I've been really into languages since the start of secondary school. I studied French, Spanish and Italian at GCSE, French and
Spanish at A Level, then Russian and French at degree level. I sometimes get asked which language is the hardest. So, if you're thinking about
learning a new language, here's my opinion on each language I've learnt, and in order of difficulty.
- Russian - This is the most difficult language I've learnt. Why?
However that said, Russian is my strongest foreign language, so it can't be that hard to get the hang of! For more detail on what Russian in
particular is like to learn, check out my other article on this.
- Not due to the different alphabet but due to there being a lot more grammatical rules to remember and apply when speaking.
- It can be a bit difficult to pronounce.
French - I really can't decide between French and Italian for the second most difficult. I'm going
say French has the edge for me personally. Why? Because:
- Getting all the accents right is challenging when writing in French. That means getting
things in the right place: à/è/ì/ò/ù etc. I always found it hard to remember to add every
accent. It's easy to make mistakes with.
- Pronunciation in French can be more difficult than Spanish, for example.
- Masculine and feminine agreements are very important in French. And also the concept of 'du'
'de la' 'des' 'les' etc. can be tricky for beginners to get at first.
Italian - I have only learnt Italian to GCSE Level, so can't comment on advanced learning. It is a
similar language to French in terms of grammar and structure. However words can be very similar to
Spanish, even confusingly similar if you study both of them at the same time like me! If you study
Italian after studying French, grammar concepts will make sense quickly. Grammar is, in my opinion,
bit harder in Italian than French. But I think it's generally easier as:
- There are far less accents to worry about in Italian.
- Pronunciation is easier in my opinion than French.
- Spelling is definitely easier in Italian! It can be easy to spell French words wrong.
Spanish - Spanish is the easiest in my view. :) This is because the grammar is generally a little
easier than French or Italian, and it's not too bad to spell or pronounce. There can be some tricky
irregular verbs and more difficult concepts as you become more advanced. The Spanish 'subjunctive'
tricky, once you get to A Level standard. But for beginners choosing to study a new language who
have a particular preference, I would maybe recommend Spanish.
Hope you found this little insight useful if you're wondering which language to study!