Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

5 Hardest Languages To Speak

– [Voiceover] How difficult
a language is to learn is often a matter
of perspective. For example, a Dutch speaker
trying to learn German will have a much
easier time than say, a Mandarin speaker, because Dutch and German are
closely related languages, and Mandarin and German are not. So, get ready to find out about the five most difficult
languages in the world to learn. (speaks Hungarian) Hungarian stands as several
odd men out in Europe, alongside Finnish and
Estonian as belonging to a language family other
than that of the majority of European languages. Most European
languages belong to a family called Indo-European, but Hungarian belongs to a
family called Finno-Ugric. What makes Hungarian
incredibly difficult to learn, for say a German, or English speaker, is the combination of
incredibly alien vocabulary combined with an insanely
difficult grammar. For example, German and
English have many words in common with each
other, such as: But, if you line up those
same words with Hungarian, you can see where the
difficulty comes in. They are completely different, making it a true
challenge to learn. (speaks Cantonese) There really is no
such thing as Chinese, rather what is normally
called Chinese, or Chinese dialects are in
fact different languages. Mandarin is the official
language of China, but there are others, most prominently the
Cantonese language, which is spoken
in Southern China, as well as Honk Kong and Macau. Mandarin has four
different tones, each of which conveys
a different meaning, and can be difficult enough
to get right for a foreigner, but Cantonese has six tones. Additionally, the real
difficulty in learning Chinese is always the reading
and writing system, because the language
has no alphabet, instead it uses an
archaic writing system based on what are
called idiograms. Idiograms are graphic
symbols that convey meaning, and the Chinese ones
were originally based on representation of things
from the real world. Over time, the relationship
between the symbols and what they
represented was lost, but the complexity in the
number of the characters grew. It takes years, and years, even as a Chinese
person to learn enough of the characters
to be literate. Compare that to the
Korean alphabet, hangul, which can be learnt
in a few hours, and you get an idea of
how difficult it can be to acquire even basic literacy. Given this, the Chinese
writing system was reformed in the 20th Century
in mainland China into what is called
simplified characters, but in Hong Kong they kept the even more complex
traditional ones, which when combined with
the greater number of tones makes Hong Kong Cantonese one of the most difficult
languages in the world to learn. (speaks Xhosa) Xhosa is a language that
belongs to the African family of languages called Bantu, and is one of the official
languages of South Africa. In addition to a difficult
grammar and vocabulary, foreign to native
speakers of English, it is one of the infamous
clicking sound languages that requires a unique
precision in order to pronounce correctly. The language is a
total of 18 clicks that are very hard for
non-natives to learn. So, if you decide
to pick up Xhosa, all we can say is good luck, you’re going to need it. (speaks Navajo) Navajao is an American
Indian langauge that has had an unusual
role in history. Due to its isolation
as a language, and small number of speakers, during World War II a man
named Phillip Johnston suggested the introduction of
so-called Navajo code talkers in order to preserve the
secrecy of information, and confuse the enemy. He was fortunate to
have grown up as the son of a missionary
on a reservation, and thus spoke it fluently, but he also realized that
almost no one spoke it, and those who tried
usually failed. Instead of distinguishing tense, which refers to when
something happened, as we do in English, Navajo instead uses
something called aspect, which stresses the way in
which something is done, instead of when it was done. These have no real
correspondence in English, but have classifications, such as transitional, which involves an action
involving transition from one status or
form to another. Momentaneous, which
involves an action that takes place at a
specific point in time, and many others. You can see why Navajo
would be hell to learn, and why the Navajo code
talkers were able to outwit the Japanese at every turn. (speaks Greenlandic) If you thought Navajo
would be hard to learn, then Greenlandic is
just off the charts. It’s one of the Eskimo
Aleut languages spoken by the Inuit of Greenland, and its incredibly strange
and difficult grammar make it the most difficult
language to learn. Besides being unrelated
to anything Western or Eastern people
are familiar with, it is the grammar that
is the real killer. Most languages have
distinct parts for subjects, objects, and verbs, but in Greenlandic, the verb itself contains
virtually all information of the things conveyed
in the sentence, including the
subject and object, making the language
conceptually very different from anything you
might have encountered in the language
learning classroom. For more top lists, just like this, be sure to leave a like, and subscribe, if
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out our other lists, and we’ll see you all next time.

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