One question that’s been asked several times is, “What is the hardest language to learn?” After some extensive research, we’ve discovered that the answer can be quite complicated.
It’s complicated because the answer is largely subjective (opinion) and it also depends on what your native language is.
The answer for one individual may be different for another.
Your Native Language
While no language is simple to learn, those that are more closely related to your native language are going to be easier to learn than those that are not.
Learning a completely different and exotic writing system can also be a big challenge, though that does not necessarily make a language more difficult. Grammar and sentence structure can often play a larger role in difficulty.
The Most Difficult Language
According to the NVTC and the Foreign Service Institute, Japanese is, on average, arguably the hardest language for an English speaker to learn. However, this can vary per individual, even among native English speakers. One person may have a harder time picking up Mandarin while another has trouble with Korean.
Since it’s impossible to say with certainty that there is a language that qualifies as “most difficult”, we’ve provided a handy infographic below that will give you a general idea of difficulty for the most common languages.
The statistics and rankings included in the infographic below are provided by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the US Department of State. Please keep in mind that these estimates are only intended for native English speakers.
Photo credit and Infographic source