...said the person who speaks a language in which you have to remember the perfective and imperfective forms of every damn verb (and conjugation pattern), the stress paradigm of every damn noun, and which gender every noun ending with a palatal consonant belongs to (oh, and there are exceptions when it comes to some other nouns) about the language that barely has any irregular forms, noun gender, or agreement based on number or person or animacy.
Seriously, Chinese is a damn walk in the park when compared to Russian.
Let's just say it's easy to learn speaking Chinese but if you want to learn the complicated Chinese characters,not the simplied Chinese characters, then i will say learning Russian is easier in this case. Sorry but I get so pissed everytime I see you comment on learning Chinese is like a walk in the park. Yes I speak Mandarin and Cantonese.
Excellent resources, thank you! One of my (many) favorite passages from the Moser essay: "A Spanish person learning Portuguese is comparable to a violinist taking up the viola, whereas an American learning Chinese is more like a rock guitarist trying to learn to play an elaborate 30-stop three-manual pipe organ."
Mandarin is like any other spoken language, you just get used to it.
However, the Chinese writing system is a completely different story.
'There is still the awe-inspiring fact that Chinese people manage to learn their own language very well. Perhaps they are like the gradeschool kids that Baroque performance groups recruit to sing Bach cantatas. The story goes that someone in the audience, amazed at hearing such youthful cherubs flawlessly singing Bach's uncompromisingly difficult vocal music, asks the choir director, "But how are they able to perform such difficult music?" "Shh -- not so loud!" says the director, "If you don't tell them it's difficult, they never know."' (http://www.pinyin.info/readings/texts/moser.html)
According to my (Slovenian native speaker) experience, the complicatedness of languages progresses as one moves from west to east. English is the simplest. Italian is a bit harder. Then comes German "schwere Sprache". And then there is this huge bear of a langage called Russian. =8-0 I shudder to even think what Chinese and Japanese are like...
Studying both Russian and Chinese as a German, I have to say that Russian is actually more difficult. Chinese has a super difficult pronounciation with its tones, but the grammar is easier. Writing characters takes effort, recognising characters is easier than that (and unless you write essays by hand, your passive vocabulary is soon bigger than your active one). Russian, however, has its advantage with a (cyrillic) alphabet and the pronounciation (which you still have to learn by heart). But the grammar in Russian is super, super complicated. The cases kill me. And my own language already has four. But yeah... just my thoughts... if you want to learn something easy, learn Spanish ;)