I have noticed that there is a big gap between my listening comprehension under ideal conditions (f.e. listening to a chinese movie/TV show/ChinesePod at my computer) and real-life listening comprehension (f.e. listening to friends at a loud chinese restaurant or sometimes just stuff like listening to a clarification question after I ordered milk tea at a noisy street).

I'm sure most Chinese learners face similar issues and I haven't come across any good strategy how to tackle this. Since I do not live in China I do not get enough input to use the "just listen more under non-ideal conditions"-strategy.

Do you have any suggestions/ideas?

  • Get earphones and listen to things as you go around doing stuff. Oct 11, 2016 at 17:39
  • 非理想的条件是可造成自己的,比如说可以打开两个网络节目(如电视剧,新闻报道等)的声音而调一下这两个声音强度来加强或者削弱其中之间的干扰
    – user6065
    Oct 11, 2016 at 19:02
  • @user6065 与其说"造成自己"好像不如说"自己造成"(见jukuu)
    – user6065
    Nov 11, 2016 at 17:46
  • You should listen to amateur audio recordings, lectures, old radio broadcasts, speeches, etc. Those recordings are usually low quality audio, have background noise, the speaker has an accent, speaks broken Mandarin, etc. Everything you need to train your comprehension of real life Chinese Mandarin. Look around on archive.org, vdisk.weibo.com.
    – imrek
    Dec 11, 2016 at 18:48

2 Answers 2


Try your best.

Similar to any language that being "localised", it took "origin" speaker time to adapt in order to understand different slang. E.g. A GB English speaker will have a hard time following Australian English, New Jersey slang, Mississipi slang.

If you watch series from PRC, it is mostly Beijing slang. If you don't understand most of the words speaking by some Chinese, then you probably hearing some sort of dialect, e.g. Shang-hai-hua, Guang-dong-hua ,etc.


Let me answer that based on my experience as an English learner. Just keep listening under ideal conditions. Don't worry about that. One day you'll surprise yourself being able to listen to Chinese in noisy background or even multi-tasking. The building of listening comprehension is extremely slow and imperceptible. You may need years of patience especially for a language with totally different phonetic system. Most foreign language learners around the world don't even manage to do what you can do now. Good job and carry on!

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