A friend sent me this link with the above title, and it only seems to cover half the story. It is accurate that the writing is hard, but the spoken Chinese isn’t addressed at all. Here’s the link:
In short, Chinese looks like a chicken walked across a piece of paper. If someone gives you an address in Chinese you could spend days walking through the city trying to match it up with the addresses on the buildings.
The spoken Chinese is even worse. An American comedian said that Chinese name there kids by dropping silverware on the floor and whatever sound it makes is the name of the kid. That’s not far off. The four tones of Chinese are almost impossible to hear as a foreigner. The problem is complicated by a huge variety of dialects that don’t conform to the sounds of “Beijing Chinese” which is what is taught in schools. It all makes for great fun when getting to know Chinese friends. The only comfort is that no matter how bad they murder English, I am doing worse to their language.