Top 10 Languages That are Hardest to Learn

The English language is a strange one with many parts, making it difficult for some people to learn. The fact that English speakers struggle to learn other languages is rarely discussed in the public eye. The 10 hardest languages to learn for English speakers are presented below thanks to our research!

List of 10 Hardest Languages

Below we discuss 10 languages that are hard to learn for English and other speakers.

1. Mandarin

Mandarin comes in first as the most spoken language in the world. English speakers are unlikely to master this tonal language. A huge number of idioms, aphorisms, and homophones make the language very difficult to learn unless you become familiar with the culture as well. And yes, of course, there is an alphabet as well.

What Makes Mandarin Hard to Learn?

In this tonal language, words are defined differently for different people according to their intentions. Language learners who are unfamiliar with Chinese culture will struggle to understand Mandarin because it uses a lot of cultural idioms in conversation.

2. Arabic

The second language, Arabic, presents a challenge to English speakers because letters are written in four different ways depending on their placement in a word.

Moreover, Arabic does not include vowels. What’s important is not only the writing but which dialect you learn. There are more dialects of Arabic than the number of countries that speak this language, so it is one of the most difficult languages to learn.

3. Japanese

There are three distinct writing systems for Japanese: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Meanwhile, it is said to be easier to learn Japanese than Mandarin. The alphabets of each have their own characters, and prior to being able to write in Japanese, you have to learn thousands.

4. Hungarian

is basically the killer of English speakers since its grammar is so obscure? There are 26 different cases. The word order is more important than suffixes in determining the tense and possession, which is the way most European languages approach this problem. The cultural element of Japanese can also make it really, really hard to learn by yourself.

Here’s Why Learning Hungarian Is Difficult

With 14 different vowels, it has complex grammar. Because of its limited number and geographic location, it is number 4th in hardest languages to learn.

5. Korean

There is no apparent relation between Korean and any other language. Word order is unique; grammar is complex; the alphabet is unique and many more challenges await. In short, it’s unlike anything else you’ve ever encountered.

6. Finnish

The complexity of Finish is similar to that of Hungarian, although it looks and sounds like English. There is also classic or old-fashioned Finnish which differs from the way that Finns express themselves today… and they definitely are different. Beware the grammar labyrinth ahead!

7. Basque

As with Basque, it bears no resemblance to the languages it surrounds. But it borrows some vocabulary from romance languages, which means it isn’t quite as challenging as Korean.

Its distinctive writing and speaking style sets it apart from all other languages. Furthermore, there are no fewer than five distinct dialects to add to the challenge.

Learning Basque is difficult because…

This language is spoken only by a small number of people in certain places. Other languages have no roots in Basque. Both the beginning and the end of sentences can be changed in this language.

8. Navajo

Languages from North America are predominantly verb-based like Navajo. In addition, most English adjectives cannot be translated directly into Navajo, which means that descriptions are given through verbs.

There are also many distinct sounds in the language that do not appear in English, making pronunciation difficult, as well as a number of things that sound differently from one language to another.

9. Icelandic

Icelandic is much easier to learn than a number of languages in this list. Due to its density on one island, the fact that it hasn’t changed in thousands of years, and because it’s spoken by less than 400,000 people, Icelandic is also quite complex and individualistic.

The Icelandic language is one of those that coined new words to describe newly invented objects and did not adopt English or French terms. This makes learning it a difficult task and one of the hardest languages to learn.

It’s hard to learn Icelandic because…

It can be difficult to speak the long words and different sounds in the letters. There are four genders, three cases, and two sets of numbers, and the word order of Icelandic changes with the mood – so understanding Icelandic is dependent upon knowing the situation.

In addition to creating new words for new products and inventions, the Inuit also create new words for new products coming to the island nation, so learning the language requires being there.

10. Polish

The tenth most complicated language. This language has seven cases. In fact, it has fewer sounds in it than English does, including fewer vowels and less consonants.

Conclusion

The common denominator between each of these languages is that none of them have a Germanic language root. Thus, they are unrelated to the roots and history of English, and because of this, they are very difficult to learn.