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

Very tough language to learn

It is very hard because contains tones and thousands of character

I am a Malayali and knowing Malayalam is a huge fortune because everywhere I go there will be an Indian who speaks Malayalam and also telling from experience learning other languages will not be hard.

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2 Arabic

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

I speak Arabic but learning to read and write it is hard

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3 Indian Language

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

Lol all sounds the same to me

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.

Do you mean languages in India? India doesn't have 1 language it has languages

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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

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.

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.

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.

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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.

The accent is really complicated.

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8 Chinese

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

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).

I’m Chinese and the only problem is the words
1/4 of the time I confuse one word with another

Chinese doesn't have an alphabet.

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9 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.

10 Korean

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

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

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

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)

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

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12 Tamil

You can learn any languages to #survive.. yeah its fact.. But if you want to learn about Life, Love,Sacrifice, Spiritual, War, Attitude, Bravery, Poetic, Grammatical, Confidence, Coherence...etc...You should learn 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

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

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13 Telugu

Took 5 years to fully learn

Yes telugu is very hard to learn and even harder to write

So hard

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.

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14 Filipino (Tagalog)

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

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.

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15 Sinhalese

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.

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

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

Sinhalese is the official language of Sri Lanka and the closest language to Malayalam. I'm a native speaker and I honestly think Sinhala might be really hard for Europeans. Half of it's vocabulary is only used in writting and you need seperate conjugations for female, male, single, plural in writting and absoltely no conjugations in speech. This is somewhat like Tamill too.

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16 Bengali

I agree

It is THE one of the hardest language.

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

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.

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17 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

Piece of trash!

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

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18 Sanskrit

Even this is tough it has many advantages. If u learn sanskrit u can learn

every language

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

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19 Khmer (Cambodian)

Has 72 letters

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

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.

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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

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

It is also tough language

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

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

23 Urdu

So Rear language and x1000 times better than Hindi

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

Elegant and beautiful Language

Urdu is very beautiful language

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 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.

26 Cantonese

I speak this so it's easy

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.

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27 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.

28 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.

29 Dhivehi

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.

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

30 Marathi

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

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

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

Its an awesome languageg

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31 Hebrew
32 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

33 Oriya

Who the guys said odia language is a bakwas language. I think it will be wrong because odia is a most beautiful language in all over India. It is a Peaceful area in all over India. The People of Odisha is Good & Odisha is Famous for their own different types of food

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

34 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.

This should be number 1

35 Pashto

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

Pashto is nice language more then 50 M People Speak it

Its lovely and historical language

36 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.

37 Taiwanese
38 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.

39 Mongolian

Learning mongolian accent is the hardest

40 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.

41 Somalia Somalia
42 Pahari-Pothwari
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