Twenty Hardest Languages to Learn Globally

Anyone who took a required college course knows that learning a little Spanish or some French is hard. Here is some shocking news, try picking up Thai, Hungarian, or Navajo, and one realizes that Spanish or French is simple. Thai has an alphabet containing 32 vowels and a whopping 44 consonants for instance. In this article, we have gathered the world’s most difficult dialects to study. If the compiled list enthuse, try finding out the secrets or tricks of learning a second language fast.

Language 1: Finnish

This language is highly reputed for being tricky to learn; it is for a solid reason. Nouns have fifteen various cases, whereas English only has three: possessive, objective, and subjective. Finnish falls under the Finno-Ugric language family. This means that Finnish does not have a German or Latin influence to assist one guess the meaning of a word.

However, words are written in the manner they sound; this is one thing which makes the language easier to learn. If such a country with a difficult language seems fascinating, try looking for information on why this country is the new happiest place in the world.

Language 2: Russian

The Foreign Service Institute rates the Russian language 4 out of 5 in terms of difficulty level. It may not be as difficult as other languages, but there are certain blockades to attaining fluency in Russian. One critical thing that makes it hard to learn this language is that spelling is not always forthright. Russian is full of vowel sounds strange to an English speaker. The language demands one to study and master a totally new set of alphabets.

Language 3: Vietnamese

English speakers find this language complicated because of its hard pronunciation, the use of uncommon grammar, and 6 dissimilar tones. To master the Vietnamese language and get a speaking and reading frequency, one needs approx. 1,100 hours of class learning. Learning the language has its own merits; it will help navigate some of the most Zen places in the world. Actually one can use English to Vietnamese online translator. This translator will help understand things written or said in Vietnamese if learning the whole language is too much. People who are looking to just understand a few things or get what another person said will find the online translator very useful.

Language 4: Mongolian

People find the trickiest part of this language to be the pronunciation. The grammar is relatively easy as compared to the pronunciation only for someone who understand Finnish. Also, a prior understanding of Russian is needed to have an easy time with the alphabet. If these two requirements are missing; Mongolian will be very difficult to learn.

Language 5: Hungarian

Hungarian belongs to the same language family as Finnish. This means that a typical English speaker will not see the Hungarian vocabulary anything close to English. The language has fourteen vowels and eighteen cases which complicates pronunciation. Unlike other languages, Hungarian is highly dependent on idioms.

Language 6: Thai

The two things to weigh down when trying to learn this language is the pronunciation and the writing. Thai’s grammar is relatively easy to master as compared to writing and pronunciation. Pronunciation has short and long vowels sounds and 5 dissimilar tones. There are a whopping 32 vowels and 44 consonants.

Language 7: Icelandic

Learning Icelandic is not a simple walk in the park; it has 3 genders given to their words and 4 cases. In addition to these, the language has many different letters that are strange to an English speaker. Some of the Icelandic words are lengthy making them hard to decipher and pronounce. Icelandic is in most times ranked among the list of the hardest languages to study for English-speaking people.

Language 8: Estonian

In the tricky class of Finnish and Hungarian, Estonian falls at the 3rd position. The language is packed with a staggering fourteen noun cases. Also, its vowels and consonants have 3 different lengths: very long, long, and short. The complexity does not stop there, the grammar is full of exceptions which makes one reevaluate to learn a language with only 1.1 million native speakers.

Language 9: Georgian

Unlike any other language, Georgian has a distinct writing style; so many letters look so much alike. For instance ც, ფ, ვ, გ, ჰ, კ, ყ, and პ are very different letters of their alphabet. Someone new to the language will most likely have a very difficult time differentiating such similarities. For native English-speaking community, the pronunciation of many Georgian words is very puzzling. In addition to those troubles, finding a Georgian teacher or a native speaker who can comprehend jumbled pronunciation is a problem.

Language 10: Czech

The grammar of this language is a nightmare in addition to the superficially insurmountable challenge of pronunciation. Then again, each of the letters in their alphabet has just one pronunciation. Mastering the way the words sound will take some time. For instance, Thursday is written as Čtvrtek. For someone who speaks a Slavic dialect, it will be easier to understand Czech, otherwise, it will be a challenge.

Language 11: Albanian

The language’s 36-letter alphabet gives a hint that trying to learn this dialect will be a tough ride. Also, Albanian grammar is full of exceptions to most of the rules and one will need to remember all these.

Language 12: Turkish

This is a synthetic dialect that uses agglutination. Sophisticated words are built by tacking stuff on with no any alteration of the earlier material in any way. Turkish is definitely a foreign language to English-speaking people. However, for someone that can speak other languages on this list such as Finnish, Korean, and Japanese, he will have a relatively easy time learning Turkish.

Language 13: Polish

In comparison to Finno-Ugric dialects such as Estonian, Hungarian, and Finnish, Polish’s 7 cases are not nearly that scary. The tricky part is the pronunciation. The language has too many sounds, and these will need extra practice.

Language 14: Navajo

This language is difficult enough to understand that code-talkers during WWII made use of Navajo to build codes for their communication. The Germans could not track code talkers because of the complexity of the language.

Language 15: Greek

The most notable obstacle to mastering this language is its alphabet. Also, the grammar may be tricky since it has some unusual conjugations and a myriad of gendered nouns and rules. Pronouncing the words need serious practice as there are many sounds without an equivalent English tone. The idiom “its Greek to me” came from the complexity and confusion of the language.

Language 16: Korean

This language has a comparatively straightforward alphabet which does not take as long to study as compared to Japanese and Chinese writing styles. Someone can begin pronouncing the words very fast. The grammar is entirely different from English, and the way sounding of the words is done is full of complicated rules.

Language 17: Mandarin

According to the Foreign Service Institute, this is among the highly ranked difficult languages to learn for those who speak English. Mandarin alphabet is composed of highly complex characters. Mandarin is also tonal; it has many idioms. The mere ability to speak Mandarin does not help with reading the language. Understanding the way to read it will not particularly assist in learning how to write the words. Learning Mandarin is simply not for the faint-hearted.

Language 18: Japanese

The primary hurdle typically encountered when trying to learn this language is the writing style. It will not provide clues unless the student already knows some Chinese. On the surface, Japanese grammar looks simple until a student discovers that it uses particles that are markers for sections of speech which have no equivalents in English.

Language 19: Cantonese

English speakers find Mandarin tones challenging; Cantonese has eight tones. Since it is highly pictorial, no way to know how to read it phonetically. Also, this language is a complicated version of Mandarin which is why Mandarin is extensively used in China’s mainland as compared to Cantonese. Then again, Cantonese requires many resources to study it; these resources are not easy to find making it harder to learn the language further.

Language 20: Arabic.

The writing style of this language is entirely different. It is necessary to get used to reading and writing from right to left, unlike nearly all other languages that start from left to right. Most of the sounds here are very complex to master especially to those who speak English. Additionally, the language is full of irregular verbs which complicate the learning process further. Even after somehow going through all that, Arabic has many sub-languages that vary across the Arab world. This variation means that someone may get along well in Kuwait but end up having a hard time in Jordan.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.