What is the most difficult language to learn? Chinese!!!

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What is the most difficult language to learn in the world? Have you ever wondered? I always thought the language I was studying was the most difficult one to learn:))) It turns out The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the US Department of State did a research to find out how long it takes to learn a language for English speakers. According to the study the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers are Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

We took this finding a step further and counted the number of hits for each language in blogs. The quiries were “Arabic is the most difficult language to learn”, “Japanese is the most difficult language to learn”, “Chinese is the most difficult language to learn” and “Korean is the most diffiuclt language to learn.” The winner was very clear: CHINESE!!! The results were as follow

Korean: 5 hits
Arabic:124 hits
Japanese: 220 hits
Chinese :1200 hits

Just to make sure we get it right, we also looked at the number students studying foreign languages in the USA (the largest English speaking country) and there were actually more people studying Japanese and the number of students studying Arabic was comparable. So we declared that Chinese is the most difficult language to learn in the world for English speakers***

Here you can see

The Number of Hours Needed to Learn each Language for English speakers according to FSI.

*** We also searched for comments on blogs that are related with “pronunciation” difficulties and expectedly there were more blog posts about the difficulty of pronunciation of Chinese compared with the other 3 languages. Additionally, when Japanese , Korean and Chinese are compared in terms of the time needed to learn the alphabet Chinese automatically can be considered the toughest since in Chinese there are no simplified sub-alphabets like Hangul (Korean) or Hiragana and Katakana (Japanese)

Number of People studying Foreign Languages in the USA (Source Modern Language Association of America, 2010)

Language 2006 2009 % change
Spanish 822,985 864,986 5.1
French 206,426 216,419 4.8
German 94,264 96,349 2.2
American Sign L. 78,829 91,763 16.4
Italian 78,368 80,752 3
Japanese 66,605 73,434 10.3
Chinese 51,582 60,976 18.2
Arabic 23,974 35,083 46.3
Latin 32,191 32,606 1.3
Russian 24,845 26,883 8.2