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Is the Slovak language Difficult to Learn?

by Roman Krátky, EISB Slovak Teacher

On the internet, you may find many articles that try to explain the difficulties of Slovak language. They are comparing Slovak to other world languages, and they often come to the conclusion – Slovak is the hardest language to learn. However, these statements are very rarely based on actual facts.

These fictional claims are written specifically by Slovak people. You would probably never be able to find a similar article written by a foreigner. If you are really looking for a list of the most difficult languages, you will not find the Slovak language among them. As these articles state, the most difficult languages in the world are mostly Asian languages. When it comes to Europe, the hardest ones are probably Hungarian and Finnish.

It is a pity that Slovak people try to establish Slovak as the hardest language in the world. As a matter of fact, many linguists and other specialists consider Slovak to be one of the easiest Slavic languages to learn. Slovak is a phonetic language, which means that the pronunciation of the word reflects its written form. In other words – you say what you see. This makes Slovak a very easy language to pick up. The things that people might find difficult, e.g. proper use of letters i and y, are common in other Slavic languages, so it does not make Slovak harder by comparison.

It is important to understand that every language has its own difficulties. A linguistic system is like a living organism – it always changes. There will always be exceptions in many rules of this system. However, the basic rules will always stay the same, and they are not so hard to learn. Of course, some people might find it easier to find an excuse such as – Slovak is the hardest language to learn. 

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