Ever been studying a language for several years, and then brusquely receive some piece of information about it that you learned in the first few hours of study? Please share your experiences in this thread. Mandarin. Regardless of how long I've studied, or how well I seem to be communicating, I still get "There are 4 tones in Mandarin, you know!" every once in a while. This used to happen when I made tone mistakes. Native speakers thought it was necessary to teach me about tones, which was a little embarrassing. These days when I hear it, it's usually a random statement from natives that, I assume, are used to "helping" beginners by saying it, so they think I will also appreciate it. Lot's of natives, maybe even most, aren't aware of tones and their associated rules; they just use them naturally. So I suspect it's sort of like new information about their own language that they are eager to share with learners.