What makes some languages harder than others?Language learning intimidates a lot of individuals because it challenges your brain to construct new cognitive frameworks, which requires sustained and consistent practice. This means that some people are cognitively better equipped for language learning than others. Despite the impressive skills some individuals project when it comes to mastering target languages, there are still languages that would require them to apply themselves a little more than the usual. There also seems to be a correlation between the development of the prefrontal cortex and the ability to learn quickly and with ease. The less developed the prefrontal cortex, the more the individual is creative and inventive, allowing them to retain the information more effortlessly. This is why small children are notoriously in a better position to succeed at learning languages; their prefrontal cortex is highly underdeveloped. Unfortunately for adults, our sophisticated minds actually get in the way of our quest for language acquisition. The most difficult languages to learn are those that go against our neurological preferences. Research has proven that our brains will reuse our mother tongue's grammar and characteristics to decipher a similarly-structured language. In other words, languages that deviate significantly from our own mother tongue will exhibit more aggressiveness on our brains because they force us to work with a different cognitive model. Having said that, the languages that top the list of the most difficult languages to learn would be unique in their nature (unfamiliar tones, opposite text direction and non-phonetic vocabulary).
The most difficult languages to learn
Contrary to other languages, your first Chinese class will not involve learning the ABC's. Chinese characters do not constitute an alphabet; it is a pictorial language and it relies on symbols to represent ideas and concepts. This process requires a great deal of memorisation as there are more than 100,000 Chinese characters. You also have to add tones to every word you speak, which is very unusual for non-native speakers. Interestingly, one of the most difficult languages to learn is also the most widely spoken language in the world.