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Which language is most difficult?
2010/01/04
7:54pm
dhenderson
Sunnyvale, CA
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Today I was pointed to a wonderful article in The Economist discussing which known human language might be the most difficult for native speakers of English to learn. Very cool.

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.

2010/01/05
7:07am
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Glenn
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Since I have become acquainted with a few of those discussed, but not chosen, I now have a list of several that I will avoid at all cost.

I do think that the question of interplay between language and culture / thought is an interesting one. I was just discussing with a colleague the way that Chinese family relationship words, complex and detailed as they are, make sense in the culture where birth order and gender are so significant.

I remain agnostic on which came first, the chicken or the egg. It is clear that language influences culture, and vice versa. I think there is clear evidence that changes in culture have resulted in changes in language to reflect the culture. While language may well increase a culture’s inertia, preserving distinctions and outlooks of the past beyond their usefulness, it is unclear to me that a change in language actually effected a cultural change. Such a thing would be very difficult to prove.

2010/01/05
8:32pm
yvangkwheng
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well, i suspect chinese is the most difficult language in the world. this is just a pratical experience drawn from lots of foreigners who try their best to learn chinese. um….no time chatting now. i gotta ga back to handle my wow gold selling. somebody is whispering me. lolz….

2010/01/10
10:30pm
heathbug
Plano, Texas
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dhenderson said:

Today I was pointed to a wonderful article in The Economist discussing which known human language might be the most difficult for native speakers of English to learn. Very cool.


I’ve heard, from speakers of languages other than English, that English itself is the most difficult to learn (with all its irregular verbs, etc.).