What is the hardest language to learn?

There is not one language that is universally recognized as the hardest to learn. Everyone learns their native language as an infant, usually without difficulty unless they suffer from learning disabilities, hearing problems, etc. The difficulty of learning other languages depends on how closely they are related to your native language.

If your native language is Japanese, Chinese may not be too difficult to learn, but French or Algonquin may be very difficult. If your native language is English, French may be relatively easy to learn but Japanese or Mayan may be very difficult to learn.

English may be the hardest language to learn if it is not your first language and your first language isn't in the Germanic Language group. English is a confusing language because of all the words that sound the same and all the words that have multiple meanings like their they're and there. And set has the most meanings of any word in the English language.

Chinese can be difficult for some because of the writing system. Each word has it's own symbol making it hard for reading and vocabulary. Also, there are many dialects. Mandarin Chinese can be difficult for people whose native languages are very different fro Chinese because of its' complex tonal rules, which means saying something in a higher or lower pitch will change its meaning.
There is no such thing as a "hardest language" or an "easiest language". It depends on the person. A major factor is how different your native language is vs. the target language.

Many people believe that English or Mandarin are the hardest languages, but this is not universally true.

The Foreign Service Institute ranks languages based on their level of difficulty for English speakers. It's not a perfect system, but it does have value. All languages are ranked from Category I (which includes Spanish) to Category V (which includes all Chinese dialects).

Click here to see the list of languages by relative difficulty. This is is just an approximation. If you have a cultural connection to a language, you will find it easier than those who do not.


For example: Hebrew is in Category IV, but for many American Jews, Hebrew would be more like Category II or III.

There is no such thing as a "hardest language" or an "easiest language". It depends on the person. A major factor is how different your native language is vs. the target language.

Many people believe that English or Mandarin are the hardest languages, but this is not universally true.