Many languages have been claimed to be the hardest language to learn. But which is actually the toughest? There are a number of factors that go into determining the complexity of a language. Factors like how close is the new language to your native tongue? Research has shown that languages that are similar in grammar and structure to your native tongue are often easier to grasp. The fact of the matter is each language has a different degree of difficulty. No one language is easy to learn. The following is a list of the hardest languages to learn.
Why it’s so difficult: Arabic has very few words that resemble those of European languages. Witten Arabic also uses fewer vowels, which can be extremely difficult for those learning to read the language.
Why it’s so difficult: Chinese is a tonal language, in which meaning changes as you change the tone of a word. Also, thousands of characters and a complex writing system make learning Chinese a formidable task.
Why it’s so difficult: Being similar to Chinese, Japanese language learners need to memorize thousands of characters. Three different writing systems and two syllabary systems – i.e. sets of written symbols that approximate syllables - add to the difficulty.
Why it’s so difficult: Different sentence structure, syntax, and verb conjugations make learning Korean extremely difficult for those who come from a European background. Written Korean also relies on many of the difficult Chinese characters.
Why it’s so difficult: Hungarian is one of the hardest as it has masculine, feminine and neuter genders as well as about 7 different verb conjugations. It is also one of a handful of “independent” languages, meaning no one really knows their origins and they are not linked to any base language set like Latin (French, Spanish, Italian).
Why it’s so difficult: A main difficulty in the Polish language is its alphabet; it is comparable to Latin with a few discrepancies. Polish is also an inflection language like Latin, using 7 cases to define noun usage in a sentence. A mark of its difficulty can be seen in its youth; most people do not master Polish until they reach 16.
Why it’s so difficult: Finnish is a highly phonological language; word construction rules are determined by how the letter sounds. For example, the vowels are phonetically divided into two classes. The rule states that a word can only contain vowels from one class. A student must also learn how to distinguish sounds in consonants as well. For example, sounds such as "p", "t" and "k" are called stop consonants, which have their own rules of use.
Why it’s so difficult: Vocabulary is particularly hard because of the many ways words are created. Adding a prefix or suffix to the word makes its meaning completely different. Russian is also notably difficult because of its two pairs of consonants: plain and palatalized. The distinction between the two is made through stressing certain sounds in a word.
Why it’s so difficult: Estonian has 12 different cases in its grammatical system; a case is when a word inflects based on its use in a sentence. There is also a distinction for "impersonal" subjects -- an undetermined subject -- in Estonian language; there are particular word forms that need to be used when impersonal subjects perform an action.
Why it’s so difficult: Icelandic is particularly difficult because it remained mostly archaic; words have generally not evolved to a more modern use. As a result, many Icelandic words cannot be easily translated. Because of this, students learning Icelandic typically have to solely rely on listening to native speakers.
Why it’s so difficult: German is highly inflected in both nouns and verbs. For noun inflections, it has 4 different cases and 3 different genders. German also has multiple infinitives, potentially creating long chains of verbs at the end of each sentence. This is because verbs are located at the very end of subordinate clauses; applicable infinitives have to be added to each one.