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Boya Chinese or HSK


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Hi! I want to start studying mandarin formally through a textbook. I’ve studied for HSK 1 using Duolingo app and I’m now in HSK 2. I was wondering if HSK 2 books or Boya Chinese Books would be better? Which Boya Chinese Book should I start as well if ever? Thank you!

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abcdefg

 

23 hours ago, Pkdel said:

I was wondering if HSK 2 books or Boya Chinese Books would be better? Which Boya Chinese Book should I start as well if ever? Thank you!

 

I used the Boya books, several years ago. They will give you a more rounded knowledge of the language than just studying test manuals. Suggest starting at the first year's books and moving very fast if you find those too simple. HSK 2 is not a well-defined point. It doesn't work well (or at least it didin't work well for me) to try and pick a more exact starting point farther down the road. Furthermore, a review never hurts. 

 

There was a point (in the 3rd or 4th year as I recall) at which these books became suddenly more difficult. The increase seemed less gradual and more of a sudden jump. Part of that was probably because they began using more formal language 书面语 and relying less on colloquial spoken forms of speech. 

 

Any creditible graded series of comprehensive language books would be better than just studying for HSK tests. Several are available. Take a look at some previous threads on the subject. Part of your choice of learning materials will be infuenced by whether you are doing it on your own or with a native teacher. 

 

Welcome to the forum! 

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mungouk
1 hour ago, abcdefg said:

a more rounded knowledge of the language than just studying test manuals. [...]

Any creditible graded series of comprehensive language books would be better than just studying for HSK tests.

 

I don't think it's fair to describe the HSK standard textbooks and workbooks as "test manuals" purely for test preparation... there's actually a pretty sensible, graded and scaffolded set of content, vocabulary, exercises and audio content in there.  

 

1 hour ago, abcdefg said:

There was a point (in the 3rd or 4th year as I recall) at which these books became suddenly more difficult. The increase seemed less gradual and more of a sudden jump. Part of that was probably because they began using more formal language 书面语 and relying less on colloquial spoken forms of speech. 

 

The HSK books do the same at around HSK 5. 

 

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abcdefg

Sorry, it looks like I misunderstood. I've never used the standard HSK textbooks about which you are asking. 

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PerpetualChange
On 11/2/2020 at 11:59 AM, mungouk said:

I don't think it's fair to describe the HSK standard textbooks and workbooks as "test manuals" purely for test preparation... there's actually a pretty sensible, graded and scaffolded set of content, vocabulary, exercises and audio content in there. 

 

I think they're as decent a place to start as any, but part of why I'd rather see people study with a different beginner textbooks is so they can avoid that bubble for themselves. 

There's so much HSK tie-in stuff out there that you could really differ encountering the actual language for many years, if you wanted to, and just stick with graded readers, articles and videos assembled from wordlists, and other "bubble" materials. Then you run into the "can anyone rec me a TV show at HSK5?" people who are asking that question after several years of study. 

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mungouk
1 hour ago, PerpetualChange said:

you could really differ encountering the actual language for many years, if you wanted to

 

differ --> defer?

 

Well exactly the same argument applies to any syllabus-based textbook series, doesn't it, regardless of whether it's HSK, NPCR or whatever.

 

I agree it's important to move beyond the limitations of a fixed vocabulary and build your own ability to communicate in the domains that are important in your own life, work, hobbies etc. And at some point you need to build a habit of consuming "native" content (presumably this is what you mean by "actual language"...)

 

But @Pkdel was asking about starting out.

 

FWIW I started off with the Integrated Chinese series before moving to HSK. I've no axe to grind. 

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I've gone through all the books of both the HSK standard course as well as Boya and I think HSK standard course is really good if your purpose is preparing for the HSK exam. They are very time-efficient, the grammar points are clearly laid out and it does not go too much in depth on stuff that is more literary. Plus, the workbooks are the exact same format as the exam.

 

The Boya series are also a good alternative for preparing the test, and I would say Boya elementary 1 to Boya Intermediate 2 roughly cover the same content as the whole HSK standard course series. However, I think the Boya books provide better and more exercises. From Boya advanced 1 to 3 it goes beyond the official syllabus and it becomes quite formal/ literary. Regarding vocabulary, while HSK standard course sticks to the official syllabus, the Boya series as a whole provides about twice as much vocabulary as the HSK standard course series. The reason is that I think the Boya series was intended to cover all the old HSK's syllabus, which at least in terms of vocab was significantly larger than the current HSK.

 

All in all I would recommend choosing Boya series if you are not in a hurry to pass the HSK exam. If this is the case then the HSK standard course is great for preparing the exams in a short amount of time.

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