You’ve always wanted to be one of those sophisticated women who can order with confidence at a French restaurant (“je vais prendre le poisson, s'il vous plaît”). But a few years of torturous high school lessons made you realize that actually, Français wasn’t really your thing. Hey, it’s not your fault—it turns out that French is actually one of the harder(ish) languages to learn.
That’s according to a report from America’s Foreign Service Institute, an organization that teaches languages to diplomats. The report says that the world’s languages can be placed in one of four categories—from easiest to hardest to learn for English speakers.
Danish, Dutch, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish and Swedish top the list of easiest languages to learn, meaning they supposedly take about 24 weeks to master to reach a proficient level. French, although also in the easiest category, takes a little longer to learn—approximately 30 weeks.
German falls into the second learning category (36 weeks), while Greek and Farsi are “hard languages” to learn (40 weeks). And don’t even get us started on the “super-hard languages” like Arabic and Japanese, which take a whole 88 weeks to learn. How do you say “yikes” in Japanese?