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 Qiang language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.
In Qiang, a language of Sichuan Province in China, not only are there strange rhotic vowels, which are present in only 1% of the world’s languages, but there is also rhoticity harmony, where a non-rhotic vowel in a morpheme becomes rhotic when it is followed by a morpheme with a rhotic vowel.
ʀuɑ + kʰe˞ > ʀuɑ˞kʰe˞
me + we˞ ˞> me˞we˞
Rhotic vowels are found in US English in the form of unstressed ɚ: standard, dinner, Lincolnshire, editor, measure, martyr.
Qiang also has a very bad romanization – so bad that the Qiang will not even use it. A couple of examples: Voiced consonants are written by adding a vowel to the symbol for the voiceless consonant. It has long and short vowels, but these are not represented in the system.
Qiang gets a 5 rating, extremely hard to learn.