Friday, December 07, 2007

Language Proficiency (or how inept am I?)

Yesterday, I picked up a copy of last year's Chinese proficiency exam from the office. I was told that this test is more practical than the HSK, which is more focused on grammar. I looked through the exam last night and realized that I probably know about 75% of the characters (the most difficult part is reading the instructions). I don't know what the listening section involves, but Jia said she'd try to make up something to fit it. I think I could probably pass the exam now if I tried, but I'd rather study until May or June and try for a higher score.

One of the more difficult parts that I found was in some of the characters that I already know. One of the answers to a question was 师生 (shi sheng). I know these two characters, but I've never seen them together. I asked Jia about it. Apparently, this means teacher and student. To me, I would think of teacher and student as 老师和学生 (laoshi he xuesheng). However, it seems the Chinese enjoy shortening phrases such as this to confuse the foreigners.

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with the post. I just figured I'd continue with the whole Photo Friday thing and give you something to look at. This is a view of Songpan from a mountainside temple. We stopped for the night after a 12 hour bus ride from Chengdu on the way to Huanglong and Jiuzhaigou. It's a beautiful little town in northern Sichuan province that's known for horse trekking.

1 comment:

Julia said...

I would dread having to take an exam in Chinese proficiency. After Mandarin school and some classes in uni I didn't really keep up with the language, but lately I have been studying at www.zhongwenred.com which is a great site although rather basic.