The 20 most difficult languages in the world

By vicky684 Wednesday 24th of July 2024

Often, learning a new language is rewarding and can also be quite difficult. The level of difficulty to learn a language depends on one's mother tongue and natural talent for language, but there are some languages that are universally recognized as being more challenging.

Here are the top twenty hardest languages to learn according to their grammar complexity, pronunciation rules, writing systems and how far they are from English.

1. Mandarin Chinese

English speakers often find Mandarin Chinese very hard to learn. This is because it has thousands of characters that each have their own individual meaning and pronunciation. In addition to this the tone could change the meaning of a word which makes it very tonal. Also its sentence structure is completely different from English which makes it hard for learners to understand.

2. Arabic

Arabic poses many challenges with its right-to-left script alone, not to mention that several dialects of this language exist which are mutually unintelligible with one another too! Its grammar is complex and so intricate that even changing forms or meanings can be done by manipulating roots while pronouncing sounds such as غ ghayn (a sound rarely heard in other tongues).

3. Japanese

One of the things that make Japanese difficult for learners is its three writing systems: Kanji which were borrowed from Chinese characters; Hiragana; Katakana all three must be mastered in order for fluency.There's just no 'one way' when it comes down to politeness levels affecting verb forms and vocabulary either – not forgetting about sentence structure where subject-object-verb order often confuses English speakers!

4. Korean

Korean uses an alphabet called Hangul which was created by King Sejong during the fifteenth century who then mixed them up into syllables later on!This may seem easy at first glance but don't let yourself get fooled because there’s more than what meets the eye when learning this language as there are complex grammar rules and honorific systems that change verb endings depending on the speaker’s relationship with their listener in addition to pronunciation being one of its most important aspects.

5. Hungarian

Hungarian is not an Indo-European language so it doesn't share many similarities with English or other European languages for that matter.

The Finnish-Ugric group only has two living members - Finnish and Estonian, which means Hungarian stands alone among all these tongue relatives!But what makes learning this challenging? For starters, they have 18 cases; this fact alone should give you some idea about how complicated its grammar might be.Pronunciation also poses difficulties because there's a vowel harmony rule where vowels within words need to harmonize in specific ways – something that can make word formation quite tricky too!

6. Finnish

Finnish has a lot in common with Hungarian because they both belong to the Finno-Ugric family.Practically it means that if you learn one of them, then learning another won’t be such an enormous task as compared to studying completely unrelated languages!What sets Finnish apart from other Finno-Ugric tongues though? For instance, they have 15 grammatical cases which may sound like too much but don't worry – once you understand the concept behind these cases everything will start falling into place sooner than later.

7. Basque

As it's not related to any known language family or language at all for that matter, Basque is considered by many experts as being very difficult indeed.The truth is that there isn’t anything similar out there hence why even seasoned linguists find themselves struggling with mastering this tongue!Basque takes inflectional languages onto another level though because here we're talking about numerous affixes per word which can change its meaning entirely while adding more complexity at the same time too!

8. Navajo

Navajo is one of the hardest languages in the world to learn because its verbs are considered complex. They can do this by adding prefixes, suffixes and infixes which can all convey more than one bit of information! Navajo also has many sounds that don't exist in English and words have different meanings depending on their tone too.

9. Icelandic

Icelandic is difficult for modern learners because they have preserved a lot of its old grammar and vocabulary. There are four cases in the language, three genders, and various verb conjugations. The first syllable of words has unique sounds and stress too which makes pronunciation also challenging.

10. Polish

The seven cases for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives make up the complex grammar system of Polish which is a Slavic language. Moreover it has many consonant clusters that are hard to pronounce and spelling with letters or diacritics not found in English.

11. Albanian

Albanian has a unique grammar system where verbs are conjugated according to complex rules and nouns decline following them too. Additionally there are two dialects called Tosk and Gheg each having different pronunciation and vocabulary from another one.

12. Thai

Thai is tonal i.e., the pitch used changes meaning of words; therefore it can be difficult for English speakers who do not use tone to learn this language properly without practice.

This also means that there are 44 consonants as well as 32 vowels written in their script – which can be seen as quite complex by some people mainly because particles must be placed at certain positions within sentences unlike what happens in English where sentence structure is more straightforward although different from ours too making things complicated hereabouts nonetheless for example particle usage).

13. Georgian

Georgian’s script is quite special; this is an understatement even because its phonetics are so intricate with consonant clusters being hard for people to articulate accurately sometimes too! Furthermore verbs have multiple prefixes or suffixes attached showing tense etc., so it becomes confusing when trying figuring out how these work together doth mean something else altogether?

14. Vietnamese

Pronunciation might be difficult since Vietnamese uses six tones; additionally they utilize Latin alphabet but modify it by adding diacritics to mark accent and tone which can make spelling seem peculiar. Grammar-wise Vietnamese is relatively simple though very different from ours thus requiring some adjustment by learners coming here from English-speaking countries who may find verb placement confusing etcetera.

15. Hebrew

Writing in Hebrew is done right-to-left using a script that can be challenging visually for some people to read well at first glance; moreover this language works on root systems where words are derived through different patterns based on three consonant roots so meaning changes form too much frequently! Verb conjugation along with pronunciation also poses challenges since there are various ways one could pronounce same word or spell it differently but still end up conveying same message across – hence making things even more perplexing indeed?

16. Sanskrit

Sanskrit was used long ago and features highly inflected grammar having eight cases, three genders, three numbers as well as rich complex phonetics system too! Although not spoken widely today, the influence it had over many South Asian languages means that studying it would help someone interested in culture of these places learn more about them linguistically speaking.

17. Turkish

Words are made by adding suffixes onto bases in Turkish due to agglutination which results into long and complex words that can be quite tricky to understand sometimes .

Another thing you should know is vowel harmony as well shift verb position towards ends of sentences unlike what happens in English where we have subject-verb-object structure mainly because agglutinated endings cannot go past final vowel without breaking rules therefore they must come before last syllable containing said vowel – thereby forcing us speakers modify our brains accordingly just like when learning any other new tongue!

18. Xhosa

Xhosa has clicks among its consonants; these sounds are made by clicking your tongue against different parts of mouth such as lips or roof thereof . There are also other consonantal sounds that need mastering too due their being varied as well complex. Furthermore Xhosa nouns have classes and agreements which may pose some challenges during study sessions.

19. Russian

Many people find Russian to be difficult because of the complex grammar system it has; there are six cases, three genders and many verb conjugations. The Cyrillic script can also be hard for learners to master, while stress patterns in words make pronunciation challenging plus soft vs hard consonants

20. Greek

This language has an exceptional alphabet that may be hard to learn. The grammar of the language includes four cases, three genders and many verb conjugations. Ancient greek is completely different from modern Greek which adds to its complexity for learners who want to study both of them.

In final thoughts, while the perceived difficulty of learning a new language varies greatly depending on personal experience and other factors, these twenty languages have been widely regarded as some of the most difficult ones.

Every language offers its own challenges ranging from complicated writing systems or grammatical rules to delicate pronunciation or tonal variations. Nevertheless, every tongue can be mastered with determination, practice and suitable materials for studying it too. It is worth making such efforts due to cognitive benefits brought about by understanding other cultures through acquisition of foreign languages as well.

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