One study ranked European languages in order of difficulty based on the estimated time needed to learn them fluently.
Thought Swedish or Norwegian were the hardest languages in Europe to master? Well, according to an assessment by the United States Department of State's Department of Diplomatic Training, you're wrong! Get ready to revise your prejudices with this amazing ranking. European languages have been ranked according to the estimated time to reach a fluent level of proficiency through effective learning.
Small problem, however: this classification applies to learning by native speakers of English. It is estimated that the easiest languages take around 5 months to learn, while the more difficult take over a year and a half.
Almost all of the languages spoken in Western Europe fall into category 1 according to the ranking. In other words, you could learn a Category 1 language, such as French, Italian or Spanish, in as little as 5 months. Swedish, Norwegian and Danish are also in the club of the easiest languages to learn.
The reason ? These languages have many similarities with English, which makes learning them easier for English speakers. However, be prepared to invest more than six months of your life if you want to learn German fluently. It is the only Western European language to be a little more complicated to learn than the others.
On the other side of the spectrum, some Eastern European languages, such as Polish and Greek, are considered more difficult, requiring around 10 months to learn.
Then come the languages of category 4. Be careful because the learning time for these languages is not precisely defined, but is considered to be much longer than 10 months. This category includes Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian.
Category 5, the highest, includes "super difficult" languages such as Arabic, Chinese languages, Japanese and Korean. To reach a fluent level in these languages, you will need to invest well over a year, at least 20 months, to be precise.