World's Hardest Foreign Language

Mar 3, 2010 3:10:55 AM / by Rachel Reardon

bigstockphoto_Earth_People_Translate_Languag_6541063If you had to guess, which language do you think is the hardest to learn? Many people have said that English is the most difficult but "English is pretty simple: verbs hardly conjugate; nouns pluralise easily (just add “s”, mostly) and there are no genders to remember." Says, The Economist when they explored this idea last month in an article entitled: Difficult languages, Tongue twisters, In search of the world’s hardest language.

The article explores several of the most difficult words/concepts to learn in many languages. A few things to think about. Is it:

1. Pronunciation?
2. Cases or conjugation?
3. Gender of words?
4. Understanding complex concepts put into a single word?
5. Tones, clicks and unfamiliar sounds?
6. Grammar?
7. Encoding information that does not translate at all?

So out of 6,000 languages, what is the world's hardest foreign language? The Economist suggests that the Tuyuca language from the eastern Amazon is the most challenging. Not in pronunciation but in concept and structure. The crazy thing? There are only 1,000 people in the world who speak this language.

What do you think?

Topics: Language Learning and Culture

Rachel Reardon

Written by Rachel Reardon

Rachel works with some of the coolest marketers, designers, and writers around to help Mango look and sound its best. She loves bold colors, old books, the Montréal metro, and Star Trek. She has conflicting feelings about the Oxford comma.

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