Hardest language to learn? (217)

1 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-03 16:30 ID:yuiNFSb2

I know this is subjective since a person that knows English would be able to learn Spanish more quickly than say, Chinese. But in light of that please discuss which language you think is the hardest to learn.

2 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-04 07:48 ID:Heaven

English, because not even native speakers can get it right.

3 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-08 20:24 ID:0VQV1PGT

4 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-09 17:38 ID:dsREadfk

fails for pdf.

5 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-14 19:39 ID:Heaven

fails for using a system where PDF is still an annoyance.

6 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-14 22:13 ID:dsREadfk

on what system is it not an annoyance?

7 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-14 22:15 ID:6zOhNcy8

I think that is Japanese!!

8 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-14 23:02 ID:Heaven

9 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-15 17:21 ID:bqK6MrPe

japanese without a doubt :'(

10 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-16 10:18 ID:cyUGi2qR


11 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-17 00:31 ID:Heaven


12 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-17 02:31 ID:Heaven

japanese is harder than chinese? stupid

13 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-17 02:54 ID:dsREadfk

14 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-17 03:30 ID:Heaven

Chinese seems the clear winner when it comes to literacy.

15 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-18 09:51 ID:gzY5vS/H

Mandarin is easy:


My experience with Japanese and (a little) Mandarin bears this out.

16 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-18 23:32 ID:Heaven



17 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-22 21:42 ID:0tqddTy6

I would say Chinese, though I don't know about many other Asian languages. I wouldn't be suprised if Japanese was the easiest Eastern language to learn, though (the hardest part is kanji, which is :O~ Chinese!).

18 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-24 15:28 ID:Heaven

>the hardest part is kanji, which is :O~ Chinese!

In this respect, >>17 is incorrect. Kanji are not solely Chinese characters; they may be pronounced with their Japanese pronunciation (kun-yomi) and in many cases their written form has changed over time.

19 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-27 15:29 ID:r2KJ3cI4

Korean is the easiest. Hanja are rarely used, the native alphabet is almost scientific in its structural simplicity. I haven't had much experience with it, though, so I can't say much more.

20 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-27 16:05 ID:Heaven


Dosen't change the fact that it wouldn't exist if not for china. That being said, kanji is not as hard as most people think, although the language would still probably be better served by trading them in for some spaces.

21 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-04-27 22:12 ID:lcu4DPRA

I'd probably go for Arabic. The conjugations for verbs and nouns get confusing.

Second place would probably go for any Asian language, because the structure is different. I don't think I could ever learn Japanese to the point of having a deep discussion.

22 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-05-02 09:13 ID:aq+Ekxd3

chinese. simply for the fact that, you have to memorize each word individually before you can write/read it. whereas the other languages, you can phoenetically spell out the words. or atleast be able to read without knowing the words before hand.

23 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-05-05 04:13 ID:Heaven

Yes, but Chinese has several things going for it, like a lack of conjugation or noun genders like the Germanic and Romance languages as well as a simple and often logical grammar structure.

24 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-05-15 03:41 ID:6cMd/nZ2

If only Japanese hadn't incorporated characters from China, it would probably be the easiest language in that entire region.

25 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-05-16 08:48 ID:Heaven

Eh, I dunno. Reading kanji is difficult and a chore, but reading only hiragana is even more annoying, and romaji feels... dirty.

And if you're doing what-ifs, if you ditch the Chinese heritage, there goes a huge chunk of the vocabulary as well. Especially those pesky kanji compounds.

26 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-05-21 12:37 ID:Heaven

A Chinese person told me you could to some extent pronounce the Chinese characters from their looks. I wouldn't know, though...

27 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-05-30 13:55 ID:z5WxerLx

>>26 Same goes for japanese. Kanji are (except for the very basic ones) made from two or more "radicals", with one or more being the meaning and one being there for the reading.
Obviously because kanji are originally from china it works the same in both countries, except for the actual pronounciation of course.

28 Name: me : 2006-05-30 23:19 ID:cEsRLGve

Korean is the hardest language tought by the Army. Navaho I beleive is the hardest for an english speaker to learn. Acording to The Army Korean Arabic and Chineese are Cat 5 everything else is below that.

29 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-06-02 16:30 ID:aAr8IjYW

wow very informative. I guess I would agree.

30 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-06-22 15:03 ID:o7O0AuJI

Apparently the Icelandic language is one of the hardest.
Navaho as well as Irish and Scottish gaelic languages were used in WW2 for quick coded transmissions on open radio transmissions.

31 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-06-29 13:26 ID:dKysAhsR

No one has mentioned finnish yet? strange, well that might be because no one actually wants to study it... but if you are looking for some crazy word conjugations, finnish is one full of those...

32 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-07-01 04:50 ID:xiDhrM8Y

I've heard Basque is one of the world's hardest languages, mostly because it developed in isolation and is unrelated to any other modern language.

33 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-07-01 05:24 ID:DTp+0ILR

Okay, first of all, the difficulty one has learning a language is directly proportional to its relatedness to ones own language.

For example, a person whose native language is limited to essentially consonant-vowel patterns (like Japanese) is going to have a very tough time learning a language with consonant-clusters (like English); whereas English is likely an extrmely easy language to learn for someone whose native language is Georgian, where consonant clusters on the order of seven-wide lurk, and four-consonants in a row are navigated with ease (English only has three consonants in a row at most).

A person whose native langauge has no tones (French) is going to have a very hard time learning a langauge that has tones (Chinese); whereas a Vietnamese, where tones abound, will have little or no trouble.

A person whose native language has a very limited set of vowels and/or consonants (Spanish) will have trouble learning a language with a rich set of consonants and/or vowels (French); whereas someone whose langauge is phonemically rich (Khoisan) will likely not have much trouble learning one that is phonemically limited (Bantu).

A person whose language is prepositional and whose word-order is Subject-Verb-Object (both in English), will have more trouble learning a language which is post-positional and whose order is Subject-Object-Verb (Japanese); whereas the SVO speaker will likely learn another SVO language with ease (English and Spanish), and similarly with two langauges that are SOV.

A person whose language doesn't inflect much (English) will have trouble learning a language that makes use of a lot of conjugation on verbs and declension of nouns (Fula).

So, a speaker of a phonetically limited, SVO, prepositional, toneless language is going to have a hell of a time learning a phonetically rich, SOV, postpositional languge that relies on tones.

This is why it is much harder for Japanese people to learn English than it is for us to learn Japanese: We have a phonetically rich language, Japanese is phonetically limited, we have consonant clusters, they essentially don't. Where we run into trouble is that we're SVO, they're SOV, and whereas Japanese relies on pitch-accent (a form of tones, but the tone changes over more than one syllable, where pitch means the difference between picking something up with a bridge or crossing chopsticks (ha(L)shi(H) vs. ha(H)shi(L));whereas "tones" is limited to changing over one syllable), whereas we are a stress-accent langauge, where stress can mean the difference between a big plastic disk and the act of putting something on that disk (a record vs. to record).

So, is there a hardest language in the world to learn? No. Are there harder languages to learn for certain groups of people than others? Yes.

34 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-07-06 10:30 ID:xiDhrM8Y

>Japanese relies on pitch-accent

I don't think there are all that many Japanese words that rely on pitch, and most of the time native speakers would understand what you're saying from the context.

IIRC, English has words that rely on pitch for meaning, but I can't think of any right now.

35 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-07-17 17:01 ID:FB9vKjmz

English words don't rely on pitch, at least not as far as I can think of, but there are many that rely on context for meaning.

36 Name: Einhander!anzteOw4H6 : 2006-07-19 05:03 ID:STq7iBk9

Questions rely on pitch. That's about it.

37 Name: The Prof : 2006-07-24 21:58 ID:74V8N6EV

They say Hungarian is a very difficult language to learn because the complex conjugating system. Yes, it could be difficult indeed. But I've managed to learn it... I'm a native speaker. :P

38 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-07-25 17:23 ID:Ex3Zs/UV

I actually found English is one of the hardest languages because there are lots of exceptions, and words have been adapted from many different languages... thus, there are lots of exceptions regarding its phonological features. someone said that there are some difficult aspects in french to learn but there are no exceptions. you understand the rule of french pronunciation, then you have done. but in English you cannot figure out pronunciation from spelling. in this sense, japanese is an easy anguage... well, my mother language is japanese!!

39 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-07-26 09:01 ID:kVJHtqkJ

I find Japanese a difficult language though. Learning kanji is already difficult on the first place (on, kun and nanori readings), and different levels of politeness in the language make it even harder to learn. It depends on your mother's tongue actually, Asian people may find it easier to learn other Asian languages (while this statement is not necessarily true since some Asian languages are way too different from the others), while European people may find it easier to learn other European languages. And Japanese also has too many, I'd rather say way too many homophones, which are really confusing (in that sense Thai and Chinese too). Somehow Asian languages tend to have difficult writing systems, which make them not easily accessible to people who want to learn the languages.

40 Name: Mineko : 2006-07-28 12:45 ID:pgEgi7eG

If you say kanjis are hard to learn, then the most difficult
language to learn is Chinese. It has nearly 8000 kanjis in
Chinese, while in Japanese only 2000 used in daily life.

41 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-07-29 02:23 ID:TPg2HO7T

>>but do chinese have many different pronunciations for the very same kanji?

42 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-07-29 02:24 ID:TPg2HO7T

but do chinese have many different pronunciations for the very same kanji?


43 Name: Mineko : 2006-07-29 03:49 ID:pgEgi7eG

Don't ask me. But I guess no. Even if each kanji in Chinese
has only one pronunciation, so many kanjis remain to be enough
to discourage people from learning Chinese. One of my colleagues who majored in Chinese at college said that Chinese
is not so difficult for Japanese to read, but very difficult
to speak because of the complexity of pronunciation.

44 Name: Leia : 2006-07-29 14:36 ID:qJls74kr

Finnish is pretty nutty. 15 cases??

45 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-07-30 01:30 ID:TPg2HO7T

Even some of the simplest japanese kanjis have so many different readings which are confusing somehow. And I haven't included nanori readings yet, which are hell. I have one friend who knows both Chinese and Japanese and he said that learning Chinese is easier as compared to Japanese. If you're talking relative to complexity of pronunciation, I think Thai is harder than Chinese (or probably of equal learning curve).

46 Name: Mineko : 2006-07-30 13:29 ID:pgEgi7eG

Well, partly you are right. Chinese may be easier for
English speakers to learn than Japanese, because the sentence
structure (word order) of English is more like that of Chinese than of Japanese. For example, in English and Chinese, a subject ismost likely to come at the beginning of the sentence, and an object after the verb.

Well, in that sense, Chinese is easier to learn than Japanese.
But I'm convinced that it is harder to learn new words or
Kanjis in Chinese than in Japanese.

47 Name: CryptoLinguo : 2006-08-03 00:45 ID:44QqnRK6

In the US Military, it is korean. You have to not only consider the language, but what conditions you are learning them under. The korean curriculum is rediculously difficult. you only have 63 weeks to be able to speak fluently and listen fluently and read fluently in topics from your family and every day necessities to politics, accident and crime reports, and economics.

Also, the grammar in korean is so bass-ackwards from english I've known every vocab word in a sentence and still not understood it because of the grammar differences. Chinese has different grammar from english, but in actuallity it is also a bit similar. Plus they have words for rediculous things like 2 girls that fail their college entrance exam so they jump off of a pier and drown for 1 word... gah i'm sick of this language :-/

The hardest are easily Korean Chinese and Arabic though, as previously mentioned.

48 Name: Mineko : 2006-08-03 09:06 ID:pgEgi7eG

>have to not only consider the language, but what conditions you are learning them under.

I think this is out of point, because the conditions under which you learn a foreign language are variable
and not an objective or essential problem in
discussing the "difficulty"
of languages. Here we should focus only on the complexity of
grammar and vocabulary, that is, the purely linguistic aspects of
learning foreign languages.

49 Name: Zhou Zhenning : 2006-10-21 03:51 ID:S1xurezn

Since not too many people seem to be familiar with Mandarin Chinese (as opposed to the ever-popular Japanese), I'll spit out the little I know. First of all, Chinese characters aren't kanji; they're called "hanzi" (approx. pronounced hahn-zuh). Second, Chinese has around 10,000 hanzi in common usage, though you will probably only need around 5,000 to read a newspaper. Third, yes, Chinese hanzi do have multiple pronunciations and meanings. While most only have maybe two or three, some, like the character 才, have as many as several dozen, depending on compounds and context. And then, each syllable can be pronounced four different ways (five counting light tone). And then, each of these pronunciations is associated with different characters, anywhere between five and seventy-five. In short, it's a tangled web.

And that's just Mandarin, the "easy" Chinese. I've heard that some Min dialects have nine tones or more. Ouch.

So I'd say Chinese is pretty difficult, if not the most difficult.

50 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-03 16:33 ID:bcgO9JC8

Assembly, anyone?

51 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-09 02:06 ID:WY3PFuXd


I learned assembly in one semester
Theres no way I could learn chinese in a semester.

Maybe if you'd said "machine"....

52 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-11 23:17 ID:OHFBz1VT

The x86 assembly language has about a hundred basic instructions.
Piece of cake.

53 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-19 03:11 ID:7Ncl2u2W

I would think Korean and Thai are pretty difficult, considering all the "levels" of speech and keeping track of different pronouns. And Korean has those tensed consonants which tend to be difficult for English speakers, and Thai is tonal of course.

Both seem to be very challenging to me, but I've never really researched any African languages, many of which are also tricky.

54 Name: Zack : 2006-12-22 06:03 ID:+RMVONkE

Wow a lot of people thought Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language are the most hard in the world. Well in my opinion, I would say no.

Chinese's grammar is much similar to English, but reason why it is easy because it don't have injecting verbs, like English have "Went" instead of "Go", "BecAme" instead of "BecOme", "WalkED" instead of "Walk", "Saw" instead of "See", so on.

Chinese DON'T have that kind.

Japanese do. For example:

tabe= eat

tabemasu- is eating
tabemashita- ate
tabemasen- is not eating
tabemasen deshita- was not eating
tabemasho- let's eat

so on..

But Japanese CAN be easier than Chinese because Japanese only have 2000 kanji compare to over 50000 characters inside Chinese language alone.

I am not sure about Korean, but I think how Korean's alphabets "Hanguel" reading are very annoying, like have to recognize a letter in whatever sides it is on in one word. I've tried one but I ran away from it.

English COULD be hard too. It has to memorize the spelling while Chinese DON'T!

It's just depends whole world-wide languages could be easy or not.

55 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-24 17:58 ID:vwVnxakR

The basic mechanics of Japanese aren't difficult, they are simply so opposite of Indo-European languages that expressing yourself can be difficult if you don't completely immerse yourself in the Japanese language environment. Plus, learning Kanji is not only difficult, but necessary, especially with a language that has so many homophones.

56 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-27 01:40 ID:7Ncl2u2W

Learning Kanji isn't really all that bad and there are only like 2,000 or so to remember, and if you forget one occasionally you can write in hiragana, which is very consistent.

Lao, Thai, Burmese and Khmer scripts, whose writing have the same origin, and have many similarities. The pattern of reading can be a bit tiresome because of how vowel and tone marks are laid out, and they all have complex systems of how they fit together.

Chinese has a lot of characters, but there are patterns in them because most have a phonetic component, and there are only a couple hundred syllables used in most Chinese languages. It's not terribly different from English, which doesn't really follow its phonetic system too well, and most English speakers have to rely on memorization of word components, so we know with "ough" not to pronounce "gh", as well as the "ou" is different depending on the word, e.g. "through" vs. "dough".

I think people just get little overwhelmed about having learn a new way of writing, but once you get used to it, it seems completely natural.

57 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-27 13:54 ID:Heaven

> we know with "ough" not to pronounce "gh"

"trough", "cough", etc.

58 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-28 04:39 ID:wJsS5kXJ

Korean isn't hard at all, especially with it's phonetic alphabet. Just because it's an East Asian language doesn't automatically make it hard. Maybe the pronunciation, but learning it is no harder than any other language.

59 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2006-12-31 17:09 ID:+voMaBx3

Well, Korean is undoubtedly difficult if you are expected to master it in 36 weeks, like troops in the US forces of S.Korea. Ouch.

60 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-01-01 18:02 ID:Heaven

영어 할 줄 아세요?

61 Name: lesya : 2007-01-15 07:44 ID:lwXl67Ix

english is the eithiest to learn the only thing it's spelling. other than than grammar is so easy

62 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-01-15 14:02 ID:j2z23lX1

There are a lot more than 2000 kanji. Especially on the internet people use far more than that, because the IME makes it very easy to write them.

Kanji is the easiest part of learning Japanese. Hiragana all blend together, kanji is much easier to read.

63 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-01-15 15:34 ID:oBKxkyM/


From what I know, English is one of the hardest languages to learn, overall.

64 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-01-15 22:24 ID:9iUuY3eb

"kanji is much easier to read"

65 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-01-17 00:11 ID:Heaven

>>63 I am a native English speaker, and I partially agree with this. English has like WAY too many words, all with different spellings that have to be memorized (which in a way is similar to Chinese, IMHO) but people can't remember that "no one" is two words but "anyone" is one. However, because the language is spoken in so many different countries, there is a tolerance for variants and errors, and the grammar is pretty easy other than the tenses, but once again, it's tolerated.

>>64 it's true. Read it in straight up kana and you'll know what I mean.

66 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-01-17 18:23 ID:qVnXruQQ

I think >>62 meant "Kanji makes reading Japanese text easier". That is, when enough Kanji are learned.

When kanji are used in long sentences, it's much easier to see where the words are separated.

67 Name: Kenji : 2007-03-14 10:33 ID:DTGcR9oy


68 Name: lol : 2007-03-17 23:01 ID:b2xXcooN

i learnt english as a second language and in about two weeks i was alright at it. seriously. it's not that hard. XD i think hardest languages would have to be... ooh chinese or russian!

69 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-03-20 04:34 ID:Fhp+kh4+

I think linguistic isolates and languages lacking common thought elements are hard. For example, Basque, Navajo, Ainu and other such languages with few ties to modern language trees, as well as common concepts lacking. For example, Navajo has no tenses, since Navajo has no way of expressing time.

70 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-03-20 20:49 ID:9DRKm3g8


Yes, or georgian. If you're choosing from languages with speakers.

Mainly because of difficulty in locating people who speak them and information, and because of grammar and non-patterned behaviour.

71 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-03-21 23:07 ID:Gd+DlvAQ

I'd go with ancient greek.
I am greek and ancient greek is a fucking nightmare.

72 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-03-22 16:32 ID:U0rPMkqB

body language

73 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-03-25 19:11 ID:QJBMoHVF

A friend of mine (native English speaker) who knows like 6-7 languages said Russian was the hardest for him to learn.

74 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-03-28 14:53 ID:w5qTEnHj

broken english.

75 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-04-07 09:16 ID:fR41YCSq

>>34 Japanese words do rely on pitch. It's just like someone speaking English with the wrong accents. It's possible to understand what that person means thought effort, but they are /not/ speaking English as any native speaker does.
>>35 English words do rely on stress (which contrary to popular belief does rely on pitch primarily not loudness). 'Whitehouse' (where the President's office is located) is pronounced different from 'white house'
(a house that is white).
>>68 You may have learned to say things in English in two weeks, but you did not learn English in two weeks.
As for my own idea of the hardest languages, I can only speak from an native point of view of a native English speaker who is good at syntax/morphology but bad at discriminating pitch. With that said, I'd say Chinese for speaking/listening. Tones are difficult for me to discriminate within a syllable because the more subtle differences never really mattered that much in English. However, writing in Chinese is very easy for me. The syntax isn't difficult at all and hanzi is not incredibly difficult if you can remember them (which, yes, can to some degree be predicted by their sound 教(v. jiao1) 教(n. jiao4) 快(adj. kuai4) 筷子 (n. kuai4zi)). But learning Chinese did help my ability to guess on-yomi and the meanings of compounds (even if I can't read them).

76 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-04-09 14:59 ID:Heaven

To me, hanzi/kanji don't seem as hard as people say. It's just a matter of quantity really, it takes a lot of time and patience. But when I see something like Arabic or Thai, it seems someho harder. It's just a long line of tiny characters thar all run together, and it makes me think "lol what". It's less to learn, but I think it would take me an inordinately long time to get familiar and comfortable with that kind of writing system. That is just me though, I don't know how many other people feel the same.

I agree with tones making Chinese very difficult, but the relatively simple grammar makes up for that a little, especially when compared with some other languages. I suppose it's just a different kind of complexity, so it's going to vary depening on how your mind works.

The hardest overall must be a language isolate, if only because it wouldn't have connections to any other language, making it equally hard for no matter what the learners native language is.

What about African languages though? I suppose none have been mentioned because knowledge of them isn't so common. I know there are a lot of tonal ones, and of course they come from whole other language families, so some must rank pretty high in terms of difficulty. And the same goes for a lot of other regions of the world. It makes me feel very small when I think about it; all I'm knowledgable about is European and East Asian languages, and a few random other things. There's whole language families that are just totally alien to me, and probably most people in this thread, since on the internet we mainly focus on Europe and Asia.

I just had a vaguely existential moment there... it makes me wish there was more time in the world to learn about these things.

77 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-04-15 19:57 ID:wuVKscEC

I tried a little while at learning reading Thai, and I might get back into it sometime. It is a little tricky, and the big issue with it is that there is the same problem that exists with English: spelling.

Some of more well-known African languages are Xhosa and Zulu, which have the famous click consonants. Those just sound difficult!

78 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-04-16 16:29 ID:fusrBNvF


There's no pronunciation difference between The White House and a white house beyond the article in front. What accent do you have?

I can't really think of any pitch accents in English either, but I'm not good at remembering that sorta thing. I definitely can't think of any words with the same spelling (i.e. hashi-chopsticks vs. hashi-bridge in Japanese) distinguished solely by pitch, just stuff like indicating sarcasm.

79 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-05-04 05:28 ID:uoOuPlWu

I am a Chinese myself n most of the time, even i dont even get a single word my mom says. im a disgrace to my race =( hey tat rhymes rofl . . . And have you tried remebering how to write Chinese? Hella different from how you normally talk!

80 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-05-14 00:59 ID:fR41YCSq

>>78 of course there is a difference. You may not ever have noticed but in 'Whitehouse' (the noun), normally white receives primary stress. In 'white house' (the adjective and noun combination), house receives stress [because of stress clash rules]. It does not seem like a large difference in isolation, but if someone were to speak without negotiating stress in this way (saying both words with stress), you would definitely notice the difference. To convince yourself of this, just listen to a Chinese learner of English who can pronounce all the phonemes right but does not know the tonal prosody of English.

81 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-05-14 17:00 ID:fusrBNvF


Good point. I can hear the difference in a sentence, but as a single phrase it sounds the same.

82 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-05-16 14:11 ID:j2z23lX1

There are many English words distinguished by stress/pitch accent. Mostly they are nouns and related verbs, eg. record (noun) vs. record (verb), or pervert (noun) vs. pervert (verb), but I can think of two examples of unrelated words:
invalid (sick person) vs. invalid (not correct)
content (happy) vs. content (something inside)

83 Name: Born in the wrong part of the world : 2007-07-24 22:21 ID:74RJt3Ps

Even as a native speaker I say finnish is pretty hard >_<
But I have no trouble with Korean or Japanese!! That´s my luck ;)
And Really after few weeks of learning I can say Chinese is not so hard.. To read or write but oh so damn hard to pronounce xD

84 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-07-29 09:18 ID:kfnj2Scm

Troll bait? Or very ignorant poster.

I've noticed a lot of people raising the point about pronunciation. It think that English and Chinese are equally as hard in that aspect.

85 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-07-30 18:33 ID:suvxZ25/

I read Thai (also Lao, which is very similar), and I've taught it before, and I would argue that while spelling can indeed be tricky for the beginner (there are some loanwords from Indic languages that have strange spellings, some obsolete letters, and multiple letters with the same sound), it's much more regular than it looks at first.

Once you understand the relationship between the classes of consonants and and the tone system, orthography becomes substantially more phonetic. Although there is often more than one way to spell a given sound, there is only one way to pronounce any given written word. So it has at least one advantage over English.

I'd say the hardest thing for a Western language speaker to master when he or she starts learning to read Thai is usually the lack of spaces between words--if you're trying to look words up in a dictionary it's often hard to guess where to stop. Also, the fact that some letters are written before, under, around, on both sides of, or above the letters they follow phonologically is hard for some people.

86 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-08-02 22:19 ID:XMIgXuq0

The hardest language to learn if your native language is English is Hungarian. The 2nd hardest is Japanese.

Chinese is somewhere around 25th

Data from the CIA btw. They rate languages on a difficulty level for english speakers to learn. People studying Hungarian and Japanese have to take the most classes and do the most language training.

87 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-08-02 22:30 ID:XMIgXuq0


>But Japanese CAN be easier than Chinese because Japanese only have 2000 kanji compare to over 50000 characters inside Chinese language alone.

That is a bad comparison. There is only one way to pronounce each Kanji in Chinese, but there can be over 20 different ways to pronounce each Kanji in japanese, depending on what other Kanji it is paired with.

For example, for the Kanji 女 (woman)
It is pronounced "onna" in 女 (woman)
It is pronounced "jyo" in 三女 (third daughter)
It is pronounced "me" in 乙女 (virgin)
It is pronounced "nyo" in 仙女 (fairy)
etc, etc, etc. This is the same case for all kanji.

So there are like only 2000 daily use kanji in japanese, but since how you say each kanji changes with each word, it might as well be 5000000.

88 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-08-03 17:43 ID:T/xUg+n1


They're not so much pronouncing them, if I recall correctly, as assigning them words from their own spoken language. The kanji have a meaning, not a pronunciation, as far as they're concerned.

89 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-09-20 14:43 ID:y10euRfI

I think that is a strange aspect of Japanese. Any Japanese people has vocabularies that they can read and write but do not know how to pronounce.

90 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-09-23 01:08 ID:OC2Cf3qb


This is true to a lesser degree for any language, especially for those who read a lot.

91 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-09-26 23:56 ID:7tksGqXN

japanese is not hard, kanji isnt hard ethier , there are 2,000 kanji in general use , but if u know just the first 1006 u can read about 70-90% of a news paper , and i heard most mangas and video games dont use any of the other 1000, and if they do they most likely put furigana(they tell the u read of the kanji), i think korean is the hardest , many people have not heard korean to actullay understand its complexity , korean grammar is really
really different from english , and its is also very vague in speech. Korean Hangul is also sometimes very annoying, and many pronunciations are much harder than just than chinese , were you can easily research the tone, and once u get used to it , its easy, but in korean many consonant and vowel clusters are pronounced different than most indo european languages. Also chineese characters arent like super bad , first to be able to read a newspaper u need to know about 4,400, to much over , and (im not sure on this) most likeley just like japanese , u only need to know about 3k to read 70% of it , and most of it you could probably infer from context.
Japanese is probably the easiest language of the asian languages, japanese conjugation rules are really easy, with only 2 irregular verbs, almost all conjugations can be even further conjugated becuase they all end the same
e.g. all japanese verbs end in u so for the verb "taberu" u drop ru and add the conjugation for desire"tabe+tai" i want to eat, then u drop the i and u put kunai and u get "tabe+ta+kunai" i dont want to eat m consequently, this is the same for adjectives , kawaii means pretty , u drop one i and u add kunai and u get kawaikunai=not pretty.

92 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-09-27 19:38 ID:NJfpLnjT


I'm trying really hard to figure out if this is serious or not...

93 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-09-28 02:39 ID:Heaven

try mastering English before you learn any more.
I'm not sure myself, but you've just witnessed the birth of a new kopipe.

94 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-10-04 09:00 ID:UYEo04H1

well I have heard people speaking Korean, the sound this people make are near impossible to ever reproduce. Even their names is only vowels which is impossible for a foreigner to distinguish, let alone to pronounce, so much that most Koreans choose an English name for themselves when immigrating. and its always paul, wendy jason or some name like that.

95 Name: L : 2007-10-04 17:20 ID:zyjfhXSm

First off, I'm a linguistic student studying English(US & UK version), Japanese(major in Kanto-ben, minor in Kansai-ben & Aichi-ben), Chinese(major in Mandarin, minor in conversational Cantonese), Deutsch(Standard), French(Minor take), Malay(Malaysian region), and Spanish(Minor in conversational).

Born as a mongrel that of Japanese and Chinese heritage. Brought up and educate in an International British Boarding School, and have lived in the English environment for more than 11 years. Have had a rich experience travelling around the globe in enriching and brushing up my languages to a certain extent level.

Well, when you speak bout which language is the toughest to master, I'd tell you guys, frankly, from my studies, experiences, environments I've dwelt in, and all -- Japanese is one of the toughest to master, followed by Chinese; as the pronunciation has to be very accurate and precise at all times, French taking the third place due to the difficulties one encounter always in pronunciation, lastly, English, though it's international, but as long as it's spoken and written generally, and even broken, English speakers tend to and/or will often understand what the shit you're trying to express to them, for real. If you're ever skeptical, why not drag some asian who's bad at english to speak english with you today, and see what I mean for yourself?


96 Name: L : 2007-10-05 15:41 ID:Heaven

Disregard all that, I'm a pretentious shit.

97 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-10-05 23:41 ID:ZpkeZih4


98 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-10-09 09:46 ID:iA4xcisi

Please don't tell me you're a Wikipedia user...

99 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-10-09 09:46 ID:iA4xcisi

Please don't tell me you're a Wikipedia user...

100 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-10-09 09:47 ID:iA4xcisi

Also, 100GET!

101 Post deleted.

102 Name: Eric : 2007-10-22 05:42 ID:bCJFZZP+

I am learning japanese now. I'm sorry, but its a pretty darn easy language. I also think, if you have a passion of the language, it helps a whole lot. That would help a lot.
Asking, "what is the hardest language in the world?" has to many biases to ever be answered accurately.

103 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-10-24 03:56 ID:CbQSghqT

I heard from somewhere that Czech is the hardest...
But this type of question does depend on who you ask because one language may seem easier to one person that it does to another.

104 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-10-24 05:44 ID:vjdd9z8O

How about Polish? 16 different cases, not fun at all.

105 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-10-24 11:15 ID:Heaven

I suppose Japanese is easy to learn without writing and reading. Anyway, even if
people speak in the most difficult language, it doesn't mean that they are intelligent.

I think Chinese seems to be difficult to pronounce. Also Chinese character is difficult to learn. Arabic character as well. It is very strangely shaped.

106 Name: sage : 2007-10-24 15:17 ID:8R0b8i5f

Being a mandarin student is a pointless, tedious, and painful experience. I would have flunked it it I didn't have Taiwanese neighbors...

107 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-10-25 06:49 ID:saZ0+CaW

Mandarin Chinese.

108 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-10-25 07:13 ID:saZ0+CaW


After a while you can, but it takes a long time to clue in. Some of the characters that use the same phonetic sounds look similar to each other. It's not always a sure thing, though.

109 Name: Gimme Mah Money : 2007-11-07 17:54 ID:Lf6EhCez

Icelandic. It has been proven by the University that I attened. National Geograpic did a report on how hard some languages are to learn. Below is the list.

  1. Icelandic
  2. Chinese (Traditional Han)
  3. Korean
  4. Russian
  5. Japanese

110 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-08 00:20 ID:EYkAxj7S

Threads like these are completely meaningless. It just turns into a massive pissing contest.

This is like apples and oranges.

The difficulty of a language is an individual thing, based on your lingual (and cultural) experience, and which linguistic topics you are most comfortable with.

For some, the completely different mindset behind Russian, Japanese or Arabic might be a massive setback, for others it's the huge set of phonemes in Abkhaz, Ubykh and !Xoo, and for yet others, it's the cases in Finnish (though this is less of a problem in practice; Finnish is extremely regular, and the 'cases' are merely semi-fancy equivalents of prepositions; though, like Russian, Finnish has a completely terrifying verb system), and so on.

tl;dr: Pointless topic with a pointless question to which there's only a subjective answer. Go to bed.

111 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-08 15:27 ID:Xm6KS0fq

well spoken

112 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-09 10:09 ID:2Sh16PPy


Hear, hear.

113 Name: Maxund Morritz : 2007-11-09 16:34 ID:yDX/lz8Z

Russian is easy to learn. Plus, it has a wonderful system of handwriting similar to copperplate. Learn Russian and there are many languages spoken from the Italian border to Alaska that are close enough so you can communicate your basic needs if you are a tourist. Example, the word "pivo" or beer. Knowing that word will get you a refreshing beverage that is safe to drink. Finnish is very hard to learn. Basics like the names of numbers which are similar in many languages don't hold up in Soumi.

114 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-10 04:29 ID:Heaven



See >>110, >111, 112.

115 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-11 21:56 ID:JnL+nLAi

As a native Russian speaker that must be one of the hardest. Especially after Soviet rule maimed the language to what it is now :-(

116 Name: !!xIb4rnRy : 2007-11-14 11:11 ID:B1IKKh1R

Gahhh... I'm reading this thread, and well-informed and well-thought-out replies amount to about 5% (>>33, >>65, >>69, >>75, >>76, >>110... and >>39 for explaining well why Japanese is hard for him). But I can't not comment, so...

  • "Difficulty" is indeed subjective and depends on the person's background.
  • Nobody mentioned Native American languages. If you think Hungarian is difficult, try some polysynthetic goodness, like Inuktitut (or old Ainu, for that matter).
  • Writing is not language. Discussion on Kanji / Hanzi / Hanja is largely irrelevant. Speech always preceded script. 10000 years ago people were already chattering away in all corners of the world, but couldn't write worth a damn. Were they dumb? And even if we were to take it into account, just to make it explicit, >>54, Japanese has many more than 2000 characters, but you're "literate" with 1945 (IIRC). Comparable amount for Chinese is about 5000, as I've heard told. Even the most educated Chinese scholars don't personally know more than about 20000. The rest are obscure or obsolete or both.
  • While culture is not language, it certainly has a large impact on its pragmatics and semantics. This is the primary reason Japanese is hard (besides its grammar being rather different, albeit almost completely regular)
  • Chinese grammar is English in disguise, except for couple of strange concepts (prenominal relative phrases, verb complements, counters). If you get past pronunciation, and manage to learn the completely cognateless vocabulary, it's easy for English speakers.
  • Polish does not have 16 cases. No indoeuropean language has over 8. Finnish has 16, Hungarian even a couple more, but their formation is easier than in Slavic languages. I don't know about Russian... but I would not even wish my mother tongue (Croatian) upon an enemy - it would be a curse worse than death. Irregularities abound, and descriptions are scarce. Accents are quite unpredictable. Many Europeans struggle with our consonants, and they're not even particularly challenging (compared to Arabic, Georgian, Xhosa...). Verbs change in almost regular ways, but there's always a catch around the corner.
  • Japanese, as well as my language, has pitch accent. In both, you are understandable regardless of accent. As a matter of fact, I understand that some Japanese dialects have exactly opposite accents on similar words: in one dialect haNA is flower and HAna nose, in another it is vice versa.
  • English has a huge vocabulary. Huge. Humonguous. Nuff said. (A case in point: "nuff" has its entry in the OED.)
  • African languages differ considerably among themselves. They are not one group. Swahili is quite easy for us Europeans - familiar phonology (at least in some dialects), rather logical word order... while Jul'hoan pronunciation alone gives me the creeps, even if its basic grammar is similar to English (~30 vowels, a bunch of consonants of which 48 are clicks... are you freaking kidding me?!?)
  • Hardest by US Military is only among those languages US Military believes to be worth teaching, and its data is only relevant to other English-native learners.

Finally, any language is equally easy as one's first language. Kids will learn whatever you throw at them with equal ease. Does it not then prove beyond any doubt that this is a wrong question to ask?

117 Name: boob : 2007-11-14 18:02 ID:Delne7uj

I've tried learning alot of different languages (Russian, Polish, Korean, Finnish, Greek,Malaysian etc) but Japanese is the only language that I am actually progressing in. I can learn 80+ words in a day whereas with any other languages such as Russian I struggle to learn just 5 words.

Although Finnish has no relation with Indo European languages,
I found Suomi numbers to be very easy to learn. However, I can't remember Russian numbers. or any other european numbers lol.

yhdeksankymmentayhdeksan= ninety nine


118 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-11-21 13:44 ID:rX9yzlhU

For me personally, it would be Welsh or Irish. First off, mutations, I can't keep straight when to use them and when not to. Secondly, there are a lot of irregular conjugations. And not only for the verbs, but for prepositions. And there are not really any rules for this, other than memorize.

Korean, Chines, and Japanese are gramatically easy enough, but do to cultural considerations, it's easy to understand the words and still not be able to say much. They tend to talk around some things to avoid giving offense. But if you don't get the context, you lose out. Or at least sound like the asian equivelent of Cletus the Slackjawed Yokel.

Greek looks tough too, though it can probably be done.

119 Name: fine languages researcher : 2007-11-24 05:19 ID:MTWG+JSt

i think, imho, Finnish is the most difficult language after Japanese...i sometimes tried to understand the way such cases as "essive" "ellative" "allative" etc. have to be used.....but is abominiously difficult to learn all of them....and then the fact finnish has (as in every ugrofinnic language) the infamous "wovel harmony", not to mentition the "consonantic weakening", (just squicking)...and then things like using a kind of "tonal pronunciation" which makes changin' the meaning of a word just by slightly swithcing its pronounciation (as in chinese)...definitely not the funniest language to learn....

one good note about it is, by the way, that Finnish has a very soundful and somewhat "spanish-like" sound that's very similar at the Italian's one (my mother language)...at least this....

i tried German, btw...and i must say that those 6 months spent at university (i'm 23) learning it helped me alot in understanding more than ever about English and other Anglo-saxon-germanic-heritage languages....but then i left it because was too hard learning how to tell the hour!!! and because ehr....my stereotypic thoughts about German were a bit too much toony

another very scruffy language but more soundful and french/english-like than german is Dutch....it has a lot of things borrowed (forever) from french and english and both in writing and sounding is "meltingly rough" or better "clumsly harmonic", and grammar is quite easy...way easier than german one for sure...its most exciting (not exactly the right word, but...)feature is that it has 5 or 6 way to say the pronoun "you" , the english like pronunciation of the "R" and "OE" diphtong pronounced as in "shoes"

then another language that drives me crazy (literally) is Hungarian!!! i soooo like it!! although it has some spooky finnish-borrowed feature (like wovel harmony, or case-like suffixes...for example "Magyarorszagban"..."to Hungary", or things like objective and subjective conjugation...which is almost a mistery again for me) it has a really exciting (this time is the right word!) pronounciations thats very different from other ones...for example "ZS" is pronounced as in "juillet" in french....or "dzs" is like in "jack" or even SZ that unlike the other languages, is not as in "ship" but as in "sick" and "C" is like "take" with a very strong "t":zake

but the number one is my favourite language forever: Portuguese (portugal's one, of course) the most roughly joyful, crustly, freanzy, overtightened language i ever heard!! with a really complex grammar but it does really worth an effort to study it!!
and so useful indeed!!! i'm improvin' my knowledge of Spanish of North Italy dialects, of French grammar and pronounciation , adn even British English (and somewhat also German...i'm not joking'!) just learning Portuguese!!! it's just amazing!!!

120 Name: LinguaOtaku : 2007-11-29 01:39 ID:/ydyx0yz


Polysynthetic languages aren't so hard to learn once you wrap your head around the boundaries between morphemes. You're pretty much good to go for any polysynthetic language then. Fusional languages are much more difficult imo because you get weird stuff happening like irregular verbs and awkward IP constructions, and ambiguity/vagueness is just a whole shitpit kettle of fish you get yourself bogged down in.

I'm learning Aleut at the moment as I'm planning on doing my doctorate on split S system languages (i.e. languages that have both NOM/ACC and ERG/ABS inflectional systems in different situations) and I'm finding it -reasonably- trouble-free (in terms of theory anyway - some of the phonology is proving challenging!), at least compared to the Huallaga Quechua I had to learn. Now THERE'S an interesting language. NOM/ACC, SOV, polysynthetic and with free word order in main clauses. Kept me in my room all fucking summer lol.

121 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2007-12-02 20:05 ID:u36OhyNQ

actually depending on who you are and your backround of language depends on whats hard. im fluent in 10 languages and i hd french german polish and english as native languages. so i basically conquered europe's languages easily. but i had difficulty with asian languages such as japanese and chinese because i was so use to one sentence thing and the are alike.

122 Name: Piraten : 2008-01-15 00:48 ID:gqxJUaRm

>>116 Your in most cases but...

In all Slavic languages I find Slovakian to be the easiest of them all. It may be my mother language, but I haven't even tried to to learn the writing. I may master the speech, but the writing, well... you can forget about that.

As for people saying the Czech is hard, well I could tell you that's it's not much of a difference if you compare Norwegian and Swedish.


For Russian and most of the eastern Slavic languages. Compared to Slovakian/Czech. We do use the letter "H" for most (well "some words") while the most eastern (even Poland) use the letter "G" for certain words that have the same meaning but speleld differently due to the first letter like for example "Shit". Govno in Polish (and in Russian/most former jugoslavian parts as well?) While it's Hovno in Slovakian. I do know that the Czech do have a softer more "richer" spoken language, I could compare that to the "High form" of Swedish/English (that spoken in the medival age, up to like 1800/1900 or so?

>>110 Your are so goddamn right.

All I can say is.. stick to your and your border languages, end of story. If you really need that language, hope for an afterlife, so it may actually be useful other than just learning it for fun (or learning just to travel to another country for befits, if your hate your country that much, DO SOMETHING about it!). You can curse us of for having different religions(or none at all, yay!~)/languages. If the Earth had stayed as Pangea, that way it would've not have been that different.

123 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-01-15 14:16 ID:ruaLqA8F


Telling the time in German is basically the same as English, but with an inverted 'half-past' concept.

124 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-02-18 17:43 ID:Y4TxFAYv

Hungarian!! I know ppl who lived there all their life and oouldnt learn it

125 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-02-19 14:33 ID:q89yj9y2


I think the cause of that is the people being morons, not the language being difficult.

126 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-02-26 16:30 ID:Wjipaeoj

Did anyone ever tried to learn Slovak language :)

127 Name: Finno : 2008-03-27 08:31 ID:kacbtuT4

Okay, here's a real tongue twister from Finland. A one compound word:


Don't ask a perfect translation for that, it's hard even for a native Finnish speaker. =) But the translation is about like this: Even with his disorganizing skills? etc.
It's a form of a question, but the same kind, kinda rhetorical answer.
Go figure.

128 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-04-30 05:38 ID:T6f14nQa

learning Korean Hanja would make the Japanese Kanji a breeze...

129 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-04-30 07:22 ID:dw9p6YCi

Actually it's epäjärjestelmällistyttämättömyydelläänsäkkäänköhän, with a single K.

The word could be divided into little components, like this:

Epä järjestelmä llis tyttä mättö myydellää nsä kään kö hän

To be honest it's plain nonsense, although it is grammatically correct.

130 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-02 03:13 ID:NCIGtFcG

Why do so many people call it ``wovel harmony''? Am I missing something, or is it just that nobody can spell?

131 Name: Un hombre de Escocia : 2008-05-02 12:46 ID:ruaLqA8F


No, it should be "vowel harmony". This is present in quite a number of languages.

132 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-03 08:33 ID:Heaven


I don't know, I would think a variety of locative cases would be better than the weird case-preposition in Russian...

The essive cases seem a bit weird though.

133 Name: Bill : 2008-05-11 23:35 ID:mL3zpU5N

Guys I think everyone writes based on their experience, not based on culture and history....a clear example is noone has mentione Greek..! probably the mother of all western languages and one of the oldest, are you serious?? :)

in my opinion, Greek, arabic and chinese. anglo-saxon languages are simpler trust me.


134 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-15 15:38 ID:ruaLqA8F


Greek is not the mother of Western languages, go read a history of language textbook. It has certainly influenced a variety of western languages, but they did not evolve from it.

135 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-18 07:14 ID:Heaven

If you know one Slavic language you know them all.

Well, except that you might not be able to read/write Cyrillic.

136 Name: Anon : 2008-05-22 00:26 ID:SzL2qHCj

Well, if you already know English, I would have to say Russian is fairly difficult. Japanese is rather simple once you learn pronunciation.

137 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-22 08:27 ID:ruaLqA8F


Cyrillic is pretty easy to pick up.

138 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-22 21:33 ID:BkodDKOk

I'm not sure that's entirely true across the Eastern, Western, and Southern Slavic lines--if you know one East Slavic language (say, Russian), you can probably fake your way through the others (Ukrainian or Belarusian) with a high degree of accuracy, but you'll have a much harder time doing that in Czech or Serbian. I guess basic comprehension's not necessarily difficult, but there are some pretty significant pronunciation and grammatical variances among the branches.

Very true; you can read Cyrillic before the end of your first Russian class unless you have a very poor visual memory.

139 Name: Here's the Perkele : 2008-06-10 11:46 ID:GwUZSNnp

I'm just a simple minded fool, but pronouncing the letters can be tricky too.

From the Finnish point of view, English is a strange language.
For a finn, the Finnish alphabet sounds "right" and the English one is twisted.

Here's how finns pronounce English alphabets

A - Ei
B - Bii
C - Sii
D - Dii
E - Ii
F - Ef
G - (Tsh)ii
H - Ei(tsh)
I - Ai
J - (Tsh)ei
K - Khei
L - El
M - Em
N - En
O - Ou
P - Phii
Q - Kjuu
R - Aa(r) *
S - Es
T - Thii
U - Juu
V - Vii
W - Vii
X - Eks
Y - (U/V)ai **
Z - (Z)ii ***

  • English R is 'soft', instead Finnish R is 'hard'
    - search youtube for "children of bodom + oops i did it again" and you'll hear the singer shout "Perrrrkele"

** U/Vai has 'open' or 'soft' V in it

*** (Z)ii has 'soft' Z

Here's how english pronounce Finnish alphabets

A - U in fuck / A in car
B - B in bee
C - S in see * in swedish-based names, it sometimes is K
D - D in down
E - A in hate
F - F in fuck
G - G in gun
H - H in hate
I - I in shit
J - Y in you
K - K in fuck
L - L in lame
M - M in milk
N - N in no
O - O in open
P - P in please
Q - Q[?]
R - *english doesn't have this sound
S - S in snake
T - T in shit
U - U in you
V - W in wait
W - W in wait
X - X[?]
Y - *english doesn't have this sound
Z - Z[?] - 'hard sound'
Å - O in open
Ä - A in dad
Ö - A in 'a chair', 'a candle', 'a cat', 'a car'

Finnish letter, pronounced as a "letter" and how
it's pronounced when spelled

A - a - aa
B - b - bee
C - s - see *in some names like Carlsberg it's K
D - d - dee
E - e - ee
F - f - äf * snobs prefer 'ef'
G - g - gee
H - h - hoo
I - i - ii
J - j - jii
K - k - koo
L - l - äl * snobs prefer 'el'
M - m - äm * snobs prefer 'em'
N - n - än * snobs prefer 'en'
O - o - oo
P - p - pee
Q - k - kuu
R - r - är * I've never heard anyone say 'er'
S - s - äs * snobs prefer 'es'
T - t - tee
V - v - vee
W - v - vee [tuplavee - double v]
X - ks - äks * snobs prefer 'eks'
Y - y - yy
Z - ts - tset
Å - o - oo
Ä - ä - ää
Ö - ö - öö

140 Name: part 2 : 2008-06-10 11:47 ID:GwUZSNnp

"Good day to you, my students! It's a fine day - is it not?"
translated so that a finn can pronounce it [almost correctly] even if they don't know english would be
"Guuddei tsujuu, mai stjudents! Its ö fain dei - isit nat?"

So when I'm thinking of what I'm writing, I have to be sure not to write how it sounds in my head.
Because this is how it sounds:
Sou vhen aim thinkin of vhat aim v(r)aitin, ai hav tsu bii shuo(r) nat tsu v(r)ait hau it saunds in mai hed.

And to make things more complicated

I = Minä
You = Sinä
He/She = Hän *
We = Me
You = Te
They = He

This = Tämä
That = Tuo - not to be confused with "Tuo jotain" = "Bring something"

  • Finnish language doesn't have he/she kind of indicator of sex.

Instead it has nurse = sairaanhoitaja [lit. sick's caretaker], but a female nurse would be
naissairaanhoitaja [lit. female sick's caretaker] BUT sairaanhoitajatar could also
be used. -tar end can be used in some [career] names.
Ompelija [sewer - career] doesn't tell what sex the person represents. With -tar
ending it becomes clear that ompelijatar means a female sewer. -tar ending would
change into -tär if the career's name would end with ä instead of a:
pilot = lentäjä -> lentäjätär
Fortune [spirit of good luck] = onnetar [this one is always femine]

And here's some extra flavor

I, Me = Minä
My = Minun
I think that.. = Mielestäni
From me = Minulta
(come to) me = (tule) Minuun
(become) me = (tule) Minuksi
(out of) me = Minusta
In me = Minussa
I have = Minulla on

I = Minä
Bring = Tuo
Gifts = Lahjat

Bring the gifts = Tuo lahjat - "tuo" not to be confused with "That ball" = "Tuo pallo"
[Tuo tuo pallo = Bring that ball]

I bring gifts = Minä tuoda lahjat - this is wrong
I bring gifts = Minä tuon lahjoja - this is right
I bring gifts = Tuon lahjoja - this is right

"Tuoda" is the basic form of "to bring"
"Tuon" already tells that "(I) bring"
"Tuot" tells that "(you) bring"
"Tuovat" tells that "(they) bring"
"Tuo lahja" = Bring a gift - as when invited to a party
"Tuo lahja" = That gift - as when talking about a certain gift

Finnish can be spoken without directly saying "I - minä". "Tuon - I bring" already tells that
it is me who is bringing..

  • Tuon teille tuon lahjan merkkinä ystävyydestä.
  • I bring you that gift as a sign of friendship.
  • Opiskelen kieliä
  • I study languages
  • Osaan suomea
  • I know finnish

And finally..

Kokoa kokoon koko kokko.
Koko kokkoko?
Koko kokko!

Gather up the whole bonfire.
The whole bonfire?
The whole bonfire!


141 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-06-11 06:53 ID:1ooa1EuP

You want to get into that? How about this:

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo.

It uses three definitions of the word: Buffalo, the city in New York; buffalo, the four-legged animal; and buffalo, the verb meaning to bully.

Oh, and then there are the words that can be their own antonyms, with only the context to decide which meaning is used. Take 'cleave' for instance. It can mean either to bond closely with something or to cut something in two. Bugger of a word.

142 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-06-11 15:50 ID:XDd1KpmA

Who the hell uses that as a verb?

143 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-06-14 19:20 ID:FQ3Dww9H

Dunno, I'm Lithuanian by birth. I picked up English very easy, far easier then Russian and as a matter of fact, I still heavily suck at Lithuanian and I'm bloody 17.

Japanese was even easier for me to learn to speak then Russian, and I live in an ex-soviet union state. Lithuanian letters are pronounced roughly the same as the Japanese counter parts, for a Japanese to clearly understand me reading Japanese, all I needed was a sheet of Kana to Romanji translations and a basic vocabulary of Kanji.

144 Name: majd : 2008-06-30 00:25 ID:jAAu3wKp

duh arabic is the hardest

145 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-07-02 01:51 ID:s799Xe1u

Try Banyumasan language if u dare...........

146 Name: Here's the Perkele : 2008-07-05 19:28 ID:HokF5e/h

Ahh.. I managed to realize that english language does have finnish Y in it: New!

"New" would be pronounced like "njyy" or "nyy".
New Orleans = Nyy Oolians * the R is mute.

147 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-07-23 21:17 ID:qaeaResa

Happy new Year => "Frohes neues (Jahr)" (literally only 'happy new', but at that time of the year its clear what you mean.

More informal: "Guten Rutsch" (literally 'good slide', wikipedia claims it originates from a hebrew phrase)

148 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-07-23 23:02 ID:VFuw7om3

I'd vote Arabic

149 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-07-25 13:15 ID:cF9iM2NF

I vote Segarian. It's impossible to learn to speak it.

Granted, mainly because it doesn't exist.

150 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-08-10 20:10 ID:VFuw7om3

explain yourself.

151 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-08-13 03:09 ID:KLLoQjTl

I've been living in China and picking up Mandarin as I go. I can see how it would be a nightmare in a classroom, but through immersion I've been finding it pretty easy.

Ignoring tones, the spoken language itself is simple compared to English. As for the tones themselves that's a hurdle that takes a couple of weeks to develop an ear for by osmosis but it's natural after that (and I'm assuming that in a classroom you'd be deliberately tackling them and trying to force your brain through tone-shaped holes would be the main reason it'd suck).

When it comes to reading, naturally it's a given that understanding shit you need in your daily life would make retention pretty straightforward... but then again my reading ability is currently limited to things relating to the subway system and restauranting as a result. So while not difficult I'm going to wind up with huge gaps everywhere in my written Chinese. Planning on enrolling in proper classes once I'm more fluent to fix the errors I'm bound to pick up doing what I'm doing.

tl;dr: Agree that the difficulty of Chinese is overrated, but I can see how people get that impression.

152 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-08-14 13:30 ID:XrQWcSxy


153 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-08-17 05:23 ID:MpnQB+39

Very informative. Thanks. My boyfriend keeps trying to teach me chinese but i keep thinking i'm too stupid to pick it up or it's too hard. Maybe i'll give it a try, granted I'm not in china but I do have a lot of chances to learn.

154 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-08-17 22:23 ID:KLLoQjTl

Unless you're both fairly serious about it you'll have slow progress since it's so tempting just to revert back to English all the time, but go for it. Most of my spoken Mandarin was learned from Chinese girlfriends.

155 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-08-19 12:35 ID:YH/SQTg8


> osmosis


Well...you could say the same about any other language. If you live in the place, you're bound to pick up a couple of words or two, but that doesn't make it easy >_>.

156 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-08-19 12:39 ID:IGOQsEzD

That's not even close to what I said.

157 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-08-22 14:31 ID:YH/SQTg8

You're learning because you live in China, and hence manage to pick up some of the colloquial language. Naturally, your rate of learning will be rapid because you're forced to use it to communicate daily. So this doesn't really justify how "easy" it is compared to other languages. I could say the same thing about living in Italy, and learning Italian. Point is, you can't really compare it to other languages like that without living in other countries and doing the same thing.

158 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-08-22 16:01 ID:zz8fM6Hz

spanish D:

159 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-08-23 00:41 ID:IGOQsEzD

No, I'm learning because I fucking study it in the evenings. If I lived in motherfucking Italy I'm sure I'd just "pick up some of the colloquial language" given the similarity to English, but there is no common ground between English and Mandarin. The "colloquial language" around here is in Cantonese.

All I said was that the difficulty is overrated. You're reading shit into what I said because you wrote something stupid and now feel the need to defend it by twisting my post, so I'll restate my point for the dumbfucks in the audience:

  1. People think Chinese is hard because of the tones.
  2. I can see how the tones would be difficult to develop an ear for in the classroom, but fortunately I've been able to do so through immersion, which means I can see:

3. Apart from the time it takes to learn to differentiate tones, the language itself is simple. Almost everything about it is easy for a native English speaker.

>Naturally, your rate of learning will be rapid because you're forced to use it to communicate daily.

You're clueless. I went months here without speaking a word of Chinese. Not exactly "forced". My average daily usage is now saying "thanks" to the supermarket chick when she's watching me bag my own beer, and maybe giving directions to a taxi driver on weekends. I set aside time to practice with a Chinese friend at least once a week, just as I would learning a language back home.

160 Name: bobjoe : 2008-08-24 02:09 ID:e8Zf/PnM

for the people who say russian is hard, russian isn't hard and the alphabet is easy also. Polish is harder then russian.

161 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-08-26 12:04 ID:YH/SQTg8


Before you start questioning other people's intelligence, you might want to consider that that was the impression you gave in your post. You're telling everyone that it's overrated just because of the tones, and that you've managed to pick them up through "osmosis". But my point was that you living there is the main variable between you learning learning Chinese, and say, those learning Chinese in a Western country. I don't think it's overrated because of the tones.

And on a totally different point, fyi, I have been to China. Quite probably around the place you are, seeing as the colloquial language is Cantonese. So I can't relate when you say you were their for months without speaking Chinese. I was there for only a month, and picked up a significant amount of Mandarin, granted I can understand Cantonese. Besides, the fact that you didn't speak it for ages, doesn't that justify how hard the language is?

162 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-08-26 12:05 ID:YH/SQTg8


163 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-08-29 10:46 ID:Heaven

>the impression you gave in your post

You mean, the way you misinterpereted it. These are different things. People who are not retards think differently than you do! That's why you had to be in a special class at school and weren't allowed to hug everybody.

>Besides, the fact that you didn't speak it for ages, doesn't that justify how hard the language is?

I know foreign teachers that have been in China for years and can't say anything besides the sheer basics. This is common. There are no shared words between English and Chinese, like there are between English and all the other Romance languages, so the usual folk knowledge of simply picking up a language by being in a place does not apply. You do not learn Chinese by eating Chinese food.

I'm not even going to bother adressing the tone issue yet again, because your original misinterpretation is not the argument you're promoting now. What you really meant is only, like, five posts up so I don't know who you think you're fooling.

164 Name: Ben : 2008-09-19 13:07 ID:4PJhOy3C

niwa ni wa niwa niwatori ga iru.

There are two birds in the garden.

Japanese is hard. F'ing homophones. That's a bit of a famous tongue twister.

Kita san wa kita kara kita to kiiita.

I heard Kita came from the north.

165 Name: Ben : 2008-09-19 13:10 ID:4PJhOy3C

Er, sorry... the first one is "There are two chickens in the garden."

Wasn't really thinking...

166 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-09-28 17:58 ID:m70UEUTz

I've heard that Japanese pronouncing would be 'easy' to learn if you are fluent in Finnish. Figured it would be same thing vice versa. There is a word descriping languages whichs pronouncing is how they are written, aw anyway. I don't know how to put it, so bare with me:

Couple of Finnish names
Teemu Selänne
Saku Koivu

Now, what I've heard yankees pronouncing these names they sound like 'Thiimu Selaani' and 'Sakhu Khoiivu'. Of course these sound silly as you can see with the help of >>139 >>140
For instanse 'George W Bush' should be written as 'Tsoots Dabljuu Bus' for a Finn to pronounce it ~correctly. So I guess that what I'm trying to ask is that would it have to be written like that for Japanese to pronounce it ~correctly?

167 Name: Catherine : 2008-11-23 03:53 ID:p9hubuqa

I speak english obviously, haha, but I took Italian in school. It's very hard, so I'm going to say Italian. It's very fun and beautiful though. Hmn, but Japanese and Chinese and german look hard as well. Well, writing the language does... Ah well, and I dont see how english is hard though, I can understand spelling, but pronounciation?

168 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-11-25 18:26 ID:1/shwDVD

Anyone who has an idea what kind of a language Finnish is would agree on it being the hardest one, really!

169 Name: Living in China : 2008-12-15 08:37 ID:XjqiX1d0

I would say chinese is the hardest. you need lots and lots and lots of will power to keep going.

I live in china and i've been studying chinese for 2 years(only 1 in china). I am a native english speaker.

Grammer:doable but not as 'easy' as some other above have made it seem.

tones: verbally, they are a pain in the ass if you want to be perfect. however you don't need to be perfect to be understood. just pretty good.

Character system: while learning, it seems almost never ending. like its this black hole of knowledge for which your brain will never truly capture...until one day you sort of just...do. I've literally woken up one morning, and picked up something i was never able to read before, and all of a sudden it was making sense to me. Today I was reading chinese magazine without any difficulty. before i always had tons of trouble with the same issue. however, if i look at a newspaper, i am once again filled with dread.

Chinese is simply a lot of patience, waiting for your brain to come around and learn the abominable amount of information you need to make it work.

one other thing i hate. I have a horrible time distinguishing names from normal nouns unless the phrasing makes it super obvious. I guess that means i just need to see more names...

170 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-01-02 22:31 ID:FfGqEnEU

I know this is going to make me sound weird or something, but I really find that Chinese and Japanese were easy for me to learn... I'm by no means fluent in either, but I picked up lots of stuff really fast. I think it just depends on how devoted you are to learning the language, and I really think that you should make yourself have fun with it rather than putting stress on yourself when you learn it.

171 Name: shuukyou_gakusei : 2009-01-18 00:02 ID:jsFolgd5


172 Name: heh man!fi.Jek4HW6!!gGKYHXFO : 2009-01-20 02:37 ID:+jv8XjUX


173 Name: Ian : 2009-03-03 12:23 ID:fxu+8T7R

The top 9 hardest languages to learn in the world according to LexiBlog.

174 Name: The top 9 hardest languages to learn in the world : 2009-03-03 12:24 ID:fxu+8T7R

The top 9 hardest languages to learn in the world according to LexiBlog.

175 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-03-06 08:24 ID:gLOX1ihe

Ah, yes, I saw that on reddit. It is very inaccurate in its details, and generally misses the point, IMO.

176 Name: Roman : 2009-03-12 05:28 ID:5PEaXmwM

I was brought to USA when I was 12 years old and I can say that I know English now better than Russian. Russian words can change dozens of times, which is called a highly synthetic morphology. You can mold one word into dozens and then you can mold those words which can create a near unlimited amount of words that is why no one really knows how many words there really are in russian language. then after you done with morphology each word is then subject to six cases of nominal declension – nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, instrumental, and prepositional.

Many people say that Chinese is the hardest, but I think it is one of the easiest ones. People get scared when they see something unfamiliar, like Chinese characters. But the characters are just pictures basically. each picture means something. there are no tenses as far as I know, which is good.
The hardest language of all, at least for me, are Nordic languages, such as Icelandic and Norwegian. I may break all my that with my tongue if I attempt to pronounce even one sentence in those languages.

177 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-03-12 21:10 ID:G45Dc6nm

Vagina. I try to speak Vagina sometimes but everything comes out muffled.

178 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-04-04 10:57 ID:MzExQBXB

german, with the hardest grammar.

179 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-06-21 15:57 ID:56DiEx91

How about Ubykh? It's phonology is the craziest I've ever seen.
2 phonemic vowels : /a/ and /@/
84 phonemic consonants : 31 plosives, 15 affricatives, 30 fricatives, 3 nasals, 4 approximents, 1 trill


180 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-06-22 10:40 ID:kF4XT71f

Yeah Navajo is hard as hell because you'll have one word for like 3 sided geometric shaped land form, and it's tonal as well, so you have to pick up on the subtleties of language more. Beautiful though.

181 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-06-23 12:52 ID:ruaLqA8F


Ubykh is extinct, so there's not much point in entering it into this debate. No-one speaks it any more.

182 Name: Mustahsan : 2009-07-13 04:41 ID:Qr4q2oTY


183 Name: That Polyglot Bastard : 2009-07-23 18:51 ID:BkodDKOk

Since this thread is already a near-meaningless opinionfest, I'll offer my opinions and personal experiences.

I'm a native speaker of American English, and have formally studied eight languages to date. I'm fairly proficient in six, and have limited functionality in another four. The hardest of all the languages I've studied to date (which range from Russian to Cantonese) was almost certainly Pāli, a historical Indian language that is the canonical language of Theravada Buddhism. Even though it's a dead language, it's still used in millions of people's daily ceremonial lives--it's a little like Classical Arabic in that respect. It's also had a significant influence on the vocabulary and grammar of the indigenous languages of modern Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.

I found it difficult for three main reasons: first, it's a very highly inflected language, with three genders and eight cases. Case forms are often identical, but which forms look the same varies depending on classes of words, gender, and number. So while for some words the nominative, vocative, and accusative case endings look the same, for others it's the genitive and dative, or instrumental and ablative. The paradigms are very difficult to memorize, and it's often really hard to tell what case something's in as a result. Even my Sanskrit student classmates were confused, and the two languages have a lot in common. The next incredibly difficult aspect is compounding--it's really hard to parse morphemes. After two years of dedicated study, I had no more than the most basic of reading abilities.

Adding further insult to injury, it no longer has any indigenous script--it is written in different alphabets in all the countries in which it is used or studied (modified Thai script(s) in Thailand, modified Devanagari in India, modified Burmese in Burma, etc.) Each orthographic system that's been superimposed upon it has influenced local pronunciation. So a Thai monk, a Sri Lankan monk, and a Hindi-speaking professor would read the same text in accents that are almost mutually unintelligible. Not that critical for a language that isn't spoken? Well, yes and no--nobody speaks it in conversation anymore, but millions of people chant in it every day.

184 Name: Nil : 2009-08-04 21:08 ID:xSWfxRTL

Just a remark for the hungarian part.
-ban,-ben = in
-ba,-be = to

"Magyarországban" means "in Hungary".
"Magyarországba" means "to Hungary".

185 Name: usude : 2009-08-07 05:37 ID:8yUWXGaM

The hardest in the military is Korean, beating even Japanese.


186 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-08-27 17:20 ID:r8ooUcEq

Really? no ones gunna say it? ....sigh.. alright ill be the one. Comunicating with women. Like trying to learn the language of a brick wall no matter where your from. there i said it. NOW QUICK!! some one call me sexist!!

187 Name: asdf : 2009-10-29 04:01 ID:zBPzQ80U

it is scientifically proven that korean is the most hardest language to learn, and it really is hard. However, people always have to keep in mind that the hardest language is chosen by what kind of language they are speaking as their first language.

188 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-11-03 23:37 ID:Heaven

I wouldn't call Korean the hardest language to learn. It's certainly difficult especially if you have no prior experience with other East Asian languages (namely Japanese whose grammar is strikingly similar). For English speakers, I think the most difficult language to master would be Arabic, followed by Japanese and Korean and then Mandarin Chinese.

189 Name: Bilingual Anonymous : 2009-11-10 13:51 ID:ZhrQ/Riu

I heard that in Korean language there's countless dialects/grammar sets to use in specific situations. (the terminology I used probably isn't perfect, so kindly excuse that) He said something like "Talking to your grandmother and talking to a store clerk ain't even the same language." Can anybody add/comment on this? How he described it sounds a lot more complex than say, Japanese which just has suffixes to add a level of politeness and dialects for use in different areas which mainly just modifies some words with the basic logic being relatively the same.

Saying this for the people who need to hear it. (Those who don't know who they are and I thank you for contributing) Keep in mind that this thread is not absolute, you're not deciding, you're discussing. And try to cut the "I am a professional linguist, I studied Japanese (a lot), Italian (a little), Brainfuck (my mother tongue) for 10 years at Harvard," etc. out of your posts. If your opinion would matter, it would be based on the content of your post and not your alleged past experience.

190 Name: Bilingual Anonymous : 2009-11-10 13:52 ID:Heaven

(Those who don't need to hear it know who they are and I thank you for contributing)

191 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-11-17 19:39 ID:uGJnHs+o

the hardest language to learn is a language that doesn't use the alphabet of your native tongue.

192 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-11-30 02:03 ID:C0ls7KBl


What is your source for Korean being the hardest in the Army?

193 Name: That Polyglot Bastard : 2009-12-04 00:26 ID:BkodDKOk


>>the hardest language to learn is a language that doesn't use the alphabet of your native tongue.

Not necessarily true, in my experience. I've studied languages using seven or eight writing systems, and learning the alphabet has never been the hardest part.

But many people seem to find new scripts intimidating--for example, when I first started studying Russian in high school, most people's first reaction was "Wow, that's so hard, the alphabet's different," which any student of Russian knows is a ridiculous thing to say. Yes, Russian's a challenging language to learn. But you'll know the alphabet before the end of the first lesson.

194 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-12-11 16:49 ID:m6OXibkw

i havent learnt that many languages but i can definitly say that Mandarin is NOT easy as some of you have said. Just being able to listen and speak does not mean you have learnt the language. There is no 'alphabet' for chinese, unlike korean and japanese where if you can speak the language then there is a high chance you can read most things you see everyday.(not including the complex japanese texts which use a tonne of kanji, which are chinese characters.)

When it comes to speaking a language japanese is definitly easier than korean and chinese simply because of the sound of words. You can have a horrible accent speaking japanese but japanese people will still understand you. A horrible accent in chinese could easily make people think you are saying a totally different word. You cant say you can speak chinese if no one can understand your chinese.

195 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-12-19 11:59 ID:nYMUu/gn

not really.

196 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-12-19 11:59 ID:nYMUu/gn

The hardest still is German. It has the most complex grammar.

197 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-12-19 22:07 ID:9ezxW0JR

For an English speaker? Definitely not. German is quite easy, English is much harder I think. German makes sense most of the time, while English is riddled with exceptions :/

198 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-03-30 10:41 ID:DM8aJppk

Isn't it a little hard to distinguish the grammatical genders?

199 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-04-03 16:46 ID:cNVbqAOI


This discussion has collapsed on itself.


200 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-05-10 09:09 ID:Z5OeO6gx


>Mandarin and Cantonese are both dialects. They are not separate languages.

Replace Mandarin and Cantonese with French and Spanish, you got the idea.


>Cantonese is the older

Aren't they both descendant of Middle Chinese, that should make them equally old.

>It is the closest resemblance in linguistics to the Han Dynasty.

What about those Min or Hakka?

201 Name: madie : 2010-05-19 03:13 ID:53ZezmLy

in my experience with learning langauges and being a fluent english speaker I would have to say Hungarian and possibly Friasan are the hardest langauges for fluent english speakers.

202 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-05-23 04:15 ID:w5tosch6

I would say, for english-native speakers, that the hardest language is ranked as the following, with 1 the most difficult:

  1. Basque
  2. Hungarian
  3. Mandarin

203 Name: TIM : 2010-06-10 05:30 ID:TAvdyH/J

what's mean?

204 Name: Carl : 2010-07-04 13:39 ID:+YvYmW3d


205 Name: Lithuanian : 2010-07-24 12:43 ID:8jXdAdpi

english the hardest language... ? NO WAY. i dont agree ! have you ever tried to learn lithuanian ?! no ? so try. i bet it's more difficult than chinese or japanese . lithuanian- the hardest language .

206 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-07-31 19:49 ID:jDdUo1UC

Fuckin' hell yea man! Lituanica!

207 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-08-09 23:50 ID:eW8N/nIa

lithuanian is rediculous.

208 Name: Scatterbrain : 2010-08-23 04:16 ID:XGpHJiVT

Spanish is difficult in the conjugation of verbs, Japanese has two main complications (writing and grammar), Chinese has a very complex phonetics system.

Well, that's all I think.

209 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-08-25 16:11 ID:XtYZApEM

the hardest is Russian, maybe.

210 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-12-29 12:43 ID:1Oy4yY1e

Why isn't Irish?

211 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2011-09-08 07:06 ID:HV23r6qu

I find greek really really hard. I mean ancient greek.

212 Name: Anonymous Bilingual : 2011-11-29 22:31 ID:pHv/Mfpl

I'm not sure if anyone has said this already, but I've been told Thai is a difficult language because its tonal. So the pitch that you use to say something could easily change its meaning
I don't think I could live with that.

Korean grammar is complicated at times but the writing system is very simple,compared to Japanese and Chinese characters. I was able to memorize it in 3 days. But I guess it would depend on understanding of it.For example, one would have to understand that when the characters for 's' and 'i' are next to each other they are pronounced with a 'sh' sound.

Also, as an English speaker, Chinese pronunciation would be something very hard to perfect, in my opinion. The positioning of your tongue can have a lot of effect on how you sound.

But I would think that your native language would affect your ability to grasp certain languages..

213 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2011-12-04 18:33 ID:z2y/NifG

Хтось говорить українською?

214 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2012-06-17 15:36 ID:O7dMY7Fn

215 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2012-06-18 21:14 ID:9qk6JhbM

Try Aymara and its trivalent logic system on for size.

216 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2012-08-23 20:32 ID:Y6/69v/c

Polish and other slavic langs are hard. and czech sounds for polish people like using diminutive forms of polish words lol.

217 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2012-08-25 08:53 ID:ZEezznYK


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