means consistency between pronunciation and spelling, the comparison is complete nonsense.
I was referring to Mandarin not Cantonese (since I know nothing about it), and yes what I was talking about is Pinyin not Sinograms, Pinyin is the official system in China to transcribe in Latin Alphabet Standard Chinese, and yes in terms of pronunciation there is no irregularity as you could encouter in many western languages such as English or French with their own current Latin Alphabet systems, whereas IPA (good you know this) is something different, it is a system of phonetic notation that could be used for any languages possible. Tones is indeed something quite arduous for Westerners no doubt on this, but if you practise your Chinese with natives it will come naturally. Another speaking difficulty is the total different vocabulary you would encounter in Chinese, whereas most of the European languages share a certain amount of similar vocabulary, this is one of the main reason why many people (Westerners at least) believe Chinese is difficult.
English also has easier words in this regard, partly thanks to affixes.
Not true, English has no "easier words", if we take it objectively, English has many words with obscure origin and etymologies, many come from Latin or Greek, and only people interested in Linguistics could actually know why some affixes are joined with radicals and why some others aren't at all.
Something nice about Chinese unlike English is that you can “cheat” by having a much smaller subset of word-building components to deal with, and the meaning can be much more obvious and in many cases you are able to even guess it!
To illustrate what I told you about obscure words used in many Indoeuropean languages in daily life, let's say you wanted to guess how to say “bottle opener” in French, since it is my native language. Well, bottle is bouteille and open is ouvrir. Where do you go from here though? Add in a French affix such as -eur ? bouteilleouvreur? Actually, it’s décapsuleur. Hmm, seems a little harder to guess something that looks more like decapitator, but I suppose it makes sense in a weird way, since it’s de-cap-ing the bottle (the radical "cap" comes from Latin "caput" meaning "head"). Anyway as you see, it's still not something that jumps out at you.
In Chinese? open (Kāi) + bottle (Píng) + tool (Qì): 开瓶器 (Kāi píng qì) quite smple and effective right? And quite hard to forget once you hear it once, I don’t know about you, but I find open-bottle-tool way easier to remember than de-cap-er. Any Chinese learner knows these syllables/characters (or at least their pronunciation), so will have no problem coming up with it. When you get to 3 characters, then you can be pretty confident that whatever your computer/smartphone suggests is pretty much the only right answer, even ignoring these terrible tone markers. That means that you can write this and only one possible set of 3 characters will come up that you can be confident to go ahead and use, even if you don’t know these ones yet. This is only one example and there are plenty others.
Last but not least, if you were asking me which language is easier in Western Europe at least, I would answer you Spanish for many reasons. I see you are an Esperantist, tell me what do you think about Esperanto?
Edited 4/8/2016 21:46:29