The Weirdest Languages

English is an idiosyncratic language, especially when written down. Think, for instance, of the different ways the letter combination “ough” can be pronounced (eg in cough, enough, through, thorough, bough and brought.)

It is apparently, however, only the 33rd weirdest language in the world, though.

The weirdest, Chalcatongo Mixtec, is spoken by about 6,000 people in Oaxaca, Mexico, but strangely (you might naively think) German, Dutch, Norwegian, Spanish and Mandarin are pretty weird.

One of the weirdnesses of Chalcatongo Mixtec is that it doesn’t do anything at all to signal a question; no inversion of word order, no change in inflection, no pre/suffixing.

The least weird language is Hindi, but surprisingly both Hungarian and Basque, which are generally considered to bear little relation to other languages, are in the bottom ten for weirdness, as is Cantonese.

See the link above for the top and bottom tens and the arguments for the ratings.

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