Top 10 Most Difficult Languages To Learn

A list of ten of the toughest languages in the world.

Languages are the key to human communication. There are over 7,000 languages in the world, yet humans can learn only a few of them.

As an English speaker, you would find that Romance languages like Spanish and Italian are easier for you to learn, while some languages don't even interest you at all.

Check out this list of 10 of the toughest language for an English speaker.


1. Chinese Mandarin

Spoken by over a billion people, Chinese Mandarin remains the most monstrous of all languages. The language is tonal, that is a single word may have very diverse meaning depending on the pitch used by the speaker. 

A popular joke among linguists and polyglots is a Mandarin passage of 102 words, each word written as 'Shi'

To make matters worse, the language has thousands of complex ideograms that are even difficult for a native in their first few years. As if these are not enough, the peculiar writing style of the language will continue to trouble English speakers.

Added to the beauty of the language is its richness in vocabulary, making it even more complex.


2. Arabic

Arabic, the ancient language of poetry. It is the official language of many countries in Africa and Asia, especially the Middle East.

The language lacks vowels but instead has a plethora of similar-sounding consonants, most of which are weird for English speakers.

Then there's the writing style - right to left, contrary to many other languages. What's more, a single letter may have up to 5 different ways of writing, depending on the position in a word.  Above all, Arabic is one of the languages with the highest vocabulary, possessing countless synonyms for almost every word.

Finally, Arabic is a dialectal language. Therefore, the Arabic spoken in Qatar would have significant differences from that spoken in other parts of the world.


3. Japanese

Think of it as a being only slightly easier than Mandarin. For all the beauty of the Japanese language, it remains a scourge for English learners.

Perhaps if you watch animes, you might develop an interest in learning the language, and might have even picked up a number of notable words from the shows.

Know you now, that you haven't even tasted the tip of the iceberg.

The Japanese use three writing styles: Katakana, Hiragana, and Kanji. The Hiragana is used for traditional Japanese words, Katakana for words borrowed from other languages, and there comes kanji, which uses over a thousand ideograms that the learner must commit to memory.

Like Arabic, the language is also famous for being dialectal.


4. Hungarian

If you want to run madly while learning a language, then Hungarian is the language for you. 

 Many words are written as one, on account of the language being Finno-Ugric. It is almost impossible to learn Hungarian in an isolated country, so you might consider moving to one of Hungary, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia.


5. Korean

Next on our list is the Korean language. While many may think it is somewhat similar to Japanese and Chinese, you'd be shocked to discover that they are markedly different, so much that there is about no similarity between Korean and Japanese.

Korean is one of the few languages that stand-alone, sharing no root with any other language. A factor that makes the language harder is the order of words and sentence formation.

Fret not much about the writing style. Even though it appears difficult, many learners get it pretty easier than they do most Asian languages.


6. Finnish

Most dread this language because of its insanely difficult Grammer rules. Being a Finno-Ugric language like Hungarian, you'd not be surprised that the two share a lot in being difficult. 

The way the words are even pronounced may make you doubt whether they're actually speaking a language, or are just making an attempt to make it look as difficult as possible.

What a language.


7. Polish

Even if you're German, you'd admit that learning Polish is a nightmare. Yet you're an English speaker, so my sincerest condolences if you wish to master this language.

Polish has weird sentence formation, made more difficult by the letters and their pronunciation.

Of course, the language uses Romance alphabets, but you would still be puzzled on how to pronounce 'cześć' a word that is pretty popular among natives.


8. Icelandic

Alright, this language is hard to place. The language itself is of moderate difficulty, but you must understand that the native speakers coin new meanings for their words. So you can not f be fluent unless you're in Iceland, or you speak with a native very frequently.

To make matters worse, the language is spoken in only Iceland, which is a pretty small country.


9. Vietnamese

A little similar to Mandarin is the Vietnamese language. While it is definitely not as tough as Mandarin, Vietnamese is also a tonal language, so you'd understand why visitors to Vietnam find the language s nightmare, despite the hospitality of its natives.


10. Navajo

Despite being spoken in North America, Navajo remains a very difficult language, especially when it comes to speaking.

Unlike many other languages, Navajo places more focus on verbs, rather than nouns. Add this up with the pronunciation of its words, and you have one difficult language.


This brings us to the end of the list. There are of course some other languages that are very difficult, but categorizing them is not exactly easy. Among these languages are Russian, Basque, Persian, Tagalog, and Telugu.

Language learning is not usually easy, so do not be discouraged by how difficult some languages may be. As long as you have the will, you will overcome even the most difficult of languages.