To those second language learners of Chinese, do you think teachers of Chinese are tough enough on tones or too tolerant? Is being able to understand the learner enough?
Do you then talk to a new person in Chinese who sometimes wonders what on earth you are talking about?
TO Learner SC,
It depends on what goals you want to achieve in learning Chinese.
Tones absolutely is important when you want to make your Chinese speaking easy to comprehend to the natives. But as a learner, don't be too nervous or worried about this problem, I guess the natives still can understand what you mean if the sentencse are grammatically right. I would prefer to speculate the sentences with inaccurate tones, rather than those with inaccurate grammars.
Still if you want to improve your tones skill, you'd better to find someone who can immediately point out your faults and you must reinforce the accurate ways with repeated rehearsals.
As a Chinese teacher,I think it's very important for Chinese foreign learners to pronounce the tones well because Chinese has many homophones so tones play a very important role in expressing your meaning.Besides,some teachers may pay less attention on your tones if you are just a beginner.But if you are a advanced Chinese speaker,you really need to emphasize your tones even though your teachers don't do that.
They always wonders what on earth I'm talking about unless I talk to my friends.
My Chinese teacher always correct my tones, especially if I say 汉语 as 韩语, for example.
But they can't do it after every single word. She always corrects my third tone.
So, talkin in general, it depends on a particular teacher. Some teachers are too tolerant, but some of them correct you every time.
I noticed that in our Confusius University.
"But if you are a advanced Chinese speaker,you really need to emphasize your tones even though your teachers don't do that.". Quite difficult when teachers are not strict all the way through.
Goals? Not to sound like "天不怕，地不怕，最怕是香港人说普通话“（很抱歉香港朋友们，请不太认真！）
Before I started Putonghua, I didn't realise the effect of Cantonese.
Good advice you gave
Thank you Barry!
To Learner SC:
It's absolutely normal for a languager learner to make mistakes.I suggest you try to watch some TV series or movies in Chinese,which can help you with your tones.And you can watch cartoons if you feel difficult to understand the TV series because cartoons always use some simple sentences.I am trying to improve my English now,so I choose an American TV series called FRIENDS for learning material.I am sure you will speak Chinese well one day by practising and listening Chinese language more.