I Conducted a Years Long Experiment to See if I Could Overcome Chinese Accent Fossilisation. Here are the Results!

I’ve been conducting an experiment on myself to see whether it’s possible to undo deeply entrenched Chinese pronunciation & tone mistakes I’d accumulated over the years (otherwise known as fossilisation.) I document the results in this blog :blush:I Conducted an Experiment to See if I Could Overcome Chinese Accent Fossilisation. Here are the Results – I'm Learning Mandarin

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Interesting experiment. I am in no position to evaluate your chinese, but it is encouraging to hear an example of unlearning bad habits developed early. This reminds me of the Matt vs Japan pitch accent story, where he had to go back and “relearn” words he had already “learned” in a long arduous process.

Did you find it hard psychologically to go back and “relearn” in this way"? I imagine that could be challenging. Kudos to you for powering through.

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Thanks for your comment. I went through various psychological stages. First denial, the few native speakers honest enough to tell me the truth we’re just being malicious, I told myself. Then came the gradual depressing realisation that that they were right: I had a tone problem and it wasn’t small. Followed by a determination to do something about it. Next, despair when it became apparent how much effort I had to put in for small gains. Also resentment that for the longest time most native speakers couldn’t seem to tell the difference despite huge gains made between between, say 40% correct tones to 70% - to them it all just sounds like a wacky foreign accent. Eventually a sense of achievement when my efforts began reaping rewards.


Yes, the path you describe would seem to me to be more or less inevitable. Again, kudos for your mettle.

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