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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

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    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

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      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

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        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

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          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

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            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

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              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

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                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

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                  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

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                    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

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                      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

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                      Last Updated on August 20, 2018

                      35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

                      35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

                      Every mature relationship has had a less-than-memorable anniversary. Maybe one of you forgot, or both of you got busy with work, kids, family issues, or something else. Whatever happened, the day came and went without fanfare. And neither of you seemed to notice or much care.

                      But for the health of any relationship, it’s important to make important days feel special. Anniversaries offer the wonderful opportunity to relive beautiful memories, practice gratefulness for your partner, and to show your love and strengthen your bond. Make this year’s anniversary with your significant other something special  — one that will bring you closer together.

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                      The best way to create a memorable anniversary is to do something new and different together as a couple. Stretch yourselves a bit.

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                      While boredom can silently kill a relationship, new experiences reinforce the shared bond you already have and create strong new memories. Just think back to the most significant memories you have right now with your spouse and imagine what new ones you can create!

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                      While you enjoy your chosen anniversary activity, be sure to keep a positive attitude and make your partner happy too on that day. Leave all arguments and day to day detail behind. Just celebrate your relationship. Whether you’re going to spend the day together at home, getting away, or having a wild and crazy new experience together, you can have your best anniversary yet!

                      If You’re Staying In

                      1. Spend an evening with no technology, just the two of you and maybe a board game. It’s hard to keep ourselves away from our computers and smartphones long enough to have a meaningful conversation. Make a rule not to use your tech and you’ll rekindle your relationship!
                      2. Make wine or beer together. If you enjoy drinking together, this is a fun activity to try together. Just remember to buy the necessary equipment ahead of time.
                      3. Learn something new about each other. With an open mind, try asking some of the New York Times’ 36 questions that lead to love. They’ll help spark intimacy and will lead to some really honest moments.
                      4. Have a lazy day. Breakfasts in bed, spend all day in bed talking and napping. Follow breakfast with champagne and dessert! If you feel like getting more active, cook together or play some games. Here’re some simple breakfast ideas for you.
                        • Learn to dance at home. This is best for those active couples who work out together and also enjoy learning something new together. Just go on Youtube to find any music with dance tutorials and learn together.
                        • Visit model homes or open houses and plan your dream home.
                        • Have a special dessert – champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Having an unusual treat makes a day feel extra special. If you want to make the dessert really special, try these tasty dessert recipes.
                        • Create a playlist of your favorite songs as a couple. Choose songs that tell your story, and songs that you bonded over throughout your relationships. Here’re some love songs ideas for your inspirations.
                          • Write your love story. Write it together or ave each of you write your own and then bring them together in an interesting, both sides of the story format.
                          • Get a fondue pot. Fondue is a fun way to enjoy melted cheeses (for savory items) and melted chocolate (for sweeter treats).
                          • Decorate! Turn your home into a dressed-up french cottage, a sophisticated restaurant, or simply with flowers. The different ambience will immediately change the feel of your home and make it feel like a staycation.
                            • Talk about the future together. It might sound simple and everyday, but imagining how you want to spend your retirement together, or planning future trips can be exciting and romantic.

                            If You Want to Get Away

                            1. Take a day trip together to your favorite spot. If you live in a city, it can be incredibly refreshing to get away for an afternoon and drink in the outdoors.
                            2. Go on a scenic drive and stop at a wine and cheese bar. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have lots of options where you live, try a brewpub. There are tons of small craft breweries with fantastic food options too.
                            3. Go camping. Relatively affordable and, if the weather’s right, beautiful and romantic.
                              • Take an overnight backpacking trip. For the more adventurous couples, backpacking is an even more intense way to challenge yourself physically while becoming one with nature.
                              • Take a wine tasting tour. If you live on the West Coast or in the Northeast, take a drive to the nearest winery. Many offer relatively inexpensive tastings and deals if you purchase a certain amount.
                              • Take a scenic train trip. Taking the train means less stress traveling: nobody has to drive, you don’t have to stop for breaks every few hours, and you can sleep if you need to!
                              • Save up for a destination vacation. What better time than your anniversary to enjoy the beach at a beautiful resort?
                              • Explore a new city. Whether you’re on a budget or have a lot saved up, you can have a great time just exploring an unfamiliar town.
                              • Rent a cabin for a weekend away, in the woods or next to a lake or ocean. If you like the outdoors but can only take so much nature, try glamping.
                                • Go on a retreat. Yoga retreats, meditation retreats, beautiful natural surroundings … they’re all the rage. Search for centeredness and calm with your partner.
                                • Spend a day at a food festival. Many cities have fun and affordable food festivals, occasionally based on a theme. Check out your town’s (or a nearby city) calendar for inspiration!

                                New & Exciting Experiences

                                1. Go spelunking. Dark, damp, and utterly exciting!
                                2. Go on a hot air balloon ride. Because the basket is relatively small, this can be a romantic and deeply personal – and yet thrilling –
                                  experience.
                                  • Try sky diving. If you and you S.O. are real thrill-seekers, sky diving can really push you to the edge!
                                  • Explore the underwater world by snorkeling or scuba diving. This may take you far away from where you normally live and work, which is an added bonus.
                                  • Experience white water rafting.
                                  • Drive or hike to the highest spot nearby for a new view of the world. America has tons of beautiful mountains where challenging hikes (or drives) can deliver breathtaking views.
                                  • Take a craft or cooking class. Up your craft skills or food  making skills, and enjoy something new!
                                    • Take a wine and painting class today. These classes are easily found these days and even a beginning painter can create a nice painting. Challenging but relaxing, fun, and you get to go home with some artwork!
                                    • Learn to salsa dance. Dancing is a fantastic way to actively get closer and coordinate physically with one another.
                                      • Visit a nearby festival you’ve always wanted to go to. Have fun and let go with fellow audience-members!
                                      • Spend the day at an amusement park together. Laugh and carry on like teenagers.
                                      • Meet new people! At a restaurant, concert, or class, make it a point to meet new friends. Striking up conversation with someone you don’t know – but with whom you have shared interests – can be an adventurous and rewarding experience.

                                      Whether your budget is big or small, and whether you have a little or a ton of time together, focus on each other. There are tons of options, in terms of location, level of physical activity, and cost. You can make the day special in a way that’s right for you!

                                      Featured photo credit: Photo by Taylor L. Spurgeon on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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