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Is Japanese the second hardest language to learn?


Japanese is a language that has always been viewed as one of the hardest languages to learn, and it is often compared to Mandarin Chinese. However, many people still wonder whether Japanese is really the second hardest language to learn or not. In this article, we will explore the factors that make Japanese a challenging language to master.

The Writing System

The Japanese writing system is complex and difficult to learn. It consists of three scripts: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Hiragana and katakana are phonetic scripts, which are used for writing words that do not have kanji characters. Kanji, on the other hand, are Chinese characters that were adopted by the Japanese. There are over 2,000 commonly used kanji characters, and each one has a different meaning and pronunciation.

Japanese Snack Box


Japanese pronunciation can be tricky for non-native speakers. Unlike English, Japanese has a limited number of sounds, and some of these sounds do not exist in other languages. For example, the Japanese “r” sound is pronounced differently from the English “r” sound. Additionally, Japanese also has long vowels, which can be difficult for non-native speakers to distinguish from short vowels.


Japanese grammar is vastly different from English grammar. For example, in Japanese, the verb usually appears at the end of the sentence, while in English it is usually in the middle. Additionally, Japanese uses particles to indicate the function of each word in a sentence.

Cultural Context

Language and culture are intertwined in Japan. Understanding Japanese culture is essential for understanding the language. This means that learners need to be familiar with Japanese customs, traditions, and social norms to fully comprehend the language.


Japanese has different levels of politeness and formality. There are specific words and phrases that are used in formal situations, and learners need to be able to distinguish between them. Additionally, Japanese has different verb forms for different levels of politeness.

Reading Comprehension

Japanese texts often contain a lot of kanji characters, which can make reading comprehension difficult for non-native speakers. Learners need to be able to recognize and understand the meaning of each kanji character to fully comprehend the text.


Japanese vocabulary is vast and diverse. There are many words that have multiple meanings depending on the context in which they are used. Additionally, there are many loanwords from English and other languages that have been adopted into Japanese.

Regional Variations

There are several regional variations of Japanese, including Tokyo dialect, Kansai dialect, and Kyushu dialect. Each dialect has its own unique vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.


Finding resources for learning Japanese can be difficult. Unlike Spanish or French, Japanese is not widely taught in schools around the world. This means that learners may have to rely on online resources or private tutors to learn the language.

Cognitive Load

Learning Japanese requires a significant amount of cognitive load. Learners need to be able to remember kanji characters, grammar rules, pronunciation, and vocabulary simultaneously. This can be overwhelming for some learners.


In conclusion, Japanese is considered one of the hardest languages to learn because of its complex writing system, tricky pronunciation, vastly different grammar, cultural context, formality levels, reading comprehension difficulties, vast vocabulary with multiple meanings, regional variations, limited resources and high cognitive load required for learning. However, with dedication and practice, anyone can master this beautiful language.

What is the 2nd hardest language to learn?

Arabic is a poetic language that holds a prestigious position as the sixth official language of the UN. It is also considered one of the most challenging languages to learn, ranking second on the list of toughest languages.

Is Japanese the hardest language to learn?

According to the U.S. Foreign Services Institute, Japanese is considered the most challenging language for native English speakers to learn. This is determined based on the length of time it takes to become proficient in the language, with the easiest language taking around 23-24 weeks to learn and Japanese taking as long as 88 weeks. This ranking was made in 2010.

Which is harder French or Japanese?

According to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), the easiest languages to learn are the Romance languages, including Spanish, French, and Italian. These languages are closely related to English. On the other hand, FSI considers Arabic, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin as some of the most difficult languages to learn.

Which is harder Korean or Japanese?

When it comes to comparing the difficulty of learning Korean and Japanese, Korean is generally seen as the simpler option. This is because the Korean alphabet has fewer letters than the Japanese alphabet and Japanese uses more complex Chinese characters and grammar. This information was last updated on February 4, 2023.

Which is harder Chinese or Japanese?

Learning Japanese may be slightly easier, but Chinese is more widely spoken. Each language has its advantages and disadvantages, and ultimately the one that resonates with you the most is the best choice.

Which is harder Japanese or Russian?

Based on a thorough review of the distinctions between the two, it’s apparent that Russian is the simpler language to acquire. This is especially true for English speakers, as it typically requires 44 weeks (or 1,100 hours) of study, whereas Japanese demands 88 weeks (or 2,200 hours) of dedication.


One of the most effective ways to learn Japanese is through immersion. Immersing oneself in the language and culture can help learners gain a deeper understanding of the language. This can be achieved by traveling to Japan, watching Japanese movies and TV shows, listening to Japanese music, and speaking with native speakers.

Time Commitment

Learning Japanese requires a significant time commitment. It takes a long time to become proficient in the language, and learners need to be patient and persistent. Regular practice is essential for making progress.


Despite its challenges, learning Japanese offers many opportunities. It can open up new career paths, allow for better communication with Japanese friends and colleagues, and provide a greater appreciation for Japanese culture.

The Rewards

Learning Japanese can be extremely rewarding. Being able to communicate with native speakers in their own language can provide a sense of accomplishment and build stronger relationships. Additionally, being able to read Japanese texts and watch Japanese media without subtitles can provide a sense of independence and satisfaction.


In conclusion, while it is true that Japanese is a challenging language to learn, it is not impossible. With dedication, persistence, and immersion, anyone can master this beautiful language. The rewards of learning Japanese are many, and the effort put into learning the language is well worth it in the end.

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