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Mai Kairong

How many Characters in 3 yrs?

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Mai Kairong

I know that it varies wildly of course, but if you had to say a number, how many characters do you think a student should be able to read (that is, know pronunciation and meaning in at least one context) after 3 years of Chinese at an American or other Western University?

Again, I know there is no magic number. I just want some opinions.

Thanks!

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Shadowdh

how long is a piece of string?

But seriously it varies wildly based on effort put in, retention ability and practice time spent... I would have no idea how many I know after 3 years at uni... it seems that I only know how many I dont know... sigh.

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HerrPetersen

I heard from a friend who studies Chinese in university that around 300 per semester is normal, once you are used to it a little more per semester. So 3x2x300=1800 or 2000 might be a reasonable estimate.

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imron
But seriously it varies wildly based on effort put in, retention ability and practice time spent
More than anything, I think it depends on consistency. 3 characters a day (which for most people will be quite a slow and easy pace) every day for 3 years would equal over 3,000 characters. The difficulty lies not in learning the characters, but rather in doing it every day.

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JenniferW

If you look at the HSK website, you'll see that a number of words (not characters) is given for each level. Many people taking degrees at western universities are also taking HSK exams, so you could work backwards for a typical number and also be able to compare it to what people achieve from Chinese degree courses.

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Shadowdh
More than anything, I think it depends on consistency. 3 characters a day (which for most people will be quite a slow and easy pace) every day for 3 years would equal over 3,000 characters. The difficulty lies not in learning the characters, but rather in doing it every day.

Yes I agree Imron, I should have been more clear as this is what I meant by practice time spent... I should have added consistently...

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Hofmann

Based on the Chinese students at my university, I'd say about 2000.

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Tianci

At my university: between 3600 and 4200 hanzi

(about 1200-1500 hanzi per year)

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tooironic

I would be more interested in how many characters one is expected to write after three years. That would be even more difficult to gauge or generalise about, especially considering even native speakers have trouble with writing.

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Tianci
Tianci : At my university: between 3600 and 4200 hanzi

(about 1200-1500 hanzi per year)

tooironic: I would be more interested in how many characters one is expected to write after three years. That would be even more difficult to gauge or generalise about, especially considering even native speakers have trouble with writing.

For these 3600/4200 hanzi, we must know reading, writing, pronouncing all of them

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gato

Tianci, what school is that? Are most students able to meet that requirement?

Do you have a reading list for classes at your school that you can share?

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Tianci

My "university":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institut_national_des_langues_et_civilisations_orientales

Are most students able to meet that requirement?

Yes. In fact, we must meet that requirement: students who can't meet that, choose to leave the university...:-?

But,there are 2 degrees : "normal cursus"(4 years for a licence) and "intensive cursus"(3 years for a licence). I'm in the "intensive cursus".

Do you have a reading list for classes at your school that you can share?

Maybe...If anyone wants to have list, I will try to find my list...:wink:

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peekay

Nice!! Do you have a word-count in addition to the hanzi count?

I think HSK Intermediate expects around 4,000 hanzi and 10,000 words... maybe a reasonable goal for a focused language training program, but perhaps optimistic for regular university students who might not be Chinese majors after all.

I'd say most students I've met with 2-years (4-semesters) of Chinese abroad still know less than 1000 hanzi characters, and maybe could pick up another 1000 with an additional year if they're motivated.

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roddy
I think HSK Intermediate expects around 4,000 hanzi and 10,000 words...

Not quite that bad. HSK intermediate covers the first three levels, so 5000 words, 2100 characters. See here.

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renzhe
I think HSK Intermediate expects around 4,000 hanzi and 10,000 words...

The HSK Advanced requires less than 3000 individual characters and less than 9000 words.

At least based on the vocabulary lists floating around the net.

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peekay

Wow, you guys are right!! I double-counted, i.e., I added the totals for each HSK level instead of just the differences... sad since I was a math major back in school. :roll: On the other hand, my HSK ambitions just went way up!! :D

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roddy

Not often you get to wipe 2,000 characters off your 'to learn' list.

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imron
The HSK Advanced requires less than 3000 individual characters and less than 9000 words.

But also remember that 25% of the text in the reading sections contain words outside the HSK word lists.

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roddy

Is that an 'official' figure, or has someone counted? Have wondered about that, but never actually checked.

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