Nugget of Knowledge: Learning a language

Len Rome's Daily Feature of Little Known Facts

(WYTV) – Canfield Village Middle School is bringing foreign languages to grades five through eight with the “Rosetta Stone” learning program.

The students select which language they want and study it for the next four and a half weeks.

Parents have the option to pay to continue the program, so how hard is it for an English speaker to learn another language?

Which are relatively easy, and which are difficult?

The U.S. Foreign Service Institute teaches our diplomats and Americans going to other counties on behalf of the government the language of the country where they’ll be staying.

It uses this list from easiest to toughest.

Category One: These languages include French, Spanish and Italian, and they all take about 600 hours of study, up to half a year, to become reasonably fluent.

You can speak it with some proficiency and read it as well.

Category Two: 30 weeks (750 hours) German

Category Three: 36 weeks (900) Indonesian, Malaysian, Swahili

Category Four: 44 weeks (1100 hours) These languages have huge linguistic and cultural differences from English: Greek, Hebrew, Lithuanian, Russian and Vietnamese.

Category Five: 88 weeks (2200 hours) These languages are considered exceptionally difficult for native English speakers: Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

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