This Map Reveals How Long It Takes English Speakers To Learn Each European Language

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This Map Reveals How Long It Takes English Speakers To Learn Each European Language

When many people think about starting to learn a new language, one of the most common questions often asked is 'how long will it take me to learn?'. Learning a language is an ongoing process that lasts forever. Even people speaking their native tongue will still not know, and will never know, the full language, the meaning of all words or phrases and so forth. So what people are really asking is 'how long will it take to learn enough to be able to hold a decent conversation in the language I want to learn?'.

Thankfully the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) has now ranked languages around the world by degree of difficulty and how long roughly they believe it would take to become somewhat proficient in the language. The degree of difficulty applies to English speakers only.

The chart goes from Category I (about 24 weeks of instruction) and includes Spanish and French, to Category V (about 88 weeks of instruction) and includes Arabic and Mandarin Chinese, though there are some languages in each category that are regarded as more difficult than others.

The rankings do throw up some surprising results. In particular, the ranking of Swahili, Malaysian and Indonesian as being regarded as far easier than many European languages such as Greek and Polish. So, what is the easiest language to learn if you are a native English speaker? Most likely Dutch and Afrikaans (a derivative of Dutch spoken in South Africa). The most difficult European language? Most likely Hungarian, though Finnish and Estonian are likely not far behind.

While the FSI rankings cover the whole of the world, a Redditor by the name of Fummy also put this map up online using FSI data, allowing us to visualise the difficulty of languages in Europe for English speakers, it is truly fascinating.

Language Difficult Rankings in Europe according to the FSI [1106x988] [OC] from r/MapPorn

Here is the full list of FSI rankings:

CATEGORY I: 23-24 WEEKS (575-600 HOURS)

Afrikaans

Danish

Dutch

French

Italian

Norwegian

Portuguese

Romanian

Spanish

Swedish

CATEGORY II: 30 WEEKS (750 HOURS)

German

CATEGORY III: 36 WEEKS (900 HOURS)

Indonesian

Malaysian

Swahili

CATEGORY IV: 44 WEEKS (1100 HOURS)

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)

Arabic

Cantonese (Chinese)

Mandarin (Chinese)

*Japanese

Korean

* Usually more difficult than other languages in the same category.

h/t: My Modern Met

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Thinking Humanity: This Map Reveals How Long It Takes English Speakers To Learn Each European Language
This Map Reveals How Long It Takes English Speakers To Learn Each European Language
When many people think about starting to learn a new language one of the most common questions is 'how long will it take me to learn?''. Now, learning
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