Why These Are Some of the Most Difficult Languages in the World

learning mandarin language

Learning a new language is exciting and can open new possibilities. However, if you decide to take up this adventure, you will notice that the level of difficulty varies from one language to another. The level of difficulty may differ, depending on your native language.

Singapore is a melting point of all of the world’s cultures and people. English and Malay are the official languages, but more people are taking up Mandarin courses in Singapore to enhance their career prospects. Amidst the kaleidoscope of languages in Singapore, some languages stand out for their extreme level of difficulty. Here is a list of the five of the most challenging languages from around the world.

Icelandic
Icelandic is a variant of Germanic languages spoken by about 300,000 native speakers most of whom live in Iceland. There have been few changes in the language since the onset of the pioneer settlers in the language in the late ninth and tenth century AD.

Due to the limited changes to the language, it continues to pile new meanings to ancient words making very difficult for learners to grasp one or two meanings to a word and make it stick.  Moreover, with less than 400,000 native speakers globally, there are very few opportunities and few people you can learn and practice.

!Xóõ
A few thousand natives speak the language in Southern African countries of Botswana, South Africa, and Swaziland. !Xóõ stands out as one of the most difficult languages in Africa and the world. Its hallmark feature for difficulty is the complex sounds. Its vowels carry four tones and have five basic clicks, and 17 accompanying sub clicks all of which carry different meanings. Masters of this unique language often develop lumps in their voice box due to repeatedly making the different clicking sounds.

Arabic
A descendant of the classic Arabic Language, and a variant of the Modern Standard Arabic, today’s Arabic is distinct in print due to its flowing script. Arabic widely spoken in Northern Africa and stretches to a wide range of territories in the Middle East. Like you can take up a mandarin course in Singapore, you can also learn Arabic.  However, as you interact with speakers, you will note that different native speakers from different regions vary in speaking. An Arabic Speaker from the Eastern Sahel could have difficulty in understanding their counterpart from other countries such as Egypt. The language has a reasonably comfortable alphabet, however, speaking it, and writing is challenging. You do not include vowels when writing the language. Also, as mentioned earlier, the various dialects make practising very difficult.

Mandarin
Mandarin boasts the highest number of native speakers, well over 1.2 billion people, in the world. But it’s also one of the world’s most difficult languages. It is a tonal language, and English speakers in Singapore, as well as other parts of the world, find it difficult to speak or understand it.

Slight variations in the tone of speech could alter the meaning of a word. Also, Mandarin consists of over 50,000 characters, unlike English and other Western languages whose alphabets don’t exceed 40 characters. Besides, the language includes complex systems and is rich in homophones making it one of the most difficult words in the world.

Here’s the bottom line, the above languages may be the hardest to learn for English speakers. However, they are not impossible to learn. Start by learning the mandarin language by enrolling in a class and engage with the vast number of native Chinese speakers in Singapore. What matters is your passion and ability to deal with psychological issues of learning a new language.

 

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