A Look at the Hixkaryána Language

Method and Conclusion. See here.

Results. A ratings system was designed in terms of how difficult it would be for an English-language speaker to learn the language. In the case of English, English was judged according to how hard it would be for a non-English speaker to learn the language. Speaking, reading and writing were all considered.

Ratings: Languages are rated 1-6, easiest to hardest. 1 = easiest, 2 = moderately easy to average, 3 = average to moderately difficult, 4 = very difficult, 5 = extremely difficult, 6 = most difficult of all. Ratings are impressionistic.

Time needed. Time needed for an English language speaker to learn the language “reasonably well”: Level 1 languages = 3 months-1 year. Level 2 languages = 6 months-1 year. Level 3 languages = 1-2 years. Level 4 languages = 2 years. Level 5 languages = 3-4 years, but some may take longer. Level 6 languages = more than 4 years.

This post will look at the Hixkaryána language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Carib
Waiwai

Hixkaryána is famous for being the only language on Earth to have basic OVS (Object-Verb-Subject) word order.

The sentence Toto yonoye kamara, or “The man ate the jaguar,” actually means “The jaguar ate the man.”

Toto yonoye kamara
Lit. “The man ate the jaguar.”
Gloss: “The jaguar ate the man.”

Grammatical suffixes attached to the end of the verb mark not only number but also aspect, mood and tense.

Hixkaryána gets a 6 rating, hardest of all.

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Filed under Americas, Applied, Brazil, Language Families, Language Learning, Latin America, Linguistics, Regional, South America

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