What Are The Hardest Languages to Learn?

Bonjour! Did you catch that? That was the only French word that rolls easily off my tongue after several years of college French classes. Yes, that is pathetic. Yes, I am ashamed. This shame was only compounded when I saw today’s infographic. Apparently, the language I tried to learn is considered “easy.”

Using the Foreign Service Institute, among other sources, this infographic divides some commonly learned languages into three categories- easy, medium, and hard- based on various factors. The estimated time to achieve proficiency in each category is also included at the top of the sections. This time-frame is tempered with a reminder that each learner is different. (Learners like me and the small man in the top left of the graphic seem to have it a little harder…)

It is common sense that many Romance languages are gauged as “easy,” based on their similarity to English, but I was surprised that Russian is only “medium.” Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean comprise the list of “hard” languages to learn for native English speakers.


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