The most complex language on Earth is Fengxian Wu, spoken near Shanghai. The second most complex was the language of the Dong people of Southwest China. The third most complex was the language of the Buyang people, also of SW China. The study took over 10 years and involved teams from both the Anthropology and Linguistics Departments at Fudan University. They also found that the languages of Eurasia were more complex than the languages of Africa or the Americas. The article suggests that this may mean that humans came out of Asia instead of out of Africa.
This is an old conceit of the Chinese. They just can’t handle the idea that humans came out of Africa, and they are always fighting this idea. They even claim that there proto-humans have special characteristics that mean that they could not possibly have come out of Africa. The Chinese have long been pushing the multiregional theory of human evolution.
I am not sure why the Chinese feel that way, but it may have to do with not wanting to believe that they came from Black people. The Chinese have always thought that that China was the center of the world. The ancient belief is that China is the land where all four winds (north, south, east and west) arise. It’s a silly nationalistic conceit and the sooner they dump it, the better.
Here is a bit on Fengxian Wu and the Dong or Kam languages, focusing on their difficulty:
A recent 15 year survey out of Fudan University utilizing both the departments of Linguistics and Anthropology looked at 579 different languages in order to try to find the most complicated language in the world. The result was that a Wu language dialect (or perhaps a separate language) in the Fengxian district of Shanghai (Fengxian Wu) was the most complex language of all, with 20 separate vowels. The nearest competitor was Norwegian with 16 vowels.
Fengxian Wu gets a 5 rating, hardest of all.
The Kam languages of the Dong people in southwest China were rated by the Fudan University study referenced above under Wu as the 2nd most complex on Earth. There are 32 stem initial consonants, including oddities like tɕ, tɕʰ, pʲ, pʲʰ, ɕ, kʷ, kʷʰ, ŋʷ, tʃʰ, tsʰ. Note the many contrasts between aspirated and unaspirated voiceless consonants, including bilabial palatalized stops, labialized velar stops, and alveolar affricates. There are an incredible 64 different syllable finals, and 14 others that occur only in Chinese loans.
There are an astounding 15 different tones, nine in open syllables and six in checked syllables (entering tones). The main tones are high, high rising, high falling, low, low rising, low falling, mid, dipping and peaking.
Kam gets a 5 rating, hardest of all.
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