I am stuck in the lesson 1.9. I simply can't reproduce by heart the sentences. It seems that the course sudenly jumped to a more difficult level. What should I do? Should I continue the course or should I insist in the lesson no matter how much time it takes?
I am stuck in a lesson
March 19, 2021
March 19, 2021
Hi Marina Soler,
I am sorry to hear about the inconvenience, and I can also relate to the feeling of being stuck on your progress; if you feel this lesson is too overwhelming, you can either break it into parts or chunks and focus on learning the phrases you'd like to master; or you can move on, and then go back to it for review.
Remember that the goal is for you to feel comfortable with the language, and to understand what you're hearing and how to say it back; I'd say try to focus not so much on the time each lesson takes, but how much you're learning and understanding in each lesson. And sometimes, moving on to a different topic and then going back for review helps to grasp the concepts better.
May 15, 2021
When I wrote my review of Rocket Chinese two years ago, I said this:
"I'm having a hard time making any progress in Rocket Chinese. Eleven- or twelve-morpheme sentences are just too long for a beginner in the language."
I was an experienced language learner, but just like you, Marina, I felt completely stymied.
I don't know how far I got in my first attempt, but I got discouraged and stopped learning. Now I'm back, newly motivated, and then hit lesson 1.9. Like you, I felt that the difficulty level had just jumped in a major way. This lesson has sentences with up to 13 syllables or morphemes! There are quite a few with 8 to 10 morphemes. The sentences are spoken at a pretty normal rate of speed, and I am finding it close to impossible to listen and try to repeat them.
I have used Pimsleur in the past, and every sentence is broken down into words or syllables which are practiced individually, and then the sentence is built up bit by bit, so that when you get to the complete sentence, you already know all the components and the sentence becomes easy. Some of the words in lesson 1.9 appear only in the long sentences, and it appears that we are expected to learn the sentences but not the individual vocabulary terms.
In addition, some of these sentences are ones that I would be unlikely to need to use, especially at my stage of progress.
Marina, I don't know how your problem was resolved or how far you've progressed since you wrote this, but I pretty quickly determined that it was going to take me forever to complete this lesson if I was determined to learn all the long sentences perfectly. So I decided to just skip over some of the longer, less useful ones for now. When being tested on one of these, I went immediately to the answer and marked it hard. I might come back to these at some point when I feel that I can handle them better, but at this point I thought it was more important to keep going and concentrate on things that matched my level of learning and knowledge better.
I'm hopeful that this lesson was an anomaly and expectations will get more realistic again. I have my fingers crossed and am apprehensive but optimistic.
May 20, 2021
Indeed, we transform from just words and short phrases to sentences in this lesson. It's a big step towards carrying out a conversation, and it's not easy! That said, please don't feel discouraged when you can't get through an entire sentence at first try - the more you go through, the more familiar you'll be with Chinese sentences, which I must say, are so intrinsically different from any in Latin/Germanic/Greek languages.
On the audio side, the speaking speed in all our lessons are slower than how natives usually talk in everyday situations. A trick is to identify each character & word by its tone. Given that Mandarin is a tonal language, there is most likely a tone change between each and every character. Focusing on the tones will therefore not only help you break down the sentence, but is also a great way to perfect pronunciation.
As we are committed to helping you optimize your learning process, we want to thank you both for letting us know about your experience with the lessons. We have a review of Chinese scheduled for 2021/2022, and will keep your feedback in mind.
Stay safe! :)