The Top 25 Most Challenging Languages to Learn


While more than 7,000 languages exist worldwide, if you’re looking for a challenge, here are the 25 most difficult languages to learn, including a brief description of what makes them so challenging.


25. Croatian




















Why Croatian is so difficult to learn:

Croatia is a tiny nation with several dialects, making it tough to master just one if you want to immerse yourself in the language. Croatian has seven cases, while English only has three.


24. Tagalog




















Why Tagalog is so difficult to learn:

Tagalog, an Austronesian language, has a complex grammar and sentence structure that makes it challenging to master. Tagalog, which originates in the Philippine islands, is the first language of the majority of Filipinos.


23. Danish




















Why Danish is so difficult to learn:

Danish is one of the most complicated languages due to its pronunciation. In the Danish language, there are more than 20 vowel sounds. Also, the Danish alphabet contains three more vowels than the English alphabet.


22. Gaelic




















Why Gaelic is so difficult to learn:

Along with problems finding locations to speak Gaelic (use is declining in Ireland, let alone internationally), the language contains various grammatical cases and dialects that are difficult to learn. It employs VSO (verb, subject, object) word order, which might be difficult for most readers.


21. Bulgarian




















Why Bulgarian is so difficult to learn:

Bulgarian employs the Cyrillic script, which can be difficult for English speakers to master. The verb conjugations can also be confusing, with many more forms and combinations to learn than in other Slavic languages. The three gendered nouns are an additional source of anxiety for English speakers. Adverbs and adjectives must all be of the same gender.


20. Serbian




















Why Serbian is so difficult to learn:

This Slavic language has two scripts (Cyrillic and Latin), seven tenses, and a consonant (R) that can also be a vowel at times. Gender also has a significant role. For example, “uenik” means “male student.” Individual letters might sometimes be challenging.


19. Czech




















Why Czech is so difficult to learn:

For English speakers, pronouncing Czech words is a nightmare. The language is densely packed with consonants, creating individual syllables and tongue twisters. Czech has seven cases to memorize, each with a masculine, feminine, and neutral gender. What’s more, there are plural forms to consider for each of these cases!


18. Albanian




















Why Albanian is so difficult to learn:

Albanian is distinct from any other language, including those classified as Indo-European. It includes extinct languages like Thracian, Illyrian, and Dacian, as well as grammatical principles and vocabulary from Greek and Latin. Albanian nouns include both a case and a number. Therefore, each noun must be memorized.


17. Georgian




















Why Georgian is so difficult to learn:

The most exciting but challenging element about learning Georgian is that it has its own writing system, with many of the letters seeming eerily identical. Because of the excessive consonant clusters, articulation might often be tricky.


16. Estonian




















Why Estonian is so difficult to learn:

Estonian is a distinctive language that belongs to the Finno-Ugric family and can be challenging to learn. It features 14 noun cases and syntax that is jam-packed with exceptions. Furthermore, consonants and vowels have short, long, and extremely long lengths.


15. Turkish




















Why Turkish is so difficult to learn:

Turkish has a lot of really lengthy verbs. That is because it is an agglutinative language, meaning that prefixes and suffixes are appended to words to indicate meaning and direction. In Turkish, the verb carries the most weight. And because it’s towards the sentence’s conclusion, you won’t grasp what’s said until it ends.


14. Farsi




















Why Farsi is so difficult to learn:

This Indo-European language, often known as Persian, is rich in vocabulary that English speakers would recognize, as many English words have their origins in Farsi. However, it remains one of the most challenging languages to learn due to its distinct alphabet and character, which differ from those of many western languages. Farsi is also read from left to right.


13. Greek




















Why Greek is so difficult to learn:

Greek, the oldest existing Indo-European language, is a complex language for beginners to master. There are three genders for nouns and some grammatical rules that English speakers are unfamiliar with when trying to learn Greek. Also, knowing the Greek alphabet is required.


12. Russian




















Why Russian is so difficult to learn:

Because of the difficult pronunciation, Russian might be challenging for English speakers. For example, while the language is composed of Latin letters, many of the letters sound entirely different. The letter “b” sounds like the letter “v,” while the letter “h” sounds like the letter “n.” In addition, many Russian words have consonants clustered together, making writing and pronunciation difficult.


11. Polish




















Why Polish is so difficult to learn:

Polish pronunciation might be challenging for beginners. For example, the Polish word for happiness is “szcezcie,” which consists of two Polish digraphs (sz,cz) and a nasal E sound. In addition, seven other grammatical cases in Polish are impacted by gender. Another interesting fact is that there are 17 distinct instances for numbers, meaning there are 17 ways to say the same number.


10. Finnish




















Why Finnish is so difficult to learn:

Finnish is a Finno-Ugric language with complex verb conjugation, case system, consonant gradation, and clitics. Because of its 15 grammatical cases, even the tiniest alteration at the end of a word might change its meaning. Meanwhile, as suffixes, case endings are appended to word stems. These ends communicate the same things that propositions do in English.


9. Hungarian




















Why Hungarian is so difficult to learn:

Hungarian is agglutinative. That means prefixes and suffixes are added to words rather than distinct prepositions. In Hungarian, one word often equals a whole phrase. Just one word is ridiculously lengthy. In English, “megszentségtelenthetetlenségeskedéseitekért” means “for your persistent behavior as though you could not be desecrated.”


8. Icelandic




















Why Icelandic is so difficult to learn:

The Icelandic language remains one of the most difficult to learn, which makes sense given that it hasn’t altered since the ninth and tenth centuries. The ancient language has incredibly lengthy words, and the syllables are pronounced entirely differently than regular English syllables. The language is also notable for its perplexing conjugations.


7. Hindi




















Why Hindi is so difficult to learn:

Hindi is a phonetic language descended from the ancient South Asian language of Sanskrit, although many sounds are unfamiliar to English speakers. Meanwhile, the written version of Hindi, written in Devanagari script, lacks important phonetic markers that would aid students in understanding how to pronounce words. The highly nuanced language includes minute variations in tone and context.


6. Vietnamese




















Why Vietnamese is so difficult to learn:

Vietnamese, a member of the Austroasiatic language family, can be challenging to pronounce for English speakers due to its foreign pronunciations. It features six diacriticalally defined tone variants. The language also contains many vowel sounds that most English speakers find difficult to learn.


5. Thai




















Why Thai is so difficult to learn:

The Thai language is tonal. To comprehend it, you must recognize the pitch of a tone in connection to the world and overall sentence context. There are five tones in the language, some of which are not found in English. Thai also has its own alphabet with 44 consonants, 18 vowels, and six diphthongs to learn.


4. Korean




















Why Korean is so difficult to learn:

Despite possessing the world’s most logical writing system — an alphabet of only 24 characters, 10 of which are vowels and 14 of which are consonants — the language remains challenging to learn. So many of the terms sound identical to one another. Furthermore, because there are no characters, it is more difficult to envision them for memorizing reasons. The sentence structure differs significantly from that of English. In Korean, the order is subject, object, and verb, as opposed to subject, verb, and object in English.


3. Japanese




















Why Japanese is so difficult to learn:

The writing system, which incorporates tens of thousands of letters known as “kanji,” is one of the most difficult components of learning Japanese. Another unfamiliar notion to many English speakers is the focus on courteous communication. The formality of a circumstance determines how you utter a word, known as “keigo.” As a consequence, one word might have ten alternative translations.


2. Arabic




















Why Arabic is so difficult to learn:

Arabic has 28 script letters written from right to left, and most words lack vowels. Other sounds in the language are not found in many other languages. Grammatically, verbs frequently appear before the subject, and many nouns have dual forms in addition to single and plural forms.


1. Mandarin




















Why Mandarin is so difficult to learn:

Despite being the world’s most widely spoken native language, Mandarin Chinese ranks first on the list of the most challenging languages to learn. The language necessitates memorizing thousands of special characters. Because the language includes four tones, one word can be pronounced four different ways, each with a different meaning.


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