Firstly, I love the HSK system because it’s clever and introduces compound words/characters really well. In HSK1 you may learn 谢谢Xièxiè (Thank you), in HSK3 觉得Juédé (Think), in HSK4 感谢Gǎnxiè (Thank) and 感觉(Gǎnjué). You can forgive HSK for becoming increasingly written language (especially HSK5 & HSK6).
And although I cannot really compare HSK1 to 高级口语, what I dislike the most (about HSK) is how pedantic and boring it became come HSK4. It’s educational but not stimulating. I remember how there’s a text from a taxi driver who says he likes traffic jams because it helps him relax, and what I feel a dozen texts on “只要你学习努力你肯定会成功”. And I also remember how, after both books of HSK4, I had almost no motivation left for learning Mandarin. Which is weird, because the progress in Chinese should open up new and more interesting topics.
I’ve always learned from the books with a teacher, handling text in the class and studying vocab & homework exercises on my own afterward. After HSK4, I started learning Developing Chinese instead of doing HSK5. And I remember how I smiled at those first classes for how fresh the contents felt, and by how useful the words were, learning so many useful words and re-using words but with new meanings or usages.
中级 I & II are good, then 高级 I was a bit pedantic (but still very good & useful). I remember there’s a class on how we shouldn’t use plastic bags, or whether divorce is a bad thing or not.
But the second book of 高级汉语 is really fantastic, it has a different author than the first but it’s from the same Beijing Language and Culture University Press (北京语言大学出版社).
The texts are interesting. I’ll list a few topics here:
* Should we have a women-only carriage in the subway?
* How will humans look in 100,000 years’ time?
* How to punish kids/students as a parent/teacher
* When is lying acceptable?
* Should marriage have an expiration date?
* Workaholics, a good or bad thing?
* Are first impressions correct?
* Different types of discrimination
* Your pet annoys me
* Are security cameras a good or bad thing?
* Would you tell others if you won the lottery?
* Should you use your real name online?
* Do famous people have the right to privacy?
It introduces new words and also sentence patterns. Let me share one text/page here (sorry for my notes): [https://imgur.com/a/XJpsCqJ](https://imgur.com/a/XJpsCqJ)
The most important sentence pattern here is “不仅。。。，也。。。” but also conjunction words like 因此，此外，由于，处于. (Even though its Spoken Chinese, it still handles some formal words.)
Mostly the topics have fascinated me. During each class, I discuss them with my teacher and I’m surprised by how well we can speak about these topics in Mandarin. It has hugely contributed to the joy I find in learning Chinese.
You are not wrong lol, HSK4 exam paper might as well be based around this sentence.
I’m studying Chinese using Developing Chinese with my italki teacher. I like its structure and how useful the expressions are in daily life. My teacher also loves the textbooks and hates the HSK Standard books XD Too bad not a lot of online teachers uses Developing Chinese.
>And I also remember how, after both books of HSK4, I had almost no motivation left for learning Mandarin.
This is how I ended up studying the HSK4 and HSK6 Standard Course textbooks, but not the HSK5. After HSK4, I was bored out of my mind.
I remember HSK4, there was a text like “Mrs Zhang wants to buy a fridge, but her husband doesn’t. They discuss it, and >!she buys a fridge!<.” Truly gripping (/s).
Textbooks are less tedious if you learn the vocabulary first.
Thanks for the write up! May I ask what approximate HSK level the 中级 and 高级 courses are? The reason I’m asking is that I’ve seen ‘intermediate’ in teaching materials be all over the place.
(Again, I know HSK will not actually map but I’m just looking for a rough idea.)
I will never study the HSK curriculum unless, perhaps one day, I need to pass a specific level for something important to me. It is far too boring. The conversation examples aren’t examples of real conversation. The text is unauthentic. The topics can’t hold my attention for more than a few minutes. I refuse to sit down and drill vocabulary.
I don’t know that I would still be learning Chinese where I am without LingQ. I am currently reading all sorts of different things. Journey to the West, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Russia invading Ukraine, Earthquake disasters, etc. All of these things are actually interesting.
I supplement this with a conversation tutor. He raises topics and we discuss them, such as the western jury/judge system or discussing local traditions, etc. It is all just so much more engaging learning words for relevant things。
I have been thinking about doing the HSK tests to be able to have something to show in interviews etc. I have lived and worked in China 15 years and speak mandarin quite fluently. I also read efficiently enough to get by. I was wondering if you can jump directly to a higher level test or if you have to take the lower levels first?
Isn’t 发展汉语 the standard issue text book for most language classes in China? I was at Qingdao University, Xi’an Foreign Studies University, and Jilin University. They all used that book as their main textbook (with other books supplementing depending on the class). Friends who went to different universities also all used 发展汉语.
I’ll look for this. Looks like fun
Any pdf books?