A Look at the Hmong 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 Hmong language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Hmong-Mien
Hmongic
Western
Chuanqiandian
Hmong

Hmong is widely spoken in this part of California, but it’s not easy to learn. There are eight tones, and they are not easy to figure out. It’s not obviously related to any other major language except the obscure Mien.

It has very strange consonants called voiceless nasals. We have them in English as allophones – the m in small is voiceless – but in Hmong, they they are full phonemes and they put them at the front of words – the m in the word Hmong is voiceless. These can be very hard to pronounce.

The romanization is widely criticized for being a lousy one, but the Hmong use it anyway.

Hmong gets a 5 rating, extremely hard to learn.

2 Comments

Filed under Applied, Hmong, Hmong-Mien, Language Families, Language Learning, Linguistics

2 responses to “A Look at the Hmong Language

  1. Stary Wylk

    Thank you.

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