It makes sense that languages which are more similar to your own native language are easier to learn. If you’ve ever been in a Spanish class with an Italian, for example, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Add a different alphabet or writing system and things get even more complicated. When we asked recently if Chinese is difficult the main conclusion was that the characters make things a lot harder.
This diagram gives an idea of which are the most difficult languages for English speakers to learn. It shows the length of US Foreign Service intensive language courses. (source: The Atlantic)
That’s right – it takes more than twice as long to learn Chinese or Arabic as Swahili.
Do you agree with this list? And, if English is not your native language which languages are most difficult for you?
About the authorLucy