Yesterday a useful comment came from the nice people over at Voxy, makers of the graphic from yesterday’s post. According to Voxy, who cited information from the Foreign Service Institute’s language difficulty rankings (available here), Bosnian and Croatian are indeed both level 2 languages, equivalent with Serbian in difficulty for English speakers. I didn’t really have any doubt, personally, that all three languages would fall into the same category, seeing as they were all once considered part of one single language, but it is validating to see that some standard makers apparently share that opinion as well.
Some of the information from the FSI’s rating system is quite interesting. The first language listed (in order from least difficult to most) is Afrikaans, which would probably confuse most English speakers, because most would think that a tribal Sub-Saharan African language would be difficult for English speakers to learn. But, in spite of its name, Afrikaans is not an African language at all — it is a child of Dutch, spoken primarily by white people in South Africa. In contrast, the real tribal African language listed is Zulu, the last language listed in “category 2″.
The last language listed has a rather curious name, Wu. The curiousness necessitated some Wikipedia-ing, and I felt rather naive when I read that Wu (as in Wu Chinese) is one of the major languages of China, and claims over 90 million speakers. I am so glad I don’t have to learn Chinese!