Advertising
Advertising

Why Are These the Top 10 Hardest Languages in the World?

Why Are These the Top 10 Hardest Languages in the World?

Learning a language is the ultimate way to connect with an individual from another part of the world. An individual who can interact, even with just a reasonable amount of basic words and some phrases for good measure, has a one-up on an individual who see another’s mode of communication as simply gibberish. However, no two languages are alike when it comes to of ease of learning because ease of learning is subject to the learner’s native language. Languages in the same family tree as your mother tongue are easier to learn. Today, we will focus our attention on 10 of the hardest languages for native English speakers to learn and why you may have such a hard time with them.

1. Arabic

hardestlang_01

    Arabic is one of the hardest languages for native English speakers and is a language I have been learning for four years now. Along with having a completely foreign alphabet, both in script and direction of reading, individuals find difficulty with new speech patterns and sounds not found in English. When learning other Germanic languages there are similar vocabularies and cognates, but this doesn’t hold true for Arabic and English. Those who are able to get even a basic grasp of the alphabet must master the vowel markings that can drastically change the meaning of a word. Here’s the kicker: native speakers and most day-to-day text come without the markings.

    2. Japanese

    Advertising

    hardestlang_02

      Various Asian languages have a certain level of difficulty for native English speakers. Aside from the new text, they all have a special feature that differentiates their difficulty for a new speaker. In the case of Japanese, thousands of characters must be mastered to be able to adequately write the language correctly. This is because Japanese has three separate writing systems, all of which have a different alphabet to master. Aside from these drawbacks, it is a language that can open the learner to a culture that even has respect for elders expressed in its linguistic structures.

      3. Chinese

      hardestlang_03

        Chinese is a unique language in that it is one based heavily on grammatical structures and the tone of the speaker. In some languages novice speakers with a basic understanding of grammar can survive; however, with Chinese, a mixup in grammar can land you in an awkward situation of misunderstanding. Additionally, the writing system and the spoken system are separate entities, making reading and writing a separate issue to tackle from conversation.

        4. Korean

        Advertising

        hardestlang_04

          For starters, individuals introduced to Korean find that its sentence structure is rather foreign to them. If you are describing an action, the subject goes first, then the object that is being acted upon, and finally the sentence ends with the action itself. In terms of describing something, you begin with the subject and end with the adjective. Aside from sentence, speaking, and syntax pattern differences, novice learners of Korean have a hard time with the alphabet, which is heavily influenced by Chinese.

          5. Greek

          hardestlang_05

            While Greek is less difficult for native Anglophones than the top four languages we mentioned, there are still some aspects of the language that can prove a challenge to new speakers. The difficulties with the alphabet are a given challenge for some; however, what confuses many is the stresses required when speaking to ensure that the other individual understands what you are saying. Improperly placed stresses change the meaning of the word entirely.

            6. Icelandic

            Advertising

            hardestlang_06

              Icelandic makes this list, but not because of whether or not it is a difficult language to pick up. I must emphasize that it comes with some complexity, but for the most part it’s not unlike any other language in its challenges. The issue comes in mastering the language. Icelandic is complex in its spelling and word order practices, as perfectly illustrated in the photo above. Cognates are also few and far between. Lastly, as would be the case for any language with 330,000 speakers, resources are very few. This adds to the difficulty.

              7. Estonian

              20810209520_5a524a2d1a_k

                Estonian takes the seventh spot due to its complex language structure, which is an issue shared with many other countries in Europe that have their own language system. Many times, because the language is kept alive in the countries of their origin, grammar rules can sometimes be less formalized and cognates aren’t often present due to the lack of influence from other languages.

                8. Finnish

                Advertising

                hardestlang_08

                  Similarly to many European languages, Finnish is preserved within the country itself, influencing the language’s growth and mannerisms. Aside from this, for many individuals Finnish and Estonian can be described as close cousins in their speech and grammar patterns. Granted, while Finnish is a bit easier to pick up for new users as opposed to Estonian, the similarities are shown in language acquisition difficulty overall for both. As mentioned with Estonian, Finnish doesn’t offer a lot of opportunities for learning the language. Thankfully, there are more speakers (five million) of Finnish than Estonian if you have your eye on acquiring it.

                  9. Thai

                  hardestlang_09

                    Taking a short detour from European languages, we find ourselves in Thailand. Thai comes with medium difficulty to acquire in comparison to the top half of our list. Through researching Thai, I found that the main difficulties arose in speaking the language rather than anything else. Grammar rules are similar to English, but sounds and speaker’s tone are the most important and the most difficult things for new speakers to master. The alphabet, for those accustomed to the Latin alphabet, will cause some trouble as well.

                    10. Norwegian

                    hardestlang_10

                      Finishing off our list back in Europe, we have Norwegian. Norwegian is last on our list for a reason. It’s a language that is easy to get a hang of in a classroom or formal setting. However, the fact that Norwegian is spoken mainly in Norway is the contributing factor to its ranking on this list. Why exactly? Because, spoken Norwegian is highly informal and much less organized when used amongst native speakers. Similar to Arabic, dialects reign and while most Norwegians understand each other, dialects can complicate communication.

                      Featured photo credit: Lifehack via cdn-media-1.lifehack.org

                      More by this author

                      10 Meal Planning Apps You Need To Have To Get Healthier Easily The 50 Best Desktop Wallpapers for 2013 23 Awesome Travel Hacks That Add Fun To Your Trip How to Stay in Good Shape During Black Friday 9 Apps Unrelated to Black Friday That Are Helpful

                      Trending in Leisure

                      1 The 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime 2 How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World After 40 3 The 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are 4 25 Truly Amazing Places To Visit Before You Die 5 30 Fun Things to Do at Home

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                      1. Work on the small tasks.

                      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                      2. Take a break from your work desk.

                      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

                      Advertising

                      3. Upgrade yourself

                      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                      4. Talk to a friend.

                      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

                      Advertising

                      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                      7. Read a book (or blog).

                      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                      8. Have a quick nap.

                      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

                      Advertising

                      9. Remember why you are doing this.

                      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                      10. Find some competition.

                      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                      11. Go exercise.

                      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

                      Advertising

                      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                      12. Take a good break.

                      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

                      Read Next