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Involuntarily Picturing Pinyin when Listening

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When I first started learning Mandarin, I drilled Pinyin (along with IPA) to get used to both hearing and pronouncing the sounds of Mandarin.  Now, 3-4 months in, I've developed the habit of converting any Mandarin I hear into Pinyin in my mind.  It's instantaneous and out of my control.  I don't do this with English.  I learned Zhuyin to see if I could swap the scripts, but mostly I translate the Roman text quickly into Zhuyin.  I simply can't think in Zhuyin fast enough.  Obviously I'd like to rely entirely on Hanzi at some point, but the number of characters I know is very limited.  I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced hearing everything in Pinyin?  If so, does it start to fade once you start making the conversion to Hanzi?  I'm starting to wish I hadn't learned Pinyin first at this point.  The Roman alphabet is so ingrained that I don't know if I'll be able to break the habit.

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1 hour ago, WaiMi said:

I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced hearing everything in Pinyin?

Yes, and the same thing also happens with me in English.


1 hour ago, WaiMi said:

If so, does it start to fade once you start making the conversion to Hanzi?

Not without significant and active effort to train yourself to see Hanzi instead.  Even now, after significant effort I still see pinyin for some characters.


1 hour ago, WaiMi said:

I simply can't think in Zhuyin fast enough.

This is the core of the issue.  You are still a beginner.  It doesn't matter what system you choose it will never be as fast as Roman letters because you don't have enough exposure and usage of the other system.  Even if you didn't learn Pinyin first you'd likely be converting to some other Roman approximation rather than seeing Zhuyin or Hanzi instead.  The only thing that will fix is this is regular and consistent practice over time.


I wouldn't worry about it too much at the moment but if you'd like to get to the point where you are visualising characters instantly here are my suggestions for learning to how to do that with a more specific example a little bit later in that thread here.

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It is still early stages of learning so dont worry. 拼音 a good skill to have for looking up 汉字 in a 字典。


Once you get more advanced, it should gradually fade.


For French, which I did at school, I had a lack of listening and conversation practice. When I hear it, it gets written out in French in my brain.


Chinese is much better. I try to listen first and know the meaning. I think it depends on how much exposure you at near native speed listening with speaking. Try following the 汉字 along a video clip. Once you get to know more 汉字, karaoke should be quite helpful. 

Edited by Flickserve

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