Many different cultures and languages are exposed to adults. Many of us feel frustrated when we are unable to communicate with someone because of language barriers.
Parents who do not speak a second language themselves often find it stressful to introduce their children to a new language. Nowadays, learning a language is incredibly easy with all the online resources available.
Choosing which one to devote your time to is the hard part. Learning a more difficult language can be very rewarding, especially for those who are up to the challenge! Below are the 5 hardest languages in the world to learn.
1 - Mandarin
It's interesting to learn that the most widely spoken native language is also the most difficult to learn. Various factors make Mandarin Chinese challenging to learn.
In the first and foremost place, it is very difficult for English speakers (as well as everyone else) used to the Latin alphabet. People studying Mandarin have to memorize thousands of characters, unlike any other language based on Latin.
This is in addition to the usual challenges that come with learning any language. Writing Chinese is not the only challenge. It is also very hard to speak due to the nature of the tones in the language.
Many Chinese dialects exist, including Cantonese, which is spoken primarily in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, and southeastern China. It is difficult to learn and has different written characters.
The Chinese language, whose most common dialect has four tones, has four different ways of pronounced words; each way has its meaning.
2 - Arabic
For English speakers, Arabic is the next most difficult language to learn, which is also one of the five most commonly spoken languages in the world. It is also in the top 10 hardest languages to learn. Starting with the Arabic language, it can be classified by regions or countries that speak it, which differ radically from one another.
Choosing a dialect to learn is the easiest part, but it still leaves a lot of work to be done. Another language with an unconventional alphabet is Arabic. English speakers may not have a difficult time understanding its 28 script letters, but it's still a challenge to learn a new writing system.
For beginners, the absence of most vowels in words makes reading and writing in Arabic particularly challenging. It makes the whole thing very complicated. As well as Arabic being written from left to right instead of right to left, it requires some getting used to.
Additionally, spoken Arabic has certain characteristics that make learning it difficult. The sounds used in English are unfamiliar to speakers of other languages or are not present in other languages.
For example, the sounds made in your throat are not familiar to English speakers. There are also grammatical challenges, especially since verbs usually appear first before a subject, and you also need to learn dual forms of some words.
3 - Russian
The Cyrillic alphabet, used in Russian, is a mixture of letters we are familiar with and those we are not. Some Cyrillic letters look like Latin letters but sound different. Cyrillic letters make a "V" sound, for instance.
Though it is not quite as hard to learn as Polish, Russian is pretty close to it. It has six case forms compared to Polish's seven. The Russians also remove the verb "to be" from sentences in the present tense, so beginners may have difficulty building sentences from scratch.
It is not always easy to spell or pronounce "I am a student" in Russian because it uses many consonants clustered together, which makes it hard to spell and pronounce.
However, it may be worthwhile to learn Russian regardless of its difficulty. Despite its popularity as a language of business and leisure, it is extremely politically and culturally relevant.
4 - Turkish
According to the Turkish alphabet, words are adjudicated with prefixes and suffixes to indicate their meaning and direction, instead of using separate prepositions.
As a result, the verbs can become extremely long, like konuşmay* reddediyorlar. Another feature of Turkish is the concept of vowel harmony, where vowels are changed or endings with vowels are added to make a word flow better.
One of the hardest languages to learning contains numerous unfamiliar vocabulary words, most of them of Arabic origin. Turkish learners have the benefit of relatively few exceptions to grammar rules compared to other languages, a straightforward spelling system, and an opportunity to learn an agglutinative language.
5 - Polish
It gets easier from this point on but is still quite challenging to learn the hardest languages. Fifth place goes to Polish. There are a couple of areas in which Polish can be difficult for English speakers: spelling and grammar.
It is hard to spell and pronounce words because they contain so many consonants. You can compare it to a German on steroids: there are seven cases.
Fortunately, British speakers are much more familiar with the letters used in Polish than those in Chinese, Arabic, or other non-Latin languages. Being able to speak Polish as a second language makes you a sought-after candidate, especially since Poland is developing as an economic powerhouse in Europe.