Mandarin is hard
I found this anecdote on someone’s blog as he wrote about his frustration with mandarin:
My biggest problem isn’t the writing or even reproducing the tones, it’s that most of the words sound the same to me. Which is to say, distinguishing one word from another in Mandarin depends heavily on phonetic features that my brain is in the habit of discarding as irrelevant. I learned at a young age not to distinguish between “qi” and “chi” or between “shi(2)” and “shi(4)”. As a result, most words feel mentally slippery, like they lack a distinct shape for my brain to grab onto.
Now I feel like a boss cuz my brain distinguishes this stuff.