Foreign Service Institute language difficulty rankings are an indication of how long a native English speaker would need to reach proficiency in a number of different languages.
There five are categories ranked from easiest to the hardest based on how many classroom hours a learner would need to complete:
- ‘Speaking 3: General Professional Proficiency in Speaking (S3)’
- ‘Reading 3: General Professional Proficiency in Reading (R3)’.
Foreign Service Institute language difficulty rankings
The below language difficulty chart is based on the FSI language difficulty ranking at US State Department.
Return to the main article here: What are the hardest languages to learn?
Category I: 23-24 weeks (575-600 hours)
Languages closely related to English
Category II: 30 weeks (750 hours)
Languages similar to English
Category III: 36 weeks (900 hours)
Languages with linguistic and/or cultural differences from English
Category IV: 44 weeks (1100 hours)
Languages with significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English
Persian (Dari, Farsi, Tajik)
Category V: 88 weeks (2200 hours)
Languages which are exceptionally difficult for native English speakers
* Usually more difficult than other languages in the same category.
The data is sourced from the Foreign Service Institute Language Difficulty (FSI) at the US Department of State.