Learning a new language is difficult, but the benefits are well worth the effort. If you’re just getting started with language study, it’s helpful to know which languages are particularly difficult for native English speakers. These 5 languages are stunning in their own right, but they have a reputation for being difficult to learn for English speakers.
Because of their Germanic roots, several Scandinavian languages are known for providing simple feed for English-speaking language learners. Danish is an exception to this rule, owing to a complex set of pronunciation rules and the fact that how Danish words are printed and pronounced is… unique, to say the least
The good news for individuals who want to learn Vietnamese is that the vocabulary and syntax are known for being relatively simple and logical, with a handful of borrowed words from English. Despite this advantage, many anglophones will certainly struggle with the Vietnamese language’s six tones—in comparison, Mandarin has only four main tones.
Any language student understands that it’s a never-ending adventure (pun intended). Of course, if you’re attempting to learn Finnish, your journey may take longer than expected. Finnish, like Hungarian, is a Uralic language with a case system and verb conjugation rules that may feel especially difficult for English speakers to master (good news for Estonians—you should have no trouble picking up this fellow Uralic tongue).
Mandarin is a tonal language, meaning the tone or pitch used when saying a word can change its meaning. For example, when speaking Mandarin, the tone you use when saying “ma” can determine whether you’re saying “mother” or “horse.” While anglophones do use tone in certain instances—such as to indicate when you’re asking a question—English is not a tonal language, making the adjustment to Mandarin challenging for many. But don’t give up just yet—Mandarin is an incredibly popular choice among those learning a second language, and if others can do it, so can you.
Hungarian is a Uralic language, which distinguishes it from many other European languages in the Indo-European language family. This alone can make the language feel foreign to English speakers, not to mention the complex pronunciations, accents, and idioms one will undoubtedly encounter on their journey to learn Hungarian.