Czech among the world's most difficult languages for English-speakers

The new ranking is based on the latest data from the Foreign Services Institute and language-learning platforms around the world. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 26.02.2024 11:23:00 (updated on 26.02.2024) Reading time: 1 minute

Insider Monkey, an investment site, recently analyzed the twenty most challenging languages for English speakers to master, and the Czech language features among the top 10.

Using data from the Foreign Services Institute’s language training data to compile the list, the site categorized languages into four groups based on required class hours. Focusing on Category 3 and 4 (1,100 to 2,200 hours), the site employed a consensus methodology, analyzing Berlitz, Busuu, and other language-learning platforms to create its list.

Selection criteria included Category 3 and 4 languages appearing in at least three sources. Rankings were based on average scores, with the number of mentions acting as a tiebreaker for languages sharing the same rank. The ranking is based on the latest data available in 2024.

Czech demanding for its grammatical complexity

Ranked with an average difficulty of 7.3, Czech secured its place as the 8th most challenging language for English speakers to learn, based on the latest data available. Czech, which belongs to the Slavic languages’ west wing, is notable for its “intricate grammar system and diverse noun and verb cases,” writes Insider Monkey. Mastering Czech demands around 1,100 class hours for English speakers.

The language’s seven cases influence the complexities of learning Czech, writes Czech Class 101. Each has unique noun, adjective, pronoun, and numeral declensions based on gender. Memorizing these variations and understanding grammatical genders can be challenging.

Czech conjugation involves four classes, six persons, and verb forms that depend on gender and number. The language has formal and informal speech distinctions, and its phonetic nature introduces diacritics that impact pronunciation, making focused learning efforts necessary.

Multiple Slavic languages in top 20

Among the Slavic languages, Czech was preceded on the list by Bulgarian (13), Polish (17), and Russian (19). Among the top 5 most challenging languages for English speakers to master were Finnish (5), Korean (4), Japanese (3), Mandarin Chinese (2), and Arabic (1).


Top 20 Languages with the Hardest Grammar for English Speakers

20. Turkish
19. Russian
18. Tagalog
17. Polish
16. Farsi
15. Serbian
14. Hungarian
13. Bulgarian
12. Croatian
11. Albanian
10. Vietnamese
9. Greek
8. Czech
7. Hindi
6. Thai
5. Finnish
4. Korean
3. Japanese
2. Chinese (Mandarin)
1. Arabic

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