The Hardest Languages To Learn (Part 1)


Learning a language is a very difficult, lengthy, and sometimes frustrating undertaking. The amount of dedication and perseverance required to master one is pretty much a lifelong exercise...

On the other hand, it is also an immensely rewarding experience that can open many avenues, both socially and regarding career opportunities, and has plenty of associated psychological benefits.

Although starting the adventure of learning a new language isn't for the faint of heart, there are languages so deeply complicated that will test the resolve of anybody who even thinks about tackling them. They can be difficult for many different reasons, and the learning curve also depends on the native language of the learner to determine how much trouble they have gotten into. Nevertheless, for those up for a challenge, read on.


The language spoken in China, and therefore by almost a fifth of the world population, also happens to be mind-bendingly difficult for everybody else that wasn't born into it. For starters, it has its own alphabet, which complicates things quite a bit. Next is the fact that it's a tonal language, which means that the pitch in which you pronounce words can also alter their meaning, so having a good musical ear can make a huge difference.

It is also a language filled to the brim with idioms and aphorisms that need to be experienced if one wants to wrap their heads around them, so living there for a time is highly recommended. The fact that there are so many business opportunities in China means that mastering the language can also be quite lucrative. The pressure is on!


Spoken across many parts of Africa and the Middle East, Arabic is another of those languages spoken by millions that is a massive challenge to learn. Its own alphabet is arguably one of the most beautiful in the world, but it is so profoundly different from any other language that reading and writing in it is quite the endeavour. The simple fact that It is written from right to left already plays games with our brains and how we naturally process text, and if it already makes a number on humans with this direction switch, the poor computers also have difficulty managing it.

If that wasn't enough, some letters are written differently depending on which part of the word they fall into, and vowels aren't written down in text. The idea is that the context the word provides is enough for Arabic speakers to know how to pronounce it correctly. For those who are trying to learn it, tough luck.


Although it uses the same alphabet as many of the european languages, Icelandic has proven to be one of the most challenging languages to learn for English speakers. A collection of different letters that are exclusive of the language, three genders and four cases, and many long words that quickly turn into an unpronounceable labyrinth to the uninitiated, learning Icelanding can be quite harrowing for those who thought it would be on the easier side.

What also adds a notable amount of difficulty is their penchant for outright making up new words for newly invented objects. It's kind of an unwritten rule that languages more or less adopt the original names of these items, and switch around a couple of things to keep them comprehensible for the rest of the world. Icelandic speakers seem to be perfectly content with conjuring confusion out of thin air for the rest of us, which also admittedly keeps their language fresh and original. Their approach is definitely as cool as their climate, and we love it.

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