Hardest Languages to Learn


The Top Ten

1 Arabic

The thing no one realizes about Arabic that makes it harder than any other language is that EVERYTHING is backwards. Just look at an Arabic book, they read the other way than almost every other language. They also speak backwards. If I were to say "The green ball hit the wall when I saw it." In Arabic, that would be "I saw the wall when the green ball hit it." That might not be exact, but everything is reversed. On top of that, it has a new alphabet, different grammar, etc...

Arabic is hard but it's so stupid to say so because it's "backwards". It's a very old language so you can't say the writing is backwards just because it's the opposite to what you're used to. Arabic is hard for many other reasons. Grammar is so complicated that most Arabic speakers aren't aware of the accurate grammar rules. They speak modern Arabic (slang) in different accents, which is a lot easier than the mother Arabic language itself.

I'm full Arabic and I have no family that doesn't speak Arabic and I really find it difficult. I'm labelled as an English first language student and everyone(my family) excepts me to be the greatest in Arabic. In fact, I can speak in my accent (informal Arabic) but I will never be able to speak formal Arabic with anyone, in any situation. I strongly agree in your opinion about the letters and their pronounciation and as someone who was being taught Arabic and is surrounded with people who speak Arabic since I was a young child, I still don't know how to pronounce some of them.

Okay, I love Arabic but dang the alphabet..I cannot get used to it. All I know are alef, ba, ta, the, geem, da, ra, and zeen. I probably said it wrong. When you say words like ekchee which means talk in Arabic, the eh sound in the start is hard for me to pronounce.

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2 Chinese

As a native English speaker, I find this hard because there is no alphabet, but it is a beautiful language!

I will learn during 2 months to speak Chinese and during one year and a half I will live in Hong Kong and will have to speak Mandarin! Wish me Good Luck! It will be a real Challenge but at the end it will be really beneficial!

I am a Chinese and learned it for so many years and I still can't get it. I hate it and I give up!

What really hard about Chinese is the tones.

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3 Japanese

2 Original scripts, both having 46 characters. Other than the Japanese R, there's no different pronunciation (from English anyway). No tones, but uses kanji to verify on word from the other. Speaking of kanji, there's over 1000 characters, with different parts to it. To top it off, you need to actually memorize the words and verbs. It's not said hard, just has lots of text to memorize.

This is actually the second language I studied (still trying to memorize words and kanji but got the alphabet down), though I didn't have much issue (probably because I'm young, the younger you are the more you can memorize). - Qryzx

As an experienced linguist, I find Japanese the most difficult language. Although it only uses characters half the time, the two long alphabets aren't that better of an alternative. Grammar is very different compared to most other major languages. Honorifics, counters, yuck. At least it doesn't have tones.

We have lots of onomatopoeia, counting styles according to different objects, Chinese characters even natives sometimes mess up, 2 alphabets with 50 letters each. If I had to learn it as a second language I would go insane.

Let's say, you can put numbers, latin alphabets, Chinese words and Japanese itself in one sentence. Pretty complex, yes.

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4 Hungarian

As an English speaker, this language defies everything that makes sense to me. There are so many noun cases, it's difficult to learn to pronounce, sentence structures seem to have a mind of their own (at least as far as I can tell as a beginner).

I agree with it, my friens, but the most beautiful as well!

Hungarian is a beautiful language! Sziasztok emberek!

Actually I speak Hungarian, I was born with it here in a Hungarian minority in Romania. And here is an inaccurate comment saying "Boldog Szulteznapot". Actually it is "Boldog Születésnapot" - MatrixGuy

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5 Polish

Polish isn't THAT hard.
The cases have a lot of rules, but few exceptions, there's only 6 (The 7th is starting to disappear) anyways!
Unlike Spanish, French or English, we only have 3 tenses (and 2 aspects. )
Unlike Danish, French or English, spelling is obvious and phonetic.
Plus we have a lot more Latin/French/English loanwords then most people think. - PolishGuy

Polish is really easy to speak, once you have gotten the hang of it.. But when I was a 1st time polish speaker, I couldn't understand the writing to it. everything looked like random letters since English speakers usually have vowels between certain letters that the polish language doesn't.

Polish isn't that hard As a native English speaker, I find this easy because there is alphabet, but it is a beautiful language!

Polish is definitely one of the hardest languages! Some of the pronunciations are very hard to get the hang of such as sz, because, si, ci, dzi, zi, rz, etc.

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6 Russian

I am Russian and I go to Russian school because I live in Belgium. Well what can I say:Russian has really MUCH grammar rules, and also like un English is red red but in Russian has red specififc colours, And do's specific colours has also words. That means that Russian have also really much words. Thanks if you read it all and understand me.

Russia is hard but it's good to learn it

Loads of grammar. Like even if you're a proper Russian, born there, went school etc. You still wouldn't know all the grammar rules. Plus it has its own Cyrillic alphabet which is complete different from Latin

Russian is my first language and I don't even know the alphabet. It's also true that there's a lot of words for colors, for example light blue is голубой and dark blue is синий. Both of these words are spelled differently depending on the context too...тру'ный язык!

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7 Finnish

Some words can have over 100 meanings.

Finland is totally beautiful and has much better climates than more southern. It is really cold but hot in the summer. I wish to move to Helskini. Though this language named Finnish that they speak their is freakingly hard and way advanced.

I'm a native speaker though

Its hard - Dvafan2

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8 Mandarin

I think it deserves to be called "Chinese" because we're talking about the family of languages, not just one over the other. Let's be honest, most of you can't tell the difference anyways. - somelifeonaplanet

Chinese does not exist. The real name is mandarin.

This is true. It is not Chinese, but Mandarin!

When people talk about Chinese as a language they probably mean Mandarin, not Cantonese.

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9 Icelandic

In my college, as soon as it was heard by many that it was hard, a LOT of people decided to take it. - 1337

But not as much as others - Arii19

I find Icelandic a very interesting language, as it rejects loanwords from other languages and that people who speak it can understand Old Norse and Old Icelandic(?).

That being said, the archaic grammar make this 50x more difficult. - wrests

I would L O V E to learn it.

10 Latin

To be honest, Latin is a pretty logical language. English is actually ten times more illogical than Latin ever will be, it's just the fact a lot of us on TopTens grew up learning it so we see English as "logical". I'm not even sure why it's a dead language, but whatever.

Sorry if that didn't make any sense at all! - vanilla

whaaaa? this is super hard!

Needs to be higher

Nah, it's a relatively easy language in comparison to many other languages - SirNoodles

If you know the suffixes and such then you are on a good way. Still more alive than Inari.

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The Contenders

11 English

I'm a native Chinese speaker. If you want to see how hard Chinese is, give it a try. When I came to America, English was SO much easier than Chinese. You people out there should realize how easy English is compared to other languages. First off, English doesn't have characters unlike most languages. Next of all, it's a lot easier to pronounce, there are NO accents unlike most Asian languages. I believe that if you truly believe that English is hard, try Chinese or Arabic, you will see a HUGE difference.

The pronunciation is changed depending on the word, though. Example: aim, agony, was, etc.
Now, combine that into 26 letters, plus the pronunciation for numbers. Then all sorts of words. I'm a native English speaker, but now that I think about it, it's hard to learn. - Qryzx

Even though English is my native language, I'm looking at it from more of an objective standpoint, as in general complexity. The thing about English is that it's one of the simplest to get into and understand the basics, but the more you learn, the harder it gets. With most languages, once you get the ball rolling and understand the concepts, they get easier, with English it's the opposite. The more you learn, the more you realize how many exceptions there are to literally everything and how complex the language can really get.

If English isn't your first language, it can be extremely difficult to learn. Mostly because of the weird spelling quirks, like knife, or pterodactyl. Also, words such as there, their, and they're can be tricky for people learning the language. - mmarce445

I am a native English speaker, but if I was learning English I think the difficulty would be how it isn't very straight forward. For instance:
Tomb pronounced toom
Womb pronounced woom
But bomb being how its spelt
or horse and worse (spelt the
same but pronounced different
beard and heard
steak and streak
and etc.

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12 German

Well, I agree, but I would still love to learn it! Just very cool sounding to me. But those symbols, the one that looks like a demented letter B, it says a sharp S... ß

All very hard to learn, though.

I agree! I am from Germany and even many people with German as native language have problems with German.

German isn't that hard for English speakers. Most words in english are kind of the same in German.

German isn't that hard.

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13 Greek

It is very difficult and people who think that they can speak, they just think...

Greek should be 2 Ancient Greek should be first

Greek should be 1

Not very hard. I can speak it and I am 14.

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14 Hindi

Ya it is hard!

15 Vietnamese

Vietnamese is pretty hard. I mean, most of the words have more than one meaning at different pitches. Luckily they use the same alphabet as English.

Why is Vietnamese not higher? - JackLawler

Vietnamese is hard this should be number 2, because there is a lot accents, they even have two different accent on one letter, and it is very tricky to pronounce it, even spelling it in the Vietnamese languages is hard. Too hard.

16 Latvian
17 Korean

I'm trying to learn Korean but the person saying it on google says the words to fast so I can't really learn it, and there is a lot of words that becomes confusing for me

How is French and German harder than Korean? I tried learning it once and the pronunciations and letters are too difficult

I'm a half korean. I think Korean grammar is too complexible and it has too many irregular form

Korean is easier though.

If you want to say boy friend you get the Korean symbol for boy, symbol for friend and mash it up together. - infinitecirculation

18 Hebrew

Mi po gam yode-a ivrit?
Who also knows here Hebrew in Hebrew
i'm Israeli

19 Thai

I have really experienced the Thai language. It has hard script and romanization.

20 Sinhala

Sinhala is a one of the world most beautiful language and very hard to spell language. That's why Sinhala have became a one of world most powerful language

A beuty of an undescribable digree can be expressed extremely emotionally through this ancient language

21 Telugu

Super and melodious language

22 Khmer

This is Cambodian. And yes Khmer is hard. - JackLawler


23 Romanian

Romanian has complex structure of the grammar which is hard even for almost Romanian native speakers. There in Romanian are a lot of dialects (Moldavian; Oltenian; Transylvanian) which may involve a different pronunciation of the words. There in Romanian are a lot of synonyms ( for "to speak" you can say "a spune"; "a vorbi"; "a zice"; "a grăi"; "a comunica"; etc.) for a word that you may not understand a person from another region if you don't know them all. Also Romanian is the languages in which Latin was the best perserved.

24 Basque

Basque is the only European language not related to another language. It's phukkin hard

25 Portuguese

The verbs in Portuguese are actually harder (at least in my version, the European Portuguese) than any other Romance Language.

Have a double level of difficulty if compared with spanish.

26 Danish

Super easy grammar, but dictionaries are useless unless they have pronunciations. One of the hardest pronounced languages ever. This language should be way higher up on the list.

It's next to impossible to guess the pronounciation of words just from the spelling. Tonnes of different wovel sounds, that sound the same to the untrained ear. Very few non-native speakers kan use the soft 'd' correctly - even after decades of daily practise.

27 Swedish

I'm swedish and its not hard

I'm a native swedish speaker and there is one thing you have to know and that is "en" and "ett". These two means "a" or "an" in english. "A cat" means "en katt" but "a house" means "ett hus". They have no rules at all so you have to learn which one to use Word for Word.

28 Turkish
29 Lao
30 Croatian

I'm native speaker of croatian language and for me croatian is so so hard because of the

31 Estonian
32 Czech

This should be higher up on the list. Czech is definitely one of the hardest languages out there. There are so many ways to say one thing.

One of the hardest language in a world.

I think it should be on 3rd place of the hardest languages, seems like the hardest language

- Only language in the world with the letter ř.
- Lots of words with same meaning. For example: kluk, chlapec, mladý muž, this all means the same word - a boy. Or this: Dívka, děvče, holka - this all means a girl in Czech
- Czech: 1. Jan
2. Jana
3. Janu, Janovi
4. Jana
5. Jane!
6. Janu, Janovi
7. Janem

English: 1. John
2. John
3. John
4. John
5. John!
6. John
7. John

- Very complex grammar
- atd. (etc.)

33 French

I am Canadian with Japanese origins, I really enjoyed for having learned French. Yes, it's a difficult language to start learning but once you speak a bit you always progress. I don't really know if I have any accent but when I've been in Paris anyone was kind with me, French people adore when you speak their own language and the do love accents. And now in Montreal I fell in love with a so pretty and charming French girl..

I know French is for sure not the hardest, but it's spelling and pronunciation is very demanding. I just want to say that it is the hardest romance language, and the the majority of the words you say have loads of silent letters and stuff. However French doesn't COMPARE to Arabic!

Actually, French is easier to learn than most of the languages here, since it's more related to English (both influenced by Latin) - ethanmeinster

This is so easy to learn! I recommend it as a second language. - micahisthebest

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34 Tamil

I am fed up with this ancient language. This language is my mother tongue but still it's so tough for me to write and read. Let me say the truth, tamil must be in the 1st place because this is more ancient than Greek,Sanskrit,Latin,Chinese and Arabic.


In school teachers won't teached properly tamil (தமி'்) everything pronunciation

35 Pashto

It would just be really confusing if this was a Americans' second language.

36 Georgian
37 Albanian

Never heard of It before, usually mainly unknown languages are harder, and according to the first page, it is easier than English.

Albanian is way harder than most of these languages probably top 15

38 Slovak

I'm a native speaker so for everyone who has some weird reason to actually learn this language I warn you that there are just way too much grammatical rules that doesn't make any sense and some are completely unnecessary and few words have really funny conjugation that sound unnaturally even for native speakers and if you really want to learn this language despite everything then I wish you good luck and to end this post with something positive- if you can speak this language then you'll have no problem to learn other slavic languages

This is very hard language. Hard grammar, 7 cases.

I'm native speaker... but jeeesus this language is insanely hard...

39 Cantonese

Cantonese is even more difficult then Mandarin Chinese since it has 9 tones instead of 4, and in Cantonese the written word may not match what is said. - Megapretzel

There is literally no way it can be down at 54 at the time of writing. This language is kinda like Chinese except... they added an additional 5 tones, more characters, and what's written doesn't even match what's said sometimes.

It is way harder than mandarin

Cantonese is EASY I speak this all the time! (I'm Asian)

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40 Malayalam

How could you forget this language? It's the most hard language to learn in Asia. So of course it should come in top ten. Just look at the letters, they are so hard to learn

Rated as no 1in the list of hardest Asian languages to learn (which includes Arabic, Mandarin and what not). Rated as #43 in this list? Surely you must be joking, lol!

It's not about grammer where it's hard it's about expression

41 Lithuanian

If Latvian is up there, Lithuanian should be on the same level if not higher. Both languages are from the Baltic Group and have many similarities toward each other. Born in Lithuania, and living in the United States for 13 years, I've had the oppurtunity to study many languages such as Spanish, portuguese, and German but can say that these languages do not come close to the precision and accuracy required to master a Baltic Langauge

Grammar different, almost impossible to learn correctly.

42 Somali
43 Amharic
44 Irish

Oh my! Irish in Irish is Gaelige. It is pronounced like Gay-lee. We'd say Gay-lij.Hard!

Complicated vocabulary, sometimes you do not know when to use a lenition or eclipsis even after reading the rules

Not the hardest in the world but still pretty hard - Har-Jak

I'm fluent in Irish :/ not even my main language.

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45 Slovene

Those of you, who said that German, French or Dutch are hard. Have you ever tried Slovene? It's the hardest, it has the dual form which a majority of languages lack and it has cases, conjugation of verbs and changing letters and many words are irregular and much much more.

It's Slovenian, not Slovene. - JackLawler

46 Persian

I do not really like this language, but I must say that racism is not good all

Persian? Like the cat breed?

Tihs lang is very sweet because this is comfortabee for learning, so I like this

47 Gaelic

I am a natural Gaelic scot but I wasn't taught to learn this language until I wanted to and it was pretty hard

48 Dutch

Dutch is a fantastic language similar to German but has also spun out flamish( Belgian dutch) there merchants of Amsterdam use it. My family speaks it and it's hard for me to understand at 20 years old having heard it for years.

49 Welsh
50 Greenlandic

Seriously? This is the hardest! Why is it not number 1? Most sentences in english can translate to a 20 letter Greenlandic word

Its basicly icelandic just a million times harder and icelandic is at the top I see

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