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To help you make a time-efficient decision, The Foreign Service Institute sorted major languages around the world into 5 categories of difficulty according to their differences from English. Let’s see some maps first and then jump right to the categories.

how-far-will-language-study-take-you-_mapbuilder

CATEGORY I: 23-24 WEEKS (575-600 HOURS)

  • Afrikaans
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • French
  • Italian
  • Norwegian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian

CATEGORY II: 30 WEEKS (750 HOURS)

  • German

CATEGORY III: 36 WEEKS (900 HOURS)

  • Indonesian
  • Swahili
  • Malaysian

CATEGORY IV: 44 WEEKS (1100 HOURS)

  • Albanian
  • Amharic
  • Armenian
  • Azerbaijani
  • Bengali
  • Bosnian
  • Bulgarian
  • Burmese
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • *Estonian
  • *Finnish
  • *Georgian
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • *Hungarian
  • Icelandic
  • Khmer
  • Lao
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Macedonian
  • *Mongolian
  • Nepali
  • Pashto
  • Persian (Dari, Farsi, Tajik)
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Sinhala
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Tagalog
  • *Thai
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu
  • Uzbek
  • *Vietnamese
  • Xhosa
  • Zulu

CATEGORY V: 88 WEEKS (2200 HOURS)

  • Arabic
  • Cantonese (Chinese)
  • Mandarin (Chinese)
  • *Japanese
  • Korean
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