to come out politically as the language of modernity. It also has a complicated verb conjugation system, which can be pretty confusing for English speakers. Certainly, the most intriguing, yet difficult, aspect of learning Georgian is that it has its own writing system, and many of the letters used look incredibly similar. navigator.sendBeacon('https://www.google-analytics.com/collect', payload); Shutterstock/VPales. In 2019, Kyiv adopted a law to guarantee Ukrainian as a state language, which required Ukrainian to be used in most aspects of public life. It also has 18 cases and 14 vowels, which makes saying things right particularly difficult. It became a symbol of our resistance against Russian aggression, said Viktoriia Tarasuik, a 25-year-old born and raised in Kyiv, who grew up speaking Russian and has also made the linguistic shift. New: Russian Names - Learn the history of Russian names. Born in 1960 in what was then the Soviet Union, Zahalskyy hails from the largely Russian-speaking Ukrainian city of Kherson. The verb carries the most weight in Turkish. . But once you do, you can pronounce almost all Russian words quite accurately. This is one of the giveaways that a person's native language is Slavic. It's frequently listed as one of the more difficult languages to learn for English speakers. As with learning Russian, becoming fluent will depend highly on the learner. It is spoken as a native language by 13 million people, most of whom live in Hungary. Where its most commonly spoken: India, Fiji, Pakistan. With Russian, they used the expression back then [in the Soviet Union] of [it being the] language that opens perspectives of life, or a language of perspectives., So the project of making Ukrainian the state language, which began with independence, was the project of making Ukrainian relevant.. The transition to Ukrainian began for some in 2014, when Moscow annexed Crimea and led forces into the Donbas region, which borders Russia. The alphabet is made of very elaborate characters; the language is tonal; there are lots of idioms, and the ability to speak the language doesn't help you read it. Czech and Polish are often considered the most difficult Slavic languages to learn for English speakers. Pronouncing Czech words is a nightmare for English speakers. It is easy to make errors in pronunciation and spelling when learning this language. One example is the Chinese writing system hnz. No matter the difficulty level of your new language, Rosetta Stone makes learning easy, effective, and fun. It consists of some extinct languages, including Thracian, Illyrian and Dacian, while also featuring some grammar rules and vocabulary from Greek and Latin. And switching to Ukrainian is one way to fight back. Privacy Policy | Unusual grammar, difficult pronunciation, and six different tones make Vietnamese a challenge for English speakers. The Hardest Languages in the World to Learn, The 14 Hardest Words to Pronounce in the English Language, Stop Using These Phrases to Sound Instantly Smarter, 40 Latin Phrases So Genius You'll Sound Like a Master Orator, 7 Common Phrases That You Didn't Know Have Racist Origins, Hungarian is a member of the same small language family. Most Ukrainians can speak Russian and many speak what has been labelled Surzhyk a blend of Russian and Ukrainian so measuring who speaks what is challenging. Over time, the Proto-Slavic language separated into three branches: East Slavic, West Slavic, and South Slavic. Hungarian is a member of the same small language family as Finnish, so the average English speaker won't be finding much familiarity in its vocabulary. Gender plays a big part as well. You can see this illustrated with some simple sentences centered around the Finnish word for house, talo.. However, if youre up for a challenge, these are the 25 hardest languages to learn. Russian is the most spoken native language in Europe and the 8th most-spoken language in the world. Finnish. Human speech as a whole uses over 800 phonemes, which are the individual sounds that act as the building blocks of spoken language. The verb conjugations can be intimidating, too, with many more variants and combinations to comprehend than other Slavic languages. For more on the Czech language, see this comparison of Czech with Russian and German. In Polish, words are loaded with consonants which makes them difficult to spell and pronounce, for example, szczcie means "happiness" and bezwzgldny means "ruthless.". To help you understand what you're getting into, we've compiled this list of the hardest languages to learn. Great job defending the Russian language and Russian speakers, Putin! While practicing with language learning apps is useful, chatting with Spanish native speakers is crucial if you want to improve your language skills. Theres no set timeline for how long it takes to learn a language, but language difficulty rankings serve as useful goals posts to guide your journey. xhr.send(payload); Forget carpe diem. In Spanish, for example, verbs are conjugated differently depending on the sentences subject. The Hardest Languages To Learn For English Speakers. Russian speakers could also request Russian versions of other documents, such as marriage certificates. Ukrainian was enshrined as the only national language in the constitution in 1991, the year Ukraine became independent, but the law was not enforced nor did it change daily life. The first obstacle to learning Japanese is the writing system, which will provide you no clues unless you also speak Chinese. xhr.setRequestHeader('Content-Type', 'text/plain;charset=UTF-8'); 500 Hours Need to learn complete Swedish. One example is the Japanese writing system hiragana. The languages youll find in the second category are moderately challenging. This can be done by adding a prefix or suffix or modifying the word. So far, she has traveled to 28 countries and lived in 4. Polish is another language that can give English speakers a hard time, with spelling and grammar causing the biggest problems for learners. Towards the end of 2022, Ukrainian forces wrested back the city of Kherson, while most of the rest of the region remained in Russian hands. What Is the Hardest Language to Learn for Non-English Speakers? One example is Arabic. In terms of grammar, Russian is more complex than English. Albanian differs from any other language, even that of its Indo-European classification. 25 Hardest Languages to Learn, Ranked. Along with natives and Spanish language learners, there are more than 572 million Spanish speakers worldwide. And while mastering a German accent can be tricky, most speakers will understand what youre saying through the missteps. When we talk about linguistic distance, were referring to the fundamental differences between languages and how or where theyve evolved from. It doesnt bother with the difference between I was running, I had been running, etc. So, if you have ever considered learning a Slavic language, there are many options to choose from. In English, its acceptable to say that you bought five books. Spanish speakers do have one small consolation when learning Arabic: the languages share a surprising amount of vocabulary. There are some shared cognates such as ' ja ' which means ' yes ' and ' veld ' which means ' field '. Another doozy is the 17 different cases for numbers, meaning there are 17 different ways to say one number. Greek in particular is a highly inflected language, which means its words often change based on grammatical categories such as tense, number, and gender. We would like to show you a description here but the site won't allow us. We have also become interested in Ukrainian history, Ukrainian culture before, there was a large gap, he said. There are also Bulgarian speakers in some of the neighboring countries. With similar pronunciation and grammar to other salvia languages, the thing that makes learning Russian so difficult is the Cyrillic alphabet which is notably employed throughout eastern Europe and central Asia. Beginning language learners may want to start with an easier language, such as Spanish, German or Italian. Hindi uses an abugida, which is different from the English alphabet and from hnz, a Chinese script that uses characters to represent entire words and concepts. Compared to the Finno-Ugric languages on the list (Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian), the seven cases you have to contend with in Polish don't seem too intimidating. But it's certainly a big challenge. Data Privacy and Security, The Complete List of Language Difficulty Rankings, Get the complete list of languages ranked by difficulty, Mexican Spanish vs. Spain Spanish: The Must-Know Differences. For English-speaking students, the hardest foreign languages to learn include Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean. Navajo is hard enough to figure out that code talkers in World War II used the language to develop a code for communicating that the Germans wouldn't be able to track. Where its most commonly spoken: Albania, Kosovo. For instance, the letter is similar to SH (shampoo, shower, shop). However, Russian has fewer tenses than English. The pronunciation is what will get you. Does she think the Russian language will eventually disappear in Ukraine? Knowing language difficulty will also help you come up with a realistic timeline for learning. Moreover, each language has its own letters that have developed to denote particular phonetic phenomena. As an example of cognates, here are the words for a smile in different Romance languages: Cognates can make a language feel familiar. Tarasuik disagrees, but says Russia has unintentionally reversed decades of Russification. The hardest languages for you to learn will depend on the languages you currently speak, particularly your native languages. According to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), Spanish belongs to category I by difficulty. Linguistic distance is a measure of how related one language is to another language. For instance, Arabic has complex grammar and a different alphabet . With over 70 years of experience teaching languages to US government employees, theyve compiled a comprehensive and widely accepted list of language rankings. Languages that don't use a Latin script, though, tend to give Mandarin speakers the most trouble. If your goals align more with a Level 1 or 2 proficiency, you may be able to learn a language even faster. The Foreign Service Institute classifies most Slavic languages as Category IV languages - which means that they require 44 weeks or 1100 hours of study to reach conversational level. Russian is rated a two of three in difficulty by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), which ranks languages based on how long it would take the average native English speaker to learn it, so it's not as difficult as some of the other languages on this list. It takes approximately 36 weeks (900 hours of practice) to reach professional working proficiency in these languages. Finally, theres Finnish, which has a broad reputation for being a difficult language to learn. Logographic systems: These use characters to represent entire words or concepts. The way theyre used directs the meaning of the world as well. However, when you consider all non-English speakers together, there isnt just one answer. Slavic languages make a distinction between three main grammatical genders (male, female, neuter), as well as the division of verbs into perfective and imperfective. Russia announced similar plans for other regions it controls, though some of the proposals, like introducing the Russian currency rouble in the Kherson region, are in flux. Czech also has seven cases to learn, with each masculine, feminine and neutral. Grammatically, verbs often come before the subject, while there are many dual forms of words in addition to the singular and plural forms. So, how long does it take to master it? I just dont see any other way. Agreements | Like Czech, Polish uses the Latin alphabet with additional letters modified to reflect specific sounds in the Polish language, such as nasalized vowels (spelled and ). But being able to speak is a completely different can of worms, thanks to grammar that is totally different from English and pronunciation that is laden with difficult-to-master rules. Credit: Greek Reporter. The term "Slavic" is a catch-all adjective for all languages in the group, and it is typically used to describe anything common to all or most Slavic languages. . But Ukrainian society more broadly, Ferlain said, is making the switch just to pay respect for the nation. Experts say these things bring unlucky energy. One example is French. If youre up for a challenge, these are the 25 hardest languages to learn. Also, Arabic has several sounds that must be pronounced back in the throat, sounds that dont occur in spoken Mandarin. This is unfortunate since Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in the world. Maria Stambler, a Russia-American bilingual speaker, who used to teach English, explained: "Words and phrases like `Tina Turner' and `happy birthday' are hard to pronounce because Russians . Part of the Austroasiatic language family, Vietnamese can also be difficult to speak due to its foreign pronunciations to English speakers. On the one hand, each letter only has one pronunciation ever. The hardest languages to learn are those that are very different from your native language in terms of vocabulary, grammar features, pronunciation, and spelling.For an English speaker, the hardest languages generally belong to a different language family (i.e., non-Germanic or non-Indo-European).However, there are also languages in the same family as English that are difficult for other . In terms of grammar, the main feature that makes this language easier to learn than other Slavic languages is the lack of noun cases. Even more intimidating is that each of these cases has plural forms to consider! All adverbs and adjectives must have the same gender. For instance, the Polish word for happiness is szcezcie, featuring Polish digraphs (sz, cz) and a nasal E sound. And pronunciation requires some practice because there are sounds that don't have an equivalent in English. There are three different genders for nouns and various grammar rules unfamiliar to English speakers. Do Not Sell My Information | With over 7,000 languages spoken across the globe, its difficult to rank them all. They studied in the Soviet Union, in Russian-speaking schools, completed university in the Russian language and now we are all transitioning to Ukrainian. So, if you learn a certain dialect, there's a chance you might not be able to understand the locals from another region. if( navigator.sendBeacon ) { If you were to go to Lviv right now [considered the heart of the Ukrainian-speaking part of the country] and walk into a caf there and start speaking in Russian, the waiter or waitress will change to speaking with you in Russian, Zahalskyy said. As an English speaker, youll encounter three types of writing systems: Languages that fall in the first category are often the easiest languages to learn. Where its most commonly spoken: Denmark, Greenland, Faroe Islands. Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn, so it's logical why it is the second-largest language worldwide.. Words can also be very long, and deciphering how to pronounce them can defy intuition. } ); Like a pack of wolves or a tank of gas, books in Mandarin requires the word bn to indicate a unit of five books. To listen to more examples of Polish pronunciation, refer to the audio recordings provided in the following articles: When it comes to grammar, Polish is quite complex. Russian. Everyone kept speaking Russian, everyone kept watching Russian television, except probably for the Western regions of Ukraine, Zahalskyy told Al Jazeera. Korean and Arabic may not be as hard, but theyre still challenging. At first, we thought we needed to know our national language, but with the start of this full-scale war, the feeling changed from I have to to I want to, Zahalskyy told Al Jazeera by phone. Alphabets: These use letters to represent a languages phonemes, which are both consonants and vowels. zojirushi rice cooker recipes, sky lantern festival pennsylvania,

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hardest languages for russian speakers to learn