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which languages are the most difficult to master?

VOXY has an interesting infographic that pulls from the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State (among other sources) to estimate the time required for native English speakers to achieve reading and speaking proficiency in another language. Note that languages are grouped by difficulty and that the number of native speakers of each language is included as well.

When you consider all the hours that students in dual language immersion programs are able to devote to language study (even as they are receiving instruction in all disciplines), it’s little wonder that a recent study found grade school students in Mandarin immersion programs are keeping pace with or surpassing the language competency of high school students completing 4th and 5th level Advanced Placement Mandarin courses. (Thanks to Sean Kottke for flagging this story for us.)

What stands out or surprises you about this list of languages and their difficulty? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


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