Are some languages harder than others?
From the point of view of children learning their first language, no! Children around the world acquire language at pretty much the same rate. But as adults learning a second language, we are likely to find languages which are more closely related to our own easier than others.
For example, German is easier for a native English speaker than say Chinese because for starters, you can actually read the German alphabet, but Chinese script is somewhat more complex.
Willkommen bei Deutsch! (German) vs 欢迎 学 汉语 (Chinese)
Although in the case of Chinese, we would simplify this for English-speakers by teaching you pinyin, the Romanised system that would enable English speakers to learn Mandarin
without having to learn the script.
For example, 欢迎 学 汉语 becomes Huān yíng xué Hàn Yǔ.
With languages from the same family, say Romance languages eg Spanish, French, Italian; there are vast similarities, so knowing one language would give you a significant advantage in learning another. Some say French is harder than Spanish, or that Spanish is harder than Italian, but ultimately we think the difference is not huge, so choose the language you prefer to learn.
We recently covered the topic Which language should I learn?
In the next few days, we’ll be answering the question “which is the most popular language?”.
FAQs previously covered:
FAQs coming up:
11. So which languages will I find easier than others?
12. Which is the most popular
13. Can learning a
language be fun?