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The most difficult languages to learn


The Chinese language takes many forms, each proposes their own lingual difficulties. Mandarin is the most popular and spoken by over 995 million native speakers worldwide. Mandarin is a tonal language, meaning the pitch or intonation of a sound affects the meaning. To makes this more difficult every sound in the phonetic transcription system Pinyin has four distinct pronunciations. It is arguably the most difficult language in the world for an English speaker to learn.


Just like Chinese, Arabic has many different dialects depending on your location. It’s the official language for 22 countries in the world and is the 5th most spoken language with around 200 million native speakers. Most letters in Arabic are written in 4 different forms, the meaning of which changes depending on where they’re placed in the word.  To make things more complicated vowels are not included when writing, making translation increasingly difficult.


Japanese is spoken by around 125 million people worldwide. To write Japanese students will need to learn thousands of different characters. Along with 3 independent writing systems: hiragana, katakana and kanji, which all have different alphabets. Don’t even get us started on the grammar, the traditional sentence “I watch TV” would be “I TV watch” in Japanese.


Hungary might be a little closer to home, but the language isn’t any easier to learn. In fact the language comes from the Ularic family making it more similar that of Asian languages than its neighbours. The language is extremely expressive, which relies on a lot of idioms, or a secret code to new learners! From the flexible word order to complex grammar rules, Hungarian is arguably the most difficult European language to learn.

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