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Intermediate learners - How much of Fiona's speech do you understand on the fly?


I’m studying elementary, and at the same time just listening to audio for intermediate lessons. I’m trying to decide at what point to start actively studying intermediate. At the moment I understand very little of Fiona’s conversational chinese used in these lessons. When she slows down for emphasis, I understand a lot more.

I get that the intention isn’t that you would understand it all, especially at the start of switching to intermediate. But I’m trying to figure out how much i should be comprehending, and if i can get some input from other intermediate learners that would be helpful. thanks :slight_smile:


Hey Justin :slight_smile:

At the start of this week I finished my 80th elementary lesson (as recommended). It took me 3-4 months to reach this point, but by the end of it I could understand 80-100% of the elementary dialogues before hearing the translations.

Now that I’ve switched to intermediate, I understand maybe 40-50% of the dialogues before translations. Sometimes I can get the jist of what is being said. Sometimes I can’t understand enough to know what is happening. After the translations I have to review the dialogue and try listening again and again.

This feels comparable to when I started elementary. I’m happy for it to be somewhat difficult again. I know after 6-8 months of daily practice these lessons will be easy, too :smile:

Hope that helps!


I understand most of it, but I also engage in conversation with native Mandarin speakers almost every day and listen to news, TV and music in Mandarin. Doing so just helps with listening comprehension, so when I learn a new term or sentence structure, it’s already familiar (and vice versa). Have you switched entirely to intermediate lessons or are you sort of teetering back and forth? I’m transitioning into intermediate right now.


Thanks folks. I’m currently actively studying Ele, but listening to as many intermediate lessons as i can cram in as i go about my daily business. Unfortunately I have no other daily source of chinese speaking or listening, so progress is slow, but it’s coming


Yes, I find elementary too easy but Fiona at intermediate is pretty tough to understand.


All of it, and if there’s a vocabulary word I know what part of the speech was an unknown word.

Here’s why:

Fiona speaks very clearly and tailors her speech very well to the level of the learner. I thought I was soooo fluent because I understood her intermediate lessons so well…then I got to Shanghai and heard everyone speak with slurred words and needed a few weeks of serious adjustment.

I certainly can’t understand a lot of what she says in the more advanced lessons, but I can hear all her sounds very clearly.


I suppose what I’m getting at is that Fiona speaks far more clearly than your average person. And thus a struggling conversationalist can still understand her pretty well.