In Web time, this is an ancient (1991) essay, so I don’t feel guilty that I can’t remember who drew my attention to it today: “Why Chinese Is So Damn Hard“.

Someone once said that learning Chinese is “a five-year lesson in humility”. I used to think this meant that at the end of five years you will have mastered Chinese and learned humility along the way. However, now having studied Chinese for over six years, I have concluded that actually the phrase means that after five years your Chinese will still be abysmal, but at least you will have thoroughly learned humility.