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

Malayalam is incredibly difficult, as there are so many different ways to describe objects, that can tell you various things about the object. For example, the "meh" sound can be added to many nouns, to indicate someone is on or in the noun. There are many different versions of these nouns as well. Malayalam also uses a lot of slang in their vocabulary and figurative language, which could be hard for speakers of other languages to understand. Having a good understanding of the Malayalam language can allow you to learn just about any other language you please.

Malayalam is the sexiest language in the world. You have to clean your tongue before you start speaking out anything in Malayalam. The word malayalam itself is a fascinating string palindrome.
I should note that Tamil sounds like sing-a-song for girls, and Chinese languages seem to be having sounds similar to falling metal objects, although I like both of them very much. The typical fluency of Tamil language as a whole is just magnificent. Peace!


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2 Arabic

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

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

Very hardest

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3 Indian Language

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.

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.


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4 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.

Culture and Literature

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5 Lao

i'm a pro

6 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).

My mom speaks Vietnamese and Cantonese when talking on the phone with my CA relatives. I understand Cantonese but not Vietnamese. Based on the context that she used when speaking in Vietnamese, I am convinced that she was talking trash about me.

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7 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.

My country it is hard
But once to learn it it's fun to make fun of yur friends trying!

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8 Chinese

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

It might easy for people who know English. Their grammar are very same. Also, Korean and Japanese know Chinese character well. - linuxlovemin

Chinese is hard because you have to say right tones in the correct word, if you don't say right tone in that word it can get them confused, and the other reason its hard because there is two different Chinese writhing system there is Chinese Traditional and Chinese Simplified. (If you don't know what the writing looks like, 中國的武罐).

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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. - UncleDolan

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

I believe that if you know Japanese then Korean grammar becomes much easier

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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 Contenders

11 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 not as hard as it seems... it's rather easy! (At least easier than Chinese...) the kanji is something that you just get used to if you write it about three or four times- and I'm not even Japanese! it only gets a little tough when it comes to pronuncing the kanji-- they can have many distinct sounds... The basic grammar isn't that hard either- 彼は夜トです。if you literally translate that it says
He yato is- changing the order up a bit will make it he is yato. So this might as well change your views on this beautiful language!

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12 Tamil

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). - UncleDolan

Tamil is one of the natural languages of the world, and difficult to learn as it does not accept Sanskrit words, thus making it isolated from other Indian languages.

Wonderful invention of human kind
and thank to all those who have we written epics in it

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13 Telugu

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

So hard

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14 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 (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.

If you learn Bahasa Indonesia or Melayu and Spanish, You may learn Tagalog easily, There are two letters "Ñ" and "NG"

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15 Bengali

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.

So hard!

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16 Hindi

Why are people saying Hindi is similar to Urdu? Compare Hindi (Sanskrit) with pure Urdu. Urdu takes roots from Persian, Arabic etc. Hindi belongs to Sanskrit. Read Hindi scripture then Urdu scripture, where's the similarity? Indians have an identity crisis

Hindi is difficult, But if you start learning Hindi then it is very easy.It is very difficult to write but very easy to learn if you know Hindi then its very easy for you because in India the most spoken language is Hindi.

Good language

It's not an trash. What's your language? Second hindi and urdu are not the same thing. Which small country you are from?
I can see howhat much you are proud of?

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17 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

Has 72 letters

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18 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

Tamil is the mother of all dravidian languages of india which includes malayalam.and tamil is the first language and only language survive with out other languages and mother of many languages.

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19 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

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.

Sinhala is an official language of Sri Lanka and spoken by about 80% of the population.It is quite difficult to learn and it has two forms...the spoken form and the written form...though both forms sound quite the same...learning to write in Sinhala can be much harder as many grammatical factors have to be considered to make a sentence accurate than when speaking it.Sinhala has derived from Sanskrit and Pali,two ancient Indo-Aryan languages(Sanskrit is actually the mother language of about all Indo-Aryan languages)and still contain many pure Sanskrit also has a few borrowed words from Potuguese,Dutch,English(due to colonial rule) and Tamil.It does not sound like Malayalam or Tamil.It sounds quite a bit like Hindi and other Indo-Aryan languages.

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20 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.

21 Gujarati


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

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 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.

24 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.

25 Kashmiri

Yes it is little bit difficult to speak, as Sikhs are living here from 150 years still they can't speak it properly, they can speak but kashmiris will get to know that he can't speak kashmiri properly

Its one of the toughest language to speak and to understand...i have seen many Indians living here some r from 50 years still they don't speak it... If somene tries he even can't speak words properly...u need to know urdu,Hindi and English to communicate with locals

It is funny enough that languages like Urdu, Punjabi, Marathi, Hindi etc. languages rank higher than Kashmiri considering its mind-boggling complexity. These languages are like Newton's laws while Kashmiri is Quantum electrodynamics or string theory.

Even natives don't nail proper Kashmiri properly.

26 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

The writing system is not as same as speaking system

I speak this so it's easy

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27 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.

28 Dhivehi

Just added don't know if it is difficult or not.

I am fluent in dhivehi and yes it is very hard even though. I am fluent in arabic also and the dhivehi letters share similarities with arabic but their pronunciación is a lot different. The nice thing about speaking this language is that while in the Maldives speaking the language you will get treated a lot better than all the other tourists.

29 Marathi

Many Hindi speakers who migrate to maharashtra find marathi hard to learn

Marathi language is difficult to learn..but this language are so sweet

Its an awesome languageg

It is the world's 2nd most toughest language
It is really a sweet language when you start learning it you will find more and more sweetness in this language

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30 Urdu

Elegant and beautiful Language

Urdu is very beautiful language

Its very beautiful and it is completely different to Hindi
phrases like aap are used which is very respectful

31 Cantonese

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

Very difficult without pinyin

I speak this. SO EASY! :D

32 Hebrew
33 Hmong

Hmong is barely hard. Just learn the sounds and pronunciations right and you'll be able to get it and be fluent probably within the next month. Even though there may be letters that are VERY confusing, they're actually easy, not at all hard once you get to master them. The grammar is also very easy. Just learn that word and that, blah, blah, and you'll be able to get it. Hmong is very easy. No characters, only American letters to use for the word. Note// Hmong may sound like Chinese, but is NOT. Once you get the hang of this language, it will not be confusing at all. It is probably the easiest language if you keep on learning it. Hope it is. 0_0

34 Oriya

This is one of the deadliest languages available. Close to Bengali but terrifyingly more complex, your head might spin while trying to decode it's sentences.

bakwas hai

35 Konkani

I'm a native Konkani speaker, and I'd say Konkani is one of the easiest languages to learn as it literally adopts it's vocabulary completely from neighboring languages. Konkani is the Esperanto of Dravidian languages.

36 Pashto

Pashto is nice language more then 50 M People Speak it

I love Pashto Because Pashto is my mother language actually I am speaking Danish English Urdu Pashto as a little farsi also but mostly I Love Pashto language and I am proud it

Its lovely and historical language

37 Sentinelese

The Sentinelese have the off-putting habit of attempting to kill or actually killing anyone who attempts to contact them. While this quaint custom has enabled the Sentinelese to remain an unconquered people it presents certain barriers to learning their language.

38 Taiwanese
39 Georgian

I am not Georgian but I think it is VERY HARD. Georgian has its own script called the merkeal or somthin like that and it looks like this (these aren't words they are random letters) ხა"არიხრს"მღყზრიბა ხბრაიც" ხი. and its hard to memorize letters like these but worse are the tongue twisters. hello is gamarjoba. good day is dila marjstoba and many more. keep in mind I am NOT GEORGIAN I AM AMERICAN.

40 Mongolian
41 Somalia Somalia
42 Pahari-Pothwari
43 Malay

Possibly the easiest Asian language to learn as the pronunciation is really straight forward like Spanish/Italian and the grammar is simple as well.

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