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Learning curves in "easy" and "difficult" languages

May 21 at 20:58

I´ve been noticing something weird...

I speak English, French and Czech and I´m studying Japanese and Esperanto. I also did some Latin, Swedish and Polish but I didn´t get far (lack of motivation) . I´ve seen estimates about how much time it takes to reach a "decent" level in these languages. It ranges from 150 (Esperanto) to 2200 (Japanese) and the numbers seem somewhat accurate - but....

It seems like the differences become smaller as the number of hours increases. If two people studied Japanese and Esperanto there´d be a giant difference after 50 hours, a big difference after 1000 hours, a relatively big difference after 2000 hours and so on and so forth.

Being a complete beginner is a completely different experience in Esperanto and Japanese but being at an upper intermediate level is basiccaly the same. You get input, occasionally look up words, occasionally learn them from context, you speak and write and get corrected here and there. Even learning Chinese characters becomes "easy"-ish once you´ve learned a few hundred of them. New Kanji are often made up of elements you already know . New vocab is mostly already known vocab combined or used in a different way etc.

Is it just me or does the difference between hard and easy languages disappear over time? Would you end up at the same level at some point - similarly to how natives are all roughly at the same level across all languages?


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