A look at how difficult the Slovene language for an English speaker to learn. Slovene is a hard language, but probably a few other Slavic languages are harder. One nice thing about Slovene is that it has quite a few German loan words, so there is more familiar vocabulary. Despite its complexity, Slovene is a beautiful language.
Slovenian or Slovene is also a very hard language to learn, probably on a par with Serbo-Croatian. It has three number distinctions, singular, dual and plural. It’s the only major IE European language that has retained the dual. Sorbian has also retained the dual, but it is a minor tongue. However, the dual may be going out in Slovenia. In Primorska it is not used at all, and in the rest of Slovenia, the feminine dual is not used in casual speech (plural is used instead), but the masculine dual is still used for masculine nouns and mixed pairs of masculine and feminine nouns.
In addition, there are six cases, as Slovene has lost the vocative. There are 18 different declensions of the word son, but five of them are identical, so there are really only 13 different forms.
Singular Dual Plural 1. Sin Sina Sini 2. Sina Sinov Sinov 3. Sinu Sinovoma Sinovom 4. Sina Sinova Sinove 5. O sinu O sinovoma O sinovih 6. S sinom Z sinovoma Z sini
There are seven different ways that nouns decline depending on gender, but there are exceptions to all of the gender rules. The use of particles such as pa is largely idiomatic. In addition, there is a lack of language learning materials for Slovene.
Some sounds are problematic. Learners have a hard time with the č and ž sounds. There are also “open” and “closed” vowels as in Portuguese.
Here is an example of a word that can be difficult to pronounce:
križišče – crossroads
However, Slovene has the past perfect that is the same as the English tense, lost in the rest of Slavic. In addition, via contact with German and Italian, many Germanic and Romance loans have gone in. If you know some German have some knowledge of another Slavic langauge, Slovene is not overwhelmingly difficult.
Some people worry that Slovene might go extinct in the near future, as it is spoken by only 2 million people. However, even this small language has 356, 881 headwords in an online dictionary. So it is clear that Slovene has plenty enough vocabulary to deal with the modern world.
Slovene is easier than Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Czech or Slovak.
Slovenian gets a 4 rating, extremely hard.