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What Are The Hardest Languages To Learn?

Stashed in: Best PandaWhale Posts, China!, Learn!, Communication, Awesome, India, Infographics!, The World, Language

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A few thoughts:

1. Spanish and Portuguese get the most reward relative to effort.

2. I didn't realize there's a "Chinese" -- aren't there Mandarin, Cantonese, and many local dialects?

3. There are only 182mm native Hindi speakers?!

4. More people natively speak Hebrew than Norwegian or Finnish?!

5. Any movie or TV show with creatures from another world who speak English? No.

We learn something new everyday!  There are 67 languages in India, 29 of which have at least 1 million speakers, and Hindi having the most at 422 million (41% of the population).

That's fascinating.

Wikipedia also taught me China has 292 living languages, although only Mandarin is official:

Yep, the Infographic is referring to Mandarin Chinese, which is the official dialect of China. Thus, it is the one that all 1.2 billion Chinese must learn (in addition to any local dialect they may also need to learn - such as Cantonese).

In contrast, India does not have a national dialect that everyone must learn:

Mandarin is my first language, so I have the benefit of being able to detect the tones within the language. English was second, German third, Latin fourth. Now I am trying to pick up some Spanish and Italian. I guess those should (theoretically) be in the simpler category.

So I wonder if the most optimal way to master the maximum number of languages is to pick up Chinese and Arabic first (as an infant/toddler), then move to English as the next language. After that, you can pick up several Asian languages (Korean, Japanese, etc.) and Romance languages (Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian) at your leisure? Now there's a thought...

That sounds like the optimal plan.

Certainly someone out of the 7 billion people on the planet must have done this?

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