Most Difficult Asian Languages

The Top Ten

1 Malayalam

I have heard that Malayalam is the toughest Indian language to learn. I am a native Malayalam speaker and the advantage of this language is that if you know this language, it will be easier for you to learn other languages especially Arabic. Other than Malayalam I speak 3 other Indian languages, Russian, Spanish and French fluently

Pleasant to listen to, but also one of the hardest languages to learn. I can't even pronounce any of the words!

Learning Malayalam is like practicing tongue twisters. People may find it difficult to learn & it's because Malayalam is one of that unique & amazing language in the world. Malayalam has alphabets & words that can't even be pronounced or written in other languages including English.

Malayalam has got unique sounds which are absent in both its parents - Sanskrit and Tamil

2 Arabic

I am a native English speaker it's my mother language it was really hard to learn the first 7 letters of Arabic but with the power of will and hard work me and my bro who also was with me in this journey I am now a native Arabic speaker also I thought my friends in Canda and my parents how to speak Arabic and now I am 27 yrs now I am pro Arabic teacher teaching in a school in England and I took a certificate for helping more than 550 people around the world. I have 4 children and they are native Arabic speakers. Now me, my husband, our children, my bro,and my parents have officially got 3 Arabian nationalities and now we are learning Turkish and planning to live there :) AT LAST I DO AGREE ARABIC IS THE HARDEST LANGUAGE IN THE UNIVERSE ( DUE TO PRONOUNCIATION ) thanks

This language should be almost impossible just learning. I'm trying to learn the languages on the list, and so for I've covered 6. Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, Chinese, Tagalog and Cantonese. I cannot speak this and I can't wright it at all. I don't recommend learning this language unless you're up for a big 10 year challenge.

Arabic is the hardest language to learn for an English speaker because of the letters.

Arabic is not that hard I speak and am American and I took me just one year and half to learn so yeah

3 Persian

It is usually grouped as being in the second hardest GROUP of languages. It is my first language, so I don't know how hard other people think it is. Conjugations are very simple and there is no masculin or feminin unlike many other languages. It may be easy for English speakers because it is from the Indo-European language branch (the group of languages that stretch from Europe to Central Asia and North India, the same group as English and most other European languages). It is not in the same language group as Arabic (which is an Afro-Asiatic language, the language branch spoken in parts of Asia and Africa). It does have some Arabic influence though from Arab invasions. So this language might be easier than some think.

No, its not. Actually, it's so easy. I can speak Persian and I think it's better than English

Its pretty complicated for me.

It s not hard. just its alphabet is a little difficult. It is the same as arabic.

4 Vietnamese

Vietnamese is a tonal language so if you use the wrong tones, you can accidentally say a different word than the word you intentionally tried to say. Also, the northern and southern dialects are different so people from the north have a hard time understanding the people in the south due to differences in pronunciation.

Beside being a tonal language of at least 6 tones (yes, more than 6 in some areas), Vietnamese language looks deceptive simple at a glance when it comes to grammar in comparison to other languages such as French; and because of those features that Vietnamese very dense in meaning with few words. It has a long list of classifiers for almost everything.

I will never Vietnamese, even I do live next to the country but it's just impossible. Chinese, Korean and Japanese are easier to learn than Vietnamese (to me it is).

Vietnamese is in family group of Khmer-mon language group. So, it isn't that hard to learn for Cambodian.

5 Thai

Speaking easy Thai is possible to achieve through daily life learning but it's just for easy communication. If you want to master the authentic Thai language use, you have to be systematically trained in the formal class. The official writing is the hardest part, even Thai people still have this problem.

I'm Thai and I think the idea that Thai is hard is actually not true even in the slightest. Thai has very easy grammar and syntax. The pronunciation can be hard, but still far from impossible.

Thai is really hard to learn. It's really hard to write, read and spell out words. I think Thai is harder than Chinese, I am Thai and it was really easy for me to learn Chinese.

The accent is really complicated.

6 Chinese

What's even harder is the fact that there is two Chinese Languages and the writing is very different.

The spelling is what's even harder because there is no alphabet.

If you do think Chinese isn't the hardest language, you haven't tried it before. Sure, it might be easier for Thai or Vietnamese, but for non-tonal language speakers it's almost impossible to SPEAK Chinese. Japanese and Korean have very easy pronunciation, Japan has alphabets, Korean doesn't even need Chinese characters, it's the least time consuming language to learn. I've been learning them three about 10 years in total. If I could I would learn Korean, Japanese and one other in the time of studying Mandarin (which is the easiest Chinese language).

Okay but Chinese should be far higher up. I live in America with two first generation immigrant parents and they've been teaching me chinese ever since I was four, and I still find it rather difficult. So I think maybe chinese should be considered harder than some of the languages up there

7 Lao

i'm a pro

8 Japanese

Japanese has two simple alphabets, but it also has several thousand Chinese characters (called kanji) which are used just as often as the other two alphabets. The kanji are actually sometimes more complicated because China has since simplified it's characters whereas Japan has not (Japanese originated from Chinese by the way). They also have multiple pronunciations - like 7. Also the sentence order is different to English so it's confusing. The use of particles (don't worry what they are if you don't know) means sentences can be said in any order and still understandable. There's also conjugations which change depending on the social status of person you're talking to. Chinese has characters and tones but it has really really really simple grammar. Japanese is so complicated

Even Japanese can't speak perfect Japanese... So complicated and so many beautiful vocabulary that can not translate to English. But to speak broken Japanese is easier than other.

I tried learning Japanese in the past, it was really hard to read, because there are so many words that I have to memorize!

Japanese is so hard. Even Japanese kids mess up regularly and the grammar is really confusing.

9 Korean

Korean is extremely easy to read and contrary to what people say, the grammar is actually quite easy to understand. What makes it difficult is that Korean has no relation to languages I already speak. It actually is not related to any language in the world, being what is called a language isolate, but due to the large amount of Chinese derived vocabulary, knowing Chinese makes learning Korean much easier. I do not speak Chinese, unfortunately, so most of the Korean vocabulary seems totally alien to me, and most of the time when I need to use a translator to translate a sentence, it's because I don't know what the words translate to, not because I don't understand the grammar. Korean is not as hard as Japanese, though, because of the ridiculously easy writing system.

I actually think korean is very complex but if you really learn it actually becomes waayy easier. I learned from movies. So ow I'm pretty fluent

Korean to be honest isn't as bad as you might think. Each character is assembled not by meaning like Chinese but by sound, so first you put the consonant, then the vowel. It's a lot like English except that the word are stacked on top of each other (i'm Korean)

Its really hard because of the formal and informal language and there's two different words and you don't know which is for what type of situation so it is really hard but when you learn it, it seems easy

10 Tibetan

Some ancient Tibetan languages have up to 19 tones! That's like more than twice the amount in Cantonese! Just because a language is not widely spoken, doesn't mean it's not hard.

The Newcomers

? Hindi

What the hell is "Indian Language"? I mean there are so many languages in India

Seriously? "Indian Language"? There's no language called "Indian language". I mean really? There are a lot of languages in India. Anyways, if this is supposed for any language from India, then I deny it. I'm not fluent, but one language I know. It's easy for me. And then again, these are all opinions.

They look like scribbles. No offense to Indians - IceBearRules

Indian Languages other than hindi are very difficult, if you know Hindi, then you could communicate with 67% of india. Only South Indian and North-Eastern India languages are difficult, if you know english then you could communicate with them.

The Contenders

11 Tamil

World hardest language is obviously Tamil it took me 4 year to mesmerize Tamil but 5 months to memorize Telugu ,Bengali and Hindi.

Tamil, which is predominantly spoken in South India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malasyia and Maldives is relatively easier to understand than some of the other south Indian languages because of its clarity in pronunciation. But it is very difficult for a foreigner to speak in that language because of the stress that people need to put on words to pronounce them. If you know either Telugu, Kannada or Malayalam, then it will be easier for you to learn Tamil.

I'm a Tamilian who was born and raised in America. I find that Tamil is not hard to understand, but very difficult to speak, because the language contains so many sounds that are not commonly found in other languages, and words are often differentiated by minor differences in pronunciation. The writing system is also quite hard- even my parents, who both grew up in India, have trouble reading the script (although this is probably because they studied Hindi instead of Tamil at school).

It’s easy to understand but so hard to speak, I kind of get why malalyam is number one, my mom grew up with her mom speaking it but she can only understand it.

12 Telugu

I was born and bought up in Australia. But my parents were born in India and all of my family is in India as well. I speak English every day, but Telugu will always be my mother tongue. It is an amazing language, and unlike English, it is actually easier to learn. In English there are many ways to spell and read each word, where as in Telugu there is only one way. Telugu is not actually as hard as everyone says it is. In fact it is probably easier than English, in some ways.

I think Telugu would be easier to learn for someone who already speaks a South Indian language. Even for North Indians, I don't think it is impossible as it is very close to Sanskrit and even preserves many elements of Sanskrit that other Indian languages have lost.
The script is not overly complex as it is very logical. It definitely takes a lot of practice though. The gender is also easier than other languages as most things are conjugated with the female verb form, one doesn't need to remember any genders. I think Telugu is the easier of the south Indian languages and I would say that a serious student should be able to learn it easily.

Nope as of me, I am from kerala, its very easy for me to learn telugu.. I had never been to andra, I have no telugu friends too, still I could understand telugu... Its easy for keralaites...

Yes it is most difficult language to pronounce

13 Filipino (Tagalog)

It almost the same to the English words but pronouncing the words is rather dodgy and almost 10% not understandable no offense no offense I too a Filipino but when you learn to read them right it is not that funny.

Tagalog is pretty easy but the grammar's verbal focus will kill your head. Even as a native Filipino, I got a low grade in this lesson. Master Verbal Focus and everything will come a piece of adobo!

Filipino's verb conjugations are very confusing to non-native speakers.

Filipino (Tagalog) is one of the easy language in asia, why? Simply because the Philippines is colonize by the Spain and America at the top. More than 90% of filipino are english speaking, and some of them are Taglish (Tagalog-English). Aside from english, some of filipino words are simillar to Spanish language. The Philippines/Filipino are very fast learner and more advance in my own opinion. Filipino are hardworking obviously.

14 Punjabi

I am a native Punjabi speaker. It is a very difficult language to learn as the alphabet contains 30 letters + 5-6 'extra letters' (5-6 depending on which dialect of the language you speak, or they may be non-existent for some people for the same reason). But it is a very beautiful language. The number of speakers is very low though which is sad because it shows the language may soon become extinct at this rate. I encourage everyone to look into the language and find out some things about it.

So beautiful language

15 Bengali

It is easy to speak Bengali if it is your mother tongue but reading, writting and mastering spelling is the hardest part.

Not begin able to pronounce the Bengali words correctly. Besides words are very hard to write and it may take some time to some writing.

Bangle is very hard to learn for foreigners because it has sounds that other languages don't have.

It is THE one of the hardest language.

16 Sinhalese

Because I am Sinhalese and there is hard words and even I find it a bit hard.

I am a native Sinhalese speaker although some written grammatical forms are difficult.but very rich language to express correct sound and meanings

Very hard

Sinhalese is a bit tough to learn, but it is one of the most beautiful languages to ever exist, starting from the pretty, rounded letters and song like pronunciation. If you want to learn Sinhalese, just go for it. It’s worth it.

17 Sanskrit

It has an extremely sophisticated grammar that will take years to master. Even the native speakers make mistake while using the language. Even a single mistake can disrupt the grammar.

Sanskrit is mother of all Indian languages even malyam it has complete vocabulary and grammar even English and other foreign language do not have proper vocabulary it also tough language in the world by learning sanskrit and telugu we can get knowledge

very hard

I am Cambodian, and I knew it really hard to learn for other foreigner. but when you can read or speak Khmer you will be easy to pronouncing another language.

18 Khmer (Cambodian)

In term of pronunciation and script, Khmer is difficult. Its combined sounds are complex. For example : Thngai, phteh, chhnganh, Sdab, chrroychong va, Khdam, khchek,.. The end sounds are worse. You would not hear what the last sound is. For exaple : pet, pek, pech, ped, peth, pekh, penh, pen, peng, pep, peb, peh, pel,.. Its consonants are way bizarre.

I've been wanting to learn Khmer, but no one really knows the language :( I've heard it, though, and it is DIFFICULT. Also, it seems their English spelling of words don't help at all as their pronunciation is waay different than it looks. I'm interested to see what level of difficulty it would be on compared to it's surrounding countries and China.

Probably the toughest I say 72 alphabets not including the headers

I've read about it. And this language considered as an insanely hard language.

19 Bahasa Indonesia

I am a native in this language. The language is so simple. You just need to memorize the words and put them in Subject + Verb + Object +... then it has meaning.

This is so simple language

Indonesia has more than 740 native languanges, to united all of them. Indonesia made national languange which is called "bahasa". Bahasa is simple in order people easy to learn.

But from all native languanges, any some languange that hard to learn and do. The harsest one is "Basa Jawa". It's similiar to thai, Cambodia, etc but to do this languange you have to know your opposite talker. You will do difference word when you talk toward older, younger, at your age, importance pearson, etc. So, one word has many same words.

20 Urdu

Elegant and beautiful Language

Urdu is very beautiful language

Great language. I love it.

Best language

21 Gujarati

I disagree since mostly everyone in my class knows Gujarati including my teacher being Canadian


Gujarati is one of the toughest language for non-gujarati.
proud to be an indian.
proud to be a gujju.

When u learn chand and alankar of Gujarati..
U ll be like.. I can't just pass this sub..even for native Gujarati s...
and why intelligent businessman are from Gujarati..

22 Kannada

Tough language to learn

It sounds just like telugu for people who don't understand it

It is also tough language

We have hundreds of northies in B'luru strugling to learn it

23 Nepali

There are so many Nepali languages. It's similar to Hindi so most people in Nepal do speak Hindi. Even the writing is same to Hindi. The hardest part is people speak quiet fast so it is quiet hard to understand.

Very tough. There are more than 50 Nepali cultural languages.

Very hard to write.

Learning Nepali language can take a lot of time. There 26 alphabet +12 extra alphabet ( which are said to be vowels). My friend is a Nepalese speaker, after she went oversea for 2 years, she forgot how to read and write in Nepalese. She learned Nepalese but still after 2 years she still has difficulties reading and writing in Nepalese.

24 Burmese

Super confusing. It's grammar has an object subject verb order, and there are more than a hundred particles. It is hard for English people and it's alphabet is rendered into English in a stupid way. Hard on so many levels but so interesting.

25 Cantonese

Cantonese is basically Mandarin but with separate written and colloquial languages. It has 9 tones in total and I didn't learn about them until I was in high school in Hong Kong. They don't teach kids this because it is hard and confusing. It has something similar to pinyin in Mandarin but it is not widely used and it is very not intuitive. I have never learnt it and still can't read it and be able to say the word right. It is hard to learn Cantonese right if you are not native or talk to native speakers for a long time. I'm lived in Hong Kong for 17 years.

The same writing system as Mandarin but with a more complex tone system

I can remember the words. And I also have problem a about my pronunciation.

The writing system is not as same as speaking system

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