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 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are 2 How Not to Let Work Take Priority over Spending Time With Family 3 25 Super Fun Things to Do With Family to Strengthen Your Bond 4 15 Funny Idioms You May Not Know (And What They Actually Mean) 5 10 Relaxing Games to Play Online to Help Chill You Out

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on October 16, 2018

                      What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

                      What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

                      Are you afraid of being alone?  Do you worry about your physical safety or do you fear loneliness? These are strong negative feelings that can impact your health.

                      One study found that when older people are socially isolated, there is an increased risk of an earlier death,[1] by as much as 26%.

                      If you experience loneliness and are worried about your fear of being alone, study these 6 ways to help you find your comfort zone.

                      But first, the good news!

                      How many times have you said to yourself, ‘I just can’t wait to be alone’? This might be after a day’s work, an argument with your partner or after a noisy dinner with friends. You need time to be yourself, gather your thoughts, relish the silence and just totally chill out. These are precious moments and are very important for your own peace of mind and mental refreshment.

                      But for many people, this feeling is not often present and loneliness takes over. As Joss Whedon once said,

                      ‘Loneliness is about the scariest thing out there’.

                      Read on and discover how you can exploit being alone to your own advantage and how you can defeat loneliness.

                      Advertising

                      1. Embrace loneliness

                      When you are alone, it is important to embrace it and enjoy it to the full.

                      Wallow in the feeling that you do not have to be accountable for anything you do. Pursue your interests and hobbies. Take up new ones. Learn new skills. Lie on the couch. Leave the kitchen in a mess. The list can go on and on, but finding the right balance is crucial.

                      There will be times when being on your own is perfect, but then there will be a creeping feeling that you should not be so isolated.

                      When you start to enjoy being alone, these 10 amazing things will happen.

                      Once you start feeling loneliness, then it is time to take action.

                      2. Facebook is not the answer

                      Have you noticed how people seek virtual contacts instead of a live, face-to-face interaction? It is true that social networking can provide an initial contact, but the chances of that becoming a real life personal contact is pretty slim.

                      Being wrapped up in a cloud of sharing, liking and commenting (and insulting!) can only increase loneliness.

                      Advertising

                      When you really want company, no one on Facebook will phone you to invite you out.

                      3. Stop tolerating unhappy relationships

                      It is a cruel fact of life that people are so scared of loneliness that they often opt into a relationship with the wrong person.

                      There is enormous pressure from peers, family and society in general to get married or to be in a stable, long-term relationship. When this happens, people start making wrong decisions, such as:

                      • hanging out with toxic company such as dishonest or untrustworthy people;
                      • getting involved with unsuitable partners because of the fear of being alone or lonesome;
                      • accepting inappropriate behavior just because of loneliness;
                      • seeking a temporary remedy instead of making a long-term decision.

                      The main problem is that you need to pause, reflect and get advice. Recognize that your fear of being alone is taking over. A rash decision now could lead to endless unhappiness.

                      4. Go out and meet people

                      It was the poet John Donne (1572 – 1631) who wrote:

                      ‘No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent’.

                      Human contact is essential to surviving in this world. Instead of wallowing in boredom and sadness, you need to get out as much as possible and seek contacts.

                      Advertising

                      Being a member of a group, however tenuous, is a great way. So when you are in the gym, at church or simply at a club meeting, exploit these contacts to enlarge your social circle.

                      There is no point in staying at home all the time. You will not meet any new people there!

                      Social contacts are rather like delicate plants. You have to look after them. That means telephoning, using Skype and being there when needed.

                      Take a look at this guide on How to Meet New People and Make Friends with The Best.

                      5. Reach out to help someone in need

                      A burden shared is a burden halved.

                      Dag Hammarskjold was keenly aware of this fact when he said:

                      ‘What makes loneliness an anguish is not that I have no one to share my burden but this: I have only my own burden to bear’.

                      Simply put, it is a two-way street. Helping others actually helps yourself, here’s why.

                      Reach out to help and people will be there when you need them.

                      6. Be grateful and count your blessings

                      Study after study shows that if people show gratitude, they will reap a bountiful harvest. These include a stronger immune system, better health, more positive energy and most important of all, feeling less lonely and isolated.

                      If you do not believe me, watch the video below, ‘What good is gratitude?’  Now here is the path to hope and happiness:

                      Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      Read Next