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What Makes One Language Harder or Easier Than One other?
What makes one language harder or easier to study than one other? Sadly, there isn't a one simple answer. There are some languages which have a number of characteristics that make them comparatively troublesome to learn. But it relies upon much more on what languages you already know, particularly your native language, the one (or ones) you grew up speaking.
Your native language The language you had been surrounded with as you grew up (or languages, for those lucky sufficient to develop up speaking more than one language) is probably the most influential factor on how you study other languages. Languages that share a number of the qualities and traits of your native English shall be simpler to learn. Languages which have very little in common with your native English will likely be a lot harder. Most languages will fall somewhere within the middle.
This goes both ways. Although it is a stretch to say that English is harder than Chinese, it is safe to say the native Chinese speaker probably has almost as hard a time to be taught English because the native English speaker has when learning Chinese. In case you are studying Chinese proper now, that's probably little consolation to you.
Related languages Learning a language closely related to your native language, or another that you just already speak, is far simpler than learning a totally alien one. Associated languages share many characteristics and this tends to make them easier to learn as there are less new concepts to deal with.
Since English is a Germanic language, Dutch, German and the Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish) are all closely associated and thus, easier to be taught than an unrelated tongue. Another languages associated in some way to English are Spanish, Italian and French, the more distant Irish and Welsh and even Russian, Greek, Hindi and Urdu, Farsi (of Iran) and Pashto (of Afghanistan).
English shares no ancestry with languages like Arabic, Korean, Japanese and Chinese, all languages considered hard by English standards.
Related grammar A type of traits which are usually shared between associated languages. In Swedish, word order and verb conjugation is mercifully much like English which makes learning it a lot easier than say German, which has a notoriously more advanced word order and verb conjugation. Although both languages are associated to English, German kept it's more advanced grammar, where English and Swedish have largely dropped it.
The Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and a number of different languages) are famous for sharing many characteristics. It is not shocking since all of them evolved from Latin. It is extremely widespread for someone who learns one among these languages to go on and be taught one or two others. They're so related at times that it seems you could be taught the others at a discounted price in effort.
Commonalities in grammar don't just occur in associated languages. Very completely different ones can share related qualities as well. English and Chinese even have comparableities in their grammar, which partly makes up for some of the different difficulties with Chinese.
Cognates and borrowed vocabulary. This is one of those characteristics that make the Romance languages so similar. And in this, additionally they share with English. The Romance languages all have the huge mainity of their vocabulary from Latin. English has borrowed much of its vocabulary directly from Latin and what it didn't get there, it just borrowed from French. There is a gigantic quantity of French vocabulary in English. One other reason that Spanish, French and Italian are
considered simpler than different languages.
There are always borrowings of vocabulary between languages, and never always between related languages. There's a stunning quantity of English vocabulary in Japanese. It's a little disguised by Japanese pronunciation, however it's to discover it.
Sounds Obviously, languages sound different. Though all people use basically the same sounds, there always appears to be some sounds in other languages that we just don't have in our native language. Some are strange or difficult to articulate. Some will be quite subtle. A Spanish 'o' shouldn't be precisely the identical as an English 'o.' After which there are some vowel sounds in French, for instance, that just don't exist in English. While a French 'r' is very different from English, a Chinese 'r' is
actually very similar.
It may possibly take some time to get comfortable with these new sounds, although I think that faking it is settle forable till you may get a better handle on them. Many individuals do not put sufficient effort into this side of learning and this makes some languages appear harder to learn than they need to be.
Tones A number of languages use tones, a rising or falling pitch when a word is pronounced. This can be very subtle and difficult for somebody who has never used tones before. This is likely one of the principal reasons Chinese is hard for native English speakers.
Chinese isn't the only language to use tones, and not all of them are from exotic far-off lands. Swedish uses tones, although it shouldn't be practically as complicated or difficult as Chinese tones. This is the kind of thing that may only really be realized by listening to native speakers.
By the way, there are examples of tone use in English but they're only a few, usually used only in specific situations, and are not part of the pronunciation of particular person words. For instance, in American English it's frequent to boost the tone of our voice at the finish of a question. It is not quite the identical thing, however for those who think about it that way, it might make a tone language a little less intimidating.
The writing system Some languages use a different script or writing system and this can have a significant impact on whether a language is hard to be taught or not. Many European languages use the identical script as English but also embrace a number of other symbols not in English to represent sounds particular to that language (think of the 'o' with a line by it in Norwegian, or the 'n' with a little squiggly over it in Spanish). These are generally not troublesome to learn.
However some languages go farther and have a different alphabet altogether. Greek, Hindi, Russian and many of the different Slavic languages of Jap Europe all use a special script. This adds to the complicatedity when learning a language. Some languages, like Hebrew and Arabic, are also written from proper to left, additional adding difficulty.
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