Jump to content

The Easiest And Most Difficult Languages For English Speakers To Learn


Recommended Posts

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/easiest-most-difficult-languages-english-173015454.html

 

110329-VOXY-HARDLANGUAGES-FINAL-565x19931.png

 

If you're thinking about taking up Mandarin, you better have 2,200 hours to spare.

 

The Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State compiled learning expectations for native English speakers looking to achieve speaking and reading proficiency in a number of different foreign languages, based on factors including the complexity of the language, resources available, how many hours devoted to study each week, and student motivation. 

 

The easiest languages — including Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian — require just 23-24 weeks of study, or 575-600 class hours, to achieve proficiency, and are the easiest because of their closeness to English.

 

The most difficult languages — Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Japanese — require, on average, 1.69 years (88 weeks), or 2,200 class hours, to reach speaking and reading proficiency.  

 

Each of the four "hard" languages is difficult for its own reasons. Arabic's lack of vowels makes reading difficult for an English-speaking native, while Japanese and Chinese require the memorization of over a thousand unique characters.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would add Indonesian to the list of easy languages to learn and move Thai to the hard languages to learn (different alphabet, writing structre which doesn't follow its own RULES, ie lots of exceptions to spellings, and its tonal).

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would add Indonesian to the list of easy languages to learn and move Thai to the hard languages to learn (different alphabet, writing structre which doesn't follow its own rules, ie lots of exceptions to spellings, and its tonal).

 

I agree. Since I live in Malaysia I picked up quite a bit of Bahasa (which is similar to the Bahasa they speak in Indonesia). No different tones and many words similar to English (Kaunter, Bas, etc.) makes it easy to learn.

 

Thai is a nightmare for me, I dont think I will ever speak it peoperly, not to mention read and write.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am 9 weeks into a 10 week introductory Mandarin class at my local community centre in Sydney,and I am more confused that ever...it is so difficult.I have picked up some of the language from various Chinese girls that I have fucked over the years,however I think it will be 50 more years before I will ever be fluent in Mandarin.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would add Indonesian to the list of easy languages to learn and move Thai to the hard languages to learn (different alphabet, writing structre which doesn't follow its own rules, ie lots of exceptions to spellings, and its tonal).

English also has tons of exceptions, what makes Thai difficult is the tones not the writing system

Link to post
Share on other sites

English also has tons of exceptions, what makes Thai difficult is the tones not the writing system

+1

These tonal languages are hard for older folks.

As they just can't hear the difference.

The reading, writing is much easier than, say, Japanese/Mandarin.

IMHO.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

English also has tons of exceptions, what makes Thai difficult is the tones not the writing system

 

Exactly...English is not that easy to learn but since it is dominant and so widespread most people eventually master all the exceptions.  I would agrue that written Thai is easier than Chinese or Japanese but about as difficult as Arabic or Korean (both of which use alphabets, not pictograms, and were listed as Hard languages on the list).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you been to England recently?  The most difficult language an "Englishman" can learn - seems to be well erm English.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Think the easiest language to learn would be 'glaswegian' but you have to be pissed. The hardest by far has to be walsh.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

 

Hmm, I've mastered 3-4 from the "easy" language group.  Also acquired fluency in a level 4 language - Japanese.  So I'm reasonably good at languages.

 

That said, since then I've tried learning Vietnamese and that is so hard.

 

I think the tonal languages are underestimated in this list, at least I have a hard time with them, or maybe I'm just doing it wrong.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 months later...

Interesting comments on that link but they are somewhat inconsistent when comparing languages...comparing just the difficulty of the spoken language against the difficulty of the spoken/literary forms of another language.  For example...everyday spoken Thai is relatively easy when you think about it from a grammar perspective but can be extremely difficult when you take into consideration the formal written language (different alphabet, lots spelling exceptions from the RULES, complex grammar depending on who you are speaking to, etc.)

Link to post
Share on other sites
The Blue-Eyed Sheikh

Interesting comments on that link but they are somewhat inconsistent when comparing languages...comparing just the difficulty of the spoken language against the difficulty of the spoken/literary forms of another language.  For example...everyday spoken Thai is relatively easy when you think about it from a grammar perspective but can be extremely difficult when you take into consideration the formal written language (different alphabet, lots spelling exceptions from the rules, complex grammar depending on who you are speaking to, etc.)

 

If I recall correctly, one of the comments made the point regarding Mandarin that if you have no interest in learning how to read and write but just want to speak / listen and you can hear / replicate tones, the language is actually fairly easy to learn, given that there are no cognates with English.

 

Arabic, Hindi, Tamil, etc., on the other hand, have phonemes that do not exist in English, so even if you set aside the difficulty of learning to read / write in an non-Roman script, there are sounds that a native English speaker is not used to hearing or articulating.

 

No idea where Thai fits in this regard; my ear isn't good enough.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am 9 weeks into a 10 week introductory Mandarin class at my local community centre in Sydney,and I am more confused that ever...it is so difficult.I have picked up some of the language from various Chinese girls that I have fucked over the years,however I think it will be 50 more years before I will ever be fluent in Mandarin.

You may need to start calling some chinese girls over...

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

I would add Indonesian to the list of easy languages to learn and move Thai to the hard languages to learn (different alphabet, writing structre which doesn't follow its own rules, ie lots of exceptions to spellings, and its tonal).

 

I have to agree. Indonesian is very easy language, it absorbs many words from other language including English.

Thai is different story....so hard. It has its own alphabet and when it's written in latin, I still cannot read it properly.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally have trouble learning more English than Thai. You should try to learn the Czech language and see how difficult it is to master the language on communicative level.

Link to post
Share on other sites

for me any tonal language is really difficult to get to grips with. Its a totally alien concept to English speakers. The thought that the meaning of a single syllable can change depending on its tone is totally confusing ... and the Thais have 5 tones (one more than Chinese) so that ' mai mai mai mai ' can mean 'new wood burns, doesn't it ? if each syllable has a different tone. 

 

But I am determined to learn some Chinese/Mandarin and bought a good book the other day - Chineasy by ShaoLin.  It explains the core Chinese symbols by presenting them as very styilised pictures and it really helps to read and remember them.  She did a TED talk on the principle which is on YouTube.

Link to post
Share on other sites

English - native

Greek - fluent

Romanian - picked it up inside 3 months of living there - fluent but rusty

Russian - passable. Had a very attractive teacher when I was working in Moscow. We found a far more enjoyable way to spend our afternoons together which didn't require me to do any homework and one I was already pretty good at. At least she seemed to enjoy my oral skills. Hers very very good as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.



  • COVID-19

    Any posts or topics which the moderation team deems to be rumours/speculatiom, conspiracy theory, scaremongering, deliberately misleading or has been posted to deliberately distort information will be removed - as will BMs repeatedly doing so. Existing rules also apply.

  • Advertise on Pattaya Addicts
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.