10 Most Difficult Languages in the World! | Leverage Edu (2024)

What are the hardest and toughest languages in the world? Well, learning a new language can be tough but if the language you have chosen is already considered a complex and difficult one, then you are in for a true brain challenge! While Mandarin is considered one of the hardest languages in the world, there are many contenders on the list that are often underrated! In this blog, we have compiled a list of the 10 most difficult languages for language-lovers and polyglots who are constantly hustling to pick a new exciting language!

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This Blog Includes:
  1. 1. Mandarin
  2. 2. Arabic
  3. 3. Telugu
  4. 4. Japanese
  5. 5. Polish
  6. 6. Turkish
  7. 7. Russian
  8. 8. Vietnamese
  9. 9. Finnish
  10. 10. Korean

1. Mandarin

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Script: Chinese characters
Official Language: China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore
Speakers: 1.28 billion speakers

As mentioned before, Mandarin is unanimously considered the most difficult language to master in the world! Spoken by over a billion people in the world, the language can be extremely difficult for people whose native languages use the Latin writing system. What makes Mandarin hard to grasp is the fact that it is a tonal language with thousands of characters and a mysterious writing system. Mandarin is not a phonetic language which means memorising the words and writing can be taxing. Merely looking up Chinese words in the dictionary is considered a skill in China that should tell you how tough the language is!

2. Arabic

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Script: Arabic script
Official Language: 26 countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen
Speakers: 300 million+ speakers

Arabic is the queen of poetic languages, the 6th official language of the UN and second on our list of toughest languages to learn. It is extremely popular in the Middle East and Africa with over 300 million speakers; Learning this language will expose you to some of the best literary works and historical writings. According to the Foreign Services Institute, it can take up to two years to learn Arabic. It is a hard language to wrap your brain around because of its numerous dialects, huge vocabulary (over 200 synonyms for the word camel!), right to left writing style, tough pronunciations and lack of vowels in the language.

3. Telugu

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Script: Telugu script
Official Language: Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India
Speakers: +75 million speakers

One of the most popular Dravidian languages in India; Telugu is native to states like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in India and is listed amongst India’s 22 scheduled languages. Dubbed as the ‘Italian of the East’, Telugu is a melodious yet the difficult language for non-natives who have no understanding of Sanskrit or any other popular Southern Indian languages. A combination of factors makes the language tough for non-natives such as the script is hard to get used to and the pronunciation factor which can make the language difficult to understand. A fun way to familiarise yourself with the language is to watch movies and listen to Telugu songs!

4. Japanese

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Script: Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana
Official Language: Japan
Speakers: +120 million

Japanese is another most difficult language for all those who have grown up learning English, Spanish or French but at the same time might be easy for those who are well-versed in East Asian languages. A language with no plural, Japanese is native to the people of Japan who take immense pride in their language and go to lengths to promote it! Japanese is a complex language due to its sentence structure, thousands of kanji characters and dozens of dialects!

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5. Polish

Script: Latin
Official Language: Poland
Speakers: 50 million

The sixth most popular language in the European Union and recognised as a minority language in countries like the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ukraine and Lithuania. Polish is amongst the hardest languages to pick up in the world. Polish words are confusing and can be hard to pronounce for English speakers. Though the language uses the Latin script, it has some additional letters, a complex grammar freestyle system and relies heavily on consonants. Even though it can be seen as the most difficult language, mastering this language can open up a host of opportunities, from travelling to studying in Poland!

6. Turkish

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Script: Latin
Official Language: Turkey
Speakers: 70 million

Turkish is an extremely popular language with a rich history and culture associated with it. It is native to Turkey and well-established in other countries like Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Greece. For non-native English speakers, this language can seem like the most difficult language that is strenuous and time-consuming because of its pronunciation, grammar and listening aspect. There are some positives like it uses Latin alphabets and it is a phonetic language.

7. Russian

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Script: Cyrillic
Official Language: Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan
Speakers: 150 million

Russian is one of the most famous European languages with over 150 million speakers across the world. Learning Russian is quite an experience because of the intricate case and gender system, different grammatical rules and novel writing system. It is easy to make errors in pronunciation and spelling when learning this language. Thus, Russian can be considered as one of the most difficult language. However, Russian is a fun language to learn for all those who want to travel to Russia and learn about its history and culture!

8. Vietnamese

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Script: Latin
Official Language: Vietnam
Speakers: 95 million speakers

Another difficult language to master; Vietnamese is a popular language in Vietnam and is recognized as a minority language in the Czech Republic. It is easily the most complex language in this list for English speakers because it bears little similarity to Western languages. Vietnamese is a tonal language and has diverse dialects; its system of consonants, vowels, and syllables is also very tricky to decipher.

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9. Finnish

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Script: Latin with Finnish alphabets
Official Language: Finland and Sweden
Speakers: +5 million speakers

Finnish is the official language of European countries like Finland and Sweden and is known as one of the hardest languages to speak and learn because of its complex case and vowel systems, hard grammar rules and the fact that the language is very different from its Latin and Germanic counterparts. As a result, learning and mastering this language is extremely taxing yet rewarding.

10. Korean

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Script: Hangul
Official Language: South Korea and North Korea
Speakers: 75 million speakers

Korean is last on our list of most difficult languages because it might not be the toughest yet it is the trickiest language with complex grammar rules, own alphabets, sentence structure, and pronunciation. Although learning Korean is on every K-Pop lovers’ list these days, it is not a language you can learn easily. The reason being it requires dedication and constant practice to memorize 24 letters and their proper pronunciation.

Hopefully, you enjoyed this list of difficult languages! Leave a comment below and let us what language you are planning to learn next. For more educational content, follow Leverage Edu on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. You can call our study abroad experts on 1800 572 000 to find out how the application process can be fast-tracked and streamlined!

10 Most Difficult Languages in the World! | Leverage Edu (2024)


10 Most Difficult Languages in the World! | Leverage Edu? ›

A. The top 10 hardest languages in the world include Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Finnish, Hungarian, Icelandic, Georgian, and Navajo. These languages are renowned for their intricate grammar systems, complex writing systems, and significant differences from English.

What is the 10 hardest language in the world? ›

Top 10 Hardest Languages in the World
  • Mandarin.
  • Arabic.
  • Japanese.
  • Korean.
  • Telugu.
  • Cantonese.
  • Polish.
  • Finnish.

What is the 20 hardest language in the world? ›

Top 20 Hardest languages to learn for english speakers
  • Criteria for ranking language difficulty. The task of ranking languages by difficulty is a complex endeavour that requires careful consideration of various linguistic factors. ...
  • Mandarin. ...
  • Arabic. ...
  • 3. Japanese. ...
  • Korean. ...
  • Russian. ...
  • Cantonese. ...
  • Hungarian.
Feb 19, 2024

What is the 7 hardest language to learn? ›

Since I am writing this article in English, here are the top 10 hardest languages to learn in the world for native English speakers:
  • Arabic.
  • Korean.
  • Japanese.
  • Hungarian.
  • Finnish.
  • Basque.
  • Navajo.
  • Icelandic.
Feb 23, 2024

What is the 1 hardest language to speak? ›

The Hardest Languages To Learn For English Speakers
  1. Mandarin Chinese. Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. ...
  2. Arabic. ...
  3. Polish. ...
  4. Russian. ...
  5. Turkish. ...
  6. Danish.

What is the 2 hardest language to speak? ›

We've also covered the easiest languages to learn for English speakers. Give it a read. The 3 hardest languages to learn include Mandarin, Arabic, and Russian. However, with the right strategies, overcoming these obstacles and succeeding in international markets is possible.

What is the most tricky language? ›

Mandarin is unanimously considered the most difficult language to master and is spoken by over a billion people in the world.

What is the easiest language in the world? ›

Spanish may be the #1 easiest language to learn. Not only does Spanish share the same alphabet – with the sole addition of ñ – but it's also phonetic. That makes figuring out new vocabulary easy, since the spelling tells you how to pronounce it.

What is the top 20 easiest language to learn? ›

20 Easiest Languages to Learn
  • German. ...
  • Indonesian. ...
  • Swahili. ...
  • Malay. ...
  • Haitian Creole. ...
  • Welsh. Welsh is spoken in Wales, but not all of the people there speak the language. ...
  • Greek. About 12.2 million people speak Greek, mostly in Greece. ...
  • Russian. There are about 258 million Russian speakers in the world, many of whom hail from Russia.
Jan 31, 2023

What language has the hardest grammar? ›

Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, and Japanese are among the toughest languages for English speakers to learn, particularly due to their complex grammar, writing, and pronunciation systems. Moreover, Mandarin Chinese is also one of the most spoken native languages in the world.

What is the 9th hardest language to learn? ›

Russian. Boasting more than 150 million speakers around the globe, Russian is certainly one of the most used languages in Europe. Learning it will prove quite a challenge for English speakers on account of its complicated gender and case system, not to mention the different grammatical rules.

What is the 9th hardest language? ›

Finnish. The official language of Finland and Sweden is often considered 9th hardest language in the world. Finnish is known for difficulty in learning complex vocabulary and following grammar rules. Overcoming the obstacles and mastering the language is equally rewarding.

What is the 8th hardest language to learn? ›

Vietnamese. The Vietnamese language comes from Vietnam. It is a tonal language with 6 tones and is commonly spoken in Vietnam and Southern China.

What is the hardest language to learn by hours? ›

Cantonese/Mandarin (2,200 hours each)

One of the challenges of mastering Mandarin is learning all of the characters.

What is the hardest language to learn top 50? ›

What are the hardest languages to learn?
  • Mandarin Chinese.
  • Arabic.
  • Japanese.
  • Russian.
  • Lesser-known languages with unique challenges. Hungarian. Finnish. Navajo. Factors influencing language difficulty. Linguistic complexity. Script and writing systems. Cultural and contextual challenges.

What is the 9 hardest language to learn? ›

Let's explore the 10 hardest languages for English speakers to learn, and the challenges they deliver:
  1. Mandarin. Mandarin is spoken by 70% of the Chinese population, and is the most spoken language in the world. ...
  2. Arabic. ...
  3. 3. Japanese. ...
  4. Hungarian. ...
  5. Korean. ...
  6. Finnish. ...
  7. Basque. ...
  8. Navajo.
Mar 6, 2015

What is the hardest language top 100? ›

Ranked: These are the Hardest Languages to Learn in the World
  • Arabic. Arabic ranks as the most challenging language to learn. ...
  • Mandarin. Mandarin, China's national language, is spoken by more than 1.3 billion people. ...
  • Korean. ...
  • Japanese. ...
  • Russian. ...
  • Hungarian. ...
  • Icelandic. ...
  • Greek.
Oct 16, 2023

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