The amount of effort and time required to learn a language highly depends on the language(s) already known. For example, generally, learning a language within the same language family will be incomparably easier than learning a language that has no relation or only a very minute relation.
If you wanted to build a tool that can put out a vague guideline of the amount of time required to learn a specific language, how would you go about it? It should work like this:
- You choose the language(s) you are already familiar with.
- You choose the language you want to acquire.
- The tool will compare these languages and consider possible similarities between them, for example lexical similarity, similarities in grammar, and so on), and then give an estimate based on that, how difficult / time-consuming it will be to learn that language.
Something similar has been done for native English speakers, but I would like to make it possible to get an estimate for any language as a starting point, and also for language combinations. Is this at all realistically doable, and if so, how would you go about it? What would be other factors to take into consideration for the calculation of difficulty, apart from lexical similarity, language family and grammar?
For example, if you wanted to also take into account the fact that language difficulty within a language pair is not always the same for both, meaning for example, learning English as a native German speaker is easier than the other way around, simply because German has a more intricate grammar (more rules for word order, 3 genders for nouns, a case system, conjunctive mood, and so on), even though they are both within the same language family and share vast amounts of vocabulary.