When I learned English I did it by reading and looking up stuff in the dictionary. I didn’t bother with correct pronunciation, but I couldn’t avoid to mentally sound the words in the way I’d sound them in my native language. I don’t mean to say I didn’t care about the pronunciation in the slightest, but that after “getting it” I didn’t bother to supplement with native audio.
This led me to a path where I had extremely good reading skills but horrible listening and speaking skills and it took a long time for me to correct this. No amount of deliberate pronunciation practice fixed this issue. The only thing that did was to listen to a lot of native material. My speaking skills followed after my listening skills.
I’m genuinely skeptical that practicing pinyin is going to net a different result. I can’t understand how it is possible for my brain to not understand certain sounds, but be able to correctly produce them in speech. Chinese is slower than my native language yet I can’t comprehend what is being said even if I were to translate it into pinyin which I learned, so how can I trust myself to pronounce these sounds? I’m afraid I’m going to develop bad habits doing it this way.
Do you think it’s going to be counterproductive to learn to read without bothering with pronunciation for now? On one hand I have one less thing to learn(only meaning), on the other hand I will need to learn how to pronounce the characters eventually, but with the added bonus that I can do that just by putting in some videos with subtitles and associating sounds with words.
It’s not like I’m going to drop all listening practice, but I’m definitely not going to do it with any pinyin aiding, or if reading text with audio I will refrain from using pinyin to aid the listening.
It’s true that a sound can sound weird when I listen to it without any pinyin, but sound much more understandable if I see pinyin together with it. Especially difficult ones like zh, ch, or sh. But then I wonder, is it easier because the pinyin is helping me understanding what’s being said, as it is being said, or because my brain is corrupting the sound into something familiar? An incorrect interpretation influenced by the latin letters.