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 Malayalam language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.
Malayalam, a Dravidian language of India, was has been cited as the hardest language of all to learn by an language foundation, but the citation is obscure and hard to verify.
Malayalam words are often even hard to look up in a Malayalam dictionary.
For instance, adiyAnkaLAkkikkoNDirikkukayumANello is a word in Malayalam. It means something like “I, your servant, am sitting and mixing something (which is why I cannot do what you are asking of me).” The part in parentheses is an example of the type of sentence where it might be used.
The above word is composed of many different morphemes, including conjunctions and other affixes, with sandhi going on with some of them so they are eroded away from their basic forms. There doesn’t seem to be any way to look that word up or to write a Malayalam dictionary that lists all the possible forms, including forms like the word above. It would probably be way too huge of a book. However, all agglutinative languages are made up of affixes, and if you know the affixes, it is not particularly hard to parse the word apart.
Malayalam is said to be very hard to pronounce correctly.
Further, few foreigners even try to learn Malayalam, so Malayalam speakers, like the French, might not listen to you and might make fun of you if your Malayalam is not native sounding.
However, Malayalam has the advantage of having many pedagogic materials available for language learning such as audio-visual material and subtitled videos.
Malayalam is rated 5, extremely difficult.
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