The 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)’ and ‘Reading 3: General Professional Proficiency in Reading (R3)’.
- Want to put your foreign language skills to the test? Browse our list of remote jobs that will let you work from anywhere
|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.|