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Top 50 Difficult Languages In The World (2024)

Scientists say that for infants, all languages are equally easy to learn. Adults would beg to differ- mastering the basics of some languages seems just insurmountable. The top difficult languages in the world are arranged in order of difficulty as perceived and agreed by linguists generally.

Despite their perceived difficulty; some of these languages are of very high economic importance; learning them can be extremely profitable for one’s business career.

Top 50 Difficult Languages In The World

1. Tagalog       

Tagalog is one of the languages of the Philippines; it is spoken by around 1/4th of the total population of that country.

Tagalog belongs to the Austronesian family of languages; some related languages include; Malagasy, Javanese, Malay, Tetum (of Timor), Indonesian, and Yami (of Taiwan).

Tagalog has an uncommon grammar and sentence structure which makes it a very difficult language to master.

2. Navajo

Navajo is one of the Native American languages; it is spoken by over 150,000 people in the US; and an unspecified number in Mexico. Navajo is mostly spoken in the Southwestern United States; especially in the Navajo Nation, and the area north of the US border with Mexico.

Navajo as a language suffered for many years as it was unable to retain a healthy speaker base. Now, however, the language is making a comeback because an extensive effort is being made to teach it to the younger generation.

3. Norwegian

Norwegian is one of the Scandinavian languages; it is the official language of Norway; and it is spoken by the country’s 4.6 million people. It is said (and disputed) that the language’ origins are Germanic, and that it belongs to the Indo European language family.

Norwegian is a rather difficult language to understand; the alphabet is completely strange to any person who comes from central or Western Europe, or other parts of the world. However, fellow Scandinavians will quite likely understand it.

4. Persian        

Persian is a very old language, it is pluricentric- meaning that it has several standard forms existing concurrently, but those various forms are endemic to different regions. Persian is also called Farsi; and it belongs to the Indo-Iranian branch of Indo-European family of languages.

Persian is spoken in many parts of the Middle East; but mostly in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. In Uzbekistan many people also speak the Tajik variety.

Persian is one of the most difficult languages to learn; those who are born outside the region where it is spoken will find the words difficult to pronounce, and the writing impossible to understand.

5. Indonesian  

Indonesian is the language of Indonesia; which is an archipelago located in southeast Asia and Oceania. This language belongs to the Austronesian family of languages, and is spoken by some 300 million speakers.

However, outside Indonesia the language is not popular because of its difficulty. Most people in Indonesia also speak at least one other language aside from Indonesian- they have a pool of around 700 languages to choose from.

6. Dutch          

Dutch is the language of the people of the Netherlands, and it is also spoken in Belgium, and Suriname. Dutch is also spoken in St Martin, Aruba, and there is a special variant spoken in South Africa. Overall it has about 22 million speakers around the world.

Dutch belongs to the Indo- European family of languages; there are intelligible words to the Germans as well. However, Dutch is probably the most difficult of languages within its family- the words are longer, and more difficult to pronounce.

7. Slovenian

Slovenian language is part of the South Slavic language group, which also has its roots from the Indo-European language family. Slovenian is spoken by only 2.5 million people; which some cite as a testament of its difficulty.

The words surely appear strange to anyone from outside the region, and it is important to pay attention to the pronunciations.

8. Afrikaans

Afrikaans is the special form of the Dutch language cited above. It is labelled as a West Germanic language; and evolved in the Dutch colony of the cape coast. This happened when the Dutch people spoke a vernacular form of Dutch with the enslaved people.

Afrikaans in South Africa, Namibia and (to a lesser extent) Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, estimates c. 2010 of the total number of Afrikaans speakers range between 15 and 23 million.

Afrikaans language is spoken by mostly by the people South Africa, Namibia, as well as Zimbabwe and Botswana. It is mostly spoken by the white populations, and also to a lesser extent by the colored population.

9. Danish

Danish is a Scandinavian language; it is the language of Denmark. Danish is labeled as a North Germanic Language; it is similar to Norwegian and Swedish. The language has around 6 million speakers; and there are also minor communities in Norway, Sweden, Brazil, Argentina the United States, and Canada.

This language is just as difficult as its comrades Norwegian and Swedish; the alphabet is strange to non-Scandinavian people.

10. Basque

Basque is a language of the Basque; a people in north-central Spain and south-western France. Basque is one of the oldest languages and people in the world; it is mentioned in very old roman texts, and the language and culture still exist today.

Said to be the oldest language still in use today, the Basque is an important part of the European cultural heritage; more effort has to be made to preserve it. Nevertheless, the language is quite difficult to understand.

The following is a more extensive list of the most difficult languages in the world.

Rank Language Areas Spoken
1 Tagalog Philippines
2 Navajo United states, Mexico
3 Norwegian Norway
4 Persian Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
5 Indonesian Indonesia
6 Dutch Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname
7 Slovenian Slovenia
8 Afrikaans Namibia and South Africa, as well as Zimbabwe and Botswana
9 Danish Denmark
10 Basque Basque Country, France, Spain
11 Welsh Wales
12 Urdu India
13 Hebrew Israel, United States, Germany, France, Poland
14 Korean
15 Sanskrit Considered a dead language; only used in religion: Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.
16 Croatian Croatia
17 Hungarian Hungary
18 Scottish Scotland
19 Japanese Japan
20 Albanian Albania, Kosovo, Bulgaria, and the Republic of Macedonia
21 Icelandic Iceland
22 Thai Thailand
23 Vietnamese Vietnam
24 Arabic Middle East, the Horn of Africa, North Africa
25 Chinese China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam.
26 Polish Poland
27 Finish Sweden, Finland
28 Mandarin China
29 Austronesian Maritime Southeast Asia, Madagascar, Taiwan, and the islands of the Pacific Ocean.
30 Hindi India
31 Amharic Ethiopia
32 Armenian Armenia
33 Azerbaijani Azerbaijan
34 Bengali India
35 Czech Czech republic
36 Esperanto Belgium, Brazil, United Kingdom, the United States, Poland, Italy, Germany, France, China and Japan
37 French Belgium, Benin, Burkina, Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central, African, Republic, Chad, Comoros, Côte, d’Ivoire, Democratic, Republic, of, the, Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial, Guinea, France, Guinea, Haiti, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Monaco, Niger, Republic, of, the, Congo
38 Gaelic Scotland, Wales
39 German Germany, Austria, Switzerland
40 Italian Italy, San Marino, United States, the Vatican
41 Lithuanian Lithuania
42 Macedonian Macedonia
43 Malayalam India
44 Malaysian Malaysia
45 Mongolian Mongolia
46 Russia Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, the Caucasus, Israel, and Central Asia.
47 Nepali Nepal
48 Portuguese Brazil, Portugal, Angola
49 Romanian Romania
50 Spanish Spain Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela.




Reading this list of the most difficult languages in the world; it is fully expected that readers disagree. This is because people will naturally be positively biased towards the languages they are familiar with; seeing them as easy rather than difficult.

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