The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) has created a list to show the approximate time you need to learn a specific language as an English speaker. After this particular study time you will reach “Speaking 3: General Professional Proficiency in Speaking (S3)” and “Reading 3: General Professional Proficiency in Reading (R3)”
Please keep in mind that this ranking only shows the view of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and some language students or experts may disagree with the ranking.
If there is a language in this list you would like to learn and it is in a high difficult category, don’t let this stop you from learning it. Even if they are ranked as difficult, it does not mean that they are impossible to learn and maybe it is not hard for you at all. We offer many tips on how to best learn a language that will surely help you to tackle even the most difficult language on this list.
Additionally, we also offer free language lessons for the most popular languages and a Top 10 language app overview with all currently available professional language products on the market with reviews by us and our readers.
|Category I: 23-24 weeks (575-600 hours)|
Languages closely related to English
|Category II: 30 weeks (750 hours)|
Languages similar to English
|Category III: 36 weeks (900 hours)|
Languages with linguistic and/or cultural differences from English
|Category IV: 44 weeks (1100 hours)|
Languages with significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English
Persian (Dari, Farsi, Tajik)
|Category V: 88 weeks (2200 hours)|
Languages which are exceptionally difficult for native English speakers
47 thoughts on “Language Difficulty Ranking”
My mother language is Persian and I have to say we have the hardest language in the world because lots of slangs is invented every day and we even can’t recognize the other cities speakers accent
And I think this text has been written from an western man vision
Because Turkish and Arabic is so easy for us and my opinion is exactly against the writer from my vision
Yes. Exactly. If you had read this carefully you would have seen that this chart is for English speakers, not Farsi speakers. BTW, slangs is not a word. Slang is a non-count noun.
Yeah it is written from a native English speaker, as it says on the table in the blue sections. Im a native Arabic speaker, so no wonder I can speak it with any real trouble, but it’s not the same for anyone who’s first language is English.
How about Tamil ? Only onle Oldest language till now people speaking..
Hindi is very recent language in india but the Tamil has its own grammar, which is no one can compete with, the only language survive in the modern era with the new innovated words. it’s has everything.
I can only shake my head when people proudly announce that their native language is the most difficult in the world. I am pleased to announce that there IS no most difficult language – only language difficulty relative to a learner’s native language. And if you think that the difficulty of your native language can be used to measure your intelligence, you are sadly misguided and in desperate of attention. I am a native speaker of English who also happens to speak Arabic, Mandarin, and Spanish, but my linguistic abilities are less a measure of my intelligence than they are of my level of “interest” in the cultures and the native speakers with whom I communicate. I taught English in Japan for a year but can’t say “boo” in Japanese, not because I wasn’t smart enough to acquire it. Rather, I had no friends/significant others who made it worth my time to study it. All my friends were English and Chinese speakers, and my Chinese improved while living in Japan! Tamil is a Dravidian language, which would be significantly less difficult to learn for speakers of languages from the same family. Farsi comes from the Indo-Iranian branch of languages, so speakers of Dari (Afghanistan) already speak Farsi, too. Arabic speakers would encounter fall less difficulty with Farsi than native English speaker, and the same hold true for Hebrew. Stop kidding yourselves people, and stop embarrassing yourselves with pronouncements of self-ascribed brilliance simply because you have a mother tongue. After all, you’d look pretty darn stupid if you were raised in a household full of linguistic input that you were ultimately unable to acquire – unless you had some sort of diagnosed learning disorder standing in your way. Anyone marinated in a language from childhood can’t but learn to speak that language.