No language is better than another, but some might argue that certain world languages are easier or more challenging to learn than others. Several factors influence the difficulty of learning a particular language, including grammar rules, alphabetic structure and similarities to English.
If you want to know what may come easy and what might be challenging about learning a language, ask a Language Stars Teacher or Director. As native speakers, Language Stars teachers can provide quality insight into what it takes to learn a foreign language. That being said, here is a high-level overview of some of the most in-demand languages today.
- German pronunciation is relatively clear from the beginning to the end of a word.
- Heavy use of compound words. Once you know basic words, you can infer the meaning of many other words.
- The German alphabet uses the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, plus four more letters: ä, ö, ü and ß.
- Heavy inflection, including declension of adjectives, can be challenging for some learners.
- The German word order can be difficult, especially between main clauses and subordinate clauses.
- Word arrangements complement sentence conjugation, so the meaning of one part is heavily reliant on another.
- A popular Romance language that is spoken worldwide by more than 200 million people, plus a rich history.
- The French alphabet uses the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, with five diacritics and two orthographic ligatures.
- French has many words for different emotions, so students often enjoy expressing themselves accurately.
- Some vowel sounds in French are not present in English. Consonant pronunciation can be tricky as well; for example, the French “r” is dissimilar from the English.
- French is a gender language. Students must learn if a noun requires a "le" or "la."
- Grammar rules have a difficult learning curve. Learning to conjugate words in different ways can be hard to master.
- It is spoken by an estimated 400 million people, so it is a wonderful skill for both travel and work.
- Spanish uses the same 26 Latin letters as used in the English alphabet, plus Ñ for a total of 27.
- Pronunciation is fairly straightforward through sight. How you see a word is generally how it's pronounced.
- Determining the spelling of a word through hearing is more difficult. Some sounds are similar, such as b and v and y or ll.
- Spanish is a gender language. Students must learn if a noun requires a "la" or "el."
- Learning some language pronunciation and inflection can be difficult, such as rolling r's and various accents.
- No genders.
- No conjugations or cases and relatively easier grammar.
- More than a billion people speak Chinese, so learning it opens doors to many opportunities.
- It is a tonal language, and mastering the four tones of Mandarin is difficult. Plus, different dialects may have more, so a particular village could have eight tones.
- Every word has a corresponding symbol making it more challenging to learn all the symbols in order to become fluent.
- The symbols are not phonetic and therefore they do not provide clues on pronunciation.
- Arabic is one of the fastest-growing second languages in the U.S. and an estimated 400 million people speak it worldwide.
- Simple verb system. For example, there are just two tenses: past and non-past.
- Arabic is written phonetically, so every word is spelled like it sounds. Furthermore, all syllables are equally stressed because it is not a tonal language.
- Arabic is a script language. The Arabic alphabet or Arabic abjad includes 28 script letters.
- Arabic is written from right to left.
- Standard Arabic is a primarily written form; however, spoken forms of Arabic vary greatly depending on where you're located so it can be difficult to master.
- Italian words are made up of the same 26 letters as in English, although j, k, w, x and y are considered foreign and are only used for importing words. Therefore the Italian alphabet itself has 21 letters.
- Italian is a phonetic language. There is a predictable correlation between sounds and spelling.
- Latin-based languages have many similarities. Knowing French or Spanish gives you an advantage in learning Italian.
- Italian is a gender language. Students must learn if a noun requires a "la" or "il."
- Verbs can be divided into three conjugations and they change depending on mood, person, tense, number and gender.
- Italian has a high number of irregular and semi-irregular verbs.