People always think their native language is the hardest in the world.

It’s not true.

Well, obviously, it is true for some nation which truly has the most difficult language of the world.  On the other hand, “difficulty” of a language is like “movement” of an object in Physics: it only makes sense relative to some frame of reference.

In any case, I’ve always heard it from people that their language is the most difficult. For example:

  • Norwegians told me that Norwegian is extremely difficult and they knew some person who had lived in Norway for 18 or more years and still didn’t speak the language well. Well, Norwegian is easy.
  • I’ve heard from Portuguese that Portuguese must be one of the most difficult languages in the world. I have met people who have learnt it to a point where they could work in Portuguese in very short time. I have learnt it up to a level where I can read books in 5 months myself.
  • In Lithuania, people think that their language has been found by some scientific research to be the hardest in the world. Or, the second hardest after Chinese. Well, it’s not.

A point to be made, though: it is true that most of the languages are very hard to learn perfectly. But we’re not talking about learning things perfectly here… we prefer being able to communicate and leaving “being perfect” to those that wish to specialize in that language. But when people call their language “very difficult”, they don’t usually think of “learning it perfectly” but of “being able to utter basic things in it”.

The fact is, people always overrate their language in terms of how difficult it is to learn it. Do not get discouraged. In fact, it can even act in your favor: if you learn the language in the end, people think that you must be some kind of a genius to have been able to do that. Weird.

Posted under: General