Connecting with people from around the world requires learning a foreign language. Even if you can interact with just a few basic words and a few phrases, you have an advantage over someone who sees another’s a mode of communication as gibberish.

The ease of learning a language is influenced by the native language of the learner, so no two languages are alike. Nearly all languages are easy to learn if they are close to your mother tongue.

List of 10 Difficult Languages

The process of learning a new language will always be challenging, but some languages will be considerably more difficult to learn than others. Different factors contribute to these differences in difficulty, including learning hurdles associated with new languages and grammar systems.

Moreover, someone who lives in a country where only that language is spoken will have an easier time learning the language. Choosing one of the languages on our list may be a great idea if you’re looking to give your brain a good workout.

Here are ten of the toughest languages for native English speakers to learn and why you may have a hard time learning them.

1. Chinese

The tone employed by the speaker and the grammatical structures of the language set Chinese apart from other languages. Novice speakers of some languages with a basic understanding of grammar can pass; however, with Chinese, a mixup in grammar can lead to misunderstandings. Writing and speaking are two separate systems, so reading and writing are issues distinct from the conversation.

2. Arabic

For native English speakers, Arabic is one of the 10 difficult languages of the world. In addition to unfamiliar speech patterns and sounds, individuals find it challenging to read a foreign alphabet, both in script and direction of reading.

For Arabic and English, there are similar vocabulary and cognates, but for other Germanic languages, this is not the case. To master the alphabet, you must master the vowel markings that drastically change the meaning of words. In most cases, the markings are not found in native speakers or everyday texts.

3. Japanese

Several Asian languages are the hardest languages to learn for native English speakers. Each of them has a specific feature that makes it harder for a new speaker than the others, aside from the new text. To be able to adequately write Japanese, a person must master thousands of characters.

As a result, the Japanese have three different writing systems, each with its alphabet. Despite these drawbacks, it is a language that can open up the learner to a culture that not only respects elders but even expresses this respect through its linguistic structure.

4. Korean

Initially, Korean’s sentence structure is a bit strange to people who are introduced to it. You first describe the subject, then you describe the object that is being acted upon, and finally, you describe the action. An adjective follows the subject when describing something.

Aside from The Korean alphabet, heavily influenced by Chinese, presents difficult challenges to novice learners due to differences in a sentence, speaking, and syntax pattern.

5. Greek

Although Greek is less challenging for native Anglophones than our top four languages, there are still some aspects of the language that can prove challenging for new speakers.

Some individuals have difficulty reading the alphabet; however, what confuses many is the stress required to make sure that the other person understands what you are saying. An incorrect emphasis can completely change the word’s meaning.

6. Icelandic

This list includes Icelandic, but not because it is a difficult language to learn. The challenges of this language are not unlike those of any other language, but it does come with some complexity. There is a learning curve involved.

The photo above illustrates perfectly how Icelandic spelling and word order practices are complex. Contextual analogies are rare. Lastly, resources are very limited, as they would be for a language with 330,000 speakers. Making matters more difficult.

7. Estonian

This is due to Estonia’s complex language structure, which is also shared by many other European countries that speak their languages.

As long as the language is kept alive in the countries of origin, grammar rules are often less formalized, and cognates are not as common since other languages have not influenced it.

8. Finnish

The language’s growth and mannerisms are influenced by its place of preservation within the country, similar to many other European languages. Other than that, many individuals consider Finnish and Estonian to be close relatives in terms of their speech and grammar patterns.

Finnish is indeed easier to learn than Estonian, but the overall difficulty of language acquisition for both is similar. In comparison to Estonian, Finnish isn’t an easy language to learn. In case you are considering learning Finnish, there are more speakers (five million) than Estonian.

9. Thai

We turn our attention to Thailand after taking a short detour from European languages. When compared to our top half of the list, Thai has a medium difficulty to acquire. According to my research into Thai, the main challenges lie in speaking the language rather than anything else.

For new speakers, sound and tone are the most important and most difficult aspects of learning Spanish. There will also be difficulties in the alphabet for those familiar with the Latin alphabet.

10. Norwegian

Finally, we have Norwegian on our list of countries in Europe. This is because it is the last on the list. In a classroom or formal setting, it’s an easy language to grasp.

However, Norwegian is ranked high on this list because it is spoken predominantly in Norway. How so? Norwegian spoken among native speakers is highly informal and much less structured than English. Norwegian dialects are prevalent, and while most Norwegians understand each other, dialects can complicate communication.

Difficult Language Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Learn It

All of the languages on our list will give your brain the workout it needs regardless of whether you’re looking to impress your friends or travel to one of the above countries.

You shouldn’t be discouraged by all the factors we mentioned just because these languages are the hardest to learn. While learning one of these languages might take much longer than learning one of the 10 easiest languages for English speakers, it might prove to be much more rewarding.

The modern world provides you with endless resources at your fingertips. There are many apps available for learning languages, including dictionaries, language books, as well as apps connecting you with a language exchange partner.

You will be successful if you use these tools along with traditional classes traveling to the country where that particular language is primarily spoken would be the most effective method of learning one of these languages.s. Regardless of your motivation, learning a new language is an exciting endeavor that everyone should take on.

You can take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to learn one of these languages. Perhaps you will discover something about yourself. What do you think about our list of the hardest languages to learn for English speakers? Do any of them sound interesting to you? What do you think about their difficulty?