Is it harder for a native English speaker to learn Arabic or Chinese?

As someone who has tried both, I will say Arabic is much easier to grasp for an English speaker than Chinese.

Arabic has an alphabet, conjugation and share most of the sentence structure of European languages. The hardest parts are maybe prununciation, the writing and the reading without vowels. Of course, one of the main challenge is that Arabic is more a linguistic group than a language. You will have to know which dialect you want to learn but you still can read.

The situation is similar with Chinese but there is Chinese mandarin that have been standardised and is used all accross the country. The language itself is monosyllabic with very minimal sentence structure (like, no grammar really despite what some people say). Pronunciation is very difficult to get. It will take you hundreds of hours of listening before you can say the first word correctly. The writing is famous for being very hard but it really just has its own logic.

Ultimately both languages will require hard work and years to learn. The real question you should ask yourself is who do you want to talk to. You will have to immerse yourself in a new culture for a large chunk of your life so you need to decide which one interest you the most.

This text was originally published in quora.

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