Start learning a new language the easy way with the Pimsleur Method.  Select from over 50 languages.

Are There "Easy and "Hard" Languages?
by Paul Pimsleur

There is much that goes in to determining how difficult a language is to learn. At the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), language difficulty is measured by the number of hours of classroom study it takes to “master” the language.  Mastery means speaking, reading, writing, and having an understanding of the culture that the speakers of the language live in. At Pimsleur, we believe that a strong foundation in speaking and understanding provides a dramatic shortcut to gaining true mastery over a new language. 

Here’s what Dr. Pimsleur had to say about how “easy” or “hard” languages are when compared to one another:     

No school in America is more experienced at teaching foreign languages to adults than the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State. Located in Arlington, Virginia, the FSI has been training diplomats and other government personnel for service overseas since 1947.

Here is how the FSI rates the most commonly spoken languages they teach, based on the difficulty their students have had over the years in mastering them. Group 1 is “easiest,” Group 4 the “hardest.”

 

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

600-750 hours

900 hours

1,100 hours

2,200 hours

Danish

German

Albanian

Arabic

Dutch

Indonesian

Armenian

Chinese

French

Swahili

Croatian

Japanese

Haitian Creole

 

Czech

Korean

Italian

 

Dari

 

Norwegian

 

Farsi

 

Portuguese

 

Finnish

 

Romanian

 

Greek

 

Spanish

 

Hebrew

 

Swedish

 

Hindi

 

 

 

Hungarian

 

 

 

Icelandic

 

 

 

Lithuanian

 

 

 

Pashto

 

 

 

Polish

 

 

 

Russian

 

 

 

Tagalog

 

 

 

Turkish

 

 

 

Ukrainian

 

 

 

Urdu

 

 

 

Vietnamese

 

 

Start learning a new language the easy way with the Pimsleur Method.  Select from over 50 languages.

 

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