The Hardest Languages to Learn


Learning a new language always takes time and effort, but are some languages easier to learn than others? There are two answers, one of which is fairly obvious; the other has to do with music and different sides of your brain.

The biggest question is: what language (or languages) do you currently speak? That is the most influential variable in how difficult it is to learn a new language. If you speak Spanish, learning Portuguese will be relatively easy. If you speak Czech, learning Russian will be simple. Of course, if you speak Spanish and try to learn Russian, it will be more challenging.

The Foreign Service Institute at the United States Department of State rated 63 languages based on how difficult they are for English speakers to learn. They concluded that Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean were the most difficult, with Japanese typically being the hardest of the five to learn.

All five of those languages have non-Latin alphabets, but there may be something trickier at work. In 2003, neurologists at the Wellcome Trust in Britain studied which parts of the brain are engaged while speaking and reading different languages. The left hemisphere is typically associated with language because it understands the components of language – like vocabulary and syntax, while the right hemisphere helps us with inferences. The right hemisphere also helps us comprehend music.

The scientists discovered that some languages, like English, can be read with only the left hemisphere, while others rely on both hemispheres. A tonal language, like Chinese, utilizes both hemispheres because the left hemisphere focuses on the characters, while the right hemisphere sounds them out. Learning a language that requires both hemispheres may be harder for people whose native language relies on the left hemisphere only.

Do you ever think about learning a second, third, or fourth language? Which language do you think would be hardest? To help you decide, take a look at some of the hardest words to translate.

Tabula Digita Participates in Games-to-Laptops Initiative in Michigan.

Journal of Mathematics February 16, 2010 Today’s educators understand that to be effective, a one-to-one program – where every student works on a laptop computer – must do more than just put a laptop in student’s hands. Central to the one-to-one concept is incorporating cutting-edge methods of teaching and learning, including the use of virtual environments and gaming technologies. Through a comprehensive initiative to understand the power and potential of gaming in the classroom, four Michigan school districts are taking part in a pilot Games-to-Laptop Initiative that will evaluate student’s use of gaming technology including Tabula Digita’s DimensionM math games.

Funded by the Kauffman Foundation and spearheaded by the One-to-One Institute the pilot program will evaluate self-driven student engagement and assess infrastructural impediments that may present themselves during wider implementations of educational video games. Three Michigan districts are participating in the program representing several regions throughout the state including suburban southeastern Michigan, rural northern Michigan, and urban western Michigan. In addition, the Armada Area School District in rural Macomb County is taking part in the program.

“Undoubtedly, students and teachers connect to educational video games differently,” said Ntiedo Etuk, chief executive officer and co-founder of Tabula Digita. “With this initiative, educators hope to gain a deeper understanding of how students respond to the idea of ‘click and go’ learning that engages them in challenging content. We believe this effort has the potential to positively affect student-centered learning in a big way.” Tabula Digita is the developer of the award-winning DimensionM™ multiplayer math video games. Through cutting-edge, 3D learning systems, the research-based DimensionM games transports students ages 8-18 to virtual worlds where critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and collaboration are paramount to success. The games incorporate a series of first-person action adventure missions that feature graphics, sound and animation similar to those in popular commercial video games. By successfully navigating a host of embedded lessons, students quickly gain mastery of the mathematics concepts previously discussed in class. This helps to simplify the complexities of mathematics by presenting them in a format – video games – that today’s students find relevant and easy to understand. go to website hot shot business hotshotbusinessnow.net hot shot business

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  1. - -  March 1, 2016 - 8:50 am

    I find Malayalam difficult.

  2. Nina Chloe -  May 8, 2015 - 3:25 pm

    I think speaking Japanese is much easier than reading or writing because if you’re speaking you’re just making sounds and you don’t have to know kanji, hiragana and katakana but when writing and reading you do. (At least you have to know hiragana) But I heard that Russian is really hard to learn

  3. David -  February 26, 2015 - 3:24 pm

    Sorry my computer cut my last message off. I’d say it’s gotta be either Chinese or Japanese. I remember in high school trying by best to learn Japanese. I got the verbal down just fine. Katakana and Hiragana wasn’t bad either. It was Kanji that completely killed me.

    Anyway, great article.

  4. David -  February 26, 2015 - 3:22 pm

    I’d say it’s gotta be Chinese or Japanese. At least with English there is one Alphabet. With Chinese and Janapese you’ve got 2 or more. Too much.

  5. Jack Ehrhart -  November 11, 2014 - 8:16 pm

    Really, it depends upon one’s ability. I’m a native English speaker and can’t, for the life of me, get control of Italian. My brain just doesn’t “get it.” It has nothing to do with intelligence; my degree is in mathematics. I’ve decided that that might be the problem. I’m an analyzer and that doesn’t coincide well with learning Italian and its many exceptions that have no particular reason. One can either “go with it,” or not. I’m in the “not” category and it’s very frustrating. Speaking Italian well depends on memorizing a huge amount on information that doesn’t connect to anything else in the language’s structure. Some folks find it easy to learn Italian, some don’t.

    • Sailaja -  January 22, 2015 - 8:04 pm

      I think the toughest languages to learn are most indian and other asian languages, because the have a complex grammar structure which is specific to the gender.

      By 1st grade I was speaking 3 languages – Telugu (my mother tongue), english(and write) and hindi. Now in high school I know how to write telugu and hindi as well..

      languages like japanese and mandarin are relatively easy for me because their language structures are almost the same as my mother tongue telugu.
      Also because telugu is a language where u beed both sides of the brain working, languages like english are a piece of cake, because it’s grammar is so easy and not genger specific !

      • John -  February 4, 2015 - 6:38 pm


        • Noah Berry -  June 15, 2016 - 9:17 am

          yes gender would have been the right word but genger is always yummy,

    • bob -  August 10, 2016 - 9:49 am

      Jack, maybe think of it like this. some things in math are just a given, division by zero its a given that it cannot be done. Its a given that 10^0 = 1. So in learning a language, some things are a given like in English the word “Movie.” pronounced ” m – oo – v – ee ” yet there is no reason and no rule that implies that a single “o” will have an ” oo ” sound in English – its a given too.

      Maybe learn what Is being taught and stop trying to justify it through logic is the best approach.
      Languages did exist long before the computer age or much of any other science – - including logic.

  6. Almanda -  July 16, 2014 - 4:45 pm

    Well, as for my country, we need to learn 3 languages(English, Mandarin, Bahasa Melayu) when we are in elementary school. So,3 languages is minimum for us. Hokkien is a must for me as my dad’s family speaks it but it varies.Well, during secondary school, I took Japanese. Then, I stopped it because of O level. I’m currently continuing Japanese and at the same time learning Russian too. I’d like to make Arabic, Spanish and Norwegian as my next target. I find that Russian is like English, Japanese is similar to Madarin and Hokkien, some Bahasa Melayu words sound exactly like Indonesian.

  7. GG -  May 28, 2014 - 7:19 pm

    I speak english, spanish and portuguese fluently, and I reeeeally want to learn korean but since i dont have the money to pay for classes i wanted to learn it at home, which seems kind of impossible….

    • angie -  March 11, 2015 - 11:11 pm

      Use Pimsluer. it really helps! I grew up speaking English and Spanish, I’m just now learning Arabic. I listen to the CD in my car everyday on my way to school and back.

    • Grace -  April 25, 2015 - 6:53 am

      Do not worry I’m Russian and I wanted to learn English but didn’t have the money either. So what I did what got apps that taught me how to read and right and whenever I heard something in English I didn’t undertand I looked it up and kept it in a book. So I could look over it when i was on the subway.

    • Bo -  August 21, 2016 - 4:44 pm

      I can help you to learn korean if you are still interested in studying korean.

  8. Jack :) -  February 13, 2014 - 9:58 am

    My mother tongue is English, however, for my GCSE’s I am learning French, Spanish and German. Personally I feel that, although I have only been doing it for 6 months, German is the easiest. It does have many grammar rules but it doesn’t break any, unlike English! I am also trying to learn Mandarin, however, I haven’t had much time because of my studies at school. Good luck to any of you out there who want to learn another language, I’m sure you will be able to do it! Just stick with it and persist, learn and keep memorizing. :)

  9. Nabeel -  February 13, 2014 - 5:40 am

    I can speak English (American,British,Australian,a little wee bit of Irish & scottish)
    Read full and understand some Arabic
    Read and pronounce french,spanish, Italian and some dutch but not fluent at understanding most of it but If I live there for like 6 months and can learn them pretty quickly.

  10. a to z -  February 12, 2014 - 1:25 am

    i speak english,arabic,urdu,and currently learning japanese which i find much harder than the others

  11. Maya Martin -  February 10, 2014 - 5:03 pm

    English is my native language, but I am learning Arabic. Arabic is interesting because it has so many rules, but those rules don’t ever change, whereas in English, all of their rules are frequently broken, yet still grammatically correct. Arabic is definitely harder for me to speak or understand since I am still learning it, but I imagine someone who is native to neither languages would have an easier time learning Arabic than English.

  12. wolf tamer and coal miner -  February 5, 2014 - 12:42 am

    American English is my native language (of course British English is very similar). I can read and write Latin well. I’m learning Spanish, and struggling to learn Arabic. If you know Latin, Romance languages (like Spanish, Italian, and French) are much easier to understand; but Arabic is a real challenge for me because there are sounds I’m not used to and the grammar structure is so different. Also, their alphabet looks like squiggles.

    My mom and dad know some Japanese because they lived in Japan for four years. (That was before I was born, so I don’t know any Japanese except for “Konnichiwa” and “Ohiogozimas.” Or however you spell that.) My mom also knows some Italian, but I don’t know much of that.

    • dsk71 -  June 9, 2016 - 6:08 pm

      Try to invert some of the arabic letters and even numerals 90 degrees or sometimes 180 degrees to the left ie counterclockwise and you will see an interesting pattern emerging which will give you the current latin/greek/phoenician scripts in many cases. This will surprise many people

  13. Nicholas P. -  January 28, 2014 - 7:17 pm

    OK…. I am currently learning Korean and it’s moderately difficult. Being Hispanic, 16, born in the US, I obviously “mastered” English & Spanish throughout my high school career of AP English and Spanish classes, however, Korean is much different. I understood how in Spanish, the sentences were placed in reverse order than that of English, similar to how in Korean, sentence order is reversed, and grammatical structure is slightly different. So far I’ve practically “mastered” the art of Hangul, the Korean writing-system, and can fluently pronounce Korean after listening to K-Pop, watching K-Dramas, and hearing Korean friends everyday converse in their native tongue. It is a matter of understanding the grammatical structure of sentences which makes the language hard, in essence, because vocabulary is easy if you motivate yourself to study it. I learned about 1/2 the necessary vocabulary in everyday Korean speech in about 2 months, due to school and whatnot going on in my life. My next language would probably be Japanese, since Korean friends tell me that they share many similarities, being Altaic languages historically, and from having a wonderful childhood of loving to watch anime series.

  14. Sona -  January 14, 2014 - 1:44 am

    Urdu is very easy.

  15. dan -  May 12, 2013 - 9:43 am

    I spoke five languages by the age of four: English, American, Canadian, Irish and Australian.

    • guest -  December 25, 2015 - 10:42 am

      American, Canadian, and Australian are not languages

  16. Michelle :P -  February 27, 2013 - 4:09 am

    actually, I find Korean pretty easy to learn as I ‘mastered’ Hangul (Korean alphabet) over the holidays (app. 2-3 months)… you just have to memorize vocabularies and learn how to put them together to make a sentence, what comes after what, the in’s and out’s, and BINGO, you’re ready to go to Korea!
    learning languages is easy, you just have to try… believe me, until now, I’m speaking in 4 languages (including my mother language) and I’m not even in High School yet!

  17. Phil -  February 12, 2013 - 5:16 pm

    They are the click languages of southern Africa. About 30 survive, spoken by peoples like the San, traditional hunters and gatherers, and the Khwe, who include hunters and herders. I think this is the hardest language to learn. To the posting above the other day I came across a great site to learn both German and French http://www.lingohut.com I was excited to find Dutch on the site and I am taking those lessons there are truly hundreds of lessons.

  18. Anonymous -  January 8, 2013 - 7:25 pm

    Having English as my mother tongue, as well as having learned Spanish, German, French, Korean, and Mandarin, I’d say that I’ve had the most trouble learning German. Cases, adjective endings, different words for ‘the’, and finally, nouns which have genders (e.g. turnip – female; girl – neuter) all contribute to the madness of learning German.

  19. Shayes -  November 6, 2012 - 10:17 am

    English. For other ppl who speak another language it may be hard for them, but for us it’s other languages. I know a little bit of Spanish and a few words in French, and one word in Chinese.

  20. rehan -  October 30, 2012 - 3:29 am

    Indian Tamil, Arabic and Chinese are the 3 difficult languages to learn.

    • kaviyarasu -  March 18, 2015 - 1:34 am

      tamil is very good language

  21. Cailin -  September 5, 2012 - 10:16 pm

    Hey, twelve year olds: this article was not entitled “how many languages can you speak and how old are you not even yet? Omg no one here knows how talented you are – show them!”

    Hey, “liek I no 8 language alrdy n Im for yrs old” – it’s apparent from your post that you can go ahead and subtract English from that laundry list of languages you know.

    Hey, “uhm this is stupid it depends on what you know already like for x then x is harder” – yes, dimwit, that’s the point of the “difficult for native English speakers to learn”. The list would clearly differ for native speakers of other languages.

    Hey, “Latin is hardest” – no. Imagine if every word in English were part of a finite subsection of words with very specific spelling rules. No random, weird words – everything consistent in 2-4 categories. Better yet, imagine that every word you learn shares a recognizable part with a similar word in your native language. That’s Latin. It gets bad press because the only people left to defend it are linguistic elitists who would rather have you believe what they do is so monumental, you could never possible tackle it.

  22. lolipop -  July 13, 2012 - 2:48 am

    i speak 2 languages fluently
    mandarin and english
    i first learnt english
    mandarin was really confusing when i was learning it (luckily i had mandarin speaking parents)
    there are like a lot of words for uncle in mandarin whereas english only has uncle

  23. OrangeKoala -  June 4, 2012 - 7:13 am

    Icelandic, Romanian or Hungarian.

  24. Stella -  May 30, 2012 - 12:14 am

    and also, the grammatical structures of Korean and Japanese are confusing to me, since they’re different from the English grammatical structure. Not sure how to compare mandarin Chinese to these two languages though.

  25. Stella -  May 30, 2012 - 12:10 am

    personally, even though I speak Mandarin Chinese, I find Korean and Japanese hard to learn, since I’m no longer a 6 year old (toddlers grasp languages better) the Korean language has double consonants (‘ss’ as in ‘ssan’), and the Japanese have a lot of honorifics (-chan, -san, -sama, etc).

    (chan is used to address someone younger than you, and is reserved for girls.
    san is used out of respect.
    sama is used for people in respectable positions, such as the president and teachers).

  26. Paul -  May 20, 2012 - 2:29 pm

    As for me, Greek language could be the most difficult language to learn.( I learned it for 2 years but even now find it difficult)
    I am native korean and I speak almost perfect japanese( a piece of cake for korean because of similarity in grammer), fluent german, fair chinese and some french.

  27. Ralkir -  May 17, 2012 - 11:35 am

    All languages are not too difficult to learn, it just takes time to practise and master them.

  28. hayat -  April 30, 2012 - 11:52 am

    انا احب اللغة العربية
    turkce cok seviyorum

    my first language is arabic , and i had spent some time learning english , i had taken pro exam ,and i’m preparing for my tofel , i had faced troubles becouse of the alphapet diffrence and perfect tenses , although most of my arab spoken friends do not face this problems , and now i ‘m learning turkish ,and find it quite easy .

    for arabic . yah i understand why it’s on the list , my teacher once told me that we have 1000 different names for the “lion” ,.

    i wanna learn french so badly ,and i also don’t want to mix my turkish
    i had begun a very slow program to learn frernch , one word every day , i might finish it at the age of eightieth??!!!!

  29. elle -  April 25, 2012 - 2:10 pm

    greek, i herd is hard to write

  30. mary torres !so chula! -  April 21, 2012 - 8:44 am

    i spek spanish

  31. Alice -  April 14, 2012 - 5:00 pm

    The answer is the Pimsleur method of language learning, or so I have heard. I speak English and Spanish and would like to learn a third language, but cannot decide which. Any suggestions?

  32. reza -  April 13, 2012 - 1:01 pm

    i am a native persian speaker … I believe English isn’t a difficult language … it’s easier than persian ….. chinese is too hard to learn …

  33. Mamu -  April 8, 2012 - 6:44 am

    I think I wouldn’t be able to speak any of the 5 mentioned languages fluently. But I’m able to learn at least some phrases. An easy way to practice and learn languages is to find a languge partner on a website like http://www.underspeak.com

  34. asha -  April 7, 2012 - 3:12 am

    Its definitely not french..I have recently started learning by own..its really interesting.

  35. yayRay Shell :) -  April 5, 2012 - 11:33 am

    I think learning Japanese would be the hardest because I already know Chinese so learning Cantonese would not be that hard. I hear Japanese has letter sounds and word sounds and includes Chinese characters that do not sound the same, so that would be confusing.

  36. alex -  April 4, 2012 - 11:01 am

    hi finn

  37. mary torres ~lots of love ~ -  April 3, 2012 - 12:08 pm

    its not hard at all just keep trying yull get dont worrie :)

  38. The Cheshire Cat -  April 2, 2012 - 2:25 pm

    This is my new username (i didn’t have anywhere else to put this)

  39. BeastBoyLover(Abi) -  April 2, 2012 - 2:17 pm

    hmmm…well I already know how to speak German(it’s kinda weird cus no one in my family speaks it nor is German), I took Spanish class for 1 year and from hearing other languages, honestly I think the hardest language to learn is Greek(although I would love to learn it!)

  40. PurpleCherries -  March 31, 2012 - 11:08 pm

    French. I guess that would be really hard.

  41. mh -  March 31, 2012 - 10:56 am

    By the way, I’m 11

  42. mh -  March 31, 2012 - 10:54 am

    I speak English and Arabic fluently and I think Chinese is the hardest language to learn.

    اتكلم الانجليزي و العربي بفصاحة و اظن ان اللغة الصينية اصعب لغة بالنسبة الى التعلم

  43. Rambo -  March 31, 2012 - 8:01 am

    I see Georgian mentioned only ONCE. Most commenters seem to be hung up on Korean, Mandarin, etc. I urge you all to take a look at Georgian and listen to a native speaker and then try and speak the alphabet. You most likely will be astonished at the difficulty.

  44. Ram -  March 31, 2012 - 3:26 am

    where are you from ?

  45. natalie -  March 30, 2012 - 11:07 pm

    where is holly miss her so much u to!

  46. Crissie -  March 30, 2012 - 11:04 pm

    miss ya natalie no time long see

  47. natalie -  March 30, 2012 - 11:03 pm

    aloha crissie

  48. Crissie -  March 30, 2012 - 11:01 pm

    wat did u say

  49. no_name (this name is anonymous) -  March 30, 2012 - 6:30 pm

    Hi, I’m a seventh grader and I really want to learn a language, but I don’t know which ones to learn. I would like to learn a hard one. Can someone help me?

  50. Adrian R -  March 30, 2012 - 2:36 pm

    Interesante, que en un post que habla acerca de la dificultad de “aprender idiomas”, sólo postearon en inglés! :D

    Y porqué no escribir en español, Japonés, Francés, etc?


  51. me8 -  March 30, 2012 - 2:35 pm

    One can perhaps infer that, in general, one language may be more difficult to grasp than another, but such generalizations should not be too heavily relied on, as they rely on too many assumptions. One’s mother tongue, learning style, skill at learning and developing fluency in other languages, the language being studied, the method of teaching that language, and the teacher of the language can, among other things, influence how “difficult” it is for the language to be mastered. Thus, it is nearly impossible to accurately gauge a language’s difficulty.
    English is my first language, I am currently studying Spanish, and I plan to study German soon. I would like to become fluent in as many languages as possible–it would be nice to travel the world and not be treated as a foreigner or a “stupid American”.
    By the way, I am in the tenth grade.

  52. Aleks -  March 30, 2012 - 1:50 pm

    My first language was Russian, my second was English, and I tried learning a little bit of Spanish.

    Since I live in the U.S.A people always ask me, “Was it hard to learn Russian?” Haha, it was my first language so I can’t say it was difficult; as children we suck-up the language like a sponge — effortlessly. Though to learn English was fairly easy since I moved to America when I was almost 9 years old.

    I’d say the hardest language to learn would Icelandic, even the natives find it difficult to learn.

  53. mimi -  March 30, 2012 - 1:38 pm

    i know 5 languages
    english, tagalog (filipino) , japanese, french, spanish

  54. abbas -  March 30, 2012 - 12:35 pm

    I really don’t understand why Arabic considered difficult for English speaker.
    it’s not easy neither difficult. right to left writing and different alphabets are not rocket science .I am native Arabic and have learned to write and read English which has different alphabet and different writing direction.
    may be Arabic is a little bit more challenging than some other languages but it’s NOT difficult. It has different alphabets, different sounds and different way of deriving words from their roots but all of these are easy to learn.

    • Bonnie -  August 11, 2014 - 9:26 pm

      Shukran. Where should I learn Arabic?

  55. Todd -  March 30, 2012 - 12:03 pm

    Japanese is what you see is what you pronounce!

  56. USTAZI -  March 30, 2012 - 11:30 am

    I totally agree with the what was mentioned in the article . As an Arabic-native speaker , it’s utterly difficult for Latin-speakers to learn . That’s to say , no similarities between roots of Latin and of Arabic on the other hand . It maybe so easy for Persians , Afghans , Pakistanis and even Hebrews to get easy learning of Arabic .

  57. Elhamy Boulos -  March 30, 2012 - 8:44 am

    I wonder that Arabic is one of the 5 most difficult to learn. I know a very large number of Americans and Europeans who learned Arabic and almost master it speaking and reading, they come from different backgrounds.. Amazingly some of them are 24-30 years old and lean Arabic straightforward with same difficulty, as some of them say, as learning a language from another language-group.

  58. Vahe -  March 30, 2012 - 8:43 am

    I know persian very well because I have born in Iran and I am living in Tehran right now.
    سلام حالتون چطوره : hi,how are you
    and also I can speak and understand Armenian because I am an Armenian
    and a little Arabic, because we have learn Arabic in school and Arabic was one of Iranian students((alphabet of Arabic and Persian are almost the same)
    and so a little English”as you seen” ((right now i am learning English and developing my speaking and listening)) and just I dream for a electric shock or chemical drug that could transfer all language abilities of a native speaker to another one___just joking_____

  59. Gavin -  March 30, 2012 - 8:10 am

    I’m an English speaker, who is trying to learn Arabic (I am caucasian). It is not easy! Not impossible, but not easy either. Switching from reading left to right, to right to left, changing from Latin characters to squiggles and dots, and the languages are practically nothing alike. So I can agree with Arabic. However, I don’t get why people find Spanish difficult. I am not fluent, but I know a decent amount, and 50% of it can be understood if you have a good knowledge of English, and a kindergarten understanding of Latin.

    • dsk71 -  June 9, 2016 - 6:40 pm

      Try to invert some of the arabic letters and even numerals 90 degrees or sometimes 180 degrees to the left ie counterclockwise and you will see an interesting pattern emerging which will give you the current latin/greek/phoenician scripts in many cases. This will surprise many people

  60. Me -  March 30, 2012 - 7:56 am

    there is no “hardest language” it all depends on who is learning the language.

  61. Eugene -  March 30, 2012 - 7:40 am

    I am a Korean who is fluent in both Korean and English. (Korean is my mothertongue and English my second language, but as I acquired English around 6~7 years old, it’s almost a mothertongue to me as well.(There is a study that says any language you acquire until six years of age sticks as your mothertongue.)) I tried learning Japanese and Latin (the very bare basics) and am currently learning Spanish. It is pretty interesting to me how while learning Japanese, my Korean mindset helped; with Spanish, my English mindset helps; and with Latin, my Korean AND English mindsets helped (Korean with grammar, English with words). Yeah, I know my comment is sort of unrelated to the topic, but I just thought it was worth sharing :)

  62. urchum -  March 30, 2012 - 7:19 am

    It is Sanskrit…this is the root of many other languages in the world including Hindi and English.

  63. Ana B -  March 30, 2012 - 7:13 am

    Actually, as a native Spanish speaker, I have to say that learning Russian was pretty simple for me. The vowel sounds in Spanish and Russian are very, very similar… they’re sharp! And many of the words sounder a lot like Spanish, so I was always making mental notes regaring similar sounds in Russian and Spanish. Like “actor” in Spanish (and English) is pronounced pretty much the same in Russian: “актер”, also, “escuela” in Spanish (“school” in English) is “школа” in Russian, and it is pronounced something like “shkola”, so yeah, it’s pretty simple. Even Russian grammar is similar to Spanish grammar, so that’s a plus! And it also helps when you’re motivated to learn the language, whether it is because you love the way it sounds, or because you are living in a country where they only speak that specific language, not to mention how great or awful your instructor’s leassons are.

  64. leo -  March 30, 2012 - 6:17 am

    im spanish and i know 4 languages and i think the hardest one was french and chinese

  65. Bob's yours Uncle -  March 30, 2012 - 4:34 am

    I. We.

  66. Keidi -  March 30, 2012 - 3:19 am

    Like what? Chinese is easy. Arabic is hard.

  67. Glotbin -  March 30, 2012 - 2:10 am

    Does PR pay well, “Charles McKinney”?

    Good one, Michiyo-sama.

  68. Potter -  March 30, 2012 - 2:08 am

    English and sign language are the hardest to learn from scratch but does anyone here speak Farsi? and who even knows what that language is?

  69. Giannis -  March 30, 2012 - 1:07 am

    It’s all Greek to me :P
    That says it all….

  70. sandeep -  March 29, 2012 - 11:20 pm

    I Think Its Hard To Read Chineese and Urdu.

  71. Crissie -  March 29, 2012 - 10:02 pm


  72. Crissie -  March 29, 2012 - 10:02 pm

    and i always watch japanese movies for your info my real name is hinamori amu

  73. [...] The Foreign Service Institute at the United States Department of State rated 63 languages based on how difficult they are for English speakers to learn. They concluded that Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean were the most difficult, with Japanese typically being the hardest of the five to learn. Read more at http://hotword.dictionary.com/hardestlanguage/#m551H8KvrADhcXSS.99 [...]

  74. Crissie -  March 29, 2012 - 9:50 pm

    i am asian so my parents r from cambodia and i have a very traditional family my niece is from america my cousin is from califonia my sis is from indonesia like i said very traditonal and i really want to learn how to speak japanese

  75. Taryn -  March 29, 2012 - 9:38 pm

    I don’t really believe all these American claims of speaking several languages and finding such and such language to be easy to learn. No languages is easy to learn if you go beyond the basic grammar and into complicated conversation. A few sentences and vocabulary is far from thinking and sleeping in another language.

    That being said, when Americans write that they speak such and such languages, you know that means they can only speak a few sentences. I’m American and I learned this while living 10 years in Europe. I worked in offices and spoke fluent German and Spanish with business customers on a daily basis. None of the Americans I met and worked with that said they spoke some Spanish or other language, could hold a simple conversation about the weather if their life depended on it. It’s just the American way to try something a few times and then claim to be a pro at it. I’m just sayin…

  76. Daniel -  March 29, 2012 - 9:18 pm

    1 – English
    2 – Italian
    (want to learn French, Spanish and German)

  77. Justin -  March 29, 2012 - 9:07 pm

    Cantonese is quite easy and also mandarin

  78. I -  March 29, 2012 - 8:49 pm

    Well, I can read music.

  79. Kathleen -  March 29, 2012 - 8:49 pm

    Latin is really hard too. No joke. Like, there are so many declensions and conjugations and it makes you dizzy! There’s a whole bunch of Ablatives and Datives!

  80. Rox -  March 29, 2012 - 8:17 pm

    Oh and by the way from what I’ve heard from you guys it sounds like a lot of you are bragging about how many languages you know…… just sayin’.

  81. Rox -  March 29, 2012 - 8:15 pm

    I think English is the hardest to learn. Yet a lot of people speak it. Seriously, I know a LOT of people who solecize all the time when they write and sometimes when they speak! My older sister (who is nearly 10 years older than me) still has problems with English grammar and the writing, and she doesn’t speak any other language. English-speakers take English classes in school! It would be cool if instead of English people spoke Latin or something.

  82. AFRJK -  March 29, 2012 - 7:38 pm

    T I N

  83. Jayjenja -  March 29, 2012 - 7:13 pm

    I know 3 languages and I’m not even 12 yet! :)

    Also, Mandarin isn’t relatively hard to read or learn.

  84. 3.141592653589793234268 (didnt copy from internet!:) -  March 29, 2012 - 6:58 pm

    I know Chinese, English and some Spanish. Order in learning, -English (obviously) -Chinese (Now)- Spanish (in school) :):):):):):):):):)

  85. KayKitKat -  March 29, 2012 - 6:50 pm

    I only know 1 language, English.

  86. Jade -  March 29, 2012 - 6:45 pm

    sign language

  87. ThatOneKid -  March 29, 2012 - 6:01 pm

    I speak English and French and I’m learning Korean, Japanese, and Bulgarian from my friends.

  88. TS -  March 29, 2012 - 5:57 pm

    The question is completely subjective. There isn’t easy or difficult, there’s motivation, frequency, availability, methodology …..

    All languages can be easy to learn, all can be difficult. As a native English speaker I can say will absolute certainty that English was easy for me to learn ….

  89. Tavish Degroot -  March 29, 2012 - 5:56 pm

    What makes me a good demopan? I speak scottish.

  90. Jadzia Dax -  March 29, 2012 - 5:51 pm

    Hey! My first language is english, but I really want to learn to speak Korean. Unfortunately, I don’t live in an environment where I have the chance to hear it everyday. Is it still possible to learn it? Can anyone suggest any websites to help?

  91. Jojomojo Lo -  March 29, 2012 - 5:32 pm

    I can speak German, English and Chinese, I am learning Spanish. All quite easy.

  92. godrocks.com -  March 29, 2012 - 5:28 pm

    i like the sound of spanish and of chinese. both cultures are so graceful, at least on tv. As an english speaker ii may not be able to speak tose languges but i do admire them. I also like sign language!

  93. Stephen -  March 29, 2012 - 5:23 pm

    I advocate for the development of a new shared world language. In a global environment it is extremely inefficient to have to translate from language to language. If a shared world language were developed each country could still maintain their native historical dialects and scripts but the new language would facilitate free communication for commerce and travel. Imagine a world where you could travel anywhere and communicate with everyone. To make it fair for all this new language would have to be just that, a completely new language which everyone would be required to learn. Countries could collaborate on creating a language that is based on principles of logic and an understanding of how humans most effectively process language in an effort to make this new language easier to learn and use. While we are at it, maybe we could also agree on standardizing the numerous different measurement systems to eliminate the need to perform conversions between different systems. Translations/conversions by definition are inefficient and reduce the effectiveness of communication. That is why using math is a better method to communicate accurately. The system of symbols and operations are commonly understood by everyone irrespective of national origins.

  94. MCC -  March 29, 2012 - 5:19 pm

    Learning a foreign language depends more on one’s aptitude. Exposure to many languages early in life also seems to help in acquiring a new language. Of course, total immersion is also ideal. Of the languages I know, Welsh may be the most enchanting to speak but the most difficult to learn. German came easily for me because of its close ties with English.

  95. OboeWhizzy -  March 29, 2012 - 5:17 pm

    I speak Mandarin Chinese fluently, but I gave up on Chinese school (something that most Chinese American children are forced to do by their parents) a long time ago. On top of stressful high school work, I just can’t memorize the minimum of 3,000 characters needed to read most articles.

  96. Nadine -  March 29, 2012 - 5:13 pm

    I know how to read write and talk in morrocan, a bunch of different kinds of Arabic, and a bit of French, oh yeah, also English

  97. Flora -  March 29, 2012 - 5:03 pm

    I’m very proud of myself. I’m not even 13 yet, and I know: french, latin, spanish, chinese, english, and german

  98. Skye -  March 29, 2012 - 4:44 pm

    I’m Learning Spanish and Irish/Gaelic. The Language of my ancestors. Spanish is Easier.

  99. Lily -  March 29, 2012 - 4:26 pm

    I can speak sign language.

  100. Mark -  March 29, 2012 - 4:17 pm

    Intresting…I once intended to learn Arabic, Japanese and Korean. Ha.. Hope this target can be done in a few months later when I have time….

  101. Heya -  March 29, 2012 - 4:16 pm

    Whatever language Greedo speaks is the hardest.

  102. Kelli -  March 29, 2012 - 4:15 pm

    Ps its easy.

  103. peter brown -  March 29, 2012 - 4:10 pm

    i love ya mom

  104. Kelli -  March 29, 2012 - 4:09 pm

    I know sign language.

  105. peace -  March 29, 2012 - 4:07 pm

    im korean and im 13 i was born in madison alabama and learning korean is a pain in the butt

  106. GKaraKim :-) 사랑해:-) -  March 29, 2012 - 3:37 pm

    I mean native. Sorry:-)

  107. GKaraKim :-) 사랑해:-) -  March 29, 2012 - 3:32 pm

    if u no korean and hanja (borrowed chinese words with a replced sound) chinese (especially writing chinese) shouldn’t come very hard to you. I even already know how to say im korean in mandarin. BTW i speak and am aive korean:-)

  108. Monica -  March 29, 2012 - 3:17 pm

    I am fluent in both English (duh) and Spanish. I am learning Korean and I freaking love it. I can write and pronounce it, but sadly I cannot understand it yet!

  109. Rosalind -  March 29, 2012 - 2:46 pm

    I would think it would be Arabic that’s the hardest to learn. This article is very enlightening……

  110. Kylie -  March 29, 2012 - 2:11 pm

    I think English might be the hardest to learn (& it’s my first language)
    Some people might have trouble with how we barely use genders and don’t conjugate verbs
    I’m learning Spanish but i feel stupid because English is lacking that stuff & it makes all other languages that much more complicated for me, so I feel like people would have the same problem trying to learn English

  111. FruitSmoothie -  March 29, 2012 - 1:50 pm

    I’m currently taking both Japanese and Latin and honestly, I think Latin’s harder… grammar-wise at least.

  112. Mackenzie -  March 29, 2012 - 1:20 pm

    Learning languages is really fun, actually. I don’t care if it is hard or not! Rosetta Stone actually helps, I used it. I like learning French a lot!

    I know like 4 languages…

  113. Sophie -  March 29, 2012 - 12:58 pm

    I am 16 years old, and I started learning French 6 years ago, though finished my studies of it in school two years ago, German for 4 years, which I still study, and Russian for 3 years. Next year, I am to begin studying spoken Arabic. English is my first language, and I’m quite talented in it, although I cannot spell very well.

  114. lozzaaaa -  March 29, 2012 - 12:26 pm

    my grandad cud speak latin and acient greek to read old books

  115. lozb -  March 29, 2012 - 12:26 pm

    and my grandad cud speak latin and acient greek to read old books. he was an re teacher but then became to be a headteacher

  116. lozb -  March 29, 2012 - 12:25 pm

    my history teacher can speak fluent japense and his first language is english. i would find learning another language hard cuz it be strenous on the right side of the brain. i agree with alnna, i’d love to learn italian but school won’t let me.
    by the way on the third comment from the top. 1) how old do you have to be on this site cuz ur under 13 and 2) you don’t need to show off

  117. Kathy Einarson -  March 29, 2012 - 12:21 pm

    Icelandic for sure!

  118. Kimi 2nen -  March 29, 2012 - 12:12 pm

    Hi. I’m a native Finnish speaker, though bilingual, Swedish as my second language. Obviously, I know English too. Furthermore I’ve studied German, Spanish, ancient Greek (koine) and some Latin. I tell you what… The latter languages compared to my beloved mother tongue, Finnish, they’re just a walk in the park. How complicated and ADVANCED can a single language get? Yet, so wonderful in structure, you’re able to communicate in extreme subtle ways and add flavour to the context that none of the aforementioned languages cannot and never will. Yeah, I know, it sounds horrible to foreigners. Don’t try it at home! Finnish was designed especially to be used only by very intelligent people. By coincidence all those smart people happen to live in Finland. Kippis!

  119. Rachel M. -  March 29, 2012 - 12:07 pm

    I disagree. Japanese was the easiest language for me to learn out of all those that I attempted (French and Mandarin). Because French is a latin based language, and English borrows a lot from French, one would think that would be easier. But it is actually because of how different Japanese is that makes it easier to learn. Rather than sticking in your English mindset, it makes it easier to switch to a new mindset and think in the language.

    In my opinion, the languages that are hardest for the speaker to pronounce are the most difficult to learn. Anyone can overcome a difference in syntax and grammar by changing mindsets. I argue that Japanese is one of the easiest languages for Americans to learn because it only has a couple different phonemes, opposed to Chinese which has a lot of phonemes that don’t exist in our language. It’s so much harder for Japanese to learn English, because we have a lot of phonemes that they don’t.

  120. tiolora -  March 29, 2012 - 11:11 am

    ehh.. for the ones who think english is not hard, it actually is. like someone mentioned before, there are sooo many parings like oo, gh, etc., that are read differently depending on where you put it. english appears easy though, because it is everywhere. imagine if english was not used as much as it is now. i bet you it’ll be and appear harder to learn how to speak in english

  121. John Peabody Harrington -  March 29, 2012 - 10:54 am

    For me Chimariko is the hardest to learn by far

  122. alnna -  March 29, 2012 - 8:49 am

    it also deppends on the facilities that each of us has , were i live (as a colony of the us, and spanish as a first language) we only have the opportunity to learn english, only when you get to college you have a chance to learn other languages. And learning a language alone is pretty hard.

  123. pablo neruda -  March 29, 2012 - 7:34 am

    I have studied a few and madarin was the most difficult. French and Latin were quite easy and fun. My primary language is English.

  124. aaron -  March 29, 2012 - 7:18 am


  125. aaron -  March 29, 2012 - 7:17 am

    i think french is harder to learn. because learning and being fluent with another langed.

  126. finn -  March 29, 2012 - 7:10 am

    rok not my friend rck

  127. finn -  March 29, 2012 - 7:09 am

    i iz smat not stpid god peoplz i rck

  128. finn -  March 29, 2012 - 7:05 am

    ay carumba!!! engils rules. norons

  129. Sebastian -  March 29, 2012 - 7:04 am


  130. Marvin Gaye -  March 29, 2012 - 6:28 am

    I think there are a few too many people on here promoting their own ability, modesty is a virtue.

  131. Bubo -  March 29, 2012 - 5:11 am

    Hi, I’m from Macedonia and I think that learning Japanese should be easy to learn though previous comments disagree with me. My first native language is of course Macedonian and I’ve started learning German few weeks ago. It’s no that easy I think. If anyone could sugest me a good literature for begining Japanese? Thank you :)

  132. Kira Minaki -  March 29, 2012 - 5:03 am

    15 and can speak English, Indonesian, Javanese, Chinese, Japanese and planning to learn Spanish in the future 8D I so disagree that with the “Japanese is the hardest language to learn” part. Chinese is the hardest, not Japanese.

  133. Jacob -  March 29, 2012 - 4:55 am

    Well i think this is stupid cause all langueges are hard, even english

  134. Bjorn -  March 29, 2012 - 4:16 am

    I am a native English speaker and speak German, Mandarin Chinese, Hausa, and am limited in Arabic and Spanish. I am current learning Hebrew. I have studied some Russian, Norwegian and “classical” Greek. Both Mandarin and Hausa are tonal languages. Of course, Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek and Russian have different writing characters than English. Difficulty? Chinese speaking and writing are NOT difficult. The writing takes lots of time and patience but is not difficult. A friend is tone deaf and could not learn to speak Chinese. In speaking pronunciation of languages very different than your native language are the most difficult. So which language(s) is the most difficult depends. Native Arabic speakers love to say their language is the most difficult to learn as well the oft repeat English being.

  135. Hana -  March 29, 2012 - 3:45 am

    I’m an english and mandarin speaker For me….Sanskript.

  136. Chelsea -  March 29, 2012 - 2:35 am

    I agree with Emily, too! and ‘no name’? Don’t just say hi!!!

  137. vivi -  March 29, 2012 - 2:17 am

    TAMIL…TAMIL….IF YOU CAN SPEAK TAMIL..others will be easy as pie cake….i been try and i win…i know 4 language include Malay, Chinese,japan and Korea…and TAMIL….
    ALL DA BEST…..

    • bala -  October 4, 2015 - 10:42 pm

      What is your mother tongue?

  138. vivi -  March 29, 2012 - 2:15 am

    i could say Tamil is the hardest of all….try it if you think you can speak..you may hold white flag…its sooo hard yet fun….

  139. Dinah -  March 29, 2012 - 12:33 am

    I think that no language is hard to learn. I’m Indian but I found it easy to learn English and currently I’m learning French at school and Japanese and Korean by myself. It’s pretty easy to read it but I don’t have much vocabulary. By the time I reach 30 I want to have at least learnt 10 languages.

  140. jassy -  March 28, 2012 - 11:31 pm

    lol, what u mean dead ? :) so funny, it still exist as far as theology and philosophy study is concerned dude…tc

  141. Hamachisn't -  March 28, 2012 - 10:51 pm

    I’m a native English speaker, and have found Indonesian to be extremely easy to learn. Aside from adjectives following their nouns, the word order is pretty much the same, and instead of having to conjugate all the verbs, they use extra words to indicate when. For example, if you want to say “I ate rice” you would say the words that translate directly as “I already eat rice”.


  142. Loving Language -  March 28, 2012 - 10:39 pm

    I’m a native English speaker, who knows some Spanish, is currently learning American Sign Language in high school, and wants to learn Russian, Italian, and French.

    Hopefully I can learn everything enough to become fluent. :)

  143. Iram Aleu -  March 28, 2012 - 10:24 pm

    I love learning new things especially in speaking languages. I loved to study Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Korean, Malay, Japanese, and of course, Thai (which I think uses both brain hemispheres because of their almost-singing intonations). But I think Filipinos don’t have super-hard time in adapting a new language because in our country alone, we have tons of dialects different from one island to the other. In the major island, Luzon, you’d already encounter the Kapampangan dialect, Ilocano, Ibanag, Itawis, Pangasinan, Tagalog, etc. All in all, this is a great experience! It’s one of the most wonderful gift given by our Maker. “,)

  144. Joe Liuzzi -  March 28, 2012 - 9:10 pm

    I heard Icelandic is the hardest.

  145. Rose -  March 28, 2012 - 8:52 pm

    English is the hardest language to learn, due to all the silent letters, different letter conjunctions such as -ph or -ch, and the many different spellings of words that sound the same but don’t mean it. Many Latin based languages have a simple base, as Latin is the root for may languages. The more complex lettering languages, such as Chinese, Japanese, and Russian are just more writing, but the pronunciation and physical performance is easier than the learning of the English language. Hope this helps. =)

  146. Isabella -  March 28, 2012 - 8:43 pm

    i’m in year 7 and at my 2 schools we’ve had to learn Japanese, Italian, French and Japanese again in 3 years. I agree that japanese is the hardest out of the 3!

  147. Jennifer -  March 28, 2012 - 8:17 pm

    I’ve never tried my hand at Arabic or Korean, but I’ve been studying Mandarin Chinese for about two years now and I really can’t imagine anything harder for a first second language… the more tones you throw into a language, the more difficult it becomes. Cantonese uses somewhere around 7 or 8 tones in their everyday speaking… anything more than that just seems obscene to me if you weren’t already raised learning how to speak the language.

    I’ve also found, funny enough, that reading and writing Chinese comes much more naturally to me than speaking, which is extremely unusual apparently, but that could also be because I haven’t gotten over my confidence issue of speaking loudly out in public. When any tone you say wrong can completely change the meaning of what you WANT to say haha the pressure is much more intense. 我觉得打汉字在电脑上非常容易吧~!

  148. Meg -  March 28, 2012 - 8:12 pm

    I’m an English speaker and I’m trying to learn German. Languages never came easy to me, and this is no exception. I know German is supposed to be easier for English speakers to learn, buuuuuuut yeah. I am trying though. And I do like it. I think German is a beautiful language, and that helps motivate me to work hard to learn it.

  149. MIRA -  March 28, 2012 - 7:47 pm

    php language

  150. nara -  March 28, 2012 - 7:45 pm

    I think Japanese is the hardest to learn for me NOW………..

  151. Balletlover -  March 28, 2012 - 7:42 pm

    I am not even 12 and can speak 5 languages (not including English). I can speak Japanese; it is fairly easy. I find French harder.

  152. Raina -  March 28, 2012 - 7:30 pm

    Learning a language isn’t that hard at all. The most difficult thing to do is mastering a language – any language.

    Looking at all the typos in the comments make me sad.

  153. Andy Naya -  March 28, 2012 - 7:25 pm

    I speak 3 languages and one of them is tamil is tamil one of the harder one because i cant seem to grasp the writting part :/

  154. why do you want to know -  March 28, 2012 - 7:11 pm


  155. leanna -  March 28, 2012 - 7:11 pm

    i know english and some spanish.. want to learn french and hebrew

  156. why do you want to know -  March 28, 2012 - 7:08 pm

    i love it when people post about being the first comment and then they aren’t.

  157. Auss -  March 28, 2012 - 7:08 pm

    In the 10 notes, it didn’t say the Japanese version, “Onegai Shimasu”. It’s the star language in your post, but isn’t there?

  158. ??? -  March 28, 2012 - 7:03 pm

    First comment on dictionary.com and thats a cool fact

  159. Morgan -  March 28, 2012 - 6:57 pm

    I believe Mandarin because I can NEVER UNDERSTAND MY BROTHER!!!!!! Then again Spanish is a little hard and I am taking it.

  160. noopy -  March 28, 2012 - 6:29 pm

    Someone mentioned Koreans and Japanese feed English to be rather easy to learn, but that’s just because they are pushed to learn the language from very early (kindergartens, nowadays). Grammatical structures are totally opposite; i.e. Korean=Japanese English=Chinese(!)=French etc… That the English speakers feels Chinese to be difficult may be due to the many characters they have. Structure itself is the same, which I heard is why Chinese people can learn English more easily (among the three asian countries).
    When I learned Spanish already knowing French, I felt that it was not that hard, and so was Latin. That’s because of the similarity of words they are using.
    That could be also put to the case of Chinese, Japanese and Korean – all those three languages are under influence of Chinese characters, made into words.

  161. Abdulrahman -  March 28, 2012 - 6:17 pm

    It’s interesting that out of the 5 hardest languages, 4 are Eastern/Asian, and only one is Semitic (Arabic). I speak Arabic and English, and Arabic is an awesome language that many people are now majoring in than ever before. A cool fact is Arabic is a branch of Aramaic, which is the language of Jesus. I am a nursing major now, but plan on double majoring in Arabic. Language is amazing!

  162. Katie -  March 28, 2012 - 6:13 pm

    im 13 and I know Spanish German French and Filipino

  163. Kiparoo -  March 28, 2012 - 5:24 pm

    I speak two languages and am learning a third and I’m not even in high-school yet!!!!!!

  164. carly moreland -  March 28, 2012 - 5:08 pm

    why do you guys argue sooooooooooooo much about wich language is the hardest? in a way every language is hard to everyone!gosh see look now what you made me do now i sound like dr phill hee hee you guys are all smarty pants and you fun side of you brain is discombobulated get a life!!!!!

  165. Daisy -  March 28, 2012 - 5:00 pm

    I love languages. <3 I speak Spanish, French, English, Italian, and am currently taking Latin :)

  166. carly moreland -  March 28, 2012 - 4:59 pm

    hee hee i am 11 and i am french, mexican, itallian, american, german, irish, and i am super duper white!someone please explain this weird concept! o and just a random comment but……. my oldest brother is in the army and i miss him, he left the day before my birthday! booooooo

  167. Anonymous -  March 28, 2012 - 4:54 pm

    I’m just looking through all these comments, and I find quite a few people who speak Korean. I myself, am from an all Korean background (I was born in the US and still live here), yet Korean seems to be the most hardest to me! Even Spanish is easier! So, I really find “which language is the hardest to learn?” a very difficult question to answer.

  168. Aliss -  March 28, 2012 - 4:45 pm

    I’ve heard that Icelandic is super difficult. I wonder if it’s a tonal language

  169. Justine - who ever said Latin -  March 28, 2012 - 4:26 pm

    Latin is NOT a legal language anymore it is called a “dead language”

  170. Justine -  March 28, 2012 - 4:25 pm

    Latin is NOT a legal language anymore it is a “dead language.”

  171. Alex -  March 28, 2012 - 3:54 pm

    My native language is Russian (my real name is Alekseiy) and I live in USA. I’m pretty fluent in Russian because I speak Russian around my house. Language isn’t my most favorite thing in the world (science is) but I just do really good in it probably because I already speak 2 fluent languages. I’m interested in languages. I know English(Get A’s all the time) and I’m taking Spanish 1 (get A’s all the time) just to help pass high school and get into a good college (I’m 13 and in 7th grade but I’m taking 3 gifted/talented classes (English, Civics, and Physical Education (Sports) and I have 3 high school honors classes (Spanish 1, Earth/Space Science, and Algebra 1). Interested in learning at least the basics of Japanese (via 123japanese.com). Guess it really could depend on how you think and how well you do it. By the way, (I’m a straight a student Four Your Information).

  172. no name -  March 28, 2012 - 3:50 pm


  173. Sriya -  March 28, 2012 - 3:50 pm

    i so agree with u emily…….
    get ur facts rite chuck noris!!!!

    i speak 2 languages im in 6th grade.
    english and an asian-indian language telugu

  174. Isitlove? -  March 28, 2012 - 3:45 pm

    I’m american, i speak english, romanian (mommy is romanian!), and espanol! :) Just a little
    I believe it will depend on where ur from and that will determine which language is the hardest for you to learn. For example, if you are asian, english will be hard!!! If you are american, korean, chinese, japanese will be hard! :)
    Lanuages i would like to learn: Romanian, Spanish, Italian, French, and German. ^__^
    My mom knows 4 languages fluently: Romanian, French, German, and English.
    I want to speak 6 languages! (Like that will happen…) =D

  175. Maya -  March 28, 2012 - 3:39 pm

    Actually, the hardest language to learn should be the clicking language from the Khoisan area of Africa. It is one of the oldest languages, and is made entirely of clicking sounds.

  176. Xinhan -  March 28, 2012 - 3:32 pm

    I believe that any secondary language is hard except Mandarin

  177. Xinhan -  March 28, 2012 - 3:31 pm

    I believe that Mandarin is relatively easy and in my opinion the hardest language would be Spanish

  178. Clueless New Yorker -  March 28, 2012 - 3:26 pm

    This is where speaking both English and Cantonese natively comes in handy.

  179. Jasmine -  March 28, 2012 - 3:03 pm

    Wow. I only know 2 languages. Don’t I feel inferior. Hahaha. I make myself chuckle. I only know Spanish and English but I suppose that I’ll learn a language with roots from Spanish. Hopefully it’ll be an advantage for me. If I had to decide I think that Gaelic would be a difficult language since The Great Famine was part of the causes that almost erased the language. Geez. I sound like such a nerd and I’m only 13.

  180. eevee -  March 28, 2012 - 3:00 pm

    I maintain that English is the hardest language to learn because there are hundreds of thousands of words in English, and many are interchangable. English also uses many different tenses, which can make correctly conjugating verbs difficult.

  181. ??? -  March 28, 2012 - 2:47 pm

    hi bye

  182. Vaciane -  March 28, 2012 - 2:35 pm

    Um, I beg to differ with this. I speak English, Spanish, and Japanese. Japanese is not a hard language at all. There are respect levels and whatnot, and they do speak in a different order than Americans do. But if you really look at it, Japanese is not too difficult.

  183. Abeer -  March 28, 2012 - 2:34 pm

    I learned 2 languages and 1 language and im not even 11

  184. Kevin -  March 28, 2012 - 2:26 pm

    I’ve always heard that Finnish is the hardest to learn.

  185. Thomas -  March 28, 2012 - 1:55 pm

    english and non-letter languages are the hardest.

  186. Orange bubbles -  March 28, 2012 - 1:47 pm

    Konichiwa earthlings i am speakin plain englis and usin this strange tapping device and the your earth symbols magically appear on this bright light

  187. Josh -  March 28, 2012 - 1:46 pm

    I’m finding Icelandic to be pretty tricky. I’ve had a little bit of training in French. But the sentence structure of Icelandic is odd. And the words are so stinkin long!

  188. Emily -  March 28, 2012 - 1:30 pm

    @chuck noris
    American isn’t a language…. it’s English.

  189. Assia -  March 28, 2012 - 1:29 pm

    I m a native speaker of Arabic, I speak French as a second language, English then Spanish. I think that from the five languages stated above, Arabic appears to the hardest one; its structures makes it really hard for those who want to learn it especially if you are a native speaker of English or French for example (Germanic and Romance labnguages). However I think that Hebrew speaking people will find it less difficult.

  190. Cajun Pauley -  March 28, 2012 - 1:28 pm

    The Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of Monterey, California, had six categories for languages; 1 being the easiest and 6 being the hardest. They listed Korean as the only cat 6 language. Japanese, Chinese and Arabic were cat 5s. Tagalog was a cat 1. The romance languages were all cat 2s.

  191. Bark -  March 28, 2012 - 1:20 pm

    I teach Deaf children, and am a certified interpreter, so I spend my days trying to teach these kids how to read and write English. It’s made me aware of some really stupid things we do in English. There are 3 in particular that baffle me, and my students and I have classified them as follows:
    Stupid English rule #1: Why do we pluralize verbs when the subject is 3rd-person singular? (How can a verb be plural?) I run. You run. We run. They run. But He, She, or It RUNS! What the hell is that?!

    Stupid English rule #2: Why do we have different words for subjective and objective pronouns? (he-him, she-her…). It’s the same sign no matter where it is in the sentence.

    Stupid English rule #3: Why do we use so many words, when it’s just so much easier to make 1 sign paired with a variety of facial grammar? (The sign for “help” can be signed alone, but can express an almost infinite number of full sentences simply by changing the eyebrows and position/movement of the sign.)

  192. Madeline Alvares -  March 28, 2012 - 1:15 pm

    I speak English and Spanish and some Italian. Italian was easy because of my Spanish! :)

  193. mary torres ~lots of love ~ -  March 28, 2012 - 12:57 pm

    no you all are wrong i was here frist i was on here last night so go take a hike

  194. bob -  March 28, 2012 - 12:36 pm

    i am almost 13 and i know fluent english (of course) and arabic and some spanish

  195. Mike -  March 28, 2012 - 12:29 pm

    Read “The Chaos” by Gerard Nolst Trenité. This is a classic English poem containing about 800 of the worst irregularities in English spelling and pronunciation. I have several languages – English is my native. But, from a non-native standpoint, though many speak English – reading and writing is for them a chore. This poem, written by a Dutch man in 1920, shows just how difficult it can be…


  196. Hubba bubba -  March 28, 2012 - 12:18 pm

    Cool beanz yo

  197. ter -  March 28, 2012 - 12:12 pm

    i have always thought that English was the easiest language in which to make yourself understood. There are no endings for verbs, nouns, or adjectives to get into correct agreement. English has plural and singular, but even then if someone said “we is go to the store”, you could still understand their intention. Spelling and pronunciation are impossible. In those categories Spanish wins hands down going away.

  198. lily -  March 28, 2012 - 11:51 am

    I’m learning Mandarin right now, and I find reading and writing infinitely easier than pronouncing (correctly) any of the words…

  199. Brianna -  March 28, 2012 - 11:47 am

    I always thought Navajo was a very hard language. I know many people who grew up with parents/grandparents speaking it and still know very few words. The famous codetalkers from WW2 were Navajo, because the U.S. felt that the language was so hard to decipher and translate that the Japanese would have a hard time figuring it out. This turned out to be true, and this move by the U.S. helped the Allies win the war.

  200. Mayqël -  March 28, 2012 - 11:43 am

    Basque is definitely one of the hardest languages for anyone in the world to learn, despite your first language. This is because Basque is an isolate language, which means it came from no other language. In addition, every single noun in Basque can have around 5,000 different conjugations.

    And about Arabic — it’s hard because it isn’t like other languages that are separated into singular (one) and plural (two or more); it’s separated into singular (one), dual (two) and several (three of more.

    al-bintun = the girl
    al-bintāni = the (two) girls
    al-banātun = the (several [three or more]) girls

    Once you get the hang of that, however, Arabic isn’t terribly hard. The script is actually quite beautiful.

  201. Denae Beuker -  March 28, 2012 - 11:22 am

    I always heard that Icelandic was the most difficult. No?

  202. thatpersonwhosalive -  March 28, 2012 - 11:22 am

    Russian is kind of difficult. My mom is Russian and I think cause of that I have an easy time with pronunciation, although I cannot speak Russian.

  203. thatpersonwhosalive -  March 28, 2012 - 11:19 am

    I am fluent in English and Pig Latin.

  204. Briana -  March 28, 2012 - 11:03 am

    Well, that makes sense. I’ve been trying to learn Japanese, but the fact that it uses Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana makes it hard to read. The Romaji is easier, obviously, but then comes the problem of learning Japanese grammar.


  205. lester -  March 28, 2012 - 10:46 am


  206. lester -  March 28, 2012 - 10:45 am

    eh. I heard it was chinese due to using both left and right hemispheres. The tones, inflections, and rise/fall of the words change the meaning. That being said…I know two languages: english and bad english.

  207. Clancy -  March 28, 2012 - 10:42 am

    I believe Japanese would be somewhat medium hard. I read that they have only one form for many words we would have to change, like “run”, “ran” and “running” would all be one word, with one translating as “did” or “is” before it. But in Japanese writing, there is one character for every word, which would definitely make it harder to learn.

    I don’t really know that much. I just read something about it.

  208. Kevin -  March 28, 2012 - 10:32 am

    Cool ;)

  209. Leslie -  March 28, 2012 - 10:29 am

    My class in high school studied English, French, German and Latin. Some of our keener members took Greek at noon. For fun I was teaching myself Russian, Portuguese and Inuktitut at the same time.
    My friend’s father, a rabbi, heard us complaining about the number of languages we had to learn and told us “The first five are the hardest.” He would know; he was born in Poland and learned Polish, Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian and German as he was growing up. Later, after surviving Auschwitz, he went to Italy and picked up Italian, Latin and Greek. Finally he moved to Canada and mastered English and French.
    Personally, I would say Turkish is the hardest language I’ve tried learning. It has no relationship to any of the European languages I’ve learned. Spanish is the easiest; I’ve never studied it formally, but I read and understand it quite well thanks to Latin and French, and can speak it after a day or so in Mexico or Spain.

  210. Aylx -  March 28, 2012 - 9:51 am

    It’s funny that they said Japanese was the hardest of the asain languages to learn for english speakers, I personally had more difficulty learning Spanish and breezed right through Japanese, but I also studied the culture more. I believe it just depends on the person learning and how much effort they actually put in to study the language, but personally I believe Chinese is the hardest of the Asian languages to learn.

  211. bholland -  March 28, 2012 - 9:13 am

    As an English-speaker, I have studied Japanese and Korean. Both were/are very difficult languages to learn. Studying the culture of the people who speak different languages is very helpful in learning a new language. Knowing how a person thinks helps in determining why they say things the way they do.

  212. Cadence -  March 28, 2012 - 9:06 am

    English is actually the hardest language to learn if it is not your first language. We have far more words than many other languages, are constantly using metaphors in speech, and have more complex grammar.

  213. Nastya -  March 28, 2012 - 8:40 am

    Well if according to the research, Mandarin and Arabic are the hardest well im lucky then….. coz I speak both!
    In addition,
    I speak French, persian, Hindi, and russian and learnt little bit of spanish..
    Personally, there is nothing harder than RUSSIAN to me… 2 years, and its still KILLING ME SOFTLY !

  214. Nastya -  March 28, 2012 - 8:39 am

    Well if according to the research, Mandarin and Arabic are the hardest well im lucky then…..

    I speak French, persian, Hindi, and russian and learnt little bit of spanish..

    Personally, there is nothing harder than RUSSIAN to me… 2 years, and its still KILLING ME SOFTLY !

    • Shubham -  October 26, 2016 - 9:28 pm

      It’s good that you speak Hindi and Russian .
      Can you please help in Russian.
      Can you give me you e-mail or Facebook ID .

  215. leda -  March 28, 2012 - 8:35 am

    Languages fascinate me…some I have studied in depth but others just learning the basics as to be able to communicate when visiting that country give me a thrill!!!my first language is Spanish and from Elementary to University levels I went to an English school,took French as a second language and I have dabbled in German,Russian and Catalan all of which I would love to “REALLY LEARN”…I do enjoy your e-mails so much that I recommend them to all my friends

  216. Anonymous -  March 28, 2012 - 8:31 am

    This is a very interesting article, particularly for a person like myself who grew up speaking both English and Hungarian. I have since attempted to learn German and French at my parents’ request, but neither of the two went particularly well. I am now learning Spanish which comes very easily to me, and the little that a friend has taught me of Mandarin feels much more natural than French or German ever did. I don

  217. Ziad Shami -  March 28, 2012 - 8:30 am


    I think as an arabic native that i should have at least one or two additional languages espacially English and French.

    each person should have more that two languages, it’s quality of communication between different cultures and societies.


  218. tyishia -  March 28, 2012 - 8:25 am

    okay im kinda slow but i think that i got it now

  219. john -  March 28, 2012 - 7:53 am

    I am not left handed, nor do I have any immune disorders, but I can read a dozen languages. Like most other people like me, I don’t have an active vocabulary in most of those languages. That is, I can read and write them, but have a hard time speaking in all but two or three.

  220. jason -  March 28, 2012 - 7:47 am

    no its mandrin but i can speak mandrin

  221. CLEO -  March 28, 2012 - 7:47 am


  222. Rustgold -  March 28, 2012 - 7:32 am

    Btw : I think it’s a pity that Danish is an insignificant language, for I would have loved to learn that. Not much point when only several million speak it.

  223. Rustgold -  March 28, 2012 - 7:30 am

    I remember taking one look at Chinese, and discovering that the same word could have four completely different meanings depending on which part of the word you emphasize I said pass on learning it.

    Arabic’s problem is that it’s a makeshift language. Few letters of original Arabic were actually unique, so determining whether something was supposed to be God, Dog or Hog is an impossibility. As a result, Arabic is a language of countless bandages.

  224. Dylan McCament -  March 28, 2012 - 7:23 am

    Whoever wrote this cannot know much about linguistics.

    The idea that you are putting forth, the notion that one language is harder to learn than another is completely false, as any linguist would tell you. Children learn their native languages at roughly the same rate all around the world, regardless of the language, including tonal languages.

    It is shameful that site such as yours, one that purports to be an authority on language, should put out such poorly-researched articles; this one at least amounts to misinformation.

    Your assertions about how the brain processes language are so oversimplified and vague as to be virtually laughable.

    Also, you are confounding learning writing systems with language acquisition, which are two different things.

    The terms “hard” or “harder” are meaningless in reference to the process of language acquisition.

  225. *GingerGuile* -  March 28, 2012 - 7:16 am

    …discover words, discover language

    Do it at “ DICTIONARY.COM!! “

    _ ;) _

  226. kd meares -  March 28, 2012 - 7:07 am

    i enjoy my word of the day, but how come the articles like this are so lame? is this site intended for fourth graders?

    it is just a tease to throw out the topic which is titillating, and then not develop it.

    we get just enough information to start a bar argument, but none of the meat and potatoes behind it. surely it’s possible to have a more scholarly article to back up the teasers we get here.

    if i have stepped on any 5th grader’s toes, sorry. i’m glad you are here and please accept learning as a lifelong quest.


  227. Jath -  March 28, 2012 - 6:52 am

    This is a very interesting piece of writing! Now i got to know how i can speak 6 languages! i am a multi-national linguist and willing to learn many more languages ….

  228. Atrain -  March 28, 2012 - 6:52 am

    If you ask me japanese isn’t very hard to learn at all. Even if your native language is something like english. I’m fluent in English, Spanish, Mandarin and I’m currently working on Japanese. The only language I’ve ever had trouble with was Spanish.

  229. Jath -  March 28, 2012 - 6:51 am

    This is a very interesting piece of writing! Now i got to know how i can speak 6 languages! i am a multi-national linguist and willing ot learn many more languages :)

  230. Ellen (again) -  March 28, 2012 - 6:33 am

    I’m also fluent in pig latin. ;)

  231. Ellen -  March 28, 2012 - 6:32 am


  232. Hassani -  March 28, 2012 - 6:26 am

    I have always been fancying the idea of learning a third language besides Persian and English, and is torn between Spanish – my favorite- , Italian, and German. I have no idea which one is easier. Could anyone help?

  233. Ebony -  March 28, 2012 - 6:12 am

    Ohayoo/konichiwa/konbanwa/oyasumi internet. Japanese is pretty easy to lean, at least reading and writing. There is something to be said for learning do work out the spoken language, which can be difficult, but after a year of learning Mandarin and 6 months of learning Japanese, i understand Japanese way better and find it alot easier. i mean, Mandarin doesn’t even have an alphabet, so you can’t even sound out words you don’t understand. to be fair, Japanese also uses some kanji, but it’s still easier. as for every other language in the world (except French, i guess, and maybe Spanish) i have no idea about the difficulty of learning. Sayoonara internet.

  234. Nona C. -  March 28, 2012 - 6:09 am

    I heard that English is one of the hardest languages to learn grammar wise. And it’s because for almost every rule, there is an exception.

  235. Sarisol -  March 28, 2012 - 5:46 am

    My first language is Spanish and after learning English, I started Japanese and French classes, both very interesting languages. I don’t personally think one is more difficult than the other, but it my have to do with how the material is presented and how the much interest the teacher has in you learning it. Both teachers took it upon themselves to include music, art and cultural references with the lesson, and that made it easier, also their enthusiasm encourages you to learn.

  236. Alex -  March 28, 2012 - 5:39 am

    The hardest language I have learned (to a very basic standard) was Greek. I found the different alphabet really tricky. Friends of mine who have tried them say Arabic and Chinese are both quite tough for English speakers. I guess it depends on what your mother tongue is as some languages are more similar than others eg a Portuguese speaker will find it easier to learn Spanish than German.
    I think a person who speaks 12 languages would be a superpolyglot!
    I definitely think if you want to learn multiple languages, then immersion is the best way of doing so ie learning the language in a country where it is spoken. This can be done with ESL Language Travel – http://www.esl.co.uk/en/home.htm

  237. la Gini -  March 28, 2012 - 5:06 am

    Sometimes I hear US citizens say that English is the hardest language to learn because their English teacher said so, but I don’t believe it at all. They aren’t foreign and never had to learn English like I do, and learning it was actually quite easy. Dutch is my native language, and I always enjoyed learning English as it was quite a breeze for me. Besides that, I tried learning French and German at school. French was pretty easy for me, but I always had trouble with German! (Although classmates of mine kept saying German was easier because of some similarities it shares with Dutch.) In my opinion, I think German is the hardest language I’ve ever tried learning.

  238. MarcosMandM -  March 28, 2012 - 4:58 am

    I speak spanish and english, and i’m figuring out to learn German too.
    because it’s similar to English in loads of aspects.
    i’ve tought about learning to speak Japanese but it’s surely the most dificult lenguage to learn

  239. Jessica P -  March 28, 2012 - 4:31 am

    My native language is English, so it was easy for me to learn Spanish, but now I am trying to learn Chinese. I’m very artistic in terms of music and drawing. Does that give me a better chance, since I use the right side of my brain more often?

  240. KR -  March 28, 2012 - 4:19 am

    of course, there could be harder, but that is the hardest i’ve attempted!

  241. KR -  March 28, 2012 - 4:18 am

    was czech considered? non-latin roots; masculine, feminine & neutral words; difficult rolling sounds; accented letters etc
    i studied a few years of japanese and though i never got to a freely conversational level, i would say the only real boundary is the written language due to kanjis. there isn’t much confusing about the pronunciation, i found.

  242. mark clayson -  March 28, 2012 - 3:55 am

    I find them all difficult but I think that is because I lose focus. However, Spanish is the most beautiful.

  243. TEMAM -  March 28, 2012 - 3:24 am

    Happy with the languages I know and not concerned with left or right hemisphere : French, English & German.

    Not interested in any of the other languages

  244. Sophie -  March 28, 2012 - 3:09 am

    The language of love ;)

  245. Nur -  March 28, 2012 - 2:52 am

    My motherlanguage is Turkish and I speak English. Now, I’m learning my third language (German) and thinking about learning fourth (Spanish), fifth (Italian), sixth (French) and maybe seventh (Japanese). I think the hardest one is Chinese.

  246. Joe Fish -  March 28, 2012 - 2:26 am

    Having traveled and lived the world over, I have had the opportunity to study many different cultures and eventually master their language. I am fluent in English, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Polish. After 30 years and 8 languages, I can not for the life of me, master Pig latin. I now believe that this is the hardest language to learn.

  247. Liesl -  March 28, 2012 - 2:20 am

    Thanks to my parents I’m bilingual, I can speak French and English fluently. Now I’d like to learn Spannish and Russian but I need time and my studies are taking most of it :(

    The best way to learn a language is to go to its native country. Nothing beats field experience ! Plus you get to meet new people, discover new cultures, their food, history, music, traditions… To want to learn a language is a pretty good reason to travel ;)

  248. Joel van de Luyster -  March 28, 2012 - 1:00 am

    “The Foreign Service Institute at the United States Department of State rated 63 languages based on how difficult they are for English speakers to learn.”

    No language is inherently “harder” by human standards to any other language, because one can only juxtapose their native tongue against the rest of the world.

    In this way, one can say that English is the hardest language for people who speak a “Verb-Object-Subject” only language, in such a way that they might never be able to fully click with “I walked the dog” being more familiar with “Walked the dog, I.” Sure, they might be able to read and right English with a lot of time to spare; but in hearing and translating the language?

    They’d be spending a lot of time breaking the need to listen for a verb to be first thing to come out of someone’s mouth. In that way, they’re always “kind of” reordering words in their head, so it makes more sense to them.

    But in no way would this be the case of many other most common word order speakers. And indeed for free order, it might just be an odd quirk for them.

    A human of average growing intelligence, from birth, could learn just about any language possible. Maybe one not even thought of by human standards (a near impossibility, I’m sure) and not only understand it in such a way to communicate realities, but to ponder in abstractions.

    “What is?”
    “What is it?”
    “What is it to be?”
    “What is being?”

    This shows a distinct ability of humans, to be as infinitely close to what we perceive of as “having a soul.”

    And in such a reality, asking what language is harder, is very much similar to asking: “What soul color/pattern/form is more beautiful/complex/angelic?”

    The simple truth is that these are simply the wrong questions to ask.

    It is like asking: “Why does god ____ ?” instead of “Is there god?”

    You are full well able to use your language to pose such an abstraction, that is it the beauty of it. But often times in the case of beauty, that’s all it is. Beautiful.

  249. Renrut -  March 28, 2012 - 12:45 am

    On a personal level I am English and I speak passable German. When I went to Spain I found the language easy to learn. On the coast they all speak English, and other languages. If you go ten miles inland they do not speak anything but Spanish and in those circumstances you ask for what you want in Spanish or you go without. That is a quick way to learn.

  250. Ian Duncan -  March 28, 2012 - 12:00 am

    Surely this should be “WHICH language is hardest to learn?”

  251. SUperSTARz -  March 27, 2012 - 11:41 pm

    I agree.Japanese is as hard as anything to learn.

  252. LOL -  March 27, 2012 - 11:40 pm

    p.s. it’s true

  253. LOL -  March 27, 2012 - 11:39 pm

    I agree. I am Chinese so mandarin and cantonese is so hard, I 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% guarantee that it will be hard to learn. LOL.

  254. tata -  March 27, 2012 - 11:28 pm


  255. Dan -  March 27, 2012 - 11:18 pm

    I’ve often heard that Danish can be very hard to learn in terms of getting the accent right.
    Apparently, there seems to be a rule that dictates that if you were older than around 13-14-15 when you started to learn Danish, you will never quite nail it.

  256. blob -  March 27, 2012 - 10:57 pm

    English is hardest

  257. Isy Ramirez -  March 27, 2012 - 9:48 pm

    My family spoke Spanish and the rest of the community spoke Filipino. Thus I learned both languages before I was 5, the year I started schooling. My school’s medium of instruction was English.

    By the time I was 7, I was fluent in all three languages sans heavy accents — out of necessity, actually. When I was in my middle 30s, I got a scholarship in Germany. The first six months were spent learning the language. I finished in the top 3 of my class.

    I think learning German was easy because of my knowledge of English and Spanish. As to other languages, I can easily mimic the sounds and pronunciations. No, I’m not saying I’m talented. All I’m saying is that learning many languages early on probably sharpened my audio receptors and loosened my tongue’s muscles.

  258. jassy -  March 27, 2012 - 9:44 pm

    i think the hardest language is Polish :)

  259. Random Man -  March 27, 2012 - 9:31 pm

    First comment!!! Ha SUCKERS!!!

  260. johnno -  March 27, 2012 - 9:26 pm

    So, what is the hardest language to learn?

  261. Mark -  March 27, 2012 - 9:26 pm

    Learning a third language is probably easier than the second because you get used to the idea of the language being different in form than English. Especially inflected languages like Greek, Latin, Russian and German.

  262. Tina -  March 27, 2012 - 9:14 pm

    Korean is hardest to learn, if u know korean, japanese is a definite

  263. Charles McKinney -  March 27, 2012 - 8:59 pm

    Chinese is quite difficult to learn as a native speaker of English since the writing system is completely different. Then there are the intonations that are required for the proper pronunciation of the words. No doubt, probably the toughest language in the world to master. It’s not phonetic like English and some 60,000 Chinese characters exist, all of which represent different ideas and images. I am on the quest to develop fluency in this amazing East Asian lingua. The fact that I am currently living here facilitates my effort to acquire Chinese. I love languages!

  264. Keat -  March 27, 2012 - 8:25 pm

    Wow, I hadn’t realized that japanese would be one of the harder languages to learn from an english point of view. I have a lot of friends that had taken Japanese throughout high school and can all speak fluently now, I never thought that it would be that hard of a language!

  265. QWERTY -  March 27, 2012 - 8:09 pm

    Klingon would be the hardest language to learn
    inb4 everyone

  266. THE Caitlyn -  March 27, 2012 - 8:07 pm

    And also, i only know english but i would like to learn spanish and some kind of asian language like chinese or japanese. But, chinese seems like a hard language to learn so i dont know about that. :) <3 spanish

  267. London -  March 27, 2012 - 8:05 pm

    Hello there,

    I can speak Russian, English and Korean. The hardest language for me would be Chinese. I would like to speak fluent French and Portuguese

  268. THE Caitlyn -  March 27, 2012 - 8:04 pm

    1ST OF ALL, i hav the 1st comment. :)

  269. cbrewer6 -  March 27, 2012 - 7:52 pm

    Yeah I have often wondered exactly this, but I never really knew the real answer. I’m learning French. I speak English. Is it really that hard? Sorta. See for yourselves.

  270. Aela -  March 27, 2012 - 7:36 pm

    I speak Tagalog (Filipino), its my native language. I actually want to learn a variety of languages… but i speak English fluently. Does that mean it will be difficult for me to learn Japanese? If you don’t mind can you please send me a list of languages that will be difficult and easy for me to learn? Domo arigato:)

  271. ronnie -  March 27, 2012 - 7:31 pm

    hey what was that word of the day that meant whinny or to complain???? it was like persnickety

  272. Felix -  March 27, 2012 - 7:28 pm

    I’m thinking about Chinese. I’d be cool to learn how to write in Chinese, not easy though :D

  273. Hyphen -  March 27, 2012 - 7:24 pm

    If you are a non-English speaker, I’d vote for English:
    “We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.” – James D. Nicoll

    Or alternatively:
    “English was a language invented by Norman invaders to pick up Anglo-Saxon barmaids. It retains much of this character.” – possibly from H. Beam Piper

  274. インヂゴ・イースト -  March 27, 2012 - 7:10 pm


  275. Hyperpolly -  March 27, 2012 - 7:06 pm

    Great. That’s just great. I intend to learn Japanese. If I only study it romanized will it still be hard?

    Latin is easy compared to Spanish. German, too. i hate Spanish.

  276. zeoneandonly -  March 27, 2012 - 7:00 pm

    Chinese doesn’t have an alphabet… it has a writing system, just not an alphabetic one

  277. Kayla Burke -  March 27, 2012 - 6:56 pm

    I decided a couple of months ago to pick up Korean. I already speak English (obviously) and Spanish and I wanted a challenge. But learning Korean isn’t very challenging… in fact the alphabet is said to be one of the easiest in the world! It’s the conversational skills and pronunciation that makes it difficult to learn. Another thing I noticed is that it reuses sounds, and what I mean by that is that the words and syllables can be rearranged to make an idea completely (or somewhat) different, confusing the heck out of people. For example, “Hak-gyo” means school. But “gyo-hak” means teaching, so its easy to make simple mistakes while talking and saying the wrong thing. But I plan on seeing it through and becoming fluent before I’m 20. I have time… I’m only in the 9th grade! :)

  278. vibe -  March 27, 2012 - 6:55 pm

    First to comment. Wow!

  279. vibe -  March 27, 2012 - 6:54 pm

    Arabic and Japanese are the toughest language to learn.

  280. ally -  March 27, 2012 - 6:30 pm

    wwooooooooooowwww !

  281. hollyberry -  March 27, 2012 - 6:25 pm

    definitely NOT spanish….. it’s not too hard, plus there are cognates to help you out

  282. Night -  March 27, 2012 - 6:21 pm

    Sorry, meant to say *fluent. xD

  283. Night -  March 27, 2012 - 6:20 pm

    I’m fluen on both Spanish and English (Spanish being my native language), and I am currently learning German. :)

  284. FISH -  March 27, 2012 - 6:16 pm

    duuuude i speak english AND chinese

  285. Maddy M. -  March 27, 2012 - 6:07 pm

    This is so cool! I speak english and I want to learn French so badly! I know German would be the easiest for me. The hardest language would probably be.. (if dead languages were included) Latin.

  286. Isabella -  March 27, 2012 - 6:04 pm

    I think this is hard to find big words because I’m only a 3rd grader about to go into 4th grade in my class in 3rd grad we Learn 4th grad stuff.

  287. Na_wor_Dia -  March 27, 2012 - 5:45 pm

    interesting article..

  288. Tracer -  March 27, 2012 - 5:44 pm

    I am proudly tri-lingual, having learned Spanish in high school and Korean at the Defense Language Institute. I am a native English speaker, but can converse semi-fluently in both other languages. I also understand a small bit of Japanese and know a few words (yes, no, thank you) in several other languages.
    This said, I can attest that Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Arabic are “category 4″ languages – among the most difficult for English-speakers to learn. I disagree with the article about the *most* difficult language. For English speakers, that would probably be Chinese or Vietnamese, since tonal languages are (pardon the pun) a foreign concept.
    For most other countries, and according to foreign nationals I have spoken with, English actually has the dubious honor of being hardest to learn, due to the wide variety of influences ranging from Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Japanese, to name just a few. For example, what is the purpose of “gh”, and why is it pronounced differently depending on its placement in the word?

  289. archer -  March 27, 2012 - 5:39 pm

    Languages are easy to learn with Pimsleur.

  290. Jix -  March 27, 2012 - 5:34 pm

    Japanese is actually pretty easy

  291. ee -  March 27, 2012 - 4:48 pm

    deff korean

  292. Bob -  March 27, 2012 - 4:35 pm


  293. G. Prinz -  March 27, 2012 - 4:24 pm

    Very interesting read; I’m a Linguistics student and I hadn’t heard about this left-right hemisphere business. Then again, I haven’t dabbled much into neurolinguistics, haha.

    Whenever this topic comes up it makes me LOL how quickly English native speakers are to say that ENGLISH IS THE HARDEST LANGUAGE OMG. That’s when I snort half-amused half-contemptuous and go “Yeah, if you speak like, Khmer or something”. I mean, as a Spanish speaker, I think the notion of English being difficult is kinda ridiculous.

    For one, it’s still Indo-European. For another, it’s got a shitton of Latin and French borrowings. But mostly I think it’s ridiculous because morphologically (word-formation wise) it’s really not that difficult. Anyone who’s ever tried learning Spanish knows that English verbs got NOTHING on the next-level complex shit that is verbs in Spanish. Not to mention, English lacks grammatical gender AND grammatical case, unlike, oh, I don’t know, GERMAN?

    English’s spelling is a toilet full of shit of every shape, size and colour available, I’ll give them that. And the pronunciation is certainly slightly on the bizarro side. But as far as the grammar goes, it’s much easier than French or German. I’d know, since I started French at the same time I was taking English classes in high school, and I started German a year later or so. In this aspect, English speakers are actually at a disadvantage, since most other European languages have grammatical gender, grammatical case and/or highly inflectional verbs, whereas English is pretty isolating morphologically-speaking, and rather on the “mild” side as far as inflection goes.

  294. jasmine -  March 27, 2012 - 4:19 pm

    all because your use to your own and it hard to think of a nother lanuage

  295. Assassin Tim -  March 27, 2012 - 4:17 pm

    Nice to know but what is the easiest language to learn (besides english)?

  296. casey -  March 27, 2012 - 4:06 pm

    Did they bother to include American Sign Language or any of the sign languages?

  297. creationher -  March 27, 2012 - 3:53 pm

    i don’t think japanese is relatively hard to learn or understand. I’m actually self-learning (or self-teaching, which ever) and do better in the language than most who take courses. Although i’m bilanguagal, I’m not japanese and was born in America…but my family heritage is asian, so i guess that maybe why it is easier for me…But my uncles and cousins are taking japanese courses yet I speak and understand better than them, I wonder if its also the way you learn!

  298. Scotty -  March 27, 2012 - 3:52 pm

    I’ve heard that English is the hardest language to learn, but I don’t know if that is necessarily true. However, I would have to agree with it. With so many words in our language, and so many different pronunciations of letters, I think it is the hardest language to learn in a non-English speaking environment.

  299. Sylvia -  March 27, 2012 - 3:24 pm

    i think trying to learn my home langue Kikuyu would be heard even i who grew with and learned as my first language cant write it

  300. Ann lee -  March 27, 2012 - 3:24 pm

    Interesting. Much better than some of the previous articles. Tonal languages would probably be the hardest to learn, in my opinion. It’s relativity easy to write Spanish words, since the letters keep their designated sounds 99% of the time. Unfortunately, every object having a gender (el and la) and the complexity of the verbs make speaking it properly difficult.

  301. Jenn -  March 27, 2012 - 3:15 pm

    Interesting… I was just thinking about taking chinese next year for highschool. Thats a calming thought. (SARCASM)

  302. camila j. -  March 27, 2012 - 3:09 pm

    This is really interesting!

  303. Ellise -  March 27, 2012 - 3:02 pm

    My first language was Korean, which made learning Japanese, my 3rd language, somewhat easy. However I suck at Chinese characters, or kanji, which makes my Japanese writing skills really sucky. French, my 4th language, is really hard for me because English is my 2nd language, so even my English grammar skills are so-so.

  304. sdf kokhnh -  March 27, 2012 - 3:00 pm


  305. Kiarra -  March 27, 2012 - 2:59 pm

    I disagree completely. I learn Japanese and it is REALLY simple. People who don’t learn Japanese think it would be really hard, but the people who have actually taken the time to learn it realise that it is actually really easy. The “non-Latin alphabet” is really easy to learn, and the sentence patterns are simple, too. So I completely disagree! But that’s just my opinion :)

  306. mary torres ~lots of love ~ -  March 27, 2012 - 2:54 pm

    hey yall whats up it is hard to learn aother language but someday yull get use to it :) ;) (body language)talk that talk lol ;)

  307. Sean -  March 27, 2012 - 2:46 pm

    I never realized the relationship to hemispheres of the brain, but I do know that one key aspect in the difficulties of learning languages is how similar or different they are to your native language. In my case (as a native English speaker) Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Arabic are all extremely difficult to learn. For a Japanese speaker, however, Chinese might be easier because though the alphabets are different, the concept of figures to represent syllables is consistent, and there are some similar words (from what I understand.) French, Spanish and Italian are easier for English speakers to learn because they are similar to English. Slavic languages like Russian, Czech, and Polish are somewhere between the Romantic languages and the Sinitic languages.

  308. Faith from America :D -  March 27, 2012 - 2:22 pm

    Arabic is actually pretty easy… and I’m not a native Arabic speaker….

  309. Carbonated Chocolate Cake -  March 27, 2012 - 2:17 pm

    Now that I think about it more, any other language is hard to learn. Maybe there really isn’t a “hardest language to learn”.

  310. Carbonated Chocolate Cake -  March 27, 2012 - 2:14 pm

    oops, sorry i posted that twice!

  311. Carbonated Chocolate Cake -  March 27, 2012 - 2:14 pm

    I think that it must be either a dead language or a tribal language not spoken by many.

  312. Carbonated Chocolate Cake -  March 27, 2012 - 2:13 pm

    I think it must be either a dead language or a tribal language not spoken by many.

  313. Carbonated Chocolate Cake -  March 27, 2012 - 2:13 pm

    that is a hard question

  314. Ishimaru Michiyo -  March 27, 2012 - 2:12 pm

    What?? I am Japanese and it not hard to learn. English hard to learn, though. My teacher say that I was good student for the English, after she learned me. English make me not want to be learned a nother language!!!

  315. Alaiyah Putin -  March 27, 2012 - 2:09 pm

    rahssian is dificcult too I think

  316. chuck noris -  March 27, 2012 - 2:08 pm

    Whoot Whoot to the American Speakers!!!!


  317. chuck noris -  March 27, 2012 - 2:07 pm

    Whoot Whoot to those who speak American!!!!

  318. chuck noris -  March 27, 2012 - 2:05 pm

    First Comment!!!!!!!!!
    I love english.


  319. Alexander Pippins -  March 27, 2012 - 1:58 pm

    That’s easy. English is the hardest language to learn.

  320. Andrew -  March 27, 2012 - 1:49 pm

    I attest. Korean is rather difficult to learn for English speakers. Neither the Korean alphabet nor the pronunciation is particularly troublesome, but as the article mentions, it is the inferences the language engages that is specially challenging. In Korean, and in Japanese, the subject and the object are often dropped or replaced with gender-neutral subject and object. The speaker assumes that the listener knows of whom the speaker is referring. The speaker will express annoyance if you question the particular subject or object.

    Also grammatically, the sentence structure in Korean and Japanese is that completely opposite of English structure. For example, in English, we may say, “He threw the ball to her.” In Korean or Japanese, that would translate to, “(It) to it, ball, threw” or “(It) ball, to it, threw.”

    Understandably, many Koreans and Japanese say English is the most formidable language for them to learn.

  321. Melissa -  March 27, 2012 - 1:45 pm

    I can read Arabic perfectly and I’m trying to learn Korean which is understandable. My first-language is English

  322. Nshera -  March 27, 2012 - 1:40 pm

    I love learning new languages!!!!! :-) I do not care if it is hard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  323. sherryyu -  March 27, 2012 - 1:28 pm

    im quadlangal bet that first

  324. Adrian -  March 27, 2012 - 1:26 pm

    Polish grammar is some misunderstanding and it’s making this language very hard;) regards.

  325. Happy Pappy -  March 27, 2012 - 1:24 pm

    Yay! I’m the first commenter. Yay, Yay, Yay, Yay, Yay! Yay!
    Soy el primer comentarista!
    Je suis le premier intervenant!
    Boom chaka Laka!

  326. serena -  March 27, 2012 - 1:23 pm

    how do you learn a language in one week??

  327. ??? -  March 27, 2012 - 1:06 pm

    first comment

  328. Zack -  March 27, 2012 - 1:02 pm

    As a native speaker of English, I feel pretty good right now about having learned Japanese. I’m also working on learning Mandarin and Spanish. I first started to learn Spanish before learning Japanese. After having learned Japanese, learning Spanish (and Mandarin) is much less intimidating.

  329. Josie -  March 27, 2012 - 12:56 pm

    Hey I already know 3 languages and i’m not even 13 yet

  330. Celia -  March 27, 2012 - 12:51 pm

    Interesting… Chinese is relatively hard to read but I find it easier to speak Chinese/Cantonese.


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