Chinese Language Learning – Question: Do you think someone with HSK3 should be able to understand a Chinese Nursery Rhyme?

>!Sorry, this was a trick question.!< I’m putting it forward though to start a discussion as to how much the HSK teaching materials (don’t) overlap with natural language acquisition for Chinese children. As I have been thinking of what kind of resources meant for native students are relevant to Chinese language students.

But, it quickly goes to show after doing some research: Just because something is meant for toddlers doesn’t mean it’s immediately understood by people who have HSK1/2/3. [Let’s take this nursery rhyme for example](* and take a look at some of the words featured in it that are post-beginner (I’m using the [new HSK levels]( here):

1. 统统 (advanced)
2. 救命 (intermediate)
3. 烦 (intermediate)
4. 啦 (intermediate)
5. 筐 (advanced)
6. 逛 (intermediate)
7. 甜品 (intermediate**)
8. 尝 (intermediate)
9. 汪 (auxiliary)
10. 缺氧(advanced**)
11. 可怜虫(intermediate**)

The song doesn’t even have 11 unique sentences. If we were going by the old Hanban model of only allowing HSK vocabulary in its teaching/testing material then this nursery rhyme meant for toddlers has already introduced enough advanced vocabulary for it to be limited to the new HSK7-8-9.

This isn’t meant to be taken as a “Haha! Your Chinese sucks!” kind of post. I can understand that some people might get demotivated with a post like this, and I apologize for that. What I’m trying to aim at is that the HSK is a learning path, which doesn’t properly overlap with how students in China learn the language. Getting a high passing grade on the HSK is great if you’re using it to pass a requirement, but its contents don’t really translate how you might expect them to. And while the new HSK reshuffling will have [a positive effect on when words are learnt]( (this list of words would’ve been a bit longer if I used the current HSK2.0 levels), it is still a language tool meant for adults to become familiarized with the language.***

# So! Keep learning and don’t use “being a grown-up” as an excuse to not [watch Peppa Pig](!


(*)>! Just be glad I didn’t use the Chinese version of Baby Shark.!<

(**) >!These words aren’t part of the HSK vocab, but their constituent characters are.!<

(***) >!Just like children I’d prefer to have conversations about parrots (鹦鹉) and barking dogs (汪汪的狗), but most adults would probably want to know how what bankruptcy (破产) is in Chinese.!<

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