As New Year’s resolutions go, learning a new language is up there as one of the most popular. Whether it be for business or pleasure, each year thousands of Brits hope to master a new tongue in the name of self-improvement. As advantageous as speaking another lingo can be, it can sometimes come with a hefty price-tag; Tuition fees, resources and learning materials all add towards a large overall cost.

With this in mind, we set out to formulate the cheapest languages for English speakers to learn. Using the number of hours it takes to learn a new language – as advised by the Foreign Services Institute – and the average hourly cost of learning from  a cost-per-hour language learning website, we calculated the estimated costs of learning 28 languages world-wide.

Indonesian resulted as the cheapest language to learn (around £5,175 to fluency), followed closely by Portuguese (£6,138) and Spanish (£6,157). This is despite Indonesian’s 900 hours required learning time, in comparison to Portuguese and Spanish’s 600, as the average hourly cost to learn is much lower than the latter two languages.

At the other end of the scale, Korean was the most expensive language for English speakers to get to grips with at a staggering £41,155 cost to fluency. The second most expensive language was Mandarin (£29,367), followed by Japanese (£24,375) and Turkish (£20,097).

You can see full results below:

Language Difficulty (Hours) Ave cost per hour Overall cost to fluency
1 Indonesian 900 £6.35 £5,715
2 Portuguese 600 £10.23 £6,138
3 Spanish 600 £10.26 £6,157
4 Swedish 600 £10.32 £6,191
5 Romanian 600 £10.83 £6,500
6 Urdu 1100 £6.24 £6,864
7 Italian 600 £11.67 £7,004
8 Hindi 1100 £6.79 £7,466
9 Danish 600 £12.47 £7,484
10 French 600 £13.62 £8,171
11 Persian (Dari, Farsi, Tajik) 1100 £7.50 £8,250
12 Polish 1100 £9.03 £9,932
13 Serbian 1100 £9.85 £10,834
14 Greek 1100 £10.18 £11,195
15 Dutch 600 £18.71 £11,224
16 Russian 1100 £10.31 £11,338
17 Croatian 1100 £10.51 £11,556
18 Latvian 1100 £10.51 £11,556
19 German 750 £16.02 £12,013
20 Bulgarian 1100 £11.82 £12,999
21 Czech 1100 £11.82 £12,999
22 *Thai 1100 £12.80 £14,082
23 Hebrew 1100 £14.44 £15,886
24 Arabic 2200 £8.89 £19,548
25 Turkish 1100 £18.27 £20,097
26 Japanese 2200 £11.08 £24,375
27 Mandarin (Chinese) 2200 £13.35 £29,367
28 Korean 2200 £18.71 £41,155

 

Shane Forster, UK Country Manager for Voucherbox stated, “The information we uncovered was quite startling. Although we understand that few people would end up learning a full language at an hourly rate, our calculations can be used as a visualisation for the cost expectancy for learning various languages. Even with a tuition bundle discount, such as a crash course, Korean is still highly likely to cost much more than Portuguese or Spanish due to the higher rates of tuition and the recommended time taken to learn the language. Our calculations also don’t take into account the cost of learning materials such as textbooks which would also be necessary in learning a language, with harder languages likely requiring more resources than easier ones, which would additionally raise the cost. We think this is really interesting research when taking New Year into account, when many people may be looking to learn a new tongue as part of a New Years resolution.”

You can see a full press release of this post by clicking here.