Despite the fact that Greek roots are found throughout the English language, Greek is one of the most difficult languages for English speakers to learn, according to studies conducted by the US State Department.
The State Department’s Foreign Service Institute, which trains diplomats and offers language courses, has released linguistic data regarding the most difficult languages for English speakers to learn.
The information is categorized by the number of hours of intensive study needed to learn each language, and the languages are categorized as easy, medium, and difficult.
According to the data, most Western European languages, such as French, Spanish, and Italian, are ranked as easy to learn. Typically, English speakers can acquire skills in around 600 hours of classes, or 24 weeks.
Russian, Hindi, Thai, Polish and Greek, meanwhile, take around 44 weeks to learn, making them particularly long and difficult for English speakers to learn.
Although very difficult, there are a number of languages that are even more difficult to learn than Greek. The most difficult languages, which include Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Arabic, can take more than a year and a half of intensive study to reach proficiency level.
Greek in particular is particularly difficult for English speakers to learn, considering that its grammar is structured in a completely different way.
Additionally, those who speak English will need to learn the Greek alphabet, a step that is not necessary to learn most European languages.
Greek is a difficult language, but the effort is worth it
Although learning a new language can be hard work, science has shown that learning a second language at any age slows mental decline.
So even if it takes you a whole year of intensive study, it’s worth being able to speak one of the oldest, richest and most diverse languages in the world.
In fact, Greek is one of the oldest languages in the world still in use today.
“It is a language that has been spoken for forty centuries without interruption. It was also written the same way, using the same alphabet, for 28 centuries, and it kept the same spelling rules for 24 centuries,” noted the eminent linguistics professor and former education minister. Georgios Babiniotis.
Although now spoken as a native language by only 13.4 million people in Greece, Cyprus and throughout the diaspora, Greek was once the lingua franca from the ancient world, spoken for business, education, politics, art and science, much like today’s English.
The large number of English words that come from Greek roots – estimated at over 150,000 – is evidence of the language’s lingering influence over time.
When studying medical terminology, the influence of Greek thought on modern science is particularly clear, as more than three quarters of English words used in medicine come from the language.
Not only is Greek a beautiful language, but it’s also filled with thousands of years of history and influence.