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Chinese listening seems impossible
Hello everyone, I wanted to discuss with you a problem that I have with Chinese listening. No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to understand spoken Chinese (in textbook audios, or some videos). When I then see the Chinese subtitles, I understand everything. I am around HSK3 level. Have you experienced a similar problem and if yes, how did you manage to get over it? Thanks for your help.
May 7, 2020 7:46 AM
Comments · 20
Chinese speaking and listening is a hard part. I am a native Chinese. In my opinion, we can understand each other's language by habit. If someone say a sentence from somewhere he was read, we can't understand as well. Chinese language not like English, a lot of words have same pronunciation, for example:
1) 你迟到了么?
2) 你吃到了么?
the pronunciation of these two sentences are almost same, but they have very different meaning. Fortunately, we say them in very different situation, so the situation you are being is the key.

I think the most effective way to improve Chinese listening is to keep using it in life. To chat with people face to face, to make a video chat, talk about everything in daily life, then you can understand. Find some sentences you can't clearly listened, and say it your self, then let your language partner say it again, find the difference, then you will get the way.
May 13, 2020
Hi, Lucie. I know what you mean. Sometimes they just say it fast and it kind of slurs--just like how we speak.
---For example, "I don't know" becomes " I dunno" or "Iono". Everything's not enunciated all the time unless. we. emphasis. like. this.
---Or "how should I...." becomes "how should die" that's because we slur the sounds "d" and "i" together.

Sometimes when you learn a new language, don't try to catch every word/sound/tone. Just focus on the "main" words that you heard. (*I forgot the English word for that, but yeah, just the main words.) Or just see what the word you heard sounds like in Mandarin.
---For example, maybe in Mandarin it's "gen wo lai (come with me)", but maybe you heard, "ke wo lai" or "ken wo lay"....what does it sound like in the Mandarin that you know, and does it match the context?
---Or maybe it's "ta ting bu dong (he/she doesn't understand)", but you heard "ta tang bu thong" (lol) "rearrange" the sounds in your head--in the way you actually understand it in Mandarin, which is "ta ting bu dong".
---Or, "They WEN to UH store AN BAH-DUH cake." If you were learning English and only caught/understood the words "," then you can kind of guess what the speaker said.

Anyway, my Mandarin listening skills are a lot stronger than the other skills, and that technique^ (just focusing on what I hear, understand, and can connect to the context) works for me very well. Hope this works for you, too. Good luck. Fighting! 加油! ^-^
May 13, 2020
Which resources are you using for listening practice? You need to build up your 听力 with really simple things at first. Just because the audio contains words that you know, that doesn't mean you will be able to understand. It's like a muscle that you need to develop.
May 7, 2020
This probably isn't what you want to hear, but you just have to listen more. I used to get my friends to record short stories for me, and then I'd study them and listen to them on repeat for probably around 3 hours a day. After a good year and a half of this my listening had improved significantly. You'll also find your pronunciation gets better the more you listen.

May 7, 2020
I think you will need to speak in Chinese, so that your ears are more sensitive to the Chinese pronunciation. I also have same problem in English. I can understand the writing, but confused about the listening. ATA
May 7, 2020
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Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), Czech, English, German, Korean, Russian, Spanish
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin), German, Korean, Spanish