You Should Try …”The Hardest Language”
When it comes to the online language learning community, there are plenty of haters. A lot of them have a lot of very good reasons why you shouldn’t try something new. A lot of them want to say, “You’re not a language learner until you’ve learned [x], because it’s the hardest language.”
What is the hardest language?
Some languages are harder than others right? So there must be one which is the hardest language. Wrong.
All languages have their complexities and simple parts. Some are more difficult than others in terms of where you start at. But if you take skydiving and scuba diving, you have two very difficult things. One might be harder than the other for you personally, but that says nothing to their objective difficulty.
An Olympic swimmer will probably find scuba diving easier than skydiving.
A bungee jumper will probably find skydiving easier than the swimmer.
Chinese (aka. ‘The Hardest Language’) is very difficult to speak if you’re English speaking. But it’s not impossible. A South-East Asian whose first language is a tonal, South-East Asian language might find Chinese easier than English!
Hungarian (aka “The Hardest Language”) is a lot more straightforward for somebody who speaks an Uralic language (Finnish, Estonian) than it is for a speaker with an L1 with fewer cases.
For every difficulty present in a particular language, there is a corresponding easy part. Mandarin and Russian, for their difficulties, are quite standardised due to the way the countries’ Governments have traditionally operated. This makes them easier to learn than Arabic, where different geographical areas have vastly different uses of the language. Does this mean Arabic is the Hardest language among the three? No, because Arabic has a script which is easier than the Chinese characters, and Arabic’s grammar is a lot more straight forward than Russian’s.
Does it matter anyway?
Not really. If you’re learning a language because of Passion and not to score some sort of exotic brownie points, then you’ll stick with the language no matter the difficulty. If you stick to a solid language learning method, and you make sure to be gradually progressing in your language, then you’ll achieve enough to stop critics dead in their tracks.