Isn't it exceptionally difficult to learn a tonal language? edit

Yes, if you come into it with the mindset that the way intonation words in a tonal language like Cherokee is similar to how it works in another language, whether or not it is tonal.

English, for example, has a stress system not considered “tonal” but that definitely has largely predictable changes in pitch. Each word has a stressed syllable usually pronounced with a higher pitch. Also, in English you can sometimes use a rising intonation to indicate that you are asking a question. These patterns of intonation must be thought of as characteristic of English, not language in general. I cannot stress enough that you have to lose all preconceived notions of pitch movement before you tackle a language like Cherokee, which has a highly involved system of pitch.

The tonal system of Cherokee is very logical but there are many rules that can take a long time to internalize. I say this even as a native speaker of Mandarin, another tonal language. In my experience, knowing Mandarin does not directly help with learning Cherokee tonology, at least in the long run, because the tonal system is so different. Maybe in the short run I am able to better grasp certain concepts, but these concepts can all be learned by anyone capable of listening and logical reasoning. Learning Cherokee tonology is, matter-of-factly, quite difficult. Mentally prepare yourself for this, but do not be discouraged. I speak from experience that with time, you will internalize more and more of the pitch system to the point that you barely have to think about it if you persevere long enough to ride out the learning curve to the end stage.