How long does it take to learn Chinese?
Posted by: Samsongulou (IP Logged)
Date: July 27, 2012 03:56AM
In the following article a comparison between student progress using a traditional teaching approach and student progress using a modern teaching method for studying Mandarin Chinese will be made. The standardized Chinese proficiency test HSK will serve as a benchmark to answer the question how quickly a student may pass the different levels starting with no Chinese knowledge at all and progressing through levels 1 to 6.
Definition of Chinese learning methods
Studying Chinese is different from most languages because of the Chinese character system. Learners of a language employing an alphabetical system only have to spend limited time on the writing and reading aspect of that language and are therefore most concerned with building vocabulary, grammatical knowledge, and listening and pronunciation. A traditional teaching approach mixes together all aspects of Chinese language learning – speaking, listening, reading and writing – and gives them equal weight. Due to the nature of the Chinese language this separation is in principle correct, it has, however, traditionally not been executed consequently; there is an overlap of the four disciplines so that students in listening class may end up studying characters as well thus slowing the class down.
The modern teaching method aims to execute this separation of the disciplines consequently. It separates audio, visual, creative and mechanical skills and ensures that the tedious process of learning Chinese handwriting will not slow down much more effective audio and visual based acquisition.
1. audio based: speaking and listening class
2. visual based: general reading (character recognition)
3. creative: composition
4. mechanical: handwriting
Expected progress of Chinese learning
Students being instructed using the modern teaching approach can expect to progress at the following speeds with a standard pace of 10-20 class hours per week*.
HSK level 1 40-60 class hours
HSK level 2 40-60 class hours
HSK level 3 40-60 class hours
HSK level 4 80-120 class hours
HSK level 5 120-180 class hours
HSK level 6 180-240 class hours
For a comparable result under a traditional teaching method students will need to invest up to twice the amount of effort. Please note, that no progress can be guaranteed.
*The data is based on a student studying two hours per day one-to-one, with a teacher trained in teaching Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language. In terms of student-teacher ratio it can be assumed that a one-to-one class is twice as efficient as a one-to-two class and so on.
Re: How long does it take to learn Chinese?
Posted by: Xiaolang (IP Logged)
Date: January 19, 2013 02:50PM
For me flashcards were very helpful when studying all the HSK words. Have a look at [www.wohok.com]
There you can find free HSK flashcards, all 5000 words ordered by level and provided in a way that's great for step by step learning!