Do you know what the hardest language to learn is? It turns out; the answer to that question depends on what your native language is. If a language is similar to your native language, it won’t be as difficult for you to learn as it might be for someone else. Overall, languages are very complex, and from what I’ve seen, a lot of people tend to make broad generalizations that don’t make very much sense.
For example, my native language is English; therefore, Spanish was a very simple language for me to learn. As a result of knowing Spanish, if someone speaks very slowly to me in Portuguese, I can understand many of the words. Of course, the written language is much easier. However, for every word in Portuguese that is similar to Spanish, there are just as many that are completely different. Language is not a one-size-fits-all kind of concept.
Some people say that both Spanish and Portuguese are distant dialects of Italian. I just saw an opera sung in Italian a few nights ago, and I can assure you, even though I speak Spanish and a tiny bit of Portuguese, I didn’t understand a word they were singing. All of this doesn’t even take into account the context in which the words are spoken, the accents, the tone of voice, etc…
There are thousands of languages in the world, and I’ve only given a couple examples from my personal experiences with a few of them. So as you can see, language is a very complicated topic. Both of my co-writers here on Bit Rebels have native languages other than English, yet, they write compelling articles in English. I will always be so impressed by that. To me, it seems like English would be a tough language to learn. There are so many silly little nuances and rules about our pronunciation and grammar that make no logical sense at all. They are just things that have to be memorized. However, someone learning English only has to become familiar with 26 letters. According to the chart below, learning Chinese requires learning thousands of different characters.
The people over at Zid Bits put together this handy language infographic to give you an idea about the level of difficulty you might find when learning these languages. Keep in mind, this is written from the perspective that English is your native language. If your native language is something other than English, the level of difficulty on some of these might be different for you.