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Old 02-02-2016, 01:07 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
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Which language is easier to learn? I'm in China and finding it very difficult to master all the tones of Chinese - grammar isn't so bad but getting myself understood is. Will be in Middle East next year. Is Arabic easier to learn/speak? I'm fluent in spanish and have some foundation in French.
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:10 PM
 
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I haven't studied Arabic, but I know that Chinese and Arabic are both grouped among the hardest languages ("exceptionally difficult") for English-speakers to learn.

Spanish and French in themselves will not help you, as they are unrelated to Arabic. You will be starting all over again. However, the process of having learned several languages tends to help a person learn another language faster. You just get better at learning languages.
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Old 02-02-2016, 04:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saibot View Post
I haven't studied Arabic, but I know that Chinese and Arabic are both grouped among the hardest languages ("exceptionally difficult") for English-speakers to learn.

Spanish and French in themselves will not help you, as they are unrelated to Arabic. You will be starting all over again. However, the process of having learned several languages tends to help a person learn another language faster. You just get better at learning languages.
No language is objectively harder than another--all kids learn to speak and read their native languages at about the same rate, regardless of the language.

Closeness of a language to a language you already speak can be a huge boon. While neither Spanish nor English are lexically related to Chinese or Arabic, Spanish actually has a decent amount of vocabulary derived from Arabic, so you might find that to make learning Arabic easier than learning Chinese for you, as you will have a bit of an easier time learning vocabulary (of course, differences in the written language might make it hard to recognize all that shared vocabulary).
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Old 02-02-2016, 08:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by strad View Post
No language is objectively harder than another--all kids learn to speak and read their native languages at about the same rate, regardless of the language.
Yes, you are right. But we're not talking about children acquiring their native language, but rather about adult second-language learners. Some languages are, indeed, objectively more difficult for speakers of certain other languages to learn. Arabic may be quite easy for a Hebrew speaker, but it is very difficult for an English speaker. Dutch is not so hard for an English-speaker, but might give a Chinese speaker a terrible time. And so forth.
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Old 02-03-2016, 07:47 AM
 
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Not sure if knowing French is going to help you learn Arabic but I do know most college educated middle eastern take French or Spanish (mostly French) as a required foreign language. So you might be able to get around & be understood by combining French and little Arabic you know.
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