What Are The Hardest Languages To Learn?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Blind Hemingway, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. I think the hardest languages to learn, in case you want to be able to both talk and write, would be those with differents symbols for writing. For example, since my native language is Spanish, Chinese or Russian would be more difficult to learn than English or French. That's my opinion. C:
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  2. I was expecting to see Thai or Vietnamese in the hard-section. My impression is that a lot of experienced language learners find one of these especially hard to achieve a high level of speaking abilities for natives of European languages.
  3. I've found that Polish might actually be one of the hardest languages to learn (from an Asian American perspective). The jump to seven genders and the difficult pronunciation is what really stumped me. I don't think I'll be able to properly "speak" anything coherent unless I practiced extensively for months or probably years. Although, if there's a will there's a way! And for the person that mentioned Russian being hard to learn to read, it's actually not that bad if you're willing to put some effort into memorizing the alphabet (since they stick to those 33 unlike Chinese that uses word blocks)!
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  4. What is your native language(s)? What other language(s) have you seriously studied to compare with Polish being so difficult?
  5. Oh! I thought I wrote Filipino—whoops! To answer your first question, I speak English and Tagalog fluently, and I'm taking Chinese classes on the weekends. As for the second, I'm studying Greek and Korean on my own right now and previously took French classes. Don't get me wrong, I think Polish is a beautiful language, and I'm actually learning it to be able to read Polish literature one day! It's just not a language that's clicking very easily with me, whether it's because my brain is fried 24/7 because of school or what.

    Anyway, that's just my opinion and I'm sure other people find it much easier than I do. Why? Do you speak/are you learning the language?
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  6. No, I have no interest in learning Polish. I get easily excited when discussing language learning, that is why I asked you the questions. :P

    I'm currently learning Italian, which is really fun, and while I still have not embarked on picking up the basic logics of the grammar yet, I find it really fun noticing more and more patterns as I pick up a bigger vocabulary on a daily basis.

    I studied German at school for several years and after only visiting Berlin this summer and spending time with the language for a few weeks I was able to read Dan Brown's Inferno and understand most of what was happening. A really grand experience in my short "career" as a language learner =).

    So from that experience, I would say, the general pattern of this article fits the bill as German is a lot easier for me to pick up on, because of my greater experience with it and it is closer to my native Norwegian. I imagine I will take to learn it and achieve a good level of fluency some time in the future. The German culture is so rich in literature and culture overall.

    It is much easier to me to use English as the "translator" when learning a latin language like Italian, since English "inherited" a lot more from latin than Norwegian did.

    In the future, I plan on learning Mandarin and Arabic after I feel I've reached an acceptable level of fluency in Italian. =)
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  7. (Hahah you really are a viking! xD)

    That's really cool! My brother was just asking me yesterday about if he should learn Norwegian or Swedish. In hindsight, I was probably the worst person to ask because I said to go with both. There aren't many people in my friend group that are interested in learning German, so I always find it cool to find someone who does or already speaks it. I'd have been nervous going to the country, though; My props to you!

    I was the same way when I read Le Petit Prince after a few years of taking French! Sadly my speaking skills are lagging far behind my reading skills since I don't have anyone to practice with and I can't find any speaking groups near my area. Hopefully, I can spend a semester abroad somewhere, but I still have to transfer to a school that has my major first.

    Why Mandarin or Arabic? Also, how are you learning Italian? Are you taking classes, learning from a language partner, etc?

    Arabic seems very intimidating to me! xD I had a friend that said that the writing system was hard for her to get used to, especially when she was the one writing it. There are a lot of people who speak it though, so it's a great language to take if you want to go into communications or something to do with people. (At least, that's what she told me. xD) Then again, a lot of intimidating languages have their own special points when you start learning them. People get tripped up on Chinese because of the different tonal pronunciation, but most people can figure out what you mean using context.

  8. Yeah, I'm Polish and my language was sometimes even hard for me :P

  9. 1. I would advice your brother to have a look at this video:

    (But you're right, I don't think it's a good idea to study two languages who are so similiar at the same time either ;) )

    2. I went to Germany together with my family. Nervous or not, going to a country where the language you are studying is being spoken by a large group/the majority is the best way to excel in understanding and being able to produce(write, speak) the language.

    3. I am sure if you look in the right places, you could find a native person from Poland to speak with over skype. Most likely, you will have to find someone who would be interested in getting something in return from you. As in; someone who wishes to learn English or Tagalog.

    4. Why Mandarin or/and Arabic?
    One of my major motivations behind learning languages is to be able to learn more about the culture of wherever those languages are spoken. And Arabic and Chinese are somewhat "world languages" as far as I am concerned, outside of the western world. Learning languages that use "wierd" scripts, that supposedly are very hard for a westerner like me, is also another great motivation. Being able to read news, history and so on written by natives from so called "enemies" of western societies is yet another one.
    I think one important thing when you just start out learning either Mandarin or Arabic is to just accept the writing system and tonal differences from your native language for the way they are. Be very patient and put in that hard work. For me, it's slowly grinding and learning new words that work in the long run.

    5. I am learning Italian by listening and reading through a course called Assimil's "Italian With Ease" - a great beginner course, if you ask me. I don't do any of the drills, I just read through the text once in my head, check it with the english translation that is to the right of the target language. Then I listen through the dialouge's audio three times while I read only the Italian.
    Other things I do is that I listen to podcasts done by SBS radio. I've gradually started to understand more and more of what I listen to.
    Last but not least, I read through some articles every day on a site called tuttomercatoweb.com. Most of them are very short, which is good for a beginner like me. They also contain good information about a subject I'm very passionate - Italian soccer - and if it is one thing I've learned from listening to people who have learned a lot of languages on youtube, it is that you should learn the language by reading/listening to something that interests you.
    OH YEAH! I also learn Italian by watching the Italian dubbed version of Lost, LOL! I'm on the second season. Not sure how effective it really is for my learning, but I'm giving it a shot. Not a tv series I would watch for any other reason that to learn Italian.
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