It's 前途 (qian tu) which has pretty much the same meaning as 前程. Probably a typo in the subtitle or the actor said it differently from the script, the director thought it was fine, but the subtitle comes from the script.
It will come with more exposure. Watch movies/shows, listen to music, talk with people via voice-chat or in person.
One of the ways I trained myself to recognize the tones is to listen to the same tone, but with different sounds.
biao1 shen1 zhong1 ying1 then he2 ma2 qie2 liu2 etc.
I found this was really helpful when trying to become more ...
This is a very good question, which I also run into while I was learning English.
My approach to this is to learn 最小的语言单位 (I defined it as a Minimum Language Unit, MLU). I invented that term here, lol. MLU is a minimum language unit that can express something in practice. For example, the single character 向 xiang 4 doesn't mean anything and it's only valid ...
Listening is indeed mostly a matter of practice and there is little you can do if you have an exam next week. Improving listening ability takes a lot of time and short-term cramming won't help. I'm going to separate this answer into two parts: one short-term and one long-term.
In the short run, you can do a few things to improve your chances of ...
革:  [v] get rid of; dismiss; abolish
革 = remove (verb)
去 = away (result complement)
功名 = scholarly honour plus official position (noun)
革去功名 means "strip away all titles and government positions
The BBC was running a podcast a few years ago, 20th Century China. It's in Mandarin and has 35 episodes in total.
RTHK hosted another Mandarin language show, but not as in-depth as you might would like, rather bite-sized: 中国历史小档案
If you speak Cantonese, they have more detailed shows on Chinese history, e.g. 神州五十年. Check their podcasts list.
I don't play this game, so I could not guarantee the correctness, I just search it for you.
One suggestion is to listen to some old stuff because too many slangs, especially Internet slangs in nowadays movies, TV shows and something else. Even senior native speakers in China cannot understand them.
I used to listen to 成语故事 when I was a kid. I believe you can find tons of them online.
Based on your demand, here are my picks. They're locally famous.
南方人物周刊, a featured weekly on influencing people, with some exclusive interviews.
南方周末, a weekly on politics, economics, culture, and especially recent (past week) controversial topics.
新京报, a daily with Beijing (or China) features. Founded in 2003.
财经网, a good source for ...
Another source mentioning would be The Marco Polo Project. They have a lot of articles including translations (which you probably don't need). It still has 2 main advantages over other sources:
These articles are hand picked. So these are usually more interesting than the ones found on people.com.cn and the like.
They put their focus in selecting articles ...
The best way is to experience these mistakes as many as possible. This would have a deep impact on you even hardly forgotten.
There's nothing you need to do with your ears. Just let yourself make more mistakes and then tell yourself never make that again.
WeChat could convert the voice accepted from others to text. By 长按 (touch and hold) on the voice, and select "转换为文字（仅普通话）" (for Android) or "转文字" (for iOS), you'll get the text showed under the voice.
Note that it works only for 普通话 (putonghua), and the language of WeChat (maybe the language of the system, depending on the settings of WeChat) needs to be ...
Depending on what region they live in, quite a lot of natives cannot distinguish them very clearly, not only when listening, but also when speaking and typing.
And that's why many Chinese input methods have the function 模糊音 like this:
However, most time this is not a big deal in practice. There are already so many characters sharing exactly same sound ...
Of course, Chinese can distinguish them. But we highly rely on context.
For example, if you say xiàng merely, I have no way to figure out it, 像? 向? 象?
If you have accents, it could be 想, 香, 翔...
However, if you add more words, I will know it, the process is like unconscious pattern matching.
Liu xiang xiang xiang hai zi yi yang xiang jia ...
Some websites or apps you may need:
https://www.chineasy.com/ All you need. Looks like the best one.
https://www.chinesecharacterart.com/ No audio is a shortcoming
IOS app, not test.
Hope it's helpful
It is almost impossible in an official film and television program usually, except that the subtitles are mistyped, or that the foul words are not shown or replaced with the homophones intentionally. But, occasionally I also discover the cases like you said in TV drama subtitles, such as typos, mistyped synonyms. However, subtitles do not match the subtitle ...
Being non-natives, how can I improve myself to differentiate them properly?
I would recommend having a look at the Yoyo Chinese Pinyin Chart. There are plenty of Pinyin charts out there, but this one has videos covering the sounds which English speakers typically find difficult (look for the video icons next to some of the initials, finals, and syllables). ...
If you have only been learning for 5 weeks, you probably just need to listen and practice more. Maybe you could get a textbook with a CD. Read the pinyin while you listen. You can also use electronic flashcards. Have the pinyin on one side, and the character + sound file on the other. Or you could try to write pinyin for characters that you hear, and use ...
Let's be realistic: if you've only spent five weeks learning speaking and listening it is all only going to be gobbledygook. It probably feels pretty frustrating and hopeless at this point. That’s normal.
I would opt to say that the key to your differentiating would be in the finals (韵母) & their combinations with initials (声母).
Taking your first ...
Even native Chinese speakers sometimes have trouble distinguish similar sounding short phrases without enough context
Both 因緣 and 姻緣 are pronounced /Yīnyuán/ in Mandarin
If I only hear 'Yīnyuán' I cannot be sure it is '因緣', as in '因緣祭會'; or '姻緣', as in '姻緣天定'
漁火 /Yúhuǒ/ and 如火 /Rú huǒ/ are pronounced the same in Cantonese as /jyu4 fo2/
I recommend you watch CCTV-4 (Chinese international). Many of its programs are subtitled in BOTH Chinese and English. Plus, its translation is professional and accurate.
However, these programs are mostly documentaries and shows. I've not found any news program with English subtitle in China.
EDIT: There is a Simplified Chinese subtitled news program on J5, ...
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 ...
Unfortunately, the only good way to practice reading out loud. I would recommend using google translate for each word you don't know how to pronounce and use their pronunciation translator. (Their's is actually pretty accurate).
Luckily though, believe it or not the Chinese pronunciation is a higher learning curve but after that it's VERY simple. There's ...
There are many websites like PopupChinese or ChinesePod as well as textbooks or HSK practice exams with companion CDs that have beginner appropriate dialogues. One big list of listening materials is here: http://resources.hackingchinese.com/t/Listening. With the online sites you often need to pay additional money for a premium membership in order to ...