What’s that one thing that you wouldn’t do in learning a language if you could go back in time?

The other day I was talking to a friend about the old days studying (and crying) Chinese.

And she asked me what would I have changed if I could go back in time about studying Chinese… I had no doubts in answering: focus more on pronunciation and tones!! I remember focusing only on writing tons of characters without even thinking about the exact pronunciation.

So now I’m asking you, what would you change in your “language learning process” if you could go back in time?

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I’d say believing that my improvement and progress will be constant and steady. It was NOT!

My Chinese learning journey started great and I learned a lot very quickly, then it started to become more stagnant, which really impacted me thinking something was wrong with me and the way I learned.

A long time later I realised it’s part of the process and progress doesn’t look like this :chart_with_upwards_trend::chart_with_upwards_trend::chart_with_upwards_trend: but like this :chart_with_upwards_trend::chart_with_downwards_trend::chart_with_upwards_trend:. I accepted the highs and lows of language learning and now I am more at peace with my ‘low’ moments.


Well said. There is no single Mandarin learner who goes up and up.

It’s exciting in the early stages because you learn so much - the same with any subject, let alone language.

When you can hold conversations you find it difficult to gauge improvement. The key is to keep consistently studying.

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I personally wish I had spent more effort and conistency into studying.
My husband and me did a one-year Chinese class as part of his job training before coming to China for the first time (that was 2012) and the teacher always asked us if we wanted some homework. Guess what we answered. :rofl: We were probably only at HSK Level 2 at that time.

After coming to China, I also didnt continue studying but picked-up new words in conversation (hence often times don’t know how they’re written) and then, when going back to Germany, I wasn’t exposed to anything Chinese for four years, so by the time we came back to China for the second time, I forgot almost everything. It came back pretty quickly and after a year my Chinese was better than ever (Thanks LTL :smiley: ) but I could be at a totally different level had I continously studied.

To be honest, I’m at a low again right now but I guess the most important thing for at the moment is to define why I’m studying Chinese and for what purpose, so I can regain some motivation.

PS: On the opposite side, what I’m really grateful for is my teachers spending so much time on phonetics in the beginning. I think we spent the first month of that one year just trying to properly pronounce all the Chinese syllables which really makes a difference now!


That’s a very good point, knowing why we study a language.

There’s a big difference between "having to"and “wanting to” !

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