Not true. You're forgetting that those are not letters. Each hanzi represents a complete syllable with an average of about three phonemes. So you have to compare the speed of writing one character with the speed of writing three letters. But furthermore, Chinese is more economical with its syllables since it stripped itself of inflections and nearly meaningless words like articles and prepositions. It takes about ten English syllables to express what Chinese can do with seven. So you have to compare the speed of writing seven characters with the speed of writing thirty letters. It's starting to sound like a much closer contest. More importantly they carry a lot of culture with them. Each character is composed of one or more radicals (each of which can stand alone as a character), with several other brushstrokes, many of which form additional radicals. As a result the character displays some of the history of the word and of the culture in which it evolved. That will be lost in a phonetic alphabet. I can't disagree but then I tried to learn them when I was 26. Everything is easier to learn when you're young and your neural pathways have not yet been cast in concrete. Chinese are expected to know 1,000 of them at the end of the fourth grade, and almost every adult knows at least 3,000. Even Japanese people have to learn 2,000 to be able to read their strange mixture of characters, phonetic syllables, and Roman letters. As noted, this is usually referred to as the Roman alphabet, although "Latin" will do. The Greek alphabet has only 24 letters and is barely adequate for writing Modern Greek. The Roman alphabet isn't even barely adequate for the phonetic complexity of English. We have many more than 26 phonemes, which is why it's a joke to call English writing "phonetic." Most languages that use the Roman alphabet augment it with new letters (German ß, Danish æ), mangled letters (Turkish ı, Norwegian ø), diacritical marks (Spanish ñ, Romanian ş), or all of the above (my browser menu lists ử, but I have no idea what language it's from). Nonetheless, Chinese scholars long ago developed the Pin-Yin romanization system, which expresses all of the language's phonemes using the 26 letters of our alphabet. There are only three digraphs for consonants (SH, CH, ZH) and one diacritical mark (Ü), but all of the vowels do double or even triple duty because only one of them could be used in a given location. Still, it's a pretty clean system, fairly intuitive (to the limited extent that English and Chinese phonemes correspond at all) and easy to learn. Of course the problem is that there's no way to transcribe tone with the Roman alphabet. When Chinese words and names are transliterated for the Western press (Mao Zedong, Tian An Men) they leave the tones out because they know we're not going to pronounce them anyway. But for their own readers who have to know which word it is, they have to put them in. So here we come with four diacritical marks to put over the vowels (ā, á, ă, à). This writing is not "pretty." Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!