Chinese Language Learning – how to get past the beginner’s study block?

Hi! I’ve been learning Mandarin on and off for the past 1,5 year. I took a lot of breaks in between which I do regret, but I’m kinda stuck with a problem and I don’t know how to move further. Hence why I’m writing this. In the past I finished the HSK 1 (2.0) and was halfway through HSK 2 (grammar and vocabulary wise). Right now, I’m doing the NPCR series and I plan to finish the first four levels this year. But to realize this goal, I have to solve a few problems I have right now so I wanted to ask you all for advice on how to move further.

Problem 1: Tones
Pronouncing the tones is not a problem. I can also hear the tones when I read and listen to the text for the most part, but not for every word without looking at the pinyin. But I still have to improve this aspect more. The thing is that I almost can’t hear the tones with native content. I can hear the first and the fourth tone, but I can’t hear the difference between the second and the third tone at all. This problem becomes worse when someone shows more emotion in their speech like anger, sadness and happiness, ect. Is this something that I will be able to do in the future when I’m more advanced or is there some kind of trick that helps you to hear the tones better with native content?

Problem 2: Pronunciation
I don’t have a problem with pronouncing the pinyin at all and I can differentiate between the z, q, sh, ect. This has to do with the tones too. When I try to speak, I sound like a machine. I speak slow and tend to exaggerate the tones to be able to pronounce them correct. It really sounds unnatural. Although I don’t pronounce the tones wrong, I can’t seem to pronounce the tones naturally like a native. I also can’t show anger/happiness/surprise and other emotions when speaking. This probably has to do with the fact that I don’t really know if I pronounce it correct when I try to show emotions and sound more natural. How can I fix this?

Problem 3: stuck on the beginner’s phase
This has more to do with not being able to progress beyond the basics. It seems that I just can’t get out of the beginner’s phase where I’m only able to read and understand really simple stuff like asking for someone’s nationality and describing yourself, ect. While these are really simple (and I’m tired of repeating these all over again and again), other topics beyond these seem to hard for me. I’m not sure how to get past this.



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  1. shinyredblue January 9, 2022
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