Hi @YuQinCai, @Constance_Fang @Fiona and the ChinesePod team, my question is this:
My name is Stefano and I have been working in China for about three weeks now. One of the things I have come to realize and observe since I have been in China as an ESL Teacher, is that practicing Chinese as a Foreigner I tend to try to speak slowly and pronounce ever tone in a word or in the words I speak to the locals. However, doing this I often realize that the locals do not understand me and when they speak Chinese, they often do not stress tone pronunciation the way I do.
Example, if I say Ni3hao3, they greet me using the same, but they say it so fast, it can almost sound like Ni4hao4, or just a shorter tone. This is just one of the many examples.
I also noticed that sometimes, more often than not, speaking faster gives more understanding to the locals than taking one’s time to say and pronounce the words and sentences properly.
How can I understand this and improve my Mandarin speaking ability?