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roger2016
03-12-2005, 08:00 PM
I was wondering what the hardest language you ever had to learn was. I've heard many such as Chinese (cantonese and Mandarin), Japanese, Dutch, Spanish, French, Vietnamese, and a lot of others. But I guess it differs from person to person. I'd like to know because if I decide to take up a language in college, I dont want to make a huge mistake and be overwhelmed by some insanely difficult language.

Also, since English is, in some opinions, the hardest language to learn, I looked it up in google and I found this amusing.

"We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes; But the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.

One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese, Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice; Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men, Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet, And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth, Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those, yet hat in the plural would never be hose, and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren, but though we say mother, we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him, but imagine the feminine she, shis and shim.

Some other reasons to be grateful if you grew up speaking English:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish Furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8)At the Army base, a bass was painted on the head of a bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid
12) There was a row among the oarsman about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into the sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail
18) After a number of Novocain injections, my jaw got number
19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.
20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
22) The wind winds the windmill.

Screwy pronunciations can mess up your mind!

For example.....if you have a rough cough, climbing can be tough when going through the bough on a tree!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.

There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger, neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

English muffins weren't invented in England.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?

If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why don't preachers praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?

Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?

Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wiseguy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on."

"If the plural of index is indices, and the plural of matrix is matrices, then the plural of fax is faeces, and this finally explains all this crap in my pigeon-hole..."

Also, Think about far, car, and war, where war is pronounced differently. Same situation with Fear, gear, and wear.

"Q: How do you pronounce ghoti?



A: fish.

gh as in rough
o as in women
ti as in initiative..."

Coda
03-12-2005, 08:18 PM
really makes me think about how grateful I am that english is my first language, many contradictions and eccentricities. On to your question, I think the hardest language to learn other than english would be an asian language. The Chinese alphabet is very complex. But in college you should really pick a language that you will be able to use someday. Depends on where in the country you are...I'm in California so therefore I will be taking Spanish. You mention that you've heard Spanish and French are hard, I've taken Spanish for 4 years (yet one more English irregularity) and French for 1 and they are both easy. French is trickier than Spanish however. I guess it depends on how intelligent you are.

pchoi04
03-12-2005, 08:34 PM
I think its very debatable but one of the hardest languages has to be english only because its syntax is very inconsistent and how do you know what proper grammer is? But I'm convinced that no language is harder than the other only because language is aquired and no amount of memorizing vocab word and repeating after an instructor can help. If you ask me everyone is capable of learning any language as long as they focus and challenge themselves to speak. You and me... we never learned english or memorized words... we aquired the language by hearing it over and over. This is why so many language classes seem to fail. You must first learn to listen before you can speak. I speak 2 languages fluently (Korean and English) and I'm in the process of learning Japanese. But what makes Korean and Japanese harder than other languages is probably that it consists of so many chinese characters. But as far as speaking it goes I dont think its as hard as english because the syntax is much more consistent. Intelligence has nothing to do with it... Its all about focus... if we're put in the environment where we are submerged in it you will aquire it.

Baseline Basher
03-12-2005, 08:55 PM
I'm taking my first year of Spanish, and it's not hard. Conjugating verbs threw me for a while, but now I get it.

10splaya
03-12-2005, 09:11 PM
I have taken Spanish and it was pretty easy... I never really wanted to learn how to speak Spanish though. It just wasn't fun. I am very interested in the Japanese culture and I would love to visit some day. I bought computer software and some books on the Japanese language and it is VERY DIFFICULT!! But don't get me wrong... I love learing it! It is definately a challenge.

gmlasam
03-12-2005, 09:15 PM
I think the most hardest languages to learn are Arabic, and all asian languages.

MegacedU
03-12-2005, 09:51 PM
French is easy. I'm not quite fluent, because I don't know slang, but when spoken properly, I can understand, speak, and write.

Leon
03-12-2005, 09:58 PM
I speak three languages russian (native), hebrow and english. I think hebrow (Israel) is easy, at least it was for me. Russian is one of the most difficult languages in the world. I still write with mistakes (and not only me, but probably majority of russians). Even if you managed the gramma, there is punctuation, and this is soooooooooooo difficult. I would say don't try russian, too difficult.

roger2016
03-12-2005, 10:12 PM
I'm taking spanish 2 right now and I am one of the few people in my class getting above 95% so apparently it's not so easy at my school. Our class is so bad, we had a party when nobody in the class had a D or F... Spanish just comes sort of easy to me but to others who get the same treatment, they just dont seem to get it as well. I dont know if I should continue spanish in college though because I don't use it outside of class except just joking with my friends, but I was thinking I should because hispanic people are rapidly leave the group of minority and slowly passing caucasians in population in the US.

edit: I heard from someone that in Russia they don't teach spelling because if you know how to say it then you'll know how to spell it since I guess it's spelled phonetically. btw, I remember seeing in the movie Miracle and other places the "CCCP" that I'm guessing stands for Russia somehow. How does that work out?

tennis ace
03-12-2005, 10:20 PM
all asian languages are difficult to learn

Leon
03-12-2005, 10:29 PM
edit: I heard from someone that in Russia they don't teach spelling because if you know how to say it then you'll know how to spell it since I guess it's spelled phonetically. btw, I remember seeing in the movie Miracle and other places the "CCCP" that I'm guessing stands for Russia somehow. How does that work out?

CCCP = Soviet Union or
C = Union
C = Soviet
C = Socialistic
P = Republics

spelling and prononciation is different, sort of like english
or how should I put it... it's fonetically closer then english, but still different.
For example milk in written russian is moloko, in spoken is muluko, you pronaunce 'a' but write 'o', and this is easy case

Noelle
03-13-2005, 04:20 AM
I read somewhere that Farsi is really hard to master, because anyone who learns it as a second language has a pronounced accent. You'd have to grow up with that language, it seems.

Phil
03-13-2005, 05:38 AM
I read somewhere that Farsi is really hard to master, because anyone who learns it as a second language has a pronounced accent. You'd have to grow up with that language, it seems.

ANY language-and not just Farsi-when learned as an adult, is almost impossible to speak without an accent. Farsi is as difficult as most languages to master, but not nearly the most difficult. It is nowhere near as difficult as Japanese or Chinese. The grammer is simple and the written language is based on a standard 28-letter alphabet, unlike written Chinese and most of Japanese, both of which use Chinese characters.

For someone considering learning a language in college, rather than asking "What's the easiest?", they should ask themselves what the most useful language to them will be, depending on what they want to do with their lives. For government service, take an Asian language, or Arabic. If you want to go into business, take the language of the area in which you are most interested in. In fact, forget all that. Study Mandarin Chinese. You cannot go wrong, and you can always learn a second language later, in probably less time. Start with Mandarin now. Then learn Cantonese.

gmlasam
03-13-2005, 06:03 AM
ANY language-and not just Farsi-when learned as an adult, is almost impossible to speak without an accent. Farsi is as difficult as most languages to master, but not nearly the most difficult. It is nowhere near as difficult as Japanese or Chinese. The grammer is simple and the written language is based on a standard 28-letter alphabet, unlike written Chinese and most of Japanese, both of which use Chinese characters.

For someone considering learning a language in college, rather than asking "What's the easiest?", they should ask themselves what the most useful language to them will be, depending on what they want to do with their lives. For government service, take an Asian language, or Arabic. If you want to go into business, take the language of the area in which you are most interested in. In fact, forget all that. Study Mandarin Chinese. You cannot go wrong, and you can always learn a second language later, in probably less time. Start with Mandarin now. Then learn Cantonese.
Good points Phil. These days most business, customer related, and even government social establisments prefer to hire someone who is multi lingual.

BTW..isn't Farsi the main language in Iran? I thought Farsi also has different characters, to me similar to Arabic symbols. Farsi sounds closer to French to me.

Phil
03-13-2005, 07:12 AM
Good points Phil. These days most business, customer related, and even government social establisments prefer to hire someone who is multi lingual.

BTW..isn't Farsi the main language in Iran? I thought Farsi also has different characters, to me similar to Arabic symbols. Farsi sounds closer to French to me.

gmlasam - Yes, Farsi (or "Persian") is Iran's official language. Farsi uses the Arabic alphabet-same written letters, same sounds, with one or two exceptions, but the language itself is totally different from Arabic-the two are not related. Never thought Farsi sounded like French, but it is in the same "family" of languages-Indo-European, so maybe it does to a French speaker.

Rickson
03-13-2005, 08:28 AM
I've heard from many people who grew up in Europe and Asia that English is much easier than their native languages. Take up Spanish because many of the words are the same in English but with different pronunciations.

Noelle
03-13-2005, 09:14 AM
Guess I was misinformed about Farsi (I don't even speak it). I also managed not to read the OP's post in its entirety and missed the whole point of the thread!

I've heard from many people who grew up in Europe and Asia that English is much easier than their native languages.
I can't speak for all Asians, but in the Philippines most of the instructional materials in other subjects such as math, science, or literature were in English (though that's changing now), so we tended to grow up immersed in the English language.

I could see how English could be simpler to learn than Asian languages with a different writing system consisting of thousands of characters. Twenty-six letters in an alphabet versus thousands of characters. Which one is easier, I wonder? ;)

I found it easy to take up Spanish because my vernacular borrows many words from it. It becomes difficult to learn any language when you don't have anyone to practice with.

roger2016
03-13-2005, 09:22 AM
English is an easy language to learn I think, but it's very difficult to master. I probably should take mandarin, especially since I used to speak it fluently until my grandma went back to Taiwan. I always hoped of taking a hit to the head and being able to speak mandarin again. haha.

Take up Spanish because many of the words are the same in English but with different pronunciations.

That's true of french, which I've taken for a year, too. From what I know, French was an easy language to start, but it just sounds funny to me.


Oh yeah, and don't ask ANYONE what your name is in their language. People have asked me what their name was in chinese such as the name Lisa... How am I supposed to translate something that isnt even a word. Now I could understand if your name was actually in the dictionary. Like if your last name was broom.

rommil
03-13-2005, 08:53 PM
English is not a very hard language to learn. I'm originally from the Philippines and like Noelle said for a while the media of instruction was English. I took Latin in hischool and that was tough. I can not imagine English as a very hard language to learn.

sambapati
03-13-2005, 10:35 PM
I think there`s a difference between what is the easiest/hardest language to learn and what is the most practical language. I.M.H.O. Spanish is pretty easy to learn. Quite similar to English, French, and Italian. As for practicality, it really does depend on why you want to learn a new language and where you live ( to an extent) as Phil sort of mentioned in his post.

I`ve been living in Japan for a while now and studying Japanese on and off and let me tell you- Japanese is a b*tc* to learn. Just when you think you`re getting the hang of things, a new problem arises, you get totally lost when trying to understand t.v. or you find out some new expression/word that everyone seems to know and you just found out about. Frustrating!

Aykhan Mammadov
03-14-2005, 10:50 AM
I speak in azerbaijan, turkish, russian purely and completely, and speak 30-40% in English. It depends on when u started to study the language and how often u use it. At my age ( 39) every new language is very hard. If u are 6-7 years old every language is easy.

Anyhow I found that italian is comparatively easy language.

LafayetteHitter
03-14-2005, 10:57 AM
When you hear the terrible English used by most people in the U.S., one might start to believe that it is one of the difficult languages to learn.

Scott

fedex27
03-14-2005, 11:19 AM
carribean is the hardest. you have to learn engliish and then figure out what these crazy guys are saying with their slang and accents

SC in MA
03-14-2005, 12:04 PM
Japanese is complicated on a lot of different levels.

Probably the number one reason Japanese is difficult as a second language for almost any other language speaker is because it is a Subject-Object-Verb language, whereas most languages (including other Asian languages) are Subject-Verb-Object languages. This really sets Japanese apart.

For example, in English we say "I hit the ball". The equivalent Japanese is "I ball hit". However, in Japanese the Subject is often understood and may not be spoken. So the above sentence might be said in Japanese as "ball hit".

Also, there is a social hierarchy to consider with Japanese. There is a lot of nuance to this, but it is most noticeable in verb endings, where different verb endings are used depending on if you're speaking to someone socially above you, the same as you, or socially below you.

There is also gender differences in the language. There is a feminine way and masculine way to say things.

gmlasam
03-14-2005, 01:08 PM
When you hear the terrible English used by most people in the U.S., one might start to believe that it is one of the difficult languages to learn.

Scott
Hhahahahahahahahha!!!! You are so correct!!! The Brits do not even consider English spoken in USA as actual English. They consider it American English and not the traditional English. Yes, American English is really bad. Different sections of the United States have their own slang or flavor which can be very hard to understand. I know I have trouble understanding Ebonics, and really thick Brooklyn accents and Southern accents.

I find it amazing that Australians speak much closer to Traditional English compared to Americans and Canadians.

BreakPoint
03-14-2005, 01:20 PM
I agree that Japanese is probably one of the most difficult languages to learn. One of the reasons is that it is a completely unique language onto its own. It's not related or derived from any other languages, like Germanic-based, Latin-based or Romance languages are. Japanese is also very thick with grammer, probably worse than English. It is also the exact opposite of English in its structure and grammer. So for someone that grew up speaking English, you basically have to throw everything you know about how to speak and form sentences out the window and start thinking backwards or in reverse.

I studied Japanese in grad school and we shared a language lab with another group of students that were studying Mandarin Chinese. After about 4 weeks of intensive classes, the students studying Chinese were already able to speak whole sentences and carry on a simple conversation with each other. The students studying Japanese could barely speak at all or even put together a four word sentence. Japanese is just thick with grammer and lots of rules, whereas, there's very little grammer in Chinese and is more free form. Sentence structure in Chinese is also more similar to English than Japanese is.

danniflava
03-14-2005, 03:45 PM
A study was done a while back in Toronto (it's such a multi-culteral city). They concluded that Japanese and English are the two hardest languages to learn, and French is the easiest.

iksmols
08-24-2005, 07:59 AM
I would think that polish language might be one of the hardest to learn (cz,rz,sz,s`,c`,dz`).