I’m getting close to quitting Mandarin for now. For various reasons. One being that the environment I was in when I started learning the language and was motivated to do so, isn’t there anymore. I started when I was in a College that was at least 40% Chinese Mandarin speaking people. Now finished school it’s like I have no reason to communicate with them. If I had spent the time while I was in school talking to them and making friends I might still be highly interested but that’s not what happened. I was focused on graduating for the most part.
Now out of school, I feel there is a strong barrier between Chinese and non Chinese. I don’t feel I have enough in common with them to carry on a conversation and make friends with them based on their culture.
HOWEVER, I have another method. Maybe this will help me, or maybe it wont but will help others. The method is this.
Instead of feeling like you have to be fluent in order to talk to them and they not feel like they are not having a good time.
Instead of working hard to learn a bunch of Chinese without any real communication, separate the motivational goal from the process of getting there. Which could easily make someone quit.
Instead of feeling like only saying Nihao is not ok because anyone could say that and it kinda makes you seem like a “tryhard” or not intelligent.
Instead of you being about to say some really cool sentences and them looking at you like wow you know Chinese, and then you feel like a phoney cause you only know some and are not nearly as fluent as they think.
(These are my feelings btw, they may not be yours).
This Method starts you and all the people you would like to talk with, at the very beginning of your language journey and you grow in their presence. You go to a Chinese grocery store or shop on day one of the process and say nihao and xiexie to the cashier, and maybe, wo xuexi hanyu.
The next day, you say tian qi hao, or tian qi bu hao, the weather is good or not good,
or Zuijin hao ma, how are you recently.
Learn a few sentences, maybe only 2 each day.
Just start with small talk and work your way up with each new Chinese person you talk to.
Slowly, culmination build up a repertoire not of things you could say in conversation, but of things you do say in conversation. When they respond to you in Chinese which some will eventually, make a note of what they said, ask them what it was, write it in pinyin and learn it and memorize a response to it. Even if its not a question, find something you can say back.
The SRS should be used only for things you have learned through conversation or learned at home and used in conversation at least once.
Eventually you will feel comfortable learning 3 or 4 sentences each day as you get used to the language and as the main words are more repeated. Eventually you will be hearing more responses each day as you say more things.
At the same time audio immersion, active immersion in down time(maybe), and maybe writing if your interested.