16 Hardest Languages To Learn For English Speakers (2024)

In this article, we will be taking a look at the 16 hardest languages to learn for English speakers. If you are not interested in reading the details, head straight to the 5 Hardest Languages To Learn For English Speakers.

Learning a new language can be a thrilling adventure, but for English speakers, specific linguistic paths may be more arduous than others. As English widely dominates the global stage as a lingua franca, delving into languages that diverge significantly from their roots can present a formidable challenge. From tonal systems to complex grammatical structures and characters that seem like intricate puzzles, the world boasts a plethora of languages that can test the mettle of even the most determined language learners.

Language Barriers in Global Business: Navigating the Hardest Languages for English-Speaking Entrepreneurs

As an English-speaking entrepreneur, navigating language barriers in global business can be a major challenge. We'll cover the hardest languages for the english speaking people in this list. 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. One critical method is to invest in language training for yourself and your team.

Studies show that companies that offer language training to their employees have a higher likelihood of achieving high profitability and growth, which can help you better communicate with clients and partners in different countries. It can also help you understand critical cultural nuances in business negotiations.

Another important step is to hire local staff or work with local partners who can help you navigate language and cultural barriers. Research has found that businesses that employ local talent have higher success rate in foreign markets. These individuals can provide valuable insights into the local market and help you build strong relationships with key stakeholders.

Finally, staying current on the latest trends and developments in global business is essential, which can help you identify new opportunities that allow you to stay ahead of the competition. Companies that prioritize staying informed about global trends and developments are 30%more likely to achieve high growth rates and profitability. By implementing these strategies and staying informed, you can successfully navigate language barriers and thrive in international markets.

Enhancing Business Opportunities: Conquering the Most Difficult Languages for English-Speaking Professionals

Learning complex languages like Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, and Russian can give business professionals a competitive advantage in today's globalized world. These languages open doors to vast business opportunities and allow effective communication with individuals worldwide. Mandarin, the hardest language to learn for English speakers, spoken by over a billion people, is particularly valuable for business in Asia, where China's GDP presents a massive market.

Arabic, one of the most spoken languages in the world, is crucial for business in over 20 oil producing countries with booming economies. Russian, the largest native language in Europe, is the official language in four countries including Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrygyzstan.Although learning a new language may seem daunting, numerous resources such as language apps, online courses, and language schools can aid success.

Immersing oneself in the language through media consumption and practice with native speakers is also vital. Learning a complex language can revolutionize business endeavors by fostering connections and creating opportunities for growth and success in multi-trillion dollar markets.

Unlocking Opportunities: The Impact of Learning the Hardest Languages on International Business Ventures.

Mastering complex languages such as Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, and Russian can grant English-speaking professionals acompetitive edge in global business. The economic rewards associated with these languages are immense. For instance, China's GDP is projected to grow at an impressive rate of 5.7% annually until 2025, followed by 4.7% until 2030. With over a billion Mandarin Chinese speakers, attaining practical communication skills in this language opens up unparalleled access to a vast consumer base and lucrative investment prospects.

Although learning challenging languages may initially appear daunting, a wide range of resources, including language apps, online courses, and immersion techniques, can facilitate learning. By embracing linguistic diversity, professionals can forge connections across borders, unlocking new avenues for growth and success in the dynamic global business landscape.

Empowering Language Learning for English Speakers: Coursera, Duolingo, and Babbel

Coursera, Inc. (NYSE:COUR) provides a diverse selection of courses, with some of the courses on foreign languages from esteemed universities and industry professionals. The completion of Coursera, Inc. (NYSE:COUR)'s courses offers significant career benefits. Moreover, Coursera, Inc. (NYSE:COUR) accommodates individuals' busy schedules by offering self-paced courses, enabling them to strike a balance between work, personal commitments, and professional development.

Duolingo, Inc. (NASDAQ:DOUL) is a highly beneficial language learning app. It offers an opportunity to communicate with diverse individuals and facilitates personal and professional development. According to a Duolingo, Inc. (NASDAQ:DOUL)'s study, users can learn the equivalent of one semester of college language learning after 34 hours of study on the app. Duolingo, Inc. (NYSE:DOUL)'s free version makes it accessible to all, and it is a valuable resource for broadening horizons and improving language skills.

Babbel provides comprehensive and interactive language learning courses that cater to the learning style and goals of English speakers. With Babbel, learners can progress at their own pace and focus on specific areas such as grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Babbel offers a tailored approach to language learning, making it easier and more accessible for English speakers to acquire new language skills.

Without further ado, let's head over to the list of the hardest languages for English speakers to learn.

16 Hardest Languages To Learn For English Speakers (1)


Our Methodology

Our methodology for identifying the most complicated languages for English speakers involved conducting thorough research using sources such as Berlitz, Mango Languages, Matador Network, and Tomedes. We selected the 16 most challenging languages to learn for English speakers on a structured scoring system. Each language received points based on the number of times it appeared in the research sources. By employing this approach, we created a definitive compilation of the top hardest languages for English Speakers and ranked them in ascending order.

Here is our list of thehardest languages to learn for English speakers.

16. Bulgarian

Insider Monkey Score: 1

Bulgarian is a Slavic language with approximately eight million native speakers, primarily in Bulgaria. It shares similarities with Russian, including the use of the Cyrillic alphabet. English speakers may face challenges with vocabulary and grammar, but online resources like Coursera can aid in language acquisition. Mastering consonant and vowel sounds and expanding vocabulary are crucial to progressing in Bulgarian.

15. Albanian

Insider Monkey Score: 1

Albanian, spoken in Albania and Kosovo, is a distinct language influenced by Greek, Latin, and ancient languages. Learning Albanian can be challenging for English speakers due to its complex grammar, including noun cases and genders. Despite the difficulties, Albanian provides an opportunity to connect with a unique culture, and practicing with native speakers can expedite the learning process.

14. Hindi

Insider Monkey Score: 1

Hindi, an ancient language derived from Sanskrit, is spoken by hundreds of millions of people in India and other countries. Mastering the Devanagari script and pronunciation can be challenging for English speakers, but learning Hindi offers rewarding opportunities for travel, work, and education.

13. Vietnamese

Insider Monkey Score: 1

Vietnamese, spoken by 76 million people in Vietnam, is part of the Austroasiatic language family. Learning Vietnamese benefits English-speaking travelers and long-term residents, especially outside major cities where English is less common. The challenging pronunciation, with six tonal variations, requires practice to convey the correct meaning. However, once the tones are mastered, Vietnamese grammar is relatively straightforward.

12. Thai

Insider Monkey Score: 1

Thai, spoken by approximately 60 million people in Thailand, presents challenges for English speakers due to its tonal nature and unique script. Mastering tones and memorizing the script are crucial to understanding Thai. However, Thai grammar is straightforward, and the vocabulary includes loan words from various languages.

11. Serbian

Insider Monkey Score: 2

Serbian is a Slavic language spoken by approximately 12 million people, primarily in Serbia. It is also an official language in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo, and is recognized as a minority language in Croatia, Romania, and Hungary. Learning Serbian is valuable for those interested in Eastern Europe. Challenges for English speakers include two scripts, seven tenses, and gendered words. However, Serbian's phonetic nature aids pronunciation.

10. Turkish

Insider Monkey Score: 2

Turkish, spoken by over 75 million native speakers across Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Europe, offers valuable language acquisition opportunities. English speakers may find Turkish challenging due to its complex grammar rules, including suffixes and word order. However, Turkish's phonetic nature simplifies pronunciation yet its one of the hardest languages to master for English speakers.

9. Farsi

Insider Monkey Score: 2

Farsi, or Persian, is an Indo-European language in Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. It presents challenges for English speakers due to its Arabic script, right-to-left reading, and complex grammar. However, Farsi offers connections to English through borrowed words. Pronunciation and vocabulary are relatively manageable, while grammar follows familiar patterns. Farsi's unique aspect is case marking, where words indicate grammatical case by preceding or following nouns.

8. Greek

Insider Monkey Score: 2

Greek, the oldest living Indo-European language, presents challenges for English speakers with its new vocabulary, complex grammar rules, and three noun genders. Familiarity with the Greek alphabet is necessary. However, learning Greek offers excellent value as a foundational language with significant influence on English vocabulary. Pronunciation can be intricate due to letter variations, but consonants resemble English sounds. Greek grammar involves cases and tenses, requiring conjugation learning.

7. Russian

Insider Monkey Score: 2

With its unique writing system, pronunciation challenges, and complex grammar, Russian poses difficulties for English speakers. However, its significance as a language spoken by millions and its connections to literature, philosophy, and visual arts make it worth learning. The Cyrillic alphabet, vocabulary differences, unpredictable pronunciation, and grammar intricacies contribute to the challenges faced by learners.

Fluency in Russian facilitates relationship-building, cultural understanding, and business navigation. Russia's role in the global economy, particularly in energy and natural resources, makes Russian proficiency valuable for negotiations and partnerships. Mastering Russian opens doors to various trade, finance, and diplomacy job opportunities.

6. Icelandic

Insider Monkey Score: 3

Icelandic is a challenging language and stands sixth among thehardest languages to learn for English speakers, but rewarding for English speakers. It provides insights into Icelandic culture and history. Iceland's high-income economy and thriving tourism industry offer job opportunities. Mastering this language improves cognitive abilities and memory retention, boosting confidence and cross-cultural communication skills. Studies show bilingual individuals have better mental flexibility and task-switching capabilities.

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Disclosure. None: The 16 Hardest Languages To Learn For English Speakers is originally published on Insider Monkey.

16 Hardest Languages To Learn For English Speakers (2024)


What are the hardest languages to learn for English speakers? ›

Some of the languages that are hard for English speakers to learn are Icelandic, Russian, Polish, Serbian, Greek, Farsi, Hungarian, Finnish, Turkish, Basque, and Navajo. According to the FSI, all of these languages take around 1100 class hours to learn.

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 hardest language to learn 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

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 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 top 15 hardest language to learn? ›

Learning a new language can improve your ability to make well-informed and rational decisions.
  1. Mandarin Chinese. There are over 900 million speakers of Mandarin, making it one of the most widely spoken native languages around the world. ...
  2. Arabic. ...
  3. Korean. ...
  4. Navajo. ...
  5. Icelandic. ...
  6. Turkish. ...
  7. 7. Japanese. ...
  8. Persian.
Feb 12, 2021

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 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

Which language has hardest grammar? ›

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 number 1 easiest language to learn? ›

1. Norwegian. This may come as a surprise, but we have ranked Norwegian as the easiest language to learn for English speakers. Norwegian is a member of the Germanic family of languages — just like English!

What's the easiest language for English speakers to learn? ›

Languages that are related to English and easy to learn include most Germanic languages (Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, and German) and Romance languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, and Romanian). Apart from this, knowing a language related to the target language can make it easier to learn!

What is a Category 5 language? ›

They are described as “hard languages”. Category V – It usually takes 88 weeks or 2200 hours to reach S-3/R-3 proficiency in these languages. This small group of “super-hard languages” includes Chinese (Mandarin), Cantonese, Japanese, Korean and Arabic.

What is the closest language to English? ›

Exploring the Closest Languages to English

Dutch, Frisian, and German stand as the nearest kin to English, with Frisian holding the strongest resemblance. The syntax, lexicon, and phonetics of both Frisian and English demonstrate their shared lineage.

What is the most useful language to learn after English? ›

The 7 Best Languages To Learn
  1. Spanish. Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language after Mandarin, and not a surprise at the top of languages to learn. ...
  2. German. ...
  3. Arabic. ...
  4. Mandarin. ...
  5. Portuguese. ...
  6. Russian. ...
  7. French.
Oct 19, 2022

What is the top 10 hardest language to learn? ›

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 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 easiest language to learn for English speakers? ›

Languages that are related to English and easy to learn include most Germanic languages (Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, and German) and Romance languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, and Romanian).

What is the most easiest language for English speakers? ›

15 of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers -...
  • Frisian. Frisian is thought to be one of the languages most closely related to English, and therefore also the easiest for English-speakers to pick up. ...
  • Dutch. ...
  • Norwegian. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • French. ...
  • Swedish.
Oct 24, 2021

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