Hardest language to learn

Hardest language to learn might not be what you think. Polish is the hardest language to learn. Why is this not common language uncommonly hard to learn? Read on.

Hardest language to learn in the world

What is the hardest language to learn?

  1. Extremely Hard: The hardest language to learn is: Polish – Seven cases, Seven genders and very difficult pronunciation. The average English speaker is fluent in their language at the age of 12, in contrast, the average Polish speaker is fluent in their language after age of 16.
  2. Very Hard: Finnish, Hungarian, and Estonian – The Ugric languages are hard because of the countless noun cases. However, the cases are more like English prepositions added to the end of the root word. However, anyone arguing Asian languages like Korean trump Uralic languages in complexity, really needs to hit the books and do more research.
  3. Simply Arduous: Ukrainian and Russian – Second language learners wrongly assume because these languages use a different script (Cyrillic) that it out ranks Polish. This is not objective, as an alphabet is only lets say 26 letters. It is really the pronunciation and how societies use the language that influences ranking. Ukrainian and Russian complex grammar and different alphabet, but easier pronunciation. (the Poles use a modified Latin alphabet which does not have a neat orthography fit to the sounds of their language). Slavic languages have sophisticated case and gender systems, also something that approximates a complex tense system with aspects of time-verb relationships.
  4. Challenging contender jockey for position:  Arabic – Three baby cases which are like a walk in the park compared to the above, but the unusual pronunciation and flow of the language makes study laborious and requires cognitive diligence if you want to speak it.
  5. Fairly Hard: Chinese and Japanese – No cases, no genders, no tenses, no verb changes, short words, very easy grammar, however, writing is hard. But to speak it is very easy. Also intonations make it harder, but certainly not harder than Polish pronunciation. I know a Chinese language teacher in NYC that has even authored an the authoritative book on modern Mandarin says people meet Chinese very easy. This same teacher,  if multilingual yet could not learn Polish. I am learning some Chinese, it is not the hardest language maybe even one of the easiest language to learn.  Despite prideful proclamations of armchair linguists, to verbalizes Asian languages in general are not top ranked by any measure. Try to learn some Chinese and Polish your self and you will see which is the hardest language.
  6. Average: French – lots of tenses, but not used and moderate grammar. German-only four cases and like five exceptions, everything is logical, of course.
  7. Easy: Spanish and Italian – People I know pick these up no problem, even accountants and technical people rather than humanistic language people.
  8. Basic to hard: English, no cases or gender, you hear it everywhere, spelling can be hard and British tenses you can use the simple and continues tense instead of the perfect tenses and you will speak American English. English at the basic level is easy but to speak it like a native it’s hard because of the dynamic idiomatic nature.
The most challenging language only for the strong and the brave is Polish. Most others are easy in comparison.
  • Some people cocooned in innocence, go around parroting linguistic relative difficulty ranks by looking at a list created in the ivory towers. This list might be based on the number of hours required to achieve a degree of fluency, or intermediate conversation in a language, in an academic environment of teaching, in contrast to most people in the real world.  This simplistic one variable model is simply wrong. I suggest a more robust model.
If you learn Polish your third language will be easy to learn. It is like training and conditioning for a sport.

The following is support for my argument.

The way you approach this is a simple equation that illustrates hypothetical rankings of variables importance.

Formula for difficulty in a language = O*(G+V+(w*.1)+(A*2.0)+S+V(1.5))

O= Openness of the society to communicate in their own language to a foreigner as opposed to English.

G = Grammar, specifically the number of exceptions in each cases

V= Verbs Conjugation complexity

P= Pronunciation and Phonology.

W=Complexity of the written language, including script and alphabet variation.

A=Average number of syllables in each word. Do not underestimate this as the working memory for the brain to hold bits of information in your brain is manifold more if you are considering a language with a long orthographical constructions.

S=Speed of the language.

V=Vocalness of the people speaking.

If you can assign an O factor as the major determinant variable then you have your answer. The openness of a society to transmit their language on a person to person, on the street level day-to-day experiences is what really makes communication hard to easy to absorb. I can attest to this after living in Europe for about a decade.

Ordinal ranking on how hard a student has it to for second language acquisition.

Are you a citizen of Stratos or trying to speak to you boyfriend or girlfriend?

What good is a theoretical understanding of a language, if in reality you can not practice it to fluency beyond the classroom. Lets separate the academics from real people, when trying to analysis the question.

This is not just a ranking of the hardest language to learn mind you, rather a ranking for realistic, practical people who are in the trenches of life and want to learn a new language for communication purposes. Not a ranking for  academics who are living on Stratos, the city of clouds or lost in the labyrinth of the stacks in their university library.

I have not considered languages that have under one million native speakers. Even through humanistically important on equal par with all other languages, they are too remote or inaccessible for any real life learning. Patois dialects are excluded. These are important languages, just not for the average person. I also have not considered extinct or ancient languages which have even a more alien grammatical structure.

People write me and say hey Mark here is a language that has a hundred cases and sounds mostly like whistlers, and people often talk backwards, certainly this must be the most difficult. My reply how many people speak it? Similarly,  you might say well there is a language spoken by some children on my block, they made it up. For me unless there are a million speakers does not pass the cut.

Map of difficulty with green being a breeze and red being, well more arduous foreign languages.

My reply to the FSI’s rank of the number of hours needed to learn a language -Anti-glottology at its best

There is an annoying mythology of language difficulty, that is perpetuated by Foreign Service institute. How many hours it takes to achieve various levels in a language after academic study. This is no valid. Unless you are 18-21 and a full-time student at a university and giving equal or greater weight to written language as compared to spoken, then that is bunk.

Who has the time to study in the ivory towers a language university or prepare like a diplomat except someone in some cushy government job? It is not the real world. Speaking is much more important than writing and reading.

Written language for the masses only came into significance in the last 100 years, in contrast to the 7 millions years of Homininae communication when there was first a divergence in our evolutionary tree and changes in our heterochrony gave us the capacity for prolonged language acquisition.  Further the written language is in the process of a strange de-evolution with rise of texting messages and ADD. Lets be honest here, few people can study like an egghead, rather they want to just communicate.

Example of how people learn in Africa and the Middle East

When I was in North Africa (several times) I was amazed people could talk in the open market in several languages with little effort. They never opened a book or wrote in a foreign language. Language is about speaking. It is about communication not something you learn in a book. How long was it like that? The first one million years of human evolution from Primates until about 1950 when world illiteracy went from less than 1% to over 50%. So for tens of thousands of years for most humans, language was about the speaking, that is it. For a few thousand the landed elite and first estate class has some form of written language but this was not most people. Lets be real language has nothing to do with a book, only the tongue and ear. Therefore when FSI or any other person assets Chinese or Asian languages are hard, they are not if you strip away the crazy characters to a non-Asian person.

The worst thing about the modern communication

It irritates me that one person will state something on the web and it is recycled by every content mill blogger ad infinitum. People take ideas for fact without looking at them objectively. I call this the flat earth syndrome of language learning. Just because an expert says it does not mean it is true.

Aristotle believed the heart was the center of human cognition and the brain was an organ of minor importance. For centuries people took this as fact.

That does not mean the academics are wrong, and Asian languages are not more difficult for an English native speaker to achieve a level of mastery, but look at this objectively.

Modern linguistic snake oil salesman

Also when someone says on the web, you can learn a language in three hours or even three months, and they are trying to sell you something, I would say, ‘I have some swap land in Florida to sell you that will appreciate in value any day now’.  I would like to personally like to call them up and test their fluency in Polish. My point is the web is a great place but discern sensation seekers and academics from someone like myself who is linguistically challenged, yet has dedicated his life abroad to learning foreign languages.

How linguistic science is different from physical science

Despite my quantification above, there is no way you can objectively measure linguistic ranking or difficulty like the hard sciences like physics or chemistry measure a phenomenon in a vacuum. Even in physics things are tested, regression are run and retested. There is debate and paradigms are challenged every few decades.

So are you telling me, that in not a social science but a humanities like Language that because some government organization for a very specific program makes a statement fifty years ago, everyone including people on the Internet take it as fact and recycle it ad nauseam?

Evolution of phraseology and variance from linguistic universals as a measure of difficulty.

Departure from universal grammar and linguistic universals and structures is that are natural constructs of the human brain could be a measure of difficulty with some objectivity, however, how you measure it I have no idea how you would do this. Typological universals and other measures are left for future research.

Why Asian languages are not hard – Palaver about Asian foreign language acquisition

No grammar to speak of, no cases, not complex plurals, short words. People argue they have tones but these are subtle pronunciation differences and in my experience I am understood when I speak Mandarin for example with poor pronunciation easier in comparison with Polish. I know author and teacher of Chinese in NYC and he says most of the people who walk in off he street learn Chinese pretty fast. He has a book called Easy Mandarin. It is only the written language that is hard.

Errors and omissions statement

Yes I know in the image I typed Finish and Hinidi, need to fix this, when I get my computer back from Amishland. I am writing an Amish language program.  Also the scope of this article can not be comprehensive because the proliferation of languages, for example, I need a follow up to cover, Turkish, Greek, Armenia, Georgian etc. When writing you have to make choices to make a point rather than cover ever detail, however, these are worthy for discussion in the comment area.

Back to Polish – the trophy winner

When you speak of Phonology, sound approximation from the native language to the target Polish ranks near the top as the tongue twisting, multi-syllabic mixing of consonants and vowels are unmatched by any shorter Asian word, even with tones. I stated at the top that the average Polish learner is not fluent until the age of sixteen. It sounds like a bold statement but read on.

Yes Poles can communicate before that, but subjectively, for such an intelligent population of people (and Poles are highly intelligent and educated) proportionally I have seen an inordinate amount of Polish youngsters struggle with their own orthography, pronunciation, grammar at disproportionate levels compared to say English speakers.

Factor out any genetic differences by comparing Polish Americans who are identical genetically to Poles in Poland, yet learn English as their native language at a different rate than Polish as a native language. My daughter who is bilingual finds English much easier than Polish. There are differences in the rates humans learn languages based on the complexity of the language, and this is seen in native speaker language acquisition.

Examples and references that back up my theory of modern of linguistics that give a better understanding of how people acquire a second language:

  • In social linguistic acculturation Model or SLA, was proposed by John Schumann and focused on how an individual interacts with the society. Some societies more easily transmit culture.
  • Gardner’s socio-educational model – Similar to above and deals with the inter-group model of “ethnolinguistic vitality”.
  • Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky developed a theory of zone of proximal development.

I want to know your feedback and research so they may benefit second language learners.

Author: Mark Biernat

I live in with family between two worlds, US and Europe where I create tools for language learning. If you found my site you probability share my passion to be a life long learner. Please explore my site and comment.

1,422 thoughts on “Hardest language to learn”

  1. I 100 precent agree with you on polish being the hardest language. My parents are polish so i am lucky enough to have it spoken in my house. I must say it’s a really useful language to know and am really happy that my parents made sure i learned it. Obviously i don’t speak it perfectly, but i think that if i keep on studying it someday i will be fluent.

  2. In terms of native speakers laughing at people who try to speak their language, that is absolutely pathetic. They should not be hindering that person’s efforts and confidence, but rather trying to help correct them as a sign of pride in their own language. I have seen native speakers of different languages either laugh or discourage people I have traveled with, and I was absolutely disgusted. One time, I was so much that I started belittling and insulting at a bartender in San Sebastian in Spanish, and when he stared at me, I poured a beer on his head. 🙂

  3. i am an Estonian and for me its the easyest on in the world .. and Finnish in lets say about 80% same as the our little language in the world .. but the langue i will never get is the Sweedish .. i just dont get it ..
    i hope lot of you all out there learn our little langue some day becouse i thtnk its the biest way to show off if you can speak Estonian or Finnish or language like this (Y):D

  4. by the way for to Claudia to know, dog in Estonia is KOER

  5. @Nik What is hard about Polish? If your from Poland you might be scratching your head saying, yeah what is so hard about Polish. But that is because you never learned Polish, you acquired it. There is a rare neurological disorder from a brain injury where people forget their native language. This means they can only speak their second language or have to relearn their first language. If that was the case and you had to relearn Polish I bet you would champion the cause of Polish being the hardest language to learn.

  6. I think Polish is a great language in terms of beauty and its very poetic. But for people who are not Slavic, that is Czech or even Ukrainian it is a very complex language. The multi syllabic tongue twisters are nothing if you consider all the exceptions to the grammar rules there are. In fact I wrote a grammar site polishgrammar.com if you want to learn the basics. Plus unlike Russian which is spoken by Russians and non Russians, only Polish people speak Polish, so if you make any mistakes Polish people will give you a “nie wiem” and look at you like you are speaking Chinese. This is because Polish people are not used to foreigners speaking to them in Polish and they have never herd such things in the Polish languages. But as an English speaker, I have herd it all and nothing surprises me when I hear strange English pronunciations or grammar. Further Polish people tend to be very soft spoken, and polite. Therefore you can ride on a tram and here no Polish spoken. In fact some trams I just hear some rude loud mouth English speakers, but no Polish. I could go on, but Polish is very hard for anyone, besides a Slavic speaking person. But I tell people if you make the effort to learn Polish, all other languages will be easy, it is like your brain will grow in ways you did not expect. I sometimes say, to my English speaking friends Polish people are just smarter, even children think in cases.

  7. I don’t understand, what do you see hard in polish language 😉
    In my humble opinion this language are the easiest in the world.
    But I hate Germany language – for me it’s extremely hard language.
    Really , I can’t tell anything with good accent in German.

    If I has written something bad, I’m sorry.
    My english isn’t very well, what can you see 😀
    I still lerning. And I’m from Poland.

  8. @markbiernat
    This, what i has written about Polish was small provocation.
    That’s fact – Polish can be terrible to learn.
    But , for who ?
    In my opinion only for people from UK, germany , Holland etc.
    Not for Slovak or Czech person. For he for example German can be hardest language.
    So , now author should change topic of article. Should be :”The hardest language to learn for people from west Europe” 😀

  9. @all
    Maybe for you Polish is difficult to learn, but… it’s wonderful language.
    More than 50% polish peaople don’t use complicated words and syntax.
    That’s all.

  10. @markbiernat

    Nie będę dłużej drążył tego tematu. Każdy ma swoje zdanie na ten temat, ale jak to się mówi “Wraz ze zmianą siedzenia(tu: miejsca) zmienia się punkt widzenia”. Jako Polak, który w swoim życiu spotkał już dosyć dużą liczbę zarówno Czechów jak i Słowaków mogę stwierdzić, że jest to dla nich łatwy język.

    @markbiernat, jeszcze jedno, jeśli będziesz chciał kiedyś dyskutować za pomocą technologii e-mail z Polakiem, jestem chętny. E-mail udostępnie tylko i wyłącznie w wypadku pozytywnej odpowiedzi.


    PS: Napisałem w całości w moim ojczystym języku, bo uważam, że nie powinieneś mieć problemu ze zrozumieniem tego tekstu.

  11. NIK, Of course I understand Polish and thank you for your comments on hardest language to learn.

  12. people arabic has 55 letters and you have to write it from right to left its diffrent than english chinese is pictures its easy and you start it just like english and thers 79 diffrent languages of arabic

  13. So what – about Arabic’s 55 letters. Its only 20 more letters than Polish. A letter is just a letter. You can learn an alphabet in one day, just make flashcards. A child can learn an alphabet with flashcards in a couple of hours. However, to speak a language, now that is a different story. Arabic only has three simple cases, compared to Polish which has seven complex cases etc. There is a lot more to what makes a language hard than an alphabet. In fact an alphabet is perhaps the easiest not the hardest part of a language.

  14. i think that finnish is hard…because finnish people are very cool and smart and therefore finnish is the hardest language…or shall i say LANGUAGE to learn.

  15. @Jeff if and only if you are a native English or German speaker, I think Dutch is easy. If not it is moderate. But I think it will be easy not hard for you, in fact look at a Dutch website, you can almost read it. In fact Frisian a cousin of Dutch is the closest language to English. In fact the South Eastern Fisherman of England can understand the Frisian fishermen from Frisian land. They are both Western Germanic languages.

  16. I’m currently learning Dutch, where would that go?

  17. Most people would consider asian languages and arabic the hardest to learn, and chinese usually gets first place with arabic and Japanese tied for second. If writing is taken into account, then Japanese is by far the hardest because of the number of readings the characters can have. Even though its grammar is regular, it is very complicated and has countless constructions which dont appear in English. Never studied polish, but I would be skeptical of putting it in first place for english speakers.

  18. Hi there!

    Well Mark, first of all I’m very impressed of you. I see you do very well with Polish. Congratulations and keep it up! That’s really nice to see an American person lerning this extremely hard language and probably one of the hardest in the world. I fully agree with all your and other’s statements. This is definitely a beautiful language in many cases. However, I think everyone must agree that the most important language of the world is English, because it’s easy to use/learn and what is more, it’s a very universal and precise language.

    Well, actually nothing is impossible. I know some British people who speak Polish fluently (as a second language of course). They are English teachers in Poznań (city).

    It is also very impressive for me, because I’ve been learning English for years, still making many mistakes and I know how hard is that to become fluent. I know from my own experience that the best way to learn it is to listen. This is really the best way, because then you acquire the language just like your first language being young – listening to the others and only after that you learned reading. When we were young all what we were saying was actually repeating the expressions we’ve heard before. And that’s how we acquired the whole grammar and stuff without even thinking of it.

    Thank you for reading.

    Miłego dnia!

    Pozdrawiam 😉


  19. @Aaron Do not take for granted things other people say (the internet is the largest receptacle in the world for recycled organic fertilize). Polish is harder for the brain then Japanese. Japanese has sounds that are easy for speakers to replicate and does not have long multisyllabic words. While Polish has sounds that are not in English and foreigners will struggle to create and further you need a good working memory to be able to recall one multisyllabic Polish word. In fact Polish people have strong working memories because of their language. Japanese is easy in grammar and in speaking, it is just the writing, but that can be over come with drilling and simple memory. However to use a multisyllabic language like Polish combined with impossible grammar you need a powerful working memory and many other skills employed all at once. There is no comparison Polish is much harder than Japanese. Just people people say Asian or Arabic languages are hard, it is not, compared to Polish, try it for yourself and you will see the difference compared to Polish.

  20. A u nas to nawet małe dzieci mówią po polsku
    wiec chyba nie jest tak hard ?

  21. I to jest jedyna rzecz, z której zajebiście się cieszę z tego, iż jestem Polką. Gdyby nie to, to już nic nie miałoby sensu w posiadaniu owego obywatelstwa. A moi rodzice do tej pory popełniają niewybaczalne błędy, tak ortograficzne, jak i językowe, pisząc “bohater” przez “ch” a zamiast “prezent” – “prezęt” … xD

  22. Jak taka z ciebie Polka to wypierdalaj do afryki.

  23. what about swedish? is that a hard language to learn?

  24. @masdhjkl A lot of Polish is about sound/word complexity and differentiation.
    Because you read a language in a different direction or it has nominally more letters does not make it hard. Arabic really only has three “baby cases” compared to Polish, which is all about cases, gender exceptions and tongue twisters.
    Arabic at first is intimidating to Westerners but that is because you are not use to it. When you start to hear Arabic for any period of time, the sounds before familiar. Not so with Polish. In Polish since every word changes from pronoun to verb to noun etc, and since the pronunciation is so close for every word, you can not differentiate sounds, and if you can they are very confusing because the words change in every sentence so it can be confused with a like word. Even context learning is hard as Polish has no word order. Arabic may be a nice language, but does not even come close to Polish if you look at it objectively and do not repeat what others say.

  25. what is wrong with you people arabic is the hardest language cuz lets pretend ur saying sho it means what if you say it in a different voice it means another word arabic has more than 40 letters some english,french,spanish words came from arabic and arabic is the only language that starts from right to left .

  26. Hi I speak Polish because I am from Poland. I think that one of the biggest problem for people from other countries is that they have problem with distinction the words in one sentence. Yesterday i said “Idę do domu” (I’m going home) and my friends thought that that was one word 😀 We speak very fast.

  27. People say things like Arabic is hard because it has more letters. Well consider this. If Polish has 7 cases and 3 genders (really more because they break it down to nouns that are living and non living) many words can have 21 different forms or more. Can you image 30 something words-forms for the word “one” . Even Polish people are not aware of this as they speak Polish since they were children. But basically for every word you know in English you have to learn dozens of words and forms in Polish and know when to use them, that is the hard part. Polish is the hardest language by far in the world to learn. Something like 36 words for “it” in Polish that is crazy, temu tego, to, ta ten, etc. In English we just have 1, “it”.

  28. I’m a native English speaker learning Romanian, and am constantly told by Romanians that Romanian is soooo much harder than English, because of all the conjugations, the genders, the RULES. I think this has the opposite effect. You can learn a rule and suddenly you know how to say a thousand things with that rule, whereas English derives from several almost unrelated languages, which all have their own rules. I’d be interested to know which languages have changed the most in the last few hundred years. I suspect English is pretty high on the list.

  29. My “first language” is English. Korean was actually my first language, but I stopped speaking it early on and now understand it at a basic level, but can’t speak a word. I now speak Russian fluently and have studied and can speak some Spanish, French, Thai, and Indonesian.

    For me, Russian was by far the most difficult. The cases made things VERY difficult for me. And there are so many exceptions. Combine cases, genders, and exceptions and it becomes an incredibly difficult language.

    The problem of deciding the “hardest language to learn” is that you have to define your question a bit better.

    #1) Since this blog is in English, it might be assumed that we are saying that it’s the “hardest” language for native English speakers to learn.

    #2) Does learn mean to be able to communicate most thoughts in reasonably comprehensible manner or read and write with a sophisticated vocabulary and primarily grammatically correctly?

    If the question is just communicating, I believe a language like English would be rated EASY. However, if you want to properly and with a decent vocabulary, it might be rated FAIRLY HARD. For instance, “Me like John before Me know John like She” can be understood. In some languages, communicating that would require a reasonable usage of grammar rules to even be remotely understandable.

    I know for me, Russian was HARD for basic communication, and VERY HARD for speaking properly.

  30. Try to say

    Stó? z powy?amywanymi nogami
    W Szczebrzeszynie chrz?szcz brzmi w trzcinie
    Dont break a tongue xd

  31. Hi, I Think That Polish language Is Really Hard But I Am Sure It’s Not The Hardest To Lear. Maybe I Should Write Something In Polish:
    Mam na imi? Justyna, mam pi?tna?cie lat i uwa?am, ?e Polski wcale nie jest taki straszny jak o nim mówi?… Idzie si? nauczy?..;] Have Fun With This…;]

  32. a ja przyk?adowo uwa?am, ?e hebrajski ani arabski nie s? j?zykami trudnymi (jak niektórzy pisali). Tak si? wydaje, bo patrzy si? na inny alfabet. Otó? to wcale nie s? j?zyki trudne. Mia?am okazj? si? ich uczy? i jak si? zna pisowni? to wszystko idzie jak po sznurku ;). a polski jest trudny, ale to zale?y dla kogo, dla jednego mniej dla drugiego bardziej. 😉 pozdrawiam

  33. Polish is a very hard language. Especially for non-Slavic speakers. All the weird sounds and long words and lack of nouns if difficult for them. Especially Polish orthography is hard. Many native Polish speakers have problems spelling words right. All the genders and tenses are a pain also.

  34. and there is also the polish “R”. Almost all “R”s in the polish language are rolled.

  35. If you see funny letters on this Hardest language to learn post its because I updated my database to php 5. I need to clean it up more. But I have a few languages sites and there is a lot to do. By the way here one of my free sites to learn Polish grammar. polishgrammar.com

  36. And I tell you: Polski wcale nie jest taki trudny. – Polish isn’t so difficult ;] I’m 14 years old, I’m Polish… I have more problems with Polish than with English.. the reason is? – gramma for example: we’ve got two letters “u”: “u” and “ó”. “ó” is named “closed u”, we’ve got “?”, “?”, “?”, “?”, “?”… socond reason is we have to decline… for Polish speaker it isn’t any problem ’cause we use it everyday, but for English speaker it can be a HUGE problem.. because you don’t have something kind of it – maybe I’m wrong..

  37. ehh.. the places with “?” should be letters….

  38. Diksii, to speak it and write it as an 11 year old or a 16 years old is not the same as having a full command of the language. She writes and speaks it as an 11 years old. How many years of Polish grammar did you study in school? Lots I bet, I never really studied English grammar, I did not even know what an English tense was until I moved to Poland, never heard of the Perfect tense until Polish people told me its important (it is not, they were sold this idea by their teachers). English is easy, Polish is hard, most Polish native speakers I hear make a lot of mistakes and they study Polish grammar a lot in school as Poland has a classical education system. What I mean is you can speak Polish at 16 very well, but Polish is much richer than English in grammar and different ways to say something, and it takes longer to reach what is considered a full adult level than in English. That is what my friends who study Polish and English at Universities in Poland tell me.

  39. I am sixteen but my sister who is eleven can speak (and write) Polish fluently, too. Polish is hard, but it doesn’t mean that it takes us so much time to learn it.

  40. Lopiko, Italian and Spanish are easy because of their regular grammar and lack of cases. For example consider the sentence: I see the big man, I am sitting on the big man, I am am talking with the big man, in each of these phrases, in a case based language like Polish or Russian, the word ‘big’ and the word ‘man’ will change. On the other hand in Spanish and Italian, like in English, the noun and adjective does not change. Further, in a language like Polish there are many more exceptions than rules, Italian and Spanish are modern versions of Latin and have jettison the bulwark of irregularities. Also pronunciation in Latin languages are much easier and the words are shorter than say in a Slavic language. If you are an English speaker you can almost read Spanish or Italian without knowing the language, or knowing a few hundred key words. This is not true with a language like Polish which was not based on Latin. Italians and Spanish people tend to speak louder than Poles for example, who are very soft spoken people, therefore, even if you live in Poland like I do its hard to here the language. You can be on a crowded tram for twenty minutes and you will not hear a word of Polish.

  41. why do you say spanish and italian are so easy just without an explanation? i know that spanish and italian are not that hard when compared with difficult languages like hungarian and russian, but i dont think they are so easy as you say, maybe you should give some explanation why do you think they are so easy.

  42. Spina, Slovakian is a very hard language to learn, however, it does not have as hard pronunciations as Polish. But I am open why do you think Slovakian is the hardest language to learn?

  43. Hardest language is Slovakian language……SLOVAKIAN…..

  44. Szymon, Thanks for your comment – At 15 you write in a more clear, crisp, logical way than many people write and in English mind you – wow. Although my blood is Polish and I live in Poland now, I was born in the States. I can vouch that Polish for a non native is not just hard but almost unteachable. But some how I am learning it.

  45. I am Pole and I’m really surprised that Polish language is most difficult to learn. I am 15 at the moment, but when I am talking with my younger sister who is almost 4 I can hear in his pronunciation some syntetical mistakes, and I dont think that average Pole is fluent when he is 16. Yes, there are some dumb guys, who don’t know grammar and spelling of some words. And yes, Polish for non-polish people is almost unteachable language.

  46. i am an irishman, therefore native english speaker. my irish is terrible. i think that polish is hard but there are many harder languages out there. i am, at the moment, learning hungarian, and can vouch for its difficulty. the problem with hungarian, as with finnish and estonian, is that it is agglutinative, i.e. many suffixes.’in’ ‘to’ ‘from’ ‘under’ etc are all formed by adding suffixes to the noun. adjectives are highly transformable also. verbs are a pain in the ass. it is a minefield of a language, but a beautiful one. most other european languages are, unlike hungarian, highly inflected. it is easier to convey your syntactical message in a language that can be easily broken down. having both hungarian and polish friends, i think hungarian is harder. (polish pronunciation is a wee bit tricky though – lots of sibilant sounds).

  47. Corm your right – almost. I took a good look at what is a harder language to learn, Polish or Hungarian. Many people say Hungarian, but I would have to be slightly contrarian and disagree with popular opinion, because when I looked at Hungarian, or any Ungric language they had a number of cases, 18 for Hungarian. However, Polish has more exceptions and is more regular than Polish. Its the exceptions and chaos not the rules that make a language hard. Further, my friends that are Polish and from other case based languages like Russian admit that Ungric languages are hard, but not that ,as they have an understanding of cases and it is simply building on that. That is why German is easy, the case have like 4 exceptions. Its the chaos of exceptions not the number of cases that make a language hard to learn. The pronunciation is easier than Polish and Hungarian people talk louder and clearer than then soft spoken Poles. So I would respectfully disagree and say Polish is the hardest language to learn.

  48. I guess this topic has transformed into a ‘Polish vs Hungarian – which language is harder to learn?’. What is my opinion? For me the Hungarian and every ugrofinnic language sounds very weird for me, it’s just my opinion so don’t be harsh. But as a native polish speaker I am accustomed to Polish language, so it is pretty tough to say which one is more difficult. The most weird things in Polish language are definitelly accidents and times. We generally say we have only 3 but there would be about 20, I think. It would be good if anyone who is learning both of this languages will tell which one is tougher for him.

  49. Szymon, sorry if I sounded harsh, I really thought your comment was well written. Maybe I overreact as I am into languages. I guess I am coming at it from an American native speaker’s perspective and I have not tried to learn Hungarian personally. Polish yes. On a similar topic, Polish is not only the hardest language to learn but one of the most beautiful languages. I know many Poles do not think so because they hear it from a native speaker point of view, but Polish is soft to the ear and the sounds are like nature. Italian, which many people say is beautiful, to me is very hard and allegro, fast hard choppy like Arabic. I think often repeat what they hear and do not look at things objectively. That is why I do not think Chinese is the hardest language to learn, a language with no cases or really any grammar, and Polish is the hardest language to learn.

  50. Silvia, good point. Slavic languages are not Latin based although they have Latin words in them They are Slavic based and is connected to English from its common Indo-European root so remotely that unless you study etymology it gives you no advantage in learning a Slavic language as a native speaker. Slavic languages, like Hungarian lack all the free vocabulary languages like, Italian, Spanish, French etc give you. You husband should not give up, people learn Hungarian, It is one of the hardest languages in the world. I think Polish is the hardest language in the world. but regardless, he should not give up. Read what I write here on my main page about language learning https://claritaslux.com – learning a language is blood, sweat and tears, regardless if it is hard or not, you just have to learn it.

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