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Learn a New Language

Learn a New Language

There’s a lot of talk across Asia about which countries have the best English-language skills. Of course English is the de facto language of business and so it’s very important for rising executives to have a good understanding of the language. However, what about the the reverse? How important is it for native English speakers to learn another language? It turns out that it is critical and it turns out that many English natives have a strong desire to do so. So we did some research and came up with a list of the easiest and hardest languages for English speakers to learn and approximately how long it will take them.

You’ll find the full Foreign Service Institute language difficulty ranking list below. No matter which category you’d like to take on, you can get a start at our Free Foreign Language Lessons collection, many of whose materials come produced by the FSI itself.

Category I: 23-24 weeks (575-600 hours)

Languages closely related to English
Afrikaans
Danish
Dutch
French
Italian
Norwegian
Portuguese
Romanian
Spanish
Swedish
 
Category II: 30 weeks (750 hours)
Languages similar to English
German
 
Category III: 36 weeks (900 hours)
Languages with linguistic and/or cultural differences from English
Indonesian
Malaysian
Swahili
 
Category IV: 44 weeks (1100 hours)
Languages with significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English
Albanian
Amharic
Armenian
Azerbaijani
Bengali
Bosnian
Bulgarian
Burmese
Croatian
Czech
*Estonian
*Finnish
*Georgian
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
*Hungarian
Icelandic
Khmer
Lao
Latvian
Lithuanian
Macedonian
*Mongolian
Nepali
Pashto
Persian (Dari, Farsi, Tajik)
Polish
Russian
Serbian
Sinhala
Slovak
Slovenian
Tagalog
*Thai
Turkish
Ukrainian
Urdu
Uzbek
*Vietnamese
Xhosa
Zulu
 
Category V: 88 weeks (2200 hours)
Languages which are exceptionally difficult for native English speakers
Arabic
Cantonese (Chinese)
Mandarin (Chinese)
*Japanese
Korean
 
* Usually more difficult than other languages in the same category.

via Big Think

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