So, are there easy and hard languages - or not?

Today I want to share a Youtube video created by Richard Simcott, a native English speaker who has studied an inspiring 16 languages!

Richard is a helpful language learning speaker, consultant, and also one of the founders of the Polyglot Conference (see you there next year?). The video he presents guides viewers through a great summary of why a language is considered hard or easy to learn for native English speakers.

But wait, you said there are no hard languages!

If you rewind a little bit through the archives of this blog, you will see that I have happily proclaimed "There are no hard or easy languages!" So before I go contradicting Richard's very valid points, let me explain what I mean:

The reason why you will find a language easy or difficult to learn can vary. There are the tangible factors of grammar, pronunciation, writing system and how familiar the words are. Those can't be ignored, they'll make your life easier or harder every day. But there is another attitude, much closer rooted in your own mind: The learner makes his or her learning easy (or difficult).

You are in charge of what's easy

Positive thinking is highly effective in language learning. If you believe that you're tackling a language that is difficult to learn, you may have a harder time. Instead, look at your motivation, consider why you're on this adventure and make yourself look at the bright side.

  • An unfamiliar writing system - did this attract you to the language in the first place?
  • A completely foreign vocabulary - could you consider this your new secret code, a fresh way of looking at the world?
  • When you catch yourself dwelling on the difficult parts of your new language, try going back to something you're already good at until the confidence returns.

Okay, so I admit this won't make Korean any easier than Spanish, but hopefully it can help fend off any big worries if you find your language in a class 1 or 2! Which language are you learning these days?