Speaking and Reading Mandarin Chinese

I’ve been living in Shanghai for a few years now and am (painfully) slowly learning the language.

I am learning the ‘englishized’ version of the language because it is the most popular way to learn and after living here for a while have pretty much been overwhelmed with all but the simplest characters. This means that I am learning chinese through a latin-character approximation called Pinyin that uses similar sounds themselves rather than character recognition. What is becoming more apparent as I learn more about the language is just how much of an approximation Pinyin is itself.

Learning the language through conversation and sound only will be limiting as it  will not allow for reading. I am sort of resigned to this at this point due to the difficulty of reading the characters. During lessons though I am constantly coming across different characters

Why does it seem like there is such a great divide between speaking and writing chinese?

western vs eastern written language is much closer to the spoken colloquial terms than it is in China. never mind the 1000’s of characters to be learned and their unique subtleties or combinations in meaning.

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