What is the hardest language in the world? WHY,,, can you give me 5 hard languages for English speakers? OR  the hardest language to learn?! and tell me WHY?!?!   and what about Arabic,,, o_O

Expert Answers
wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the hardest language to learn depends on what is your primary language.  For an English speaker, I would suggest the hardest languages are those that do not use the Roman alphabet and/or are not based on latin.  An English speaker can pick up other latin based languages like French or Spanish fairly easily.  The language even sound similar.  Other languages that use the same or a similar alphabet, like German, are also easier than some.  For me, learning Japanese was excruciating.  Not only was there vocabulary to learn but I had to learn three entirely new alphabets.  There was nothing similar to English so it was truly learning a whole new language from scratch.  I would imagines some middle eastern languages like Arabic present the same type of difficulties.  I did have a friend who spoke several languages that told me that learning sand script was the hardest thing he had ever done.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think Chinese is really hard because of all the tones that must be used.  These are differences in sounds that are hard to even notice if you're not used to them.

One thing that is very interesting linguistically is that the hardest languages are the ones that very few people speak.  If the only people who speak some language are the ones who learn it as their first language, the language can be really hard and have all sorts of weird rules.  But if it's a major language and many people have to learn it, it comes to be easier over the years.  So the most difficult language is probably some language you've never heard of.

Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have a friend that was in the Peace Corps and traveled extensively; he said that Afrikaans and Tsonga were extremely difficult to learn for an English speaker.  Tsonga apparently uses sounds or phonemes not used in the English language (kind of like a back of the throat click).  Just learning how to make the clicks was extremely difficult, not to mention incorporating them into a spoken language.


literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have heard that Mandarin Chinese is the hardest language to learn. That said, I would think that tribal languages would be very hard given the limited nature of the language (limited to very small populations/villages).

I would suggest that most basic languages are relatively easy to learn. It is the use of slang and dialects within the language which can cause problems.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In accord with the above post, if a civilized language differs greatly from one's native language in alphabet and sounds, it is more difficult to learn, certainly.  Chinese and Japanese do, also, have the tonal sounds that present difficulties, if not compromising situations as different tones have negative or positive connotations.

shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I've always heard that English is actually the hardest language to learn. As a native English speaker that seems hard to believe, but apparently we have so many irregularities in our verb forms and exceptions to rules that it's difficult to learn for non-English speakers.

udonbutterfly | Student

Three of the top hardest languages to learn from my experience would have to be Japanese, Cantonese, and Thai. Japanese demands you to add particals and present and past progressives where you'd never think to put one as an English speaker. Also the Japanese incorporate three different types of writing systems Kanji being amongst the most difficult to learn. With Cantonese there are six different tones compared to regular mandarin. Then there is Thai which has five tones that range from mid, low, high, falling & rising which is a very tedious task.

nogitawa | Student

Actually your brother's friend is right, arabic is the most language hard to speak and learn because it's have more rules 

and there are letters hard to speak it so just arab can speak arabic language and I am from iraq and i can speak arabic 

like "ketabon" it's not like "ketab" or "ketabo" it's all mean book in english but in arabic it's strange and "you" in arabic is

or are "anta,anti,antom,anton,antoma" anta for male and anti for female antom for more males anton for more females antoma for two males or two females but there are people say chinese is the hardest I see not there is some thing on or under the letters in arabic like in the example "go" is " yath'habo " يَذهَبُ

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pokepal101 | Student

The answer is clearly Linear A, seeing as absolutely no-one knows how it works.

nicoledesilva | Student

On you're native language and whether you are a fast learner.
For example, you speak english and you want to learn french, its not that hard.
You speak hindi, you want to learn arabic, nope not hard. And I know, cuz I learn all three.

hadjartahax | Student

I think it depends where you're from. Im from Holland and for me English is very easy, so I DONT agree with answer #3.  English is quite similar to dutch, so I found it easy to learn English. Others might find English the hardest language in the World, because for them it could be a very different language to their own one. I think Chinese is hard. Their alphabet is already so complicated, imagine speaking it..  So for english speakers it's probably chinese, japenese, arabic, and I can't find of the other two. I guess Arabic is hard for English people because its a totally different language, the letters are different and the way they speak does not sound like English at all. That's the same with Chinese and japense. The muslims believe Arabic is very easy, and for all the countries where they speak something similar to Arabic it'll be easy for them too. So it really depends on what your mother togue is, but for English people I think these three languages are pretty difficult to learn.

najm1947 | Student

Humans are very adoptable and can learn any language, however, I agree with Pohnpei that Chinese is probably the hardest language to learn.

"No one can speak Arabic like the Arabs... o_O"
Is this true? And why? - Loraaa

Well it is not true. Arabic is not hard to learn, especially for Muslims and more so for people from Iran, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan as they use similar script and alphabets. Accent could be an issue with some people but I feel that the sounds produced in German and French are also very difficult to reproduce.

There are many reciters of the Holy Quran in Pakistan who can recite it better than many Arabs so its not true that "No one can speak Arabic like the Arabs" and one can find many in these countries who not only speak Arabic fluently but have written many books in Arabic.


loraaa | Student

My brother's friend speaks Arabic, but he told me "No one can speak Arabic like the Arabs... o_O"
 Is this true? And why?