Chinese Language Learning – Thoughts and Advice as an Advanced Learner

I’ve noticed that most of the content on this subreddit is aimed towards beginner to intermediate learners (which is fair because they probably make up most of the users here), so as an advanced learner of Chinese, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and advice from my own experience.

**#1 Growing out of the beginner mindset**

There comes a point in your language learning journey where you have to stop seeing yourself as a learner of Chinese and start seeing yourself as a speaker of Chinese. There are some learning habits and strategies that you may have used near the beginning of your learning journey that are no longer compatible with the stage of learning you are at (such as flashcards, language apps, or other resources aimed towards Chinese learners). Instead, as an advanced learner, you should start learning Chinese the same way you learn new words and phrases in your native language. Put all of your focus on input and slowly accumulate new vocabulary and manners of speech through absorption and less through textbooks and courses. Start using monolingual dictionaries as they give more detailed definitions than bilingual ones. Pretend to be a native speaker and fill in the gaps in your knowledge as you go along.

**#2 Readjusting your fluency goals**

As I’ve reached higher levels of Chinese fluency, there is the odd time where I get upset with myself for not remembering a good word or not speaking super eloquently. However, I’ve often realized that in these scenarios, I wouldn’t have actually done too much better in my own native language. This made me realize that as a beginner-intermediate learner, my goal was to speak Chinese perfectly, but now I’m realizing that this standard is too high as my native language isn’t even that perfect. I don’t know if anyone else has this experience, but when I came to this realization, it made me feel much better about my progress.

**#3 Settling in for the long run**

When you start learning Chinese, you learn a lot of new vocabulary and grammar in a short period of time, and at that point there is still a vast amount you haven’t learned yet. However, once you get to the top of the intermediate level and make your way through the advanced levels, the amount of new words and grammar you learn become less and less. It makes it difficult to make significant progress quickly and can be discouraging (I know it has been at times for me). This is when I realized that I needed to shift my mindset from quick acquisition to gradual mastery. Making progress at higher levels requires experience gained from time, practice, and exposure.

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Are there any other advanced learners in this sub? What are your thoughts?



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