Language Difficulty

Skippy   Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:07 pm GMT
I know this will be highly subjective, but I want to know how you all gauge how difficult a language is? This question is mostly for English speakers, but other language speakers would be appreciated as well.

As an English speaker, I would say that languages with complex verbal systems are the most difficult, or at least that is one of the toughest parts of learning a language for me... Noun cases may get confusing, but in my opinion they aren't so bad...

E1Ler   Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:43 pm GMT
As an E1Ler, I'd say that unfamiliar language features make a language difficult:

- Tones, complex stress patterns, meaningful syllable/pause lengths, etc.)
- Ideographs or Heiroglyphics, non-alphabetic writing systems
- Vocabulary totally different than English
- not SVO
- complex morphology (verb polyagreement, polysynthesis, huge number of noun classes, numbers, cases, moods, tenses, voices, adjective degrees, honorific forms, etc.)
- Unusual sounds (whistles, clicks, implosive consonants, coordinated hand or body movements, etc.)
- Strange rules like vowel harmony, consonant mutations, inflection by changed syllable order, changed vowels/consonants, suppletion, or sound/syllable swapping/movement, especially between multiple words
- Highly irregular, where there are no concrete rules, just fuzzy conventions on how to construct sentences.
fuck yeah   Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:06 pm GMT
Strange RULES ain't hard if they are logical. In fact, they make the language simpler.
Sanskrit   Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:07 pm GMT
vowel harmony

This is quite easy
curious   Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:12 pm GMT

What does this mean???
cnalbus   Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:12 pm GMT
<<vowel harmony

This is quite easy >>

Surely a language without vowel harmony is even easier?
E1Ler   Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:15 pm GMT

What does this mean??? ..

English 1st Language + er = one whose first language is English
qqaqq   Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:31 pm GMT
Ergative is difficult
eun mondo difficile   Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:37 pm GMT
<<English 1st Language + er = one whose first language is English >>

Small + er = one who is small, for intance ,Zarkozy.
ceci   Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:17 pm GMT
Wanna try a very hard language? Start learning Basque, the most difficult language ever....
my opinion   Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:58 pm GMT
I think that the languages such as Gaelic or Basque that are not worldwide spoken are the most difficult.
aephrenoline   Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:44 am GMT
<<Start learning Basque, the most difficult language ever.... >>

Can someone outline the features of Basque that make it harder than any other language?