hardest language in the world

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rokingit
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hardest language in the world

Post by rokingit » Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:34 am

i have heard that finnish is one of the hardest languages in the world but what is the hardest language? is it finnish? where does finnish rank?

Actually, if it is the hardest language then perhaps i don't want to know...that would definetly be a bit discouraging :shock: I don't need any more excuses



hardest language in the world

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Hank W.
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Post by Hank W. » Tue Dec 20, 2005 7:32 am

Why, it can't be. Go past a kindergarten - even 5-year-olds can scream in it fluently :lol:
Cheers, Hank W.
sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.


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sinikala
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Re: hardest language in the world

Post by sinikala » Tue Dec 20, 2005 8:48 am

rokingit wrote:i have heard that finnish is one of the hardest languages in the world but what is the hardest language? is it finnish? where does finnish rank?

Actually, if it is the hardest language then perhaps i don't want to know...that would definetly be a bit discouraging :shock: I don't need any more excuses
It might be the hardest language in Europe, but it looks a lot easier to me than Russian, Chinese, Japanese .... not to mention the myriad of languages from India & SE Asia.

At least with Finnish you don't have to learn a new alphabet.
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Amiel
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Re: hardest language in the world

Post by Amiel » Tue Dec 20, 2005 10:07 am

sinikala wrote: it looks a lot easier to me than Russian, Chinese, Japanese .... not to mention the myriad of languages from India & SE Asia.

At least with Finnish you don't have to learn a new alphabet.
I've just completed my Suomi 3. So far, I don't think Finnish language is the hardest language for me. Malay Language's (my 3rd language) harder than Finnish (almost the same pronounciation but the grammar's 10x harder than Finnish language.


sammy
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Re: hardest language in the world

Post by sammy » Tue Dec 20, 2005 12:33 pm

Amiel wrote:
sinikala wrote: it looks a lot easier to me than Russian, Chinese, Japanese .... not to mention the myriad of languages from India & SE Asia.

At least with Finnish you don't have to learn a new alphabet.
I've just completed my Suomi 3. So far, I don't think Finnish language is the hardest language for me. Malay Language's (my 3rd language) harder than Finnish (almost the same pronounciation but the grammar's 10x harder than Finnish language.
Perhaps I'm not the right person to answer :roll: however I've also heard it said that Finnish is among the hardest languages to learn. Who knows, maybe it is so. I just find it difficult to grasp how this feature of a language could be measured in any objective manner. Okay, Finnish has got 15 cases and so on, but that's not necessarily difficult. Depends on the learner I guess. And also partly on motivation.

Of course, if you know e.g. Swedish, it should be much easier to learn Norwegian than Finnish - coming as they do from the same language family tree, so to speak. Ditto with all other inter-related languages, or languages that otherwise have similar features with the ones you've learnt before.

If you happen to know Estonian, Finnish is not so difficult :wink: Hungarian doesn't help you very much I guess, although it's distantly related. Or maybe it does help? Any Hungarians here who've tried their hand in Finnish?


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AnaBanana
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Post by AnaBanana » Tue Dec 20, 2005 1:10 pm

It's difficul, but I wouldn't say the hardest. There are many rules on grammar but very few exceptions, and that does help a lot the student.

I would say normally one big issue for most learners is vocabulary. Unless you're estonian, the vocabulary is pretty much completely different. And without a fairly good vocabulary it's not easy to speak.. so maybe that's a reason why some students take longer time to actually speak it.

There is also the matter of spoken and written language, but I guess this may happen with every single language!

Don't start already as a pessimist! :wink: Try to see things from the bright side (like no genders, no future tense)! :lol:
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sinikettu
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Re: hardest language in the world

Post by sinikettu » Tue Dec 20, 2005 3:05 pm

sammy wrote: Any Hungarians here who've tried their hand in Finnish?
I spent quite a long time in a pub in Budapest with some "friendly" :roll: Hungarians, trying to put together a phrase that could be understood by both Finns and Hungarians..
The good news is..We succeeded..It was about 5 words.. and I can remember that it was something to do with Fishing ...
The bad news is it took so long and we drunk so much Hungarian wine..that I cant remember more that that... :oops:


sammy
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Re: hardest language in the world

Post by sammy » Tue Dec 20, 2005 3:19 pm

sinikettu wrote:I spent quite a long time in a pub in Budapest with some "friendly" :roll: Hungarians, trying to put together a phrase that could be understood by both Finns and Hungarians..
The good news is..We succeeded..It was about 5 words.. and I can remember that it was something to do with Fishing ...
The bad news is it took so long and we drunk so much Hungarian wine..that I cant remember more that that... :oops:
Are you sure you did not all end up speaking Norwegian... or Dutch? :lol:


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sinikettu
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Re: hardest language in the world

Post by sinikettu » Tue Dec 20, 2005 3:41 pm

sammy wrote:
sinikettu wrote:I spent quite a long time in a pub in Budapest with some "friendly" :roll: Hungarians,
The bad news is it took so long and we drunk so much Hungarian wine..that I cant remember more that that... :oops:
Are you sure you did not all end up speaking Norwegian... or Dutch? :lol:
Double Dutch...But since my last post I called one of the "hungarians".. He works at Nokia...and asked if he could remember..

Like me he said it was "fishing or fish..."
Best guess:

In wintertime living fish swim under the ice...

His list of words..

Hungarian..
Jeg = Ice= Jää
Alatt = under = alla.
Telen = at winter = tälvi (talvella winter time)
Elevek = alive = elevät
Halak = fish = kalat..
note...case end.. k = t in both above..


See also the case end rule "k" = "t"
uszkálnak = swiming = uiskentelevat.

Jég alatt télen eleven halak uszkálnak.
Jään alla talvella elävät kalat uiskentelevat.


Rosamunda
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Post by Rosamunda » Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:38 pm

.... and don't forget we are talking FOREIGN language here.... An interesting bit of research was recently done by a chap called Aro and others

http://www.xs4all.nl/~pmms/Seymour_Aro_Erskine.pdf

which explains how the orthographic shallowness of the Finnish language makes it easy for Finnish children to learn to read and write accurately and fluently. English is reckoned to have the "deepest" (ie most complex) orthography and is therefore very difficult....

It takes a native English speaker maybe three years to master reading and writing (and quite a few never achieve a decent level of literacy - the statistics are frightening). However, close to 100% of Finnish kids learn to read fluently in less than a year.

But for us non-Finns..... it's hard work....

I have another pet theory. The whole concept of "teaching Finnish as a foreign language" is fairly new. There are relatively few teachers out there who have been specifically trained to teach Finnish as a foreign language and until very recently there was a dire shortage of decent teaching materials (books, tapes, videos etc) and not much on offer in the way of alternative teaching methods. I think as the FFL profession matures and so it will become easier (and more fun / interesting) to learn the language. Anyone else agree?


podzap
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Post by podzap » Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:52 pm

penelope wrote:I have another pet theory. The whole concept of "teaching Finnish as a foreign language" is fairly new. There are relatively few teachers out there who have been specifically trained to teach Finnish as a foreign language and until very recently there was a dire shortage of decent teaching materials (books, tapes, videos etc) and not much on offer in the way of alternative teaching methods. I think as the FFL profession matures and so it will become easier (and more fun / interesting) to learn the language. Anyone else agree?
I agree. The available university level FFL textbooks suck, to put it mildly. Anybody every used "Kieli Käytöön? I studied under Marjukka Kenttälä, who wrote the book, and it still sucked. The available FFL textbooks are not even in the same league as my german language university textbook "DEUTSCH: Schritt fuer Schritt". Somebody, please write a decent university level hardback FFL textbook which can cover the first 4 courses.


podzap
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Re: hardest language in the world

Post by podzap » Tue Dec 20, 2005 6:07 pm

rokingit wrote:i have heard that finnish is one of the hardest languages in the world but what is the hardest language? is it finnish? where does finnish rank?

Actually, if it is the hardest language then perhaps i don't want to know...that would definetly be a bit discouraging :shock: I don't need any more excuses
I think that there is no real answer to this. It depends on which language is your native language. I'm a native english speaker. I became approximately a level 5 german speaker (according to the criteria within the finnish language skill ranking system) within 18 months from the date of the first university course, and I had never studied it or been exposed to it before; it just seemed natural to me, and I could intuitively learn it after the first 12 months. I have studied finnish off and on, in university and daily life, for more than 5 years, and I just recently passed the test as level 3 (nb: I probably could have passed it two years ago if I had just bothered to go and take the test). Anyhow, finnish does not seem natural to me, no matter how long I study it. If I would be out of the country for a month, I would have a very hard time trying to say anything in finnish.

Maybe I will hit that intuitive learning level someday. Hopefully.


yamoussoukro
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Post by yamoussoukro » Wed Dec 21, 2005 1:17 am

I can believe that it's much easier to learn a language that is closely related to your native language grammatically(German-English) or languages sharing lot of root words(English-Spanish) than languages that have nothing to do with your native language. As a Finn I only have experienses of the latter ones, since the smaller Finno-Ugric languages don't have much of value(hard to find courses on those, except Estonian) in EU or in Finland, but I would like to study some of those(Komi, Udmurti, Mari etc.) And get finally that feeling of familiar sounding words, while studying a foreign language. I just heard a professor saying in radio yesterday that, Swedish kids have to work less than Finns to learn English in school. And that makes sense since, Swedish has lot of same constructions and similar words. But I believe all the work you do to study a language, helps with learning other languages, since while learning we also learn how to learn. It's probably true that there is not too much good material available on learning Finnish, but it's good to remember that learning a language is a creative process and we have keep searching for personal methods as well, since we all learn differently. I've gone trough several ideas for learning Spanish and when I finally got to know, which are the ones that work the best for me, I already spoke it quite well. I still continue though, just as I do with English and others.


Darkfire
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Post by Darkfire » Wed Dec 21, 2005 7:14 am

Eh espanol isnt so hard my friend he is a non-native spanish speaker said the only difficult part of spanish is the verbs and grammar, plus ser and stuff he plans to also learn italian I told him good luck he'll need it considering italian is a difficult lang to learn.
No hablo frances. Soy un americano, vivos en rio de janerio...no yo vivo en estados undios, houston tejos.


yamoussoukro
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Post by yamoussoukro » Wed Dec 21, 2005 12:27 pm

Darkfire wrote:Eh espanol isnt so hard my friend he is a non-native spanish speaker said the only difficult part of spanish is the verbs and grammar, plus ser and stuff he plans to also learn italian I told him good luck he'll need it considering italian is a difficult lang to learn.
And only difficult things in math are numbers.. What's left?

14 tenses of verbs, all conjugating in all persons can be considered hard, and vocabulary is all new for Finns. Also such things as using subjunctive, pronouns and difference of preterito and imperfect, three verbs for to be(haber/estar/ser) etc. can be weird for English speakers as well. Still I like it.

Italian and Spanish have very similar grammar as you probably know.


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