Learning Chinese via English is hard even though there is pinyin, even though pinyin was invented to make this easier. It is much easier to learn Chinese if you know an Indian language (or any other phonetic language). This is because English is not phonetic, and Chinese is all about tones and sounds. So a native speaker has huge difficultly in repeating the sounds and capturing it in their notes. For example, as I am taking my lessons, it is much easier for me to duplicate what my teacher is saying by writing it in Hindi rather than just writing pinyin. However, Chinese language uses so many sounds that Hindi is not adequate, but still it fares better than English. So if you see my notes from my Chinese lessons, they look something like this:
- English sentence: What is your name?
- Chinese pinyin: nǐ jiào shén ma míng zì?
- Hindi pronounciation: नीअ ज्याओ शन्मअ मिंग ज़?
Note that zì is actually pronounced like ds sound (as in kids), so it is not really ज़, but it is still better than remembering to not pronounce the i in pinyin here.