ChinesePod dialogues for HSK 1-3

Posted on October 17, 2015

ChinesePod is an absolutely excellent resource for students of Chinese. It provides tons and tons of dialogues at all levels, from Newbie to Advanced; each dialogue is accompanied by an explanation (in English at the lower level, in Chinese at the highest levels, and in a mixture of English and Chinese at the intermediate levels) as well as a vocabulary list, grammar exercises, etc. I can highly recommend it.

However, although the dialogues are organized by level, those levels do not correspond to the HSK levels. Coming up with a list of dialogues per HSK level is a non-trivial task; ideally such a list would satisfy a number of requirements:

Some additional design goals are

Satisfying any one of these requirements is easy, but satisfying all of them all is a difficult balancing act. It’s almost impossible to do by hand, so I wrote a piece of software to help me with it; it’s available from GitHub if you’re curious. The construction of the list is still not fully automated, because there are still many decisions that require some thought; for instance, if the HSK curriculum includes 冬 and 夏 then it’s okay to pick a ChinesePod dialogue that includes 冬天 and 夏天 instead, but if the curriculum includes 东 and 西 then including a dialogue with 东西 is not okay. So it becomes a computer aided process, but not an automated process.

Anyway, below is the list of dialogues I constructed. For each HSK level I record how much of the HSK curriculum is covered by the dialogues (and which words are not covered), how many dialogues are included, and the percentage of HSK vocabulary against the total vocabulary used in the dialogues (i.e., a value of 100% means the dialogues used only HSK vocabulary; a percentage of 50% means the ratio HSK vocabulary to non-HSK vocabulary is 1:1, etc.). (HSK words are not covered either if there are no dialogues that include them, or if they are only covered in dialogues with a very low HSK to non-HSK vocabulary ratio.)

The links point to the dialogues on the ChinesePod website; you will need a ChinesePod account to access (most of) them. In addition, for those of you who use Pleco for studying Chinese, I also provide a Pleco flashcard file. After importing that into Pleco you will get a new “ChinesePod” category in your flashcards, with subcategories for HSK1, HSK2, and HSK3, and subsubcatgories for each individual dialogue. (The flashcards include only the vocabulary that appears in the dialogue; vocabulary in the lesson’s supplemental vocabulary that does not appear in the dialogue is not included.)

HSK 1 (92% coverage, 39 dialogues, 51% HSK vocabulary)

For the HSK1 list I gave preference to Newbie dialogues over Elementary dialogues, and included no dialogues of a higher than Elementary level.

The following HSK 1 words are not covered by this list: 读, 些, 医院, 饭店, 米饭, 商店, 电脑, 中午, 电影, 后面, 电视, 苹果. Some words were covered in a slightly different form: 什么时候 instead of 时候, 你的 instead of 的, 多少 instead of 少, 下个月 instead of 月; 看见 is covered by the combination of 看 and 听不见, and finally 上 and 下 are both covered in various combinations (下午, 一下, 上海, 晚上, 上午, etc.).

HSK 2 (94% coverage, 58 dialogues, 38% HSK vocabulary)

For the HSK 2 list I consider all HSK 1 vocabulary known (but not the non-HSK vocabulary that was covered in the dialogues we picked for the HSK 1 vocabulary). For this list I gave preference to Newbie and Elementary levels, and included one Intermediate level dialogue.

The following HSK 2 words are not covered by this list: 公共汽车 (though 公交车 is included instead), 妻子, 铅笔, 正在, 打篮球, 跑步, 帮助, 事情, 着, 高 (though 高兴 is included). Some words were covered in a slightly different form: 足球 and 踢 as two separate words instead of 踢足球, 外卖 (and 老外) instead of 外, 晴天 and 阴天 instead of 晴 and 阴, 问题 instead of 题, 出去 instead of 出, 每天 instead of 每.

HSK 3 (93% coverage, 108 dialogues, 29% HSK vocabulary)

For the HSK 3 level I consider all HSK 1 and HSK 2 vocabulary known (though not the additional vocabulary covered by the above dialogues). I have used dialogues at Newbie, Elementary and Intermediate level; none of higher level.

The following HSK 3 words are not covered by this list: 多么, 照相机 (but 照片 is included), 行李箱 (but 行李 is included), 黑板, 刮风, 黄河, 不但, 船, 西, 东, 树, 极, 矮, 个子, 街道, 皮鞋, 几乎, 成绩, 中间, 起飞 (but 起 and 飞 have both been covered already), 段, 环境. Some words were covered in a slightly different form: 多久 instead of 久, 瓶 instead of 瓶子, 夏天 instead of 夏, and similarly for 冬天, 春天 and 秋天, 邮件 and 电子书 instead of 电子邮件, 南京 instead of 南, 口渴 instead of 渴, 地址 and 地铁 instead of 地, 刻钟 instead of 刻.