Put your mind to it – here are the hardest and easiest languages to learn

Put your mind to it – here are the hardest and easiest languages to learn

Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Hindi have been named among the hardest languages for native English speakers to learn.

The language experts at Busuu have looked at spelling, pronunciation and grammar to list the hardest and easiest languages to learn as a native English speaker.

Unsurprisingly, European favourites including French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and German were among the easy languages to study.

Joining Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Hindi as the tricky ones, were Hungarian and Arabic.

Credit – Pexels

Easiest languages to learn:






Hardest languages to learn:





Mandarin Chinese

The experts have highlighted factors which make learning a language easier or more difficult for people.

The main reason people will find certain languages easier to learn than others is due to the linguistic distance from their mother tongue.

If the learning language is similar to their native language, then it will be easier to pick up.

European languages such as French and Spanish are typically the easiest to learn because of the similarities to one another: they follow common grammar rules, pronunciations, and spellings.

The sounds in these languages aren’t too far from those in English, and many words are related or have been taken into the English language from other European countries.

However, languages like Hindi, Hungarian and Arabic are much harder to learn because they have a challenging grammatical structure and use unfamiliar language tones.

Mandarin (and other Chinese dialects) have been found to be the hardest language for native English speakers to learn with thousands of characters, idioms and homophones to understand.

When it comes to Mandarin, the message is much more implicit compared to in the English language – China has a high context culture meaning when it comes to communication, people rely heavily on the context, which can be really confusing for native English speakers.

The team at Busuu say it’s a challenge worth accepting, however, since Mandarin is one of the widest spoken languages in the world.

A spokesperson for Busuu said: “Learning a new language is a great skill to pick up, many people think it’s too late to start learning once you leave school but that just isn’t the case.

“As long as you have the motivation and the dedication, it won’t take long before you start to feel confident in the new language.

“If you’re looking for something easier to learn, it’s worth choosing a European language. These are easier to learn because a lot of their words sound similar to English vocabulary.

“Those looking for a challenge should try to learn languages like Arabic or Chinese. These can be harder to pick up on because they have little to no resemblance to English. They also have many different tones and rules in their language which can take longer to wrap your head around.”

Leicester TV