It is language teaching and learning that made me focus on the tonal phonemes in Chinese. The lack of tones in their L1s leads to decreased sensitivity to tonal patterns in learners of Chinese as L2. Consequently, the learner does not fully distinguish tonal patters neither in speech perception nor in production. In conversions between a learner and a proficient user of Chinese (such as a native speaker or a teacher of Chinese), both interlocutors need to resort to context (both phonological and semantic) to maintain communication. However, it needs to be remembered that the level of homophony of syllables is very high in Chinese so the ability to perceive and produce tones correctly is critical for communication. The correct perception of a syllable and a tone by a learner determines his or her ability to produce the syllable with sufficient accuracy. The present article compares two studies investigating perception and production of tones by learners of Chinese. One study is a published investigation of production and perception of four Chinese tones by a group of German learners. The other study presents data analysis of the perception test conducted among Polish learners of Chinese. The comparison reveals difficulties in learning tonal languages experienced by German and Polish learners of Chinese. The article emphasizes the need for expanding the sound inventory to the point when each of the four tonal patters is well contrasted with other ones.