Most international borders are still closed to travellers, but that shouldn’t stop us from making travel plans for when it’s safe to see the world again. One of the things you can do to prepare for a future holiday is by learning a new language.
But there are some languages that are easier to commit to than some, according to a recent study by global online training platform TheKnowledge-Academy.
Arabic is the hardest language to learn, with learners giving up less than halfway through. Meanwhile, those learning Dutch will continue the longest.
“The unique alphabet, omitted vowels and unusual writing style make Arabic incredibly difficult to learn, ” said TheKnow-ledgeAcademy, revealing that learners are likely to give up just 42.3% of the way through their course.
The study calculated the average time taken to learn the top 20 languages in the world and surveyed 6,250 individuals on when they quit.
After asking those surveyed why they gave up learning a language, the majority claim lack of motivation as the main reason (42%).
This is followed by difficulty (31%), lack of resources (15%), inability to reach the next milestone in fluency (8%) and 4% claimed other reasons.
Finally of the 6,250 surveyed learners, 67% intend to try learning the language again at some point – 26% don’t and 7% stated they were unsure.
Vietnamese is the second hardest language to learn in the study, with most learners quitting in the 26th week, achieving just 50% of the language.
Following Vietnamese is Hindi, the official language of India.
“Hindi’s complex calligraphy and grammatical structure means those studying it achieve just over half (51.9%) proficiency on average before giving up, ” said TheKnowledgeAcademy.
Other languages that are hard to learn include Russian, Mandarin and English.
“English is the language of business across the world and many countries’ second official language, so it’s surprising to see learners giving up after just 31 weeks, ” said TheKnowledge-Academy.
Spanish (86.2% completion) Portuguese (82.8% completion), Romanian (79.3% completion) and Italian (75.9% completion) round up the top five easier languages to stick out with after Dutch.
Where to learn
There are several trustworthy language-learning apps and websites available today. While most of these services target users who just want to learn new languages for fun, some do offer more comprehensive lessons for formal language students.
If you fall in the latter category, then check out Babbel, a German subscription-based e-learning platform. Babbel has been around for 13 years and is said to be the first language learning app in the world.
Lessons include English translations and explanations, which makes it easier for a language learner of any level to advance.
There’s also Rosetta Stone, an American education-based technology company. Rated “one of the best” language-learning softwares by tech magazines like TechCrunch and Macworld, Rosetta Stone offers structured language lessons for a fee. You can opt for the three-month, annual or lifetime subscriptions, though prices are quite steep.
For something more affordable, there’s Duolingo which offers both free and premium services. The free service is good enough for those who wish to learn a few phrases that they can use while travelling abroad, or that help them to understand a particular scene in foreign films or TV series.
There’s also Memrise, a British company that offers similar lesson types to Duolingo.
However, there are several extra features on this service, like the “Learn With Locals” section, which allows uses to watch and listen to how a native speaker would use and pronounce a particular word or phrase.
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