What Makes One Language Harder or Easier Than Another?
What makes one language harder or easier to be taught than one other? Unfortunately, there isn't a one simple answer. There are some languages which have a number of characteristics that make them comparatively troublesome to learn. But it relies upon a lot more on what languages you already know, particularly your native language, the one (or ones) you grew up speaking.
Your native language The language you were surrounded with as you grew up (or languages, for those lucky sufficient to develop up speaking more than one language) is probably the most influential factor on how you learn different languages. Languages that share some of the qualities and traits of your native English will be simpler to learn. Languages which have very little in widespread with your native English shall be much harder. Most languages will fall somewhere within the middle.
This goes both ways. Although it is a stretch to say that English is harder than Chinese, it is safe to say the native Chinese speaker probably has nearly as hard a time to study English because the native English speaker has when learning Chinese. If you're finding out Chinese proper now, that is probably little consolation to you.
Associated languages Learning a language closely associated to your native language, or another that you simply already speak, is way simpler than learning a totally alien one. Associated languages share many characteristics and this tends to make them simpler to be taught as there are less new ideas to deal with.
Since English is a Germanic language, Dutch, German and the Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish) are all closely associated and thus, easier to study than an unrelated tongue. Some other languages associated in some way to English are Spanish, Italian and French, the more distant Irish and Welsh and even Russian, Greek, Hindi and Urdu, Farsi (of Iran) and Pashto (of Afghanistan).
English shares no ancestry with languages like Arabic, Korean, Japanese and Chinese, all languages considered hard by English standards.
Comparable grammar A type of traits which can be usually shared between related languages. In Swedish, word order and verb conjugation is mercifully similar to English which makes learning it much easier than say German, which has a notoriously more advanced word order and verb conjugation. Though both languages are related to English, German kept it's more complicated grammar, the place English and Swedish have largely dropped it.
The Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and a number of different languages) are famous for sharing many characteristics. It isn't shocking since all of them developed from Latin. It is very frequent for somebody who learns one in every of these languages to go on and study one or two others. They're so related at occasions that it appears you can be taught the others at a reduced value in effort.
Commonalities in grammar don't just happen in related languages. Very completely different ones can share related qualities as well. English and Chinese actually have relatedities in their grammar, which partly makes up for a few of the other difficulties with Chinese.
Cognates and borrowed vocabulary. This is a type of characteristics that make the Romance languages so similar. And in this, they also share with English. The Romance languages all have the huge mainity of their vocabulary from Latin. English has borrowed a lot of its vocabulary directly from Latin and what it didn't get there, it just borrowed from French. There is a gigantic quantity of French vocabulary in English. One other reason that Spanish, French and Italian are
considered simpler than different languages.
There are always borrowings of vocabulary between languages, and never always between related languages. There is a surprising quantity of English vocabulary in Japanese. It's a little disguised by Japanese pronunciation, however it's to discover it.
Sounds Clearly, languages sound different. Although all people use basically the identical sounds, there always seems to be some sounds in different languages that we just do not have in our native language. Some are strange or difficult to articulate. Some may be quite subtle. A Spanish 'o' isn't exactly the same as an English 'o.' After which there are some vowel sounds in French, for instance, that just do not exist in English. While a French 'r' may be very totally different from English, a Chinese 'r' is
really very similar.
It might probably take some time to get comfortable with these new sounds, although I think that faking it is settle forable until you will get a greater handle on them. Many people don't put enough effort into this side of learning and this makes some languages appear harder to be taught than they need to be.
Tones A few languages use tones, a rising or falling pitch when a word is pronounced. This might be very subtle and tough for someone who has never used tones before. This is among the fundamental reasons Chinese is hard for native English speakers.
Chinese isn't the only language to make use of tones, and never all of them are from exotic far-off lands. Swedish makes use of tones, although it is not practically as complex or tough as Chinese tones. This is the kind of thing that can only really be realized by listening to native speakers.
By the way, there are examples of tone use in English however they are very few, usually used only in particular situations, and aren't part of the pronunciation of individual words. For example, in American English it's widespread to lift the tone of our voice at the end of a question. It isn't quite the same thing, but should you think about it that way, it would possibly make a tone language a little less intimidating.
The writing system Some languages use a special script or writing system and this can have a serious impact on whether or not a language is hard to be taught or not. Many European languages use the same script as English but in addition include a couple of other symbols not in English to signify sounds particular to that language (think of the 'o' with a line by way of it in Norwegian, or the 'n' with a little squiggly over it in Spanish). These are usually not tough to learn.
However some languages go farther and have a different alphabet altogether. Greek, Hindi, Russian and most of the different Slavic languages of Japanese Europe all use a unique script. This adds to the complicatedity when learning a language. Some languages, like Hebrew and Arabic, are additionally written from proper to left, further adding difficulty.
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