What Makes One Language Harder or Easier Than Another?

What makes one language harder or simpler to study than another? Unfortunately, there isn’t a one easy answer. There are some languages which have a number of characteristics that make them relatively difficult to learn. But it relies upon a lot more on what languages you already know, particularly your native language, the one (or ones) you grew up speaking.

Your native language The language you had been surrounded with as you grew up (or languages, for these lucky enough to grow up speaking more than one language) is the most influential factor on the way you be taught different languages. Languages that share a number of the qualities and traits of your native English might be easier to learn. Languages which have very little in widespread with your native English shall be a lot harder. Most languages will fall someplace within the middle.

This goes both ways. Although it is a stretch to say that English is harder than Chinese, it is safe to say the native Chinese speaker probably has practically as hard a time to be taught English as the native English speaker has when learning Chinese. If you are finding out Chinese proper now, that’s probably little comfort to you.

Associated languages Learning a language intently associated to your native language, or another that you simply already speak, is much simpler than learning a very alien one. Associated languages share many traits and this tends to make them simpler to be taught as there are less new ideas to deal with.

Since English is a Germanic language, Dutch, German and the Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish) are all closely related and thus, easier to learn than an unrelated tongue. Another languages associated in some way to English are Spanish, Italian and French, the more distant Irish and Welsh and even Russian, Greek, Hindi and Urdu, Farsi (of Iran) and Pashto (of Afghanistan).

English shares no ancestry with languages like Arabic, Korean, Japanese and Chinese, all languages considered hard by English standards.

Similar grammar One of those traits that are typically shared between related languages. In Swedish, word order and verb conjugation is mercifully similar to English which makes learning it a lot simpler than say German, which has a notoriously more advanced word order and verb conjugation. Although each languages are associated to English, German kept it’s more complicated grammar, the place English and Swedish have largely dropped it.

The Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and a number of different languages) are famous for sharing many characteristics. It’s not stunning since all of them developed from Latin. It is extremely widespread for somebody who learns one in every of these languages to go on and be taught one or two others. They’re so similar at instances that it appears which you could study the others at a discounted cost in effort.

Commonalities in grammar do not just occur in related languages. Very different ones can share similar qualities as well. English and Chinese actually have comparableities of their grammar, which partly makes up for a few of the different difficulties with Chinese.

Cognates and borrowed vocabulary. This is one of those characteristics that make the Romance languages so similar. And in this, additionally they share with English. The Romance languages all have the vast majority of their vocabulary from Latin. English has borrowed much of its vocabulary directly from Latin and what it didn’t get there, it just borrowed from French. There is a gigantic quantity of French vocabulary in English. One other reason that Spanish, French and Italian are

considered simpler than different languages.

There are always borrowings of vocabulary between languages, and never always between associated languages. There is a surprising quantity of English vocabulary in Japanese. It’s a little disguised by Japanese pronunciation, but it’s to discover it.

Sounds Obviously, languages sound different. Although all humans use basically the identical sounds, there always appears to be some sounds in different languages that we just haven’t got in our native language. Some are strange or troublesome to articulate. Some may be quite subtle. A Spanish ‘o’ is just not exactly the same as an English ‘o.’ And then there are some vowel sounds in French, for example, that just do not exist in English. While a French ‘r’ may be very different from English, a Chinese ‘r’ is

really very similar.

It could take some time to get comfortable with these new sounds, though I think that faking it is settle forable till you may get a greater deal with on them. Many individuals do not put sufficient effort into this aspect of learning and this makes some languages appear harder to be taught than they should be.

Tones A few languages use tones, a rising or falling pitch when a word is pronounced. This could be very subtle and troublesome for someone who has by no means used tones before. This is one of the important reasons Chinese is hard for native English speakers.

Chinese isn’t the only language to use tones, and not all of them are from exotic far-off lands. Swedish uses tones, though it shouldn’t be almost as advanced or difficult as Chinese tones. This is the kind of thing that can only really be realized by listening to native speakers.

By the way, there are examples of tone use in English but they’re very few, normally used only in specific situations, and aren’t part of the pronunciation of individual words. For example, in American English it’s widespread to lift the tone of our voice at the end of a question. It isn’t quite the identical thing, however if you think about it that way, it might make a tone language a little less intimidating.

The writing system Some languages use a special script or writing system and this can have a serious impact on whether or not a language is hard to study or not. Many European languages use the same script as English but additionally embody just a few different symbols not in English to represent sounds specific to that language (think of the ‘o’ with a line by way of it in Norwegian, or the ‘n’ with a little squiggly over it in Spanish). These are usually not troublesome to learn.

But some languages go farther and have a unique alphabet altogether. Greek, Hindi, Russian and lots of the other Slavic languages of Japanese Europe all use a unique script. This adds to the advancedity when learning a language. Some languages, like Hebrew and Arabic, are also written from proper to left, additional adding difficulty.

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