difficult languages

The world’s most difficult languages for a native English Speaker

What seems to be difficult for an English speaker may not be difficult for a Mandarin or Russian. While this may be true, the difficulty of a language is not same.

In other words learning a language is never an easy thing to do because all languages come with its own set of difficulties. However, languages form two categories like easy languages and difficult languages.

Have you referred the Old Word Language Family Tree anytime? The tree reveals the relationship of one language with the other neighboring language. Yes, it’s true! Languages of different countries or regions have interrelated similarities, which makes you comfortable while learning. This is a major reason why the Spanish people can learn German, French or Italian languages with ease. In the same way, people who are experts in Hindi, learn Urdu easily. In a similar way, there are languages, which can be grouped as difficult ones to learn for different origins.

Let’s categorize the Languages

Based on few types of research and statistics, the Defense Language Institute has categorized the languages in four different groups based on its difficulty levels of learning. Moving from the easiest to the hardest, these groups include languages like:

1 – French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.
2 – Indonesian, German, etc.
3 – Hebrew, Tagalog, Hindi, Russian, Persian, Farsi, Turkish, Urdu, Thai, etc.
4 – Korean, Japanese, Mandarin, Modern Standard Arabic, etc.

Here are the top languages, which have different difficulty levels of learning

The list here gives you a broad idea of the number of speakers of the language along with the reason that makes it difficult for the rest to learn.


Number of origin speakers: 122 million approximately
Country of origin speakers: Japan
The reason:  With out a doubt, Japanese tops the list of most difficult languages because of its independent writing systems. Yes, Japanese writes their language using three different systems namely katakana, kanji and hiragana. Therefore, before you begin to start learning Japanese, you need to study all the characters in all three languages. This is not something simple to memorize or learn. The characters would replace the alphabets in this language, which raises its level of difficulty largely.

Do you wish to learn Japanese?

We appreciate your passion towards learning the most difficult language with the most difficult vocabulary.


Number of origin speakers: 330,000 approximately
Country of origin speakers: Iceland
The reason:  Icelandic is a language that has added new meanings to the already existing words that were in existence from 9th and 10th century. The language contains archaic vocabulary and intricate grammar, which makes the learning more difficult. In addition to the existing difficulties of learning Icelandic, people would surely face difficulties in dealing with the pronunciation. It is a combination of German, Faroese, and Norwegian. The conjugations of the language Furthermore make it difficult to learn.


Number of origin speakers: 1.2 billion approximate
Country of origin speakers: China
The reason: Undoubtedly, Mandarin is one of the widely spoken languages; it is still there on the list of difficult languages. The language concentrates on the tone of the speaker, and even slight changes in the tone may change the complete meaning of the word spoken. Adding to this the thousands of characters it includes, the multipart grammatical systems and lushness in homophones are also the key ingredients in making the language hard.


Number of origin speakers: 13 million approximately
Country of origin speakers: Hungary
The Reason: This language comes from the Finno-Ugric language family. The words in this language arrange themselves in a secluded manner. The language gives you a long list of grammar, pronunciation, and spellings, which comes with a great variety making it difficult to remember. You will end up getting bored to master this language.


Number of origin speakers: 221 million
Country of origin speakers: Egypt
The Reason: Many people speak Arabic most noteworthy, it also seems to be one of the most difficult languages. For example, the level of difficulties in Arabic lies on the vowels, that is not visible when written. Are you shocked? First of all, you must believe that the vowel does not have a place when you write in Arabic. Obviously, it makes more sense while pronouncing the words. To add to its difficulty, natives write the language in different forms based on the position of the word.

Do you wish to learn Arabic?

Probably, you would need them if you were finding a home in the Gulf.


Number of origin speakers: 5.4 million
Country of origin speakers: Finland
The Reason: Similar to the Hungarian language, it comes from a Finno-Ugric language family. Yes, you are on the right track. The difficulty here is with the grammar. The language has a traditional and modern usage but confusions may arise while communicating with others. The vocabulary of Finnish language comes with an influence of German and Latin. Again, new confusion right! Yes, the grammar of this language is quite notorious for squeezing up your mind with 15 noun cases, with different subtle variations.


Number of origin speakers: 66.3 million
Country of origin speakers: South Korea
The Reason: Korean is a segregate language. Korean stands alone and it has no relation with any other family of languages. The Korean language comes with a variety of seven speeches, and the natives handle it with ease. The pronunciation of each speech is different and hard. The native speakers switch easily depending on the situation. The Korean language doesn’t carry any tone of speech which gives a relief to the learners.

What’s your favorite language

The difficulty of learning a new language depends on various factors and it purely depends on the interest of the individual who wishes to learn. Natives speaking similar languages of their origin find it easy to grasp even the most difficult languages.  Learning a new language is fun. If you have passion towards learning languages, pick up the most difficult languages and master it.

A new language is a rewarding investment for a better tomorrow

Share this

Previous Post:
Next Post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *