Chinese is such an archaic language, it will be very difficult

Actually learning the language is the first step in order to be accepted by any community anywhere. And when you stayed in a community 10 years or so and can’t speak the language and wear this situation like a throphy it actually feels like an insult to many people in the world.

But I know, it’s totally ok not to speak English nor Spanish in the US, Might just make your social live very limited though.

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Chinese is such an archaic language without really taking the time out to learn it, it will be very difficult. Unlike languages like English, Spanish, French. Which are much eassier to learn. Not to mention something like an alphabet, an invention which has been ignored by the Chinese, who believe their 10.000 character system is better.

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the character system is indeed time consuming. but i think you will find that english spanish and french are not easy… for a native chinese speaker.

26 characters is pretty easy to learn. A toddler can do it in less than a year. How long does it take a regular toddler to learn all their characters here?

Not to get me started on pronunciation. People here tend to be anal about it. One wrong tone and they are like “Wo Ting Bu Dong”. Kind of demotivating to even give it a try, IMHO.

I don’t think Chinese is harder to learn than English. And their characters are similar to words in English.

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I would love to see some data or research that can back up your opinion?

that is my impression. Do I need some data or research that can back up my impression to express it here?


Really, to me they are more like pictures, images, drawings.

Spoken Chinese is not any more difficult than any other language. Written Chinese OTOH…
It makes Chinese harder to learn because you don’t get any feedback.

Is this a language thread now?

I think spoken chinese is more difficult then spoken english, because you could pronounce a word wrong in english and people still get what you are trying to say.

I think you are just being a little baby, based on all your complaints in this thread. If people go out of their way to pick on your Chinese, then why don’t you just pick on their English? Better than bitching and moaning about how “inferior” Chinese is and how that’s why you aren’t good at it.

No language is really that much harder to learn than another. The Chinese writing system isn’t easy, but English orthography rules aren’t, either. Yew arent evun speling and punkchuating everything korektlee in yer own posts. And never mind all the irregularities in English conjugation. It is also a jangly and sprawling language that takes 25 words to express what can be expressed in 10 words in Chinese.

The “difficult” aspects of a language are generally offset by “easier” aspects, and no one is ever gonna be perfect at a language they don’t speak natively. So whatever. Get over it.


The Chinese language is comprised of pictograms and ideograms with phonetic and radical components.

If you use your imagination, reason and logic you can learn to recognise and write many Chinese characters. (I’m bilingual, biliterate and bicultural.)

As a tonal language processed in the right brain according to scientific research, it is best to start learning spoken Chinese at a very young age such as under ten for accurate internalisation of all tones.

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Kind of like this?


The problem with the English language is the excessive exceptions in the grammar/syntax and not the rules according to linguists.

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based on my experience, this is not true.

Added: I noticed you said a word. In that case, maybe people understand what I try to say in both languages from the context as I do.

This is what I was referring to when I mentioned irregularities. Ask any ESL learner what the worst part of learning English is and they’ll point to all the irregular bits.

I am an ESL teacher of over 20 years so I have an understanding of my students’ difficulties in learning the English language.

In my opinion, the most difficult grammar item for ESL students is the passive voice.

I agree with this.

However, I remember reading a paper about the difficulties of learning Chinese that included this interesting and realistic anecdote, which I’d like to share here:

As one mundane example of the advantages of a phonetic writing system, here is one kind of linguistic situation I encountered constantly while I was in France. (Again I use French as my canonical example of an “easy” foreign language.) I wake up one morning in Paris and turn on the radio. An ad comes on, and I hear the word “amortisseur” several times. “What’s an amortisseur?” I think to myself, but as I am in a hurry to make an appointment, I forget to look the word up in my haste to leave the apartment.

A few hours later I’m walking down the street, and I read, on a sign, the word “AMORTISSEUR” — the word I heard earlier this morning. Beneath the word on the sign is a picture of a shock absorber. Aha! So “amortisseur” means “shock absorber”. And voilà! I’ve learned a new word, quickly and painlessly, all because the sound I construct when reading the word is the same as the sound in my head from the radio this morning — one reinforces the other. Throughout the next week I see the word again several times, and each time I can reconstruct the sound by simply reading the word phonetically—“a-mor-tis-seur”. Before long I can retrieve the word easily, use it in conversation, or write it in a letter to a friend. And the process of learning a foreign language begins to seem less daunting.

When I first went to Taiwan for a few months, the situation was quite different. I was awash in a sea of characters that were all visually interesting but phonetically mute. I carried around a little dictionary to look up unfamiliar characters in, but it’s almost impossible to look up a character in a Chinese dictionary while walking along a crowded street (more on dictionary look-up later), and so I didn’t get nearly as much phonetic reinforcement as I got in France. In Taiwan I could pass a shop with a sign advertising shock absorbers and never know how to pronounce any of the characters unless I first look them up. And even then, the next time I pass the shop I might have to look the characters up again. And again, and again. The reinforcement does not come naturally and easily.

Excerpt from Why Chinese Is So Damn Hard
by David Moser, Dept. of Asian Languages and Cultures
University of Michigan