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HayleyThursday 23rd of September 2004 01:36:24 AM
Hardest/Easiest language? - I am very interested in knowing this. Some languages certainly are a lot more complex than others. I think that if you are, say, Swedish, it would be easier for you to pick up languages around you like Norweigan, Finnish Icelandic as they are somewhat similar. My first language is English, so I think it would probably be very difficult to learn an Asian language as their whole alphabet is different. I tend to lean towards more European languages, like Spanish, which is challenging but comes easier to me than I think other languages would. What are your thoughts on this?
drumingbeetThursday 23rd of September 2004 06:58:37 AM
languages - hi hayley!
well, that's a good question. yes, asian languages can be very difficult. superscribe, subscrib, vowels...latin language are also very beautiful, however, like wih spanish, certain words can seem very similar (to french say) but have a totally different meaning!! so, as language learners, were always in for some surprises, whether the language we want to learn looks similar to our native one, or not!
AnyaThursday 23rd of September 2004 07:32:25 AM
- wow, I totally agree with both of you.
In my case, trying to learn French, the biggest setback has been knowing and speaking Spanish for so long. I can understand when someone speaks or writes French (for the most part), but speaking it! yikes! just like what you say about different meanings. ;)

In that sense, I find asian languages almost easier. Having a different alphabet helps separate what's written from how I think it's pronounced. Do you know what I mean?
After learning Devanagari, speaking Nepali seems a lot easier than my numerous attempts at French :-/
Along the same lines, I can understand Polish a lot better also because there is a different alphabet than Russian.
I guess what works best for me is to learn from contrasts, although I can see the benefits of mastering similar languages!


Peter fra LAThursday 23rd of September 2004 08:38:56 AM
Language Survey - Finnish and Hungarian are widely hailed as the most difficult languages in the world [at least for English speaking Westerners]. They're related to each other, but not in any way that's helpful or even apparent. There aren't five words remotely similar in the two languages. Slavic languages, like Russian usually ranked near the top as well.

Indonesian(1) is regarded as the easiest language. A student of Latin will rejoice for they would be hard pressed to find anything in Indonesian remotely recognizable as grammar. It is there, but very minimal, regular, and simple.

Orang is "Man", to make it plural just say Orang Orang "Men"
To write, just type out Orang 2 and you wrote the plural!

Orang Hutan was transfered into English and most Americans will pronounce it "Orangutang" -- I bet you can figure that one out.

Except for learning the characters, Chinese shares in having minimal grammar.

"In that sense, I find asian languages almost easier."
Here, I share the same opinion from when I learned Japanese.

(1) After four hundred years of Dutch rule, you can still be understood in some parts as a Dutch speaker.
nytewulfThursday 23rd of September 2004 01:53:04 PM
- i agree that asian languages aren't as bad as people say they are. i've discovered that it all depends on your pronunciation base. if you can comfortably manipulate sounds without pause, then you can learn any alphabet. i'm having trouble with latvian, simply because it's so different from what i'm used to. my only luck was that japanese helped me with c's, which are pronounced as 'ts'. often, if we learn to forget what we know, we can begin anew with the language at hand. japanese was simple enough, because only 'tsu' and the r/l pronunciation rules were to be learned. with latvian, i have a whole new set one sounds to combine, learn, or alter.
HayleyThursday 23rd of September 2004 03:23:49 PM
- Thanks for all the feedback!
Oh, man, that is bad news, Peter, seeing as I really want to learn Finnish! I didn't know it was one of the hardest languages to learn...are you sure it's that difficult?
Peter fra LAThursday 23rd of September 2004 03:36:10 PM
Finnish is fine - [quote]Originally posted by hayley4orli


are you sure it's that difficult? [/quote]

If your goal is to learn Finnish, then do not let a difficult ranking disuade you. You have all the time to learn it.

You may have experienced the difficulties of tackling Latin and Russian with their half-dozen or so noun cases. Finnish has fifteen noun cases in the singular and sixteen in the plural! Every word in the entire language is accented on the first syllable, giving Finnish a unique sound. As you learn more and more about foreign languages, you're able to laugh
at more and more jokes about languages.(1)

If your goal is to learn multiple languages, then you may want to consider using one of the easier languages on your list to start with as you work out a group of techniques and learning schedule that works best for you.

(1) "You know, Finnish and Hungarian are cousin languages, but Finnish took all the vowels!"
battakappuThursday 23rd of September 2004 04:01:28 PM
- Yea, I've heard that about Finnish too. It's not put me off yet! Of course, I'm just beginning, so who knows. Amazing language anyway.

My easiest would have to be Spanish.. I'm not that good at it because I didn't want to learn it a LOT, but I caught on to the grammar and such very quickly.
AnyaThursday 23rd of September 2004 04:20:01 PM
- I agree with Peter, don't let a language's difficulty discourage you from learning it. Sometimes the perceived difficulty may be not even be from the intricacy of the language structure itself, but in finding someone to speak with while learning (which luckily is correctible! :))
If you want to learn the language, you can overcome most any barrier ;)

Peter: I appreciate your jokes/information!

HayleyThursday 23rd of September 2004 06:30:46 PM
- Hmmm, yes you're right I see. At the moment I am learning Spanish and I agree it is probably the easiest language to start with.
AnyaThursday 23rd of September 2004 06:52:56 PM
- You are welcome Hayley,
Thank you for sharing such a great song with me ;)
I'll be glad to help you with Spanish any way I can if you'd like.
HayleyFriday 24th of September 2004 05:29:06 PM
- Thanks Kay!
I believe you're Russian? Last night I went to see the Imperial Russian Ballet Co. perform 'Don Quixote'. It was very good! I think Russian is a beautiful language, too. Was it hard for you to learn English because I think learning Russian would be very hard for me?
ScarfaceCLBSunday 26th of September 2004 03:13:10 PM
Vietnamese - My girlfriend's dad is Vietnamese, and he told me it would be hard for me to learn as an English speaker. Can anyone give me a detailed summary of their experience with learning the language?
AnyaSunday 26th of September 2004 04:03:59 PM
- Hayley,
I love ballet! And Don Quixote! ahhh. I miss being in St.P so much!
To answer your question, I started learning English when I was 4, so it was fairly easy. I had a thick British accent because our teacher spoke British English. When I came to the states it took me about a month to get rid of the accent. And that's my English-learning story. :)

You can learn Russian, I am certain of it!

HayleySunday 26th of September 2004 08:51:04 PM
- Thanks for the encouragement!
fleur_flowerTuesday 28th of September 2004 08:52:33 AM
- Hi Hayley!

I think Arabic is one of the most difficult languages in the world. It has a strange alphabet, hard to speak the pronouncement and complicated grammar. It took 1 year for me to write and read Arabic and nowadays I still know nothing about it :(

I agree w/ Peter that Indonesian is regarded as the easiest language. Indeed it uses some Dutch words but you just can't compare it to Dutch.
"Big house" we say it in Indonesian "rumah besar" which literally translated as "house big", most foreigner has difficulty with that.
My dad is a Dutch and my mum is an Indonesian, so I've been educated bilingual. Even though I sometimes find a difficulty to make a good Indonesian sentence, especially when I don't speak it in ages..

bennylinThursday 30th of September 2004 12:33:56 AM
- i have two people at least which have the same opinion as me.

as for vietnamese, although it is asian, but somehow i think that will be the last Asian Language that i wish to learn. strange sound it is. feel free to comment my post for vietnamese speakers
HisGirlFridayFriday 01st of October 2004 08:27:47 AM
- [quote]Originally posted by kayguarnay


Hayley,
I love ballet! And Don Quixote! ahhh. I miss being in St.P so much!
To answer your question, I started learning English when I was 4, so it was fairly easy. I had a thick British accent because our teacher spoke British English. When I came to the states it took me about a month to get rid of the accent. And that's my English-learning story. :)

You can learn Russian, I am certain of it!
[/quote]

I think the alphabet alone would be pretty neat to learn. It's just to different in the writing...

Because i speak English i am draw to the Germanic langauges. Norwegian for me was snap to pick up but of coarse it's not as easy as if i would have learned it in elementry school. I think it all depends on your mind set of the langauge to. Like all the English speakers who want to learn Japanese ( like my friend) can pick it up pretty easy when they are determined to learn such a langauge.

No offense, Spanish was hard for me to learn because i simply did not like the langauge at all. It got a bad wrap from me because where i worked, the major people that stole from my store, their excuse was that they only spoke spanish. Again, this has nothing to do with the people, it's just my langauge learning experiences.
I compared it to my two years of french and said french was so much better. I did better in french because i was determined to learn.
So like i said, it's the mindset you have on the langauge as well as the langauge family
HayleySaturday 02nd of October 2004 12:15:21 AM
- Thanks for your feedback HisGirlFriday. You're totally right. Unlike you, I love Spanish and the culture so that really helps to motivate me to learn it. I'm not really interested in contempory Japanese culture (the clothes are wicked, though!) so that's why I would probably struggle with it because I don't really WANT to learn it. It definitley helps if you really desire to visit the land that the language is spoken or if you really desire to meet others that speak it.
zarkannFriday 08th of October 2004 11:53:25 PM
- well i agree with Peter.. Finnish and Hungarian are the most difficult language and Indonesian is the easiest..

i think that English is pretty easy, i learnt it in 1 year ! Japanese is a bit hard when you want to read it but for speaking it is easy.

i'm learning Spanish actually.. is easy when you already know a latin language .

i heard that Deutch, German, Russian was pretty easy for English peoples.

Cebuano is ok if you want to learn a philippina language.

thats are for my experience. But i read a nice book few weeks ago.. it was "how to learn any language, easily...and on your own" from Barry Farber.. like i said in few post, you guys should read it ! very interesting book. There is also an audiobook from him.


jackson weeratungeSaturday 09th of October 2004 08:22:57 AM
Hardest/Easiest Language - The hardest languages are languages which has up to (8)eight pronounciations for one or more of its letters.English is one of them. There is no language that the pronounciation of all its letters are one and only one, always.

All Languages are handled by the brain of all living Beings
both visible and invisible. Even bactria answers to its brain language.

It has been understood,that all brains have a commom machine language.This means that from The All Mighty (called and Known as Maha Brahma,God, Allah) to the sprits, ghosts, animals insects and even germs have a common language of their individual brains. It is this common factor that had made it possible for us humans to master any (software) language used by different peoples in the world.
It is this that is evident from all the replies to the "Subject Question".It is not possible to therefore to agree on the most difficult Language.This is because it varies from individuval to individual.

The easiest is the Common Machine Language of all. and that holds the Key to All Languages of Mankind,Animals,and Sprites, not to forget germs & bacteria.

This fundermental Language was called"PALI" and now called "Sinhala" the Language spoken in the "GARDEN OF EVA" Where "Addams Bridge"and "Addams Peak" is situated. It is for this reason, one of the few languages chosen for transmitting to the Universe anticipating a reply is Sinhala.
I declare that I have mastered The Sinhala language.It is the easiest Language of all.
I shall appreciate comments please.
mrigby17Tuesday 12th of October 2004 07:06:28 AM
- I think that german ( 4 a westerner) is one of teh easiest! well at d start because it is linked to englis in so many ways.

the easiest asian language is probably korean. the alphabet - hangul - is really easy to learn an once u know dat u've just gto 2 learn it so its easier dan it looks!
BananaHamsterTuesday 12th of October 2004 07:26:04 AM
- [quote]Originally posted by jackson weeratunge


The hardest languages are languages which has up to (8)eight pronounciations for one or more of its letters.English is one of them. There is no language that the pronounciation of all its letters are one and only one, always.

All Languages are handled by the brain of all living Beings
both visible and invisible. Even bactria answers to its brain language.

It has been understood,that all brains have a commom machine language.This means that from The All Mighty (called and Known as Maha Brahma,God, Allah) to the sprits, ghosts, animals insects and even germs have a common language of their individual brains. It is this common factor that had made it possible for us humans to master any (software) language used by different peoples in the world.
It is this that is evident from all the replies to the "Subject Question".It is not possible to therefore to agree on the most difficult Language.This is because it varies from individuval to individual.

The easiest is the Common Machine Language of all. and that holds the Key to All Languages of Mankind,Animals,and Sprites, not to forget germs & bacteria.

This fundermental Language was called"PALI" and now called "Sinhala" the Language spoken in the "GARDEN OF EVA" Where "Addams Bridge"and "Addams Peak" is situated. It is for this reason, one of the few languages chosen for transmitting to the Universe anticipating a reply is Sinhala.
I declare that I have mastered The Sinhala language.It is the easiest Language of all.
I shall appreciate comments please. [/quote]

This is whacked out. Try not to read too much into the question.

Back to the topic, I find that languages come in two forms.

They are either-

1. Easy to start, hard to get good at
2. Hard to start, easy to get good at

For me, spanish was a number 1 and German a number 2, but Urdu is just hard all the way around :)
Thursday 14th of October 2004 08:54:08 AM
- This is a message from Daltai.com posted by a Swedish colleague and his experiences with some European languages!!

''Regarding Welsh, I'm absolutely serious in saying that it is Europe's easiest language - provided you don't speak any other European language. Of course someone who speaks Swedish will find Norweigian the easiest, Estonians have no problems at all with Finnish, a Portuguese speaker picks up Spanish in no time etc. A language closely related to your own is always the easiest.

However, if you don't know any European language (the majority in the world does not) I certainly find Welsh the easiest. I will agree with Rómán that the way the world looks today, picking up English is quite easy - but the English language in itself is not that easy; there are hundreds of irregular verbs that you cannot predict, you have to know them by heart - Welsh has only five irregular ones. The English spelling is by far the most unlogic in Europe - for most European languages you know how an unfamiliar word is pronounced if you see it spelled - in English you don't, as this short list should prove:

Pronunciation of "ough"
enough [Vf]
thought [o:]
hiccough [Vp]
through [u:]
lough [ox]
cough [of]
Six pronunciation of the same spelling. I guess you all know that Shaw argues that "fish" could be spelled "ghoti" in English. :-)
GH = F in enouGH
O = I in wOmen
TI = SH in noTIon
Still, despite a ludicrous spelling, English is easier than French or German, so I'll agree with Rómán that English is the easiest of the "most taught/learned languages".

With regards to the Scandinavian languages, well of course I find them easy - Swedish is my native language and I pride myself on being a very good speaker of it. No matter how much I study any foreign language (such as the one in which I'm writing at the moment) I'll never know them as well as I know Swedish. I don't think they are that easy, though. Definitely harder than Welsh. We too have hundreds of irregular verbs. You always have to know if a noun is an "en-word" or an "et-word". The pronunciation is extremely hard for most foreigners because of a large numbers of phonems not found in most other languages. Swedish (and Danish and Norwegian) are not as hard as many other languages, but they are not that easy - not on par with Welsh.

Welsh is easy :
- because of the extremely straighforward spelling - you always know how to pronounce it.
- because of the fact that there are no cases for nouns. In Irish you have to know two caes, in German four cases, in Russian six and in Croatian (and Lithuanian too, I think?) seven.
- because of the verbal system. No hard conjugations, absolutely regular - in sharp contrast to English, Swedish, German, French, Spanish and so on.

With almost all European languages I can easily point out some aspects that are hard. Few languages are so extremely hard as Finnish but most languages have some aspects that learners find difficuly. Welsh is the only language I know that totally lack such obstacles.

Finally for the really hard ones. Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian are all very hard for most people since they are so different. All languages we discuss here (Irish, Welsh, English, Swedish, Russian, French, Lithuanian and so on) are of course related to each other while Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian are not. The fact that, with all possible conjugations, a simple Finnish constructions such as an adjective followed by a noun can be conjugated in well over 100 different ways and meanings tend to make the problems in Irish seem absolutely minimal :-) Add to that a number of vowels that most people cannot pronounce and a vocabulary that is totally alien to speakers of European languages. So the Finno-Ugric languages are definitelt hard - way beyond other European languages with regards to anyone not from Finland, Estonia or Hungary. I don't know Basque that well but I have gone through a basic course it is. It too is extremely hard - about as hard as the Finno-Ugric ones but in totally different ways.

(Message edited by jonas on October 04, 2004)''
diarmuidhThursday 14th of October 2004 08:56:48 AM
Easiest Hardest languages - this is from a Swedish collaeague and his experiences learning different European languages...www.daltai.com


''Regarding Welsh, I'm absolutely serious in saying that it is Europe's easiest language - provided you don't speak any other European language. Of course someone who speaks Swedish will find Norweigian the easiest, Estonians have no problems at all with Finnish, a Portuguese speaker picks up Spanish in no time etc. A language closely related to your own is always the easiest.

However, if you don't know any European language (the majority in the world does not) I certainly find Welsh the easiest. I will agree with Rómán that the way the world looks today, picking up English is quite easy - but the English language in itself is not that easy; there are hundreds of irregular verbs that you cannot predict, you have to know them by heart - Welsh has only five irregular ones. The English spelling is by far the most unlogic in Europe - for most European languages you know how an unfamiliar word is pronounced if you see it spelled - in English you don't, as this short list should prove:

Pronunciation of "ough"
enough [Vf]
thought [o:]
hiccough [Vp]
through [u:]
lough [ox]
cough [of]
Six pronunciation of the same spelling. I guess you all know that Shaw argues that "fish" could be spelled "ghoti" in English. :-)
GH = F in enouGH
O = I in wOmen
TI = SH in noTIon
Still, despite a ludicrous spelling, English is easier than French or German, so I'll agree with Rómán that English is the easiest of the "most taught/learned languages".

With regards to the Scandinavian languages, well of course I find them easy - Swedish is my native language and I pride myself on being a very good speaker of it. No matter how much I study any foreign language (such as the one in which I'm writing at the moment) I'll never know them as well as I know Swedish. I don't think they are that easy, though. Definitely harder than Welsh. We too have hundreds of irregular verbs. You always have to know if a noun is an "en-word" or an "et-word". The pronunciation is extremely hard for most foreigners because of a large numbers of phonems not found in most other languages. Swedish (and Danish and Norwegian) are not as hard as many other languages, but they are not that easy - not on par with Welsh.

Welsh is easy :
- because of the extremely straighforward spelling - you always know how to pronounce it.
- because of the fact that there are no cases for nouns. In Irish you have to know two caes, in German four cases, in Russian six and in Croatian (and Lithuanian too, I think?) seven.
- because of the verbal system. No hard conjugations, absolutely regular - in sharp contrast to English, Swedish, German, French, Spanish and so on.

With almost all European languages I can easily point out some aspects that are hard. Few languages are so extremely hard as Finnish but most languages have some aspects that learners find difficuly. Welsh is the only language I know that totally lack such obstacles.

Finally for the really hard ones. Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian are all very hard for most people since they are so different. All languages we discuss here (Irish, Welsh, English, Swedish, Russian, French, Lithuanian and so on) are of course related to each other while Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian are not. The fact that, with all possible conjugations, a simple Finnish constructions such as an adjective followed by a noun can be conjugated in well over 100 different ways and meanings tend to make the problems in Irish seem absolutely minimal :-) Add to that a number of vowels that most people cannot pronounce and a vocabulary that is totally alien to speakers of European languages. So the Finno-Ugric languages are definitelt hard - way beyond other European languages with regards to anyone not from Finland, Estonia or Hungary. I don't know Basque that well but I have gone through a basic course it is. It too is extremely hard - about as hard as the Finno-Ugric ones but in totally different ways.

(Message edited by jonas on October 04, 2004)''
Saturday 16th of October 2004 03:34:41 PM
Easy/Difficult - At one stage I wanted to learn Icelandic, but was quickly put off. I think that in the past languages were much more complicated, partly due to them being islolated from each other. The world has never been as global as it is now.. Icelandic numbers... I got a headache trying to learn the most basic numbers... I've read that people from Iceland take pride in their complicated number system, which has been unchanged for centuries, and don't take it lightly if you get it wrong. Their language has remained so isolated for centuries that Icelanders are able to read Old Norse texts with no difficulties. It's a bit like Old English; so fully inflectional.

I'm glad to know English as well as I do... I love my language, and understand it so well. But sometimes I think it'd be quite nice to bring in the optional learning of Old English... I would love to learn it. It sounds awesome, sort of like Welsh, which I would also love to learn.

As for Finnish being one of the hardest languages, I have just begun learning Finnish, but nothing will put me off :D I've heard many times that a better word to describe Finnish would be "different" rather than "difficult". You have to get into the mind of the language you are trying to learn. When I see "koira" I force myself to not think "dog" but to picture a dog... I believe that's the only way you'd ever really understand a language - by thinking in it.

I learnt German for a couple of years and I found it quite easy. I had some difficulties with the genders, as I couldn't seem to get my head around an actual rule for when you say "gut" or "gute" (the only thing I could see was if the noun ended in /e/ like "gute idee" but I don't know if that's something you can rely on). Right now I'm learning Latin and I really don't know what the fuss is about the cases - there's only 6 (for each of the 5 declensions... And then there's 6 tenses, each with 6 cases, for each of the 4 verb conjugations... And then there's the Adjectives agreeing with the Nouns in number, but at least it all makes sense ;)), and I'm getting quite fond of cases. They make things so much clearer. Finnish has about 15... not that they are all commonly used - the most common are nominative/genitive/partitive. They are used over 70% of the time. Even Finnish school children find all the cases a bit difficult, because not all of them are regularly used.

I agree that no matter the language, if you don't really want to learn it, you'll find it much more difficult. I found Spanish a bit more difficult than most others seem to, when I began to learn it, because I didn't really want to... all I knew is that I wanted to learn a language but couldn't decide, so thought it'd be best to go with a widely spoken one. I don't think you should ever do that - only learn it if you are passionate about it! :P
ashleejsSaturday 16th of October 2004 03:43:42 PM
Easy/Difficult Languages - I'm sure I already posted this (as Guest - woops) but can't see it for some reason... Here it is again, anyway...

At one stage I wanted to learn Icelandic, but was quickly put off. I think that in the past languages were much more complicated, partly due to them being islolated from each other. The world has never been as global as it is now.. Icelandic numbers... I got a headache trying to learn the most basic numbers... I've read that people from Iceland take pride in their complicated number system, which has been unchanged for centuries, and don't take it lightly if you get it wrong. Their language has remained so isolated for centuries that Icelanders are able to read Old Norse texts with no difficulties. It's a bit like Old English; so fully inflectional.

I'm glad to know English as well as I do... I love my language, and understand it so well. But sometimes I think it'd be quite nice to bring in the optional learning of Old English... I would love to learn it. It sounds awesome, sort of like Welsh, which I would also love to learn.

As for Finnish being one of the hardest languages, I have just begun learning Finnish, but nothing will put me off :D I've heard many times that a better word to describe Finnish would be "different" rather than "difficult". You have to get into the mind of the language you are trying to learn. When I see "koira" I force myself to not think "dog" but to picture a dog... I believe that's the only way you'd ever really understand a language - by thinking in it.

I learnt German for a couple of years and I found it quite easy. I had some difficulties with the genders, as I couldn't seem to get my head around an actual rule for when you say "gut" or "gute" (the only thing I could see was if the noun ended in /e/ like "gute idee" but I don't know if that's something you can rely on). Right now I'm learning Latin and I really don't know what the fuss is about the cases - there's only 6 (for each of the 5 declensions... And then there's 6 tenses, each with 6 personal endings, for each of the 4 verb conjugations... And then there's the Adjectives agreeing with the Nouns in number... but at least it all makes sense ;)), and I'm getting quite fond of cases. They make things so much clearer. Finnish has about 15... not that they are all commonly used - the most common are nominative/genitive/partitive. They are used over 70% of the time. Even Finnish school children find all the cases a bit difficult, because not all of them are regularly used.

I agree that no matter the language, if you don't really want to learn it, you'll find it much more difficult. I found Spanish a bit more difficult than most others seem to, when I began to learn it, because I didn't really want to... all I knew is that I wanted to learn a language but couldn't decide, so thought it'd be best to go with a widely spoken one. I don't think you should ever do that - only learn it if you are passionate about it! :)
ashlee86Sunday 17th of October 2004 08:27:30 AM
- i agree about german being easy for westerners..it was so easy for me to learn and remember..u could practically guess alot of the words cos they r are so similar to english!!!
for me i think, polish has been quite difficult..there are different cases and the word depends on that case, and also has to whose speaking and in what person, dont know if this is the same with other languages... for example..take the word 'buying'..it varies has to who's buying:

ja kupuje ksiazke (im buying a book)
ty kupujesz ksiazke (you're buying...)
on / ona / ono kupuje ksiazke (he/ she/ it is buying...)

and for alot of it there isnt a certain rule , and so you just have to remember the different phrases...which i find very difficult! but im determined so it wont stop me!!! hehe!
AchesMonday 18th of October 2004 01:30:49 PM
Hi all :) - I just read all the commets that have been written in this discuss. I just feel proud be able to speak one of the world's hardest languages. And that is Finnish :) It is very complicated if you want to learn it thoroughly. I must say that I'm not so good at the written language, but speaking is easy (for some odd reason...) :P

My other language experiences are Japanese, Swedish and English (surprisingly) :P Even though Swedish is a compulsory subject in Finland, but for some reason people still don't learn it. I guess it's because of the lack of motivation.

English has been quite easy to learn, because you see it everywhere. You can listen to it in movies and you can read in computer games and in the Internet. And I have been learning for about 12 years now, so I guess should be able to have some kinda conversation at this point :P

Japanese isn't that hard for me to learn. However I'm still a beginner at learn Japanese, but so very eager to learn it :) The hard part is definatly writing. Hiraganas and Katakanas are pretty simple to learn (if anybody knows what I'm talking about :P The main problem is the Kanji. There are so many of them and even my teacher know little more than a thousand. So I guess that's the hardest part.

But it's been very enjoyable to share these comments with all of you :) Hope I didn't make too much mistakes in my writing :P

Aches
Paul8Tuesday 19th of October 2004 01:19:50 PM
hardest and easiest - i consider chinese to be the hardest because of its pronunciation, not the consonants but the vowels because of the tones and the differences between them it would take a very long ime to be able to correctly pronounce them and i consider spanish as one of the easiest languages because its the easiest to pronounce and it doesn't have very difficult grammar.
alexisThursday 28th of October 2004 04:42:41 AM
- Depends all on your own motivation and the individual.
fun2bwith88Tuesday 02nd of November 2004 05:08:39 PM
Study Abroad - I want to study abroad for a year in high school. I was going to go to Japan but I'm worried about how difficult the language will be, especially the writing. About how long would it take me to learn? My other choices were France, Italy or Turkey.I'm studying French and Arabic in school.

Also- I speak Hebrew, could that help me learn Turkish easily?
fun2bwith88Tuesday 02nd of November 2004 05:10:28 PM
languages? - Is Japanese really all that hard? I want to learn Japanese, and I'm a quick learner (I learned Hebrew in about a month) but I'm worried that this is harder. What about Turkish? Could Hebrew help me in learning Turkish?
HandyDadThursday 04th of November 2004 09:34:45 PM
Hard Japanese? - Japanese is hard-ish; but if you learned Hebrew in a month (fluently?!?) then you're gifted! But Hebrew won't help you with Turkish...no connection there.

I would take any of the other three destinations before Japan, just because it's so hard to be truly accepted in Japan.
AdibMonday 08th of November 2004 05:21:40 PM
. - Farsi (Iranian) and Arabic would help to learn Turkish.

I think that Arabic and Farsi would be extremely difficult for a westerner to learn, mainly because they use a different alphabet, and they are written right-left instead of left-right.
SuymezSaturday 13th of November 2004 06:38:52 PM
Maybe Turkic languages harder to learn - I think the languages in Turkic language group maybe more difficult. By learning the western languages and Chinese I found the grammar of our language which one of the Turkic language is more comlex and difficult, the verbs always change by tense and person. So it maybe difficult to pick up for western ppl.
There are about more than 30 nationalities who speak in Turkic language system from northwest of China (Uyghur) to Turkey that cover the large area of Asia. All of them came from same root, so every language is related to each other, and there is no much problem to communicate with each other. So If you know one of the language it'll be easy to pick up the others.
AuksasparneMonday 15th of November 2004 03:05:16 PM
- well, i think that the difficulty of the language depends first of all on the person and then all is hard work ;)

if you asked me, i would say that Lithuanian is a really hard language to learn. it has 7 cases with different endings. endings might differ per word. it also differs per sex and plural-singular ;) if it is a verb - the endings depend on the time too ;) all this is i guess because Lithuanian is one of the oldest languages (latvian is in the same group and all the rest are dead).


some languages are hard in grammar. some in pronunciation. other in something different (maybe alphabet??? ) ;) and there is always a challenge to learn them ;) and i think it is really impossible to measure the level of difficulty only because as i said everything depends on a person :)


iubitoMonday 15th of November 2004 11:37:59 PM
- [quote]Originally posted by Peter fra LA
(1) "You know, Finnish and Hungarian are cousin languages, but Finnish took all the vowels!"[/quote]

löööööl !
thäät's why fiinniish sounds really niicer thään huungaariaan :D :D :D
somiTuesday 16th of November 2004 08:30:58 AM
- r u nuts??? eastern languages r tuf?
I personally feel that eastern languages r waaaaayy easier than western

languages & r also much MUCH easier to pronounce. (cant say about

arabic i dont know it)what is hard is the script. western scripts are

definitely much easier than eastern ones but they also lack elegance (i

know many would beg to differ). have u any idea just how hard

easterners find english? pronouncing it is a hellish experience 4

anyone who doesnt know some european language. u just find it easier

bcuz u have been hearing it since u were born. i have seen that on

average westerners find it easier to learn eastern languages than the

reverse. (many easterners just dont like to admit their difficulties

with western languages) (please dont ask me why more easterners learn

western languages than the the reverse: i m sure we all know that one).

I cant say anything about easiest, but the hardest language i have come

across is finnish. thats why i am tryin to learn it. :D i also like the

way it sounds. could anybody help me please? i know next to nothing

yet.

debeselisThursday 18th of November 2004 11:00:12 AM
the one of the hardest languages in the world - [quote]Originally posted by Auksasparne


well, i think that the difficulty of the language depends first of all on the person and then all is hard work ;)

if you asked me, i would say that Lithuanian is a really hard language to learn. it has 7 cases with different endings. endings might differ per word. it also differs per sex and plural-singular ;) if it is a verb - the endings depend on the time too ;) all this is i guess because Lithuanian is one of the oldest languages (latvian is in the same group and all the rest are dead).


some languages are hard in grammar. some in pronunciation. other in something different (maybe alphabet??? ) ;) and there is always a challenge to learn them ;) and i think it is really impossible to measure the level of difficulty only because as i said everything depends on a person :)

[/quote]

i agree with auksasparne that all depends on a person, but lithuanian ir really very hard language..:)
CassiusAllanusThursday 18th of November 2004 07:16:20 PM
Language difficulty - All languages are as "complicated" as every other. All languages encode different concepts, and handle it in different ways, and all have some things in common. There are some times, however, when different languages may not encode different concepts, but that occurs only when the two are closely related languages (ie Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian). So the difficulty of learning a languages lies largely in what the learner's native language is. For example, my native language is English, so therefore I find Germanic languages to be the easiest, then all Indo-European languages, then languages in families with similar grammar and concepts, and so on until the languages with the most different concepts and grammar.

As for complexity of a language, I will compare Old Icelandic verbs to Modern English verbs.
OI: 3 types of verb (Weak, strong, present-preterite) * 2 moods (not counting the imperative) * 3 voices (active, middle, and passive) * 3 tenses * 2 numbers (singular and plural) * 3 persons (1st, 2nd, 3rd) + Reflexive form + Imperative form + Participles + Infinitive = 329 forms of the Old Icelandic verb

MoE: 3 types of verb (Weak, strong, present-preterite) * 2 moods (not counting the imperative; the English subjunctive is formed with "would") * 2 voices (active and passive) * 3 tenses * 2 numbers * 3 persons + Imperative form + Participles + Infinitive = 220 forms of the Modern English verb

Old Icelandic is a highly inflected language as compared to English, and yet, except for lacking a middle voice, Modern English is just as complex as Old Icelandic. Also, I made the comparison between an old language with a modern one to show that the age of a language is irrelevant in matters of complexity.
magyar chunsaSunday 21st of November 2004 11:16:05 AM
- [quote]Originally posted by mrigby17
the easiest asian language is probably korean. the alphabet - hangul - is really easy to learn an once u know dat u've just gto 2 learn it so its easier dan it looks![/quote]

while the korean writing system IS very easy to learn, the language itself is most certainly NOT easy or simple. it is very complex with varying levels of honorific speech and pronunciation is difficult. (some characters change how they sound based on where they appear in a word and also based on what letter follows them). also, it can be hard to distinguish between certain sounds (ie. g, kk/gg, k [ㄱ,ㄲ,ㅋ], also b, pp/bb, p [ㅂ,ㅃ,ㅍ], j, jj, ch [ㅈ,ㅉ,ㅊ], etc).

i would say something indo-malay is much, much easier.
magyar chunsaSunday 21st of November 2004 11:21:15 AM
- [quote]Originally posted by iubito

löööööl !
thäät's why fiinniish sounds really niicer thään huungaariaan :D :D :D[/quote]

that's your opinion. i would certainly disagree. hungarian is a lovely and beautiful language with plently of vowels. 14 of them in fact. that's more than a lot of languages. but whatever. :(

Edit: Fixed html tags
American FinnMonday 22nd of November 2004 03:52:50 PM
- Well what about esperanto? I have heard it is one of the easiest.
DaxxxiWednesday 24th of November 2004 08:54:36 PM
Hardest language - I know for sure that hungarian isnt hard language to learn
I have no clue about finnish
but my personnal opinion about the hardest language in Europe is Albanian ....definitely
i think that the easiest is spanish

im2punk2careThursday 25th of November 2004 05:55:29 AM
- I think that Icelandic or Finnish would be the hardest to learn, but thats because it looks complicated when written. For me, I did French and Italian and I found them both really really easy. I found German fairly easy aswell, although I struggled with the grammar alot. I can speak basic Spanish, and I'm done with the romance languages, so I'm moving onto the German ones again. Hopefully they won't be that hard.
zarazekSaturday 27th of November 2004 04:35:04 AM
- Yes, Albanian - it may be the most difficult European language. I know only basics of this language, but I already know it's not an easy language.
I have learnt German, English, Dutch, Russian, and Serbian so far, but with any of these i had so many problems as with Albanian :P

When i started to learn German I was about 12, English - 16, Russian and Dutch - 18, and Serbian and Albanian as I became a student of Balcan philology - 19.
Though German was my first foreign language I can speak English better. Thanks to German and English I don't have bigger problems with Dutch. As I am Pole (and Polish is my mother tongue) Serbian and Russian don't trouble me.
With Albanian nothing is going to help me :)
CarlousSaturday 27th of November 2004 02:20:07 PM
Hardest and easiest - For pronunciation, definitely, Spanish is the easiest because it is so phonetic and maybe even Icelandic. Grammatically any Latin language. Hardest language to pronounce would probably be English because of its varied diphthongs and some words are pronounced just completely different form what they look, but you have to take into consideration that English barrowed so many foreign words--and sounds. Hardest grammatically Russian because of its cases but once you get the hang of it, it gets easier. Now hardest to understand in movies is French; I do not know why, it is just a pain to try to understand French in movies some times!
musicmakerSaturday 27th of November 2004 02:23:12 PM
- I speak fluent English, basic French, and extremely poor Japanese (but I think I'm excused there because I just started around two months ago).

I'm an amateur linguist; I love languages and etymologies, seeing how various languages are linked.

In my humble opinion, ENGLISH is the world's evillest language. (Mind you, it's my native tongue!) The only reason people learn it as readily as they do (and people who learn English as adults have extreme cool points in my book) is because something like 90% of the world's business is conducted in it. Everyone is surrounded by it.

I find (I am not globally generalizing, this is just what I personally have seen) that people from countries other than the US are much more likely to be multilingual. It's as though America got lazy- everyone else is learning our language, why should we bother? Sigh...

We're technically Germanic, we borrow so much from Latin we may as well be Romance, not to mention the heavy splash of Hellenic... and there are more exceptions in English than there are rules. I'm enjoying Japanese- as a spoken language it's pretty simple and a lot of fun. French (for me) is tougher, but I've been taking it longer, and I'm also half French Canadian. I would think Romance languages would be not-quite-so-hard (note I didn't say 'easy') for someone who already speaks one. French and Spanish are somewhat alike, and if they got married and had a kid it'd be Italian, which is the closest thing to Latin that we still have. (Where is Rome now? Italy!)

One last thing before I end this stupidly lengthy post- one of my numerous strange hobbies is memorizing "thank you" in various languages; right now I have 12. Look:

Spanish: gracias
Italian: grazie
Latin: gratia

For some reason French (merci) doesn't fit the pattern. But then you have:

German: Danke
English: Thank you

Anyway... shutting up now. Forgive the lecture, all...
magyar chunsaMonday 29th of November 2004 05:20:31 PM
- [quote]Originally posted by Daxxxi
I know for sure that hungarian isnt hard language to learn
[/quote]

well as hungarian isn't listed in your profile as one of the languages you speak, i'm wondering how you "know for sure" that it's so easy to learn. unless you're a native speaker or have been speaking it since you were a child, it's a bitch to learn hungarian. the grammar is complex and the pronunciation can be difficult for non-native speakers. i've never heard anyone call it easy to learn, and every linguist i've read about says it's a very difficult language to learn.
notme2Wednesday 01st of December 2004 02:28:41 AM
mother tongue - the hardest language you will ever learn is your mother tongue
it takes about a year before you can even speak your first word and the rest of your life to learn the vocabulary. learning a second language is relatively easy in that regard.
Finding a teaching method that replicates your learning of a mother tongue should make learning easier.
i was fluent in my mother tongue before i learned how to read and write it so i am looking for best teaching method rather than complexity of learning. I still do not know anything about the grammer of my language it just comes naturally. It is not necessary to know why it is or how it is to be able to speak it those rules only slow up the usage of the language it is the reason that i can only read french and not speak it spent too much time reading the words and not speaking them.

derAusländerWednesday 01st of December 2004 03:13:18 PM
- i find german incredibly hard, not even that easy for westerners. even thou we share the same alphabet, half of the letters are not pronounced the same. the umlauts üöä even more. the grammer is vastly different and the words can get soooo long its like a slap in the face. but i love german! hahaha.

i also agree korean is fairly easy to learn, maybe because im a 1st generation korean but. im sure alot of u guys can pick it up fast and end up knowing korean then me quickly.
wolverynnThursday 02nd of December 2004 08:32:59 PM
Hardest language to learn - Perhaps the one of language the is hardest to learn would tamil. Common pronunciation seemed to hide the difficulty to pronounce it in way of literary or written subject. I believe each language can ne learned without any difficulty if it was taught in early stages.
AintschTuesday 07th of December 2004 06:45:49 AM
- [quote]Originally posted by CassiusAllanus


As for complexity of a language, I will compare Old Icelandic verbs to Modern English verbs.
OI: 3 types of verb (Weak, strong, present-preterite) * 2 moods (not counting the imperative) * 3 voices (active, middle, and passive) * 3 tenses * 2 numbers (singular and plural) * 3 persons (1st, 2nd, 3rd) + Reflexive form + Imperative form + Participles + Infinitive = 329 forms of the Old Icelandic verb

MoE: 3 types of verb (Weak, strong, present-preterite) * 2 moods (not counting the imperative; the English subjunctive is formed with "would") * 2 voices (active and passive) * 3 tenses * 2 numbers * 3 persons + Imperative form + Participles + Infinitive = 220 forms of the Modern English verb.[/quote]


Well, I don't think this comparison works to well. If you take, for example, the English verb buy, in present tense it goes:
I buy
you buy
he buys
we buy
you buy
they buy

Now, I don't know Old Icelandic yet (I'll start next year, yay), but I'm pretty sure it has a different verb form for every personal pronoun. So you can't really count the English present verb forms as 6 different forms, there are only two, as opposed to German, for example (4 different forms, and apparently very hard to get right for not-natives):
ich kaufe
du kaufst
er kauft
wir kaufen
ihr kauft
sie kaufen

Hasta luego :)
terlynn4Tuesday 07th of December 2004 01:27:53 PM
hardest languages - Acutally, there are languages much harder than even the ones we would consider most complex. Have you ever heard of tonal languages? These are most common in Afican tribes or a couple instances in South American indians in the Andes. Basically, it's a complex language to begin with, but then almost every word in the language can mean 2, 3, or even more different things, depending on the pitch you use to say it. If anyone here has attempted any of these languages, I'd be very interested to know what you learned.
co720Thursday 09th of December 2004 01:33:56 AM
- Icelandic REALLY isnt that hard to learn. It is very much like english in some respects, the only difference is that it is highly inflected. But then i know Old English (which was SOOO easy) which really helped clear up some of the complications with icelandic. Modern Icelandic is about a million times easier than old norse because the sentence structure has been "normalized" (if you will) as opposed to the very free sentence structure of old icelandic.

I would say that one of the hardest langs could be Faroese. It looks very much like Icelandic but the sounds that each letter represents is VERY different, very strange sounds (much different than any other northern germanic lang i have encountered).

I can imagine that Sami is harder than finnish (not positive but doesnt it have over 20 cases? that's alot of inflections!) I can say with a certain level of confidence that the hardest lang in the world will probably be found deep in the Finno-Ugric family tree 8).
CorazonThursday 09th of December 2004 01:10:57 PM
THE DEMAND OF LIFE IS A GOOD MASTER, BUT THE DEMAND OF HEART IS A WITCH :) - There is a big difference between "HAVE TO DO..." and "WANT TO DO.." Just because of this difference, we have the conceptions: "hard" and "easy" in almost all case...

PsycheFriday 10th of December 2004 10:55:25 PM
- What about gaelic? I tried to learn it once, and I rented a course on the local library. It began with a few sentences written in a book and the sentences were recorded on a tape. And believe me, NON of the sounds coming out of the record-player were similar to the letters in the book. Then I just turned the player off, and delivered the course back!
BriceSunday 12th of December 2004 10:05:42 AM
- well I was trying to learn spanish but i never could get it so about a week ago I went from spanish to Russian and it comes to me a lot faster so to me lol. Spanish is hard and Russian aint but thats me.
keaFriday 17th of December 2004 05:05:38 AM
- Because I spend a lot of time in a hostel where my friends work then I have met a lot of people from around the world and very often with them comes up the subject which are the easy and hard languages to learn. And after that I agree with one of the oppinions earlier here that the hardest language is persons native language. Everybody I have talked to (with the exception of Japanese) think that their own language is very difficult to learn. But I also think that it is normal to think so because all of us spend so much time in school learning our own grammar and thinking why I have to learn it so much since I already speak it fluently and all this grammar just makes it more confusing. But when we are learning a foreign language then we can't really imagine not getting introduced to this language's grammar.
Also my own people - Estonians - like to always scare foreigners that Estonian is one of the hardest language to learn because it has 14 cases. But i can tell all of you who are interested in learning Finno-Ugric languages that the fact that a language has lots of cases is no more difficult than the fact that some other languages have lots of prepositions instead of cases. Yes you have to learn lots of cases in Estonian and Finnish but you don't have to learn any prepositions. The thing that can makes Estonian confusing is not that we have all these cases but the fact that in time the language has changed a lot so there are so many exceptions. Estonian and Finnish are not impossible languages to learn.
Good luck everybody
fun2bwith88Friday 17th of December 2004 11:29:10 AM
Arabic - Arabic is definately a difficult language, but the writing isn't. It's almost completely phonetic, and it took me about a week to learn the alphabet, and a month or two to get comfortable with it. However, actually learning grammar is terrible. I speak Hebrew, it is also hard, but again, writing's pretty easy.
hemolantiSaturday 18th of December 2004 02:16:46 AM
THE difficult language - Hello, dear friends. I'm a new at your discuss.
As i know the most difficult languages Chinese, Arabic and russian. I speak Russian. I like it very much. do you speak Russian??

HoogardSaturday 18th of December 2004 08:21:10 AM
- Has anyone tried to learn Klingon? How hard/easy is it in comparison?
ak9Wednesday 22nd of December 2004 08:24:16 PM
- [quote]Originally posted by Peter fra LA


[quote]Originally posted by hayley4orli


are you sure it's that difficult? [/quote]

If your goal is to learn Finnish, then do not let a difficult ranking disuade you. You have all the time to learn it.

You may have experienced the difficulties of tackling Latin and Russian with their half-dozen or so noun cases. Finnish has fifteen noun cases in the singular and sixteen in the plural! Every word in the entire language is accented on the first syllable, giving Finnish a unique sound. As you learn more and more about foreign languages, you're able to laugh
at more and more jokes about languages.(1)

If your goal is to learn multiple languages, then you may want to consider using one of the easier languages on your list to start with as you work out a group of techniques and learning schedule that works best for you.

(1) "You know, Finnish and Hungarian are cousin languages, but Finnish took all the vowels!"[/quote]

No offense intended, but if you're going to copy it almost word for word then at least let people know that.

Unless of course, you are the author, in which case I will humbly shut-up :)