What makes one language harder or simpler to study than another? Sadly, there isn’t any one simple answer. There are some languages which have a number of characteristics that make them comparatively difficult to learn. However it depends much 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 were surrounded with as you grew up (or languages, for those lucky enough to grow up speaking more than one language) is essentially the most influential factor on how you be taught other languages. Languages that share a number of the qualities and characteristics of your native English might be simpler to learn. Languages which have very little in common with your native English will likely be much harder. Most languages will fall somewhere in the middle.
This goes both ways. Though 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 learn English as the native English speaker has when learning Chinese. If you’re learning Chinese proper now, that is probably little consolation 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. Related languages share many traits and this tends to make them easier to be taught as there are less new concepts to deal with.
Since English is a Germanic language, Dutch, German and the Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish) are all intently related and thus, simpler 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 A type of traits which might be typically shared between associated 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 complex word order and verb conjugation. Although each languages are associated to English, German kept it’s more complicated grammar, where English and Swedish have largely dropped it.
The Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and a number of different languages) are well-known for sharing many characteristics. It isn’t surprising since they all evolved from Latin. It is vitally common for somebody who learns one in all these languages to go on and be taught one or others. They’re so comparable at instances that it seems that you may study the others at a discounted cost in effort.
Commonalities in grammar don’t just happen in related languages. Very completely different ones can share comparable qualities as well. English and Chinese actually have relatedities of their grammar, which partly makes up for some of the other difficulties with Chinese.
Cognates and borrowed vocabulary. This is a type of characteristics that make the Romance languages so similar. And in this, in addition they share with English. The Romance languages all have the huge mainity of their vocabulary from Latin. English has borrowed a lot 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. Another reason that Spanish, French and Italian are
considered simpler than different languages.
There are always borrowings of vocabulary between languages, and not always between associated languages. There’s a stunning quantity of English vocabulary in Japanese. It’s a little disguised by Japanese pronunciation, however it’s to discover it.
Sounds Obviously, languages sound different. Although all people use basically the identical sounds, there always appears to be some sounds in other languages that we just do not have in our native language. Some are strange or difficult to articulate. Some can be quite subtle. A Spanish ‘o’ isn’t exactly the identical as an English ‘o.’ And then there are some vowel sounds in French, for instance, that just do not exist in English. While a French ‘r’ may be very completely different from English, a Chinese ‘r’ is
actually very similar.
It will probably take a while to get comfortable with these new sounds, though I think that faking it is settle forable until you may get a better deal with on them. Many people don’t put enough effort into this side of learning and this makes some languages appear harder to study than they should be.
Tones Just a few languages use tones, a rising or falling pitch when a word is pronounced. This may be very subtle and tough for somebody who has never used tones before. This is among the primary reasons Chinese is hard for native English speakers.
Chinese isn’t the only language to make use of tones, and not all of them are from exotic far-off lands. Swedish makes use of tones, although it is just not almost as advanced or tough as Chinese tones. This is the kind of thing that may only really be discovered by listening to native speakers.
By the way, there are examples of tone use in English but they’re only a few, often used only in particular situations, and aren’t part of the pronunciation of individual words. For instance, in American English it’s common to raise the tone of our voice on the finish of a question. It’s not quite the identical thing, but in case you think about it that way, it might make a tone language a little less intimidating.
The writing system Some languages use a distinct script or writing system and this can have a major impact on whether or not a language is hard to learn or not. Many European languages use the identical script as English but additionally embrace a few different symbols not in English to signify sounds specific to that language (think of the ‘o’ with a line by it in Norwegian, or the ‘n’ with a little squiggly over it in Spanish). These are typically not troublesome to learn.
But some languages go farther and have a unique alphabet altogether. Greek, Hindi, Russian and many of the other Slavic languages of Japanese Europe all use a special script. This adds to the complicatedity when learning a language. Some languages, like Hebrew and Arabic, are additionally written from right to left, further adding difficulty.
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