Even after more than 30 years later, I can still remember the nightmare Pinyin brought to me in my young age. But now I , as a adult , would be thinking about the ins and outs logically.
here is the thing I now figured out:
- It’s a auxiliary tools for pronouncing mandarin, not much intention for dialect in China, and it is not a independent language system, so it is just a widely used tool for mandarin.
- It’s based on Latin letter with extra tone symbol, but the pronunciation is way more different than a single latin language such as English, actually the pronunciation of pinyin is coming or similar with variety of English, French, Germany etc…
- Pinyin is not a perfect or flawless system for anyone, you should not struggle too much for the “why”, but to remember or practice more for the accurately pronouncing the tone, because the accurate tone is crucial for native people to understand you.
As a native one, I have no trouble to pronounce a perfect tone for Pinyin when I was in preliminary school, and to remember any of the single pinyin Initials and Finals, but I can’t even spell or pronounce lots of combinations such as (老师) Lǎo Shī (means teacher), backing then, I just simply can’t, for now, I think I was spending too much time to consider why the combination should be pronounced like that, and I was not thinking straight about it which is just a tool for me to study mandarin or Chinese character, what I should do is just the repetition and to remember it, and then it will be natural to me. As a matter of fact, my mother did the exact same thing as I think today, she took me out every night, and repeat all the Pinyin combination when we saw something out there. It literally took me three years to catch up with all the knowledge about Pinyin.
So what is the meaning of the story for mandarin learner? well, I think I just want to convey a message to you, if you think PinYin is too difficult or hard for you along the way when you study, yes, it is indeed, but after you have the basic idea about it, just practice the pronunciation combination and tone(very crucial) repeatedly (not the single pinyin letter)as possible as you can, it’s not that hard but it do take some time.
At last, for those who will study Pinyin, I think the Pinyin term in wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinyin) is a good place for you to know some history about Pinyin, and even for some detail concept, but I have some correction or modification version of mine to this wiki, just check it here.