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Polish was chosen the HARDEST LANGUAGE in the world to learn... :D


JanMovie
15 Jan 2014 #1,231
A few pages ago in this Forum, there was already talked about Lithuanian and I recently found out, that this is indeed an extremely difficult language (Exceedingly complex grammar, archaic vocabulary etc..). Compared to Lithuanian, Polish is a piece of cake. But it's interesting, that this lnguage is never mentioned in lists of the "hardest languages".
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
15 Jan 2014 #1,232
JanMovie,

To be sure, Lithuanian is indeed even more conservative than Polish! It's exceptionally complex declensional system rivals even Estonian in its apparent irregularity:-)

While I wouldn't call Polish "a piece of cake" (kinderleicht) by comparison, it has roughly more recognizable word stock and perhaps a tad more predicitablity than any of the extant Baltic tongues of which Lithuanian is considered the most complicated, especially for foreigners.

One of the many reasons for language difficulty depends upon the degree of historical isolation enjoyed respectively by the speakers of certain languages such as Estonian, Lithuanian, Polish, Icelandic, Basque, Sami and others. Compared with English, Spanish, French or Italian, the former have operated relatively apart from almost all linguistic trends, past or present. This raises though an interesting issue, namely is language difficulty a matter of the importance of said language? Well, languages as vastly different as German and Chinese are both immensely important and have a relatively wide geopolitical (not dependent though on their speaker percentages!), yet both are much more daunting for the foreigner than English is said to be:-)
JanMovie
15 Jan 2014 #1,233
On the side "more on the hardest languages in the world", there are many languages described and some intersting commends are written. For example following:

About Czech: On the side, there is said that Czech is propably harder than Polish. I don't know, because I have never tried to learn Czech, but I would have thought they are pretty equally hard.

About Lithuanian: Even a Pole who has tried to learn this language noted it to be considerably harder than Polish and since Poles are usually very proud on the difficulty of their language, this should say something.

About Icelandic: It is usually considered as one of the hardest languages too, but I have read something about it and found out, that it is not very different from German. It's definetelly harder (because of a more conservative grammar, more exceptions and harder pronountion), but not masively more difficult. So, German either is a quite difficult language too, or Icelandic is overrated since German is so "logical".

About Finnish: What I have read about it, it didn't seems to be an extremely difficult language for me (easy pronountion, the 15 cases are rather more prepositions than cases like in German or in the slavic tongues(maybe difficult because it's not Indoeuropean)), but all people around say, it is that difficult.

About Georgian/Katvellian: Yes, this language is really insanely complex, has extremely hard pronountion and even an own script. If you put Georgia to Europe, it's definetally by far the hardest European tongue.

Interesting that languages like Georgian, Lithuanian and Albanian (about which is said to be extremely hard too on this site) are never mentioned in Lists of very difficult languages.

But there are also comments written which are definetally garbage (like for example that Polish has seven genders)
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
15 Jan 2014 #1,234
Noone here ever suggested that Polish has seven GENDERS! It has seven CASES, but of course, that's another matter entirely. More than three genders? Well let's see now. If one counts the virile vs. non-virile masculine nouns etc.., I guess that makes about five:-)
JanMovie
16 Jan 2014 #1,235
This wasn't on this site, where that with the seven genders was written! The site is called "More on the hardest languages in the world" Give this into google tofind the site. Many languages are there described. But Wlodimierz, what do you know about the difficulties of Czech, Icelandic and Finnish. In the article above, I have written what I have read there about them and my personal impression. About Lithuanian and Georgian we have already talked.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
16 Jan 2014 #1,236
As a native speaker, I'm still curious as to where you'd place German in all of this:-)
JanMovie
16 Jan 2014 #1,237
I personally would say German is definetally not an easy language (rich vocabullary, thee genders, case System) but I can't imagine that's among the hardest (because many things really seems to be logical). I would consider it to be much harder than English and Spanish (even many English Speakers learn Spanish faster and easier) but I'm pretty sure that most foreigners (except from that with a slavic and maybe baltic background) will find Polish considerably harder than German. That's why I wanted ask, dou you know is Icelandic (which is considered to be extremely hard) really that much more difficult (it only has four cases and three genders) or is it overrated?
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
16 Jan 2014 #1,238
Icelandic is morphologically much more unpredictable than German which has by far fairly repetitive adjectival inflections (Flexionsaufbau = case structure) compared with Icelandic and its noun mutations! Polish too inflects all nouns, as does Russian (though slightly less so), Finnish, Hungarian and many others following suit as well.

A basic Germanic word such as "land" in Icelandic mutates form from "loend", "landi", "landu" etc... for example, whereas German "Land" changes comparatively little in the singular. Polish "dom", "domu", "domem" also inflects constantly, this reflecting though its Indo-European morphology.

Was is difficult for you as a German native speaker to learn English? I grew up hearing the language, yet only studied it formally as a teen:-)
JanMovie
16 Jan 2014 #1,239
I have learned English in School since I was 10 years. So I can't really say if it was difficult or easy because I have learned it over many years, but I would say not too bad. Spanish seemed very easy to the beginning, also because I had Latin in School, but later it turned out to be not that easy (but also not very difficult), because the time forms are complex. But most Spaniards I have met, who have learned or tried to learn German said, that it was very difficult for them. Polish is definetally not easy, but also not as bad I have expected, since I have heared, that it should be extremely difficult.

What do you think is the harder of these two: Polish or Czech? I would say they are pretty equally hard ( but I don't know much about Czech), but on the site "more on the hardest languages to learn it is said that Czech is harder because it is more unprectictable and has a richer vocabullary. Otherwise Polish has more the Reputation of being a difficult tongue than Czech.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
16 Jan 2014 #1,240
Your English isn't bad either, yet you still make some errors common amongst German native speakers.
Otherwise, it's darned good
JanMovie
17 Jan 2014 #1,241
Thank you, but I have also asked what tongue do you think to be harder, Polish or Czech?
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
17 Jan 2014 #1,242
I am Polish/Czech bilingual and you bet Czech is harder. I grew up speaking, reading, and writing both languages equally, but I still have to look up the finer points of Czech grammar and spelling from time to time, as opposed to Polish.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,204
17 Jan 2014 #1,243
This is an interesting opinion, though a rather general one, Magdalena. Since this thread is entitled as it is, and the Czech language is close to Polish, could you perhaps enlighten us on some finer aspects of Czech grammar or spelling as compared to Polish?
Wulkan - | 3,251
17 Jan 2014 #1,244
Since this thread is entitled as it is, and the Czech language is close to Polish, could you perhaps enlighten us on some finer aspects of Czech grammar or spelling as compared to Polish?

second that, that would be interesting to hear. My observation tells me that Polish has more complex grammar for example English: at twelve oclock, Polish: o dwunastej, Czech: o dwanaście - no case changing the word dwanaście (twelve)
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
17 Jan 2014 #1,245
As a non-native Polish speaker, I'd have to conclude that superficially at any rate, Polish is inflectionally harder looking than Czech. Though having never formally studied the latter, I'm not really able to judge:-)

Polish consonants I've observed have more permutations, for instance "s", "sz" "ś". As far as I know, neither Czech nor Russian have the very latter. For this reason, many people with whom I've spoken find Polish pronunciation more challenging.

On the other hand, Russian palatalized consonants as well as the hard vs. soft signs drove me almost to distraction.
With Polish, the pronunciation was the least of my worries:-)

@Jan Movie,
I too was so young when I first learned German, I developed a natural native pronunciation long before I studied it at university!
Russian_Polak - | 2
18 Jan 2014 #1,246
Well I grew up speaking two slavic languages, Russian and Ukrainian. Currently Russian and Ukranian are both the 3rd hardest langauges to learn. I started study Polish becuase of my polish roots too, and damn if it wasn;t for my knowledge of Russian and Ukranian, I would have never been able to learn Polish lol.
Wulkan - | 3,251
19 Jan 2014 #1,247
Currently Russian and Ukranian are both the 3rd hardest langauges to learn

no such a thing

I too was so young when I first learned German

do you make this mistake on purpose and if so, why?
JanMovie
19 Jan 2014 #1,248
To Russian_Pollak:
How ist this possible that you are unable learn Polish? Since I can learn it without great problems despite I don't speak another slavic language it souldn't be any problem for you. It should be much, much easier for you than it is for me, because especially Ukranian should have influences of Polish. Really emberassing for you!
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
19 Jan 2014 #1,249
"I too" is NOT a mistake, Wulkan! "I too" = I also, I as well (Ja też)

Now you presume to teach us English???!LOL Never once when posting here regarding the Polish language did I ever correct a native Pole concerning their own native language. Nor did I ever claim that I was anything other than a non-native speaker^^

I can see where you people get your gall.
Wulkan - | 3,251
19 Jan 2014 #1,250
How ist this possible that you are unable learn Polish? Since I can learn it without great problems despite I don't speak another slavic language it souldn't be any problem for you.

Just because you have a talent for learning languages is good for you but it doesn't mean everyone else has. Show some respect!

Now you presume to teach us English???!

Us? I had only you in my mind.

I have never heard anyone saying "I too" it's either "me too" or "I blah blah too" if it's a longer sentence but "too" is always at the end.

I obviously can be wrong and if so it would be nice to expand my knowledge of English by one more thing. So is there any native English speaker who can help us with this?
pam
20 Jan 2014 #1,252
I have never heard anyone saying "I too" it's either "me too" or "I blah blah too" if it's a longer sentence but "too" is always at the end.
I obviously can be wrong and if so it would be nice to expand my knowledge of English by one more thing. So is there any native English speaker who can help us with this?

It isn't wrong to say ' I too ', but it is rather formal in my opinion and not commonly used.
E,g ' You're funny, and I too am funny ' is grammatically correct, but in conversation a person would be more likely to say ' You're funny, just like I am'

'

I too was so young when I first learned German, I developed a natural native pronunciation long before I studied it at university!

Again the sentence is grammatically correct, but no-one I know would write it like this.
I would be inclined to write ' I was also very young when I first learned German, and I developed a natural native pronunciation long before I studied it at University '
Wulkan - | 3,251
20 Jan 2014 #1,253
Thank you for the explanation pam! In other words wlodzimierz is trying to sound more posh than he really is :-)
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
21 Jan 2014 #1,254
I second my thanks to Pam:-)

And NO, Włodzimierz isn't trying to appear more "posh", merely speaking/writing in a higher-level register than is common nowadays, as erudition seems to have all but gone out the window!

Since about the end of the 60's, anything that smacks of European culture or refinement has become suspect. A pity really, for think of all the interesting conversation and company out there which has been tuned out by the lazy and desensitized among us, i.e. the sons and daughters of the post-Woodstock Era.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,807
21 Jan 2014 #1,255
I do not see anything particularly 'erudite' about your posts Wlodz., just a pretentious way of expressing yourself.
What does 'tuned out' mean for example?
Nathan 18 | 1,363
21 Jan 2014 #1,256
Toughness of a language is a relative thing. For Slavs Polish is not difficult, since we share many words. For a non-Slav it would be like for me learning Chinese.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
21 Jan 2014 #1,257
Polish: o dwunastej, Czech: o dwanaście - no case changing the word dwanaście (twelve)

that's not correct. in Czech, you'd either say "ve dvanáct (hodin)" or "o dvanácté (hodině)".

I don't think trying to teach me my mother tongue is a good idea ;-)

As to the finer points of grammar I mentioned, it would be hard to list them without context precisely because they concern all manner of exceptions and rarely used forms. As to spelling - what is the rule for the use of ú versus ů, for example? I don't usually confuse them, but sometimes I have to check. The same goes for the use of y and i (the pronunciation is exactly the same in both cases). On the other hand, I never have to look up Polish or English spelling.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_conjugation
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_declension
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_orthography
Wulkan - | 3,251
21 Jan 2014 #1,258
I don't think trying to teach me my mother tongue is a good idea ;-)

I wouldn't even dare. I just say how my Czech mate says and that would be "o dvanácté"

The same goes for the use of y and i

do they both sound like Polish "i" and if so does that mean Czech has no Polish "y" sound"?
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
21 Jan 2014 #1,259
I just say how my Czech mate says and that would be "o dvanácté"

well, exactly, and "o dvanácté" is not "o dwanaście", it's "o dwunastej". dwanaście - dvanáct. dwunasta - dvanáctá. so, there is a case ending, I'm afraid. ;-) BTW - dwunasta godzina - dvanáct hodin.

I told you it was complicated ;-)

do they both sound like Polish "i"

no, they both sound more or less like the Polish "y". as a result, some school kids make spelling errors like "Hytler" for example ;-)

does that mean Czech has no Polish "y" sound"?

you could say that Czech has no regular Polish "i" sound; it's much closer to the English [ɪ], as in "knee" for example;

on the other hand, the pronunciation of the Czech long "soft i", in words such as "dítě" or "tíha" is much more palatalised, to the point where Polish learners tend to say something like "dzicie, ciha" - but that's wrong, too ;-)
Ziemowit 13 | 4,204
21 Jan 2014 #1,260
I am Polish/Czech bilingual and you bet Czech is harder. I grew up speaking, reading, and writing both languages equally, but I still have to look up the finer points of Czech grammar and spelling from time to time, as opposed to Polish.

As to spelling - what is the rule for the use of ú versus ů, for example? I don't usually confuse them, but sometimes I have to check. The same goes for the use of y and i (the pronunciation is exactly the same in both cases). On the other hand, I never have to look up Polish or English spelling.

The fact that you confuse word spelling in one language, but you never look up the spelling in other languages can hardly be any proof for one language being more "difficult" than another. This is only something which may be called a personal language "trait".

What is the rule for the use of ú versus ů? And what is the rule for the use of ó against u or the rule for the use of rz versus ż? In Polish the reason behind the different spelling is purely historical just as it is in English, French or many other languages, so I bet it must be such in Czech as well. Many Polish people have to look up the dictionary to check the correct rz/ż or ó/u spelling, but often they don't bother at all, they just send their "golden ideas" to the inernet interwoven with appalling spelling mistakes. Are they justified to complain that Polish is the "hardest language in the world to learn"?


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