Why I struggle to learn English

Chinese is my mother tongue, so writing in Chinese is less of a struggle for me than writing in English. However, this doesn't mean that I'm able to write well in English. In an effort to improve my writing skills in Chinese, I have tried to find books about how to write well in Chinese, but I have had difficulty finding any. This has led me to question why there are so few resources available for learning to write well in Chinese. This question had doubted me for a long time until the beginning of this year when I attended an online Chinese writing course.

The course told me that contemporary Chinese is a relatively young language. The Vernacular Language Movement, which established around 100 years ago, reformed Chinese language - from the ancient style to contemporary Chinese. This reform made sentences easier to read and write. After 1949, the Chinese government replaced Traditional Chinese with Simplified Chinese. The Simplified Characters are easier to read and write than ancient style with Traditional Characters. However, this change also meant that the contemporary Chinese is different from the ancient language. The New Culture Movement featured many good Chinese writers; for some historical reasons, their experiences and knowledge were not passed down to the next generations. This is the reason why there so few resources available for learning to write well in Chinese.

Chinese has its own benefits as a language. It has a simple grammar system, and a small number of characters can create many different phrases and sentences, which are shorter than other languages. The use of pictographs and homographs in Chinese gives poetry a unique tone and flavor, and the abstraction of the language make sentences shorter. We had a good, sensible scholarship on intelligentsia that existed in ancient China. For some historical reasons, the scholarship has largely disappeared. We don't develop a practical way to learn writing, and it is so hard to find a routine method to learn writing well, even though you are a Chinese man.

The traditional Chinese culture does not provide practical guidelines for writing and thinking. Instead, it relies on Confucian philosophy and traditional notions that are passed down through generations without inquiry. Many of these notions are considered vulgar practices today. We are tought that our country has 5000 years of history, and it is considered the greatest culture in the world, but we are not given a clear explanation of why and how. The fact that we have few things to showcase is like an advertisement repeatly promoting a product without explaining its benefits. They just repeat the message again and again until you trust them.

My Chinese writing teacher informed us that the good examples of Chinese writing can be found government files. These document use a clear, concise and smooth style for propagation. I have read some of these documents and have found that this is true. However, I don't like the propagandistic style and hate to distort everything into heroic stanza. Additionally, there are so many emotional texts on the Chinese Internet that often try to manipulate the reader.

In contrast, the English-speaking world offers a wealth of resources for learning to writing well, including books and courses. There is a clear and structured path for advancing one's writing skills. English has a regular grammar system and the practice of writing is routing. To improve my writing, I can read classic books and follow the advice provided, and practice consistently. Although it takes a significant amount of time and effort, I am willing to take the time to learn slowly. Learning a second language has provided me with a new perspective, and I am now able to see the world in a different way. Every culture has its own strengths and weaknesses, and it is important to approach new things with an open and humility.