which languages are the most difficult ?

SagaSon   Saturday, July 26, 2003, 03:30 GMT
"Never heard anyone say that before, Ryan. I am a French major, and I would say that French pronunciation is harder than Spanish. "

oowo, Any language has a more complex pronunciation system than Spanish....

"I like languages that have discarded the bulkiness of the grammar. Like gender and declensions for example. Languages like English and Afrikaans have no gender and no declensions. "

I love it too, but I'd hate if my native tongue were like this

"How about rolling 'r'? Is it easy for you? "

English R is a lot harder for Spanish speakers than Spanish R is for English speakers.....
Clark   Saturday, July 26, 2003, 04:21 GMT
Gender I can deal with, and to a certain extent, I can deal with declensions, but they are not my favorite. The gender issue in French is not something I really like. When I started learning French, I did so because my choices were Spanish, Art or French; so I chose French. It was only later did I fall in love with languages and in turn, French. So, when I first started with French, I paid no attention in class, and in turn, I did not learn the gender of a lot of the words. So now, I am really hurting because French words do not have a clear disctinction of masculinity and femininity; unlike Spanish, where a majority of the words one can tell whether they are masc. or fem.

I have no trouble with rolling my "r." It is really easy actually. I have more trouble with the French "r" than anything.
Daniel   Saturday, July 26, 2003, 09:20 GMT
For me personally, French is very easy (even though this does not mean that I don not make mistakes!!).
As the French started to regulate their language as early as in the 17th century, French is very clear and logical. The writing seems to be quite strange at first sight but in fact it is far more phonetic than English.
French has only two genders and no declension, also, the tense system becomes less and less hard (the passé simple, for instance, isn't used any more just like the subjonctif du passé - though I have to learn them at university for translation :-( )
For me, the English tense system is far more difficult and besides, the only rule English has is that there are no rules, just exceptions.
I think I've given this example before but my teacher at school referred to English as a swamp > the further you get, the bigger your problems!
Japanese is at the same time very easy and difficult: If we compare Japanese, German, English and French and also Russian with regard to such aspects as : gender, tenses, declension, conjugation, syntax, orhtography(Japanese has infact none), punctuation or pronunciation, then Japanese is by far the easiest.
But there are other problems which native speakers of the above language do not even think of : the problem of status when speaking (keigo: language of politeness, verbs of giving and receiving), the complex writing system involving at the same time (3 different writings), the difficulty in counting objects and so on.
German is also difficult to range : It depends on what kind of German you want to speak : if you want to speak formal German, then it is enormously difficult. I know lots of people who just don't understand official letters when they receive them.
kasia   Sunday, July 27, 2003, 10:25 GMT
I am from Poland and I agree that Polish is a hard language,but I wouldn't say that it is impossible to learn it.You exaggerated a bit Bryan.I think that Chinese or Indian are more difficult than Polish.In contrast to English,we write and pronounce words in the same way.
Sarah   Monday, July 28, 2003, 05:39 GMT
hey all .. salam ..
well I dont really know much about polish , latin or chinese .. but I can tell you , I'm having the hardest time learning germen .. I'm from kuwait so arabic is my native language , and I do speak good french , spanish , english and alittle of both japanese and thai .. I've also spent couple of months working for an association the helps deaf peole get along with the others so I know signal language - which is btw very interesting and helpful - . so - anyway - what I'm trying to say here that yes the arabic language is really difficult indeed even for me .. you cant even imagine how hard arabic grammer is .. but everything else isnt that hard to be fair !
and among french , spanish and english I found that the english language is the most difficult one .. i still have problems when writting an essay in english .. although its the one used in our college .. and about spanish its much easier because its so similar to arabic ,, in lots of ways ..
well thats all .. I guess ..
Slavik   Wednesday, July 30, 2003, 09:51 GMT
I had no problem about learning the Polish phonology, and I read it rather fluent now. It's a matter of one's background and one's desire first of all, I belive.

{ And I laugh a lot each time, when I see silly things about "diffuculties" of the Arabic, Cyrillic or Korean scripts... :) }
Slavik   Wednesday, July 30, 2003, 09:54 GMT
As for Polish:

I really believe Polish is easier to learn than Russian or Serbian is: it has Latin script, it is more regular (seemed to me at least) ...

If you are afraid of cases, learn Bulgarian -- it's the only Slavic language with analitical grammar (no cases!)
Uranus   Thursday, July 31, 2003, 12:39 GMT
As a Chinese people, Chinese is the mother tongue, it is a little difficult because there are so many rules and words. In my opinion, to studying foreign languages, if we can learn a language very well, others can be learned in the same way. So I think the first foreign language we learn is the most difficult.
Clark   Friday, August 01, 2003, 22:59 GMT
The first language a person learns is the easiest by far. And if the second language is learned before the age of 4 or 5, it is just as easy to pick up as a native language. And then when the child is 10 and younger, it is also pretty easy to learn a second, third or even forth language.
Sarah   Saturday, August 02, 2003, 23:28 GMT
Well .. about what Clark said .. I dont really agree .. You know , I've been learning english since I was 4 years old or maybe abit younger than that , and I'm still learning .. I do read in english and talk it too but I still cant speak it as a native .. what I'm trying to say is that it depends on the people you're learning from or even those who help you practise .. if they speak with an accent , trust me , you'll have the same accent in your english .. and thats real .. but know that I've been leaving in the United States for the last 3 years and I'm used to hear and speak to amaricans ,, now I dont have an accent when speaking english and its as fluent as anative ..
Clark   Sunday, August 03, 2003, 02:16 GMT
I was talking about a child, whose native language is not of the country he/she is living in, and picks up the language of the country he/she is in very easily.
Ryan   Sunday, August 03, 2003, 06:43 GMT
Yeah, people pick up the accent of the environment where they are growing up, up until the early teenage years when speech patterns become more or less set. A family friend has been living in Australia for about 15 years. She still speaks with a Michigan accent more or less but her 12-year old daughter has a broad Sydney accent.

Tremmert   Sunday, August 03, 2003, 17:44 GMT
Although if you want to you can pick up accents later on - it depends on how much you connect with your old identity, ie a Brit who's very proud of his Britishness would not pick up an American accent.
Clark   Sunday, August 03, 2003, 23:22 GMT
Maybe I am wrong, but it seems like some of you are not getting the point. CHILDREN pick up accents/languages, and they sound like a native if they have been in a foreign country since they were very little. Adults do NOT have this ability as well as children.
Tremmert   Monday, August 04, 2003, 12:59 GMT
Maybe it only works with similar accents, eg. American or Australian. Maybe somebody who speaks Zulu natively would have trouble with a British accent...