ChinesePod dialogues for HSK 4

Posted on January 17, 2016 (last updated January 23, 2016)

I previously constructed a list of ChinesePod dialogues for HSK levels 1, 2 and 3. This blog post provides a list of dialogues for HSK level 4.

HSK level 4 contains 600 new words; obviously, the more words we need to cover the harder it will be to cover them all with ChinesePod dialogues. I suspect it will not make sense to construct a list of dialogues for HSK levels 5 and 6 (which have 1200 and 2500 new words, respectively). As it is, the list below covers 404 words out of 600, leaving 196 words uncovered. Out of these 196 words 75 words from HSK 4 do not appear in any ChinesePod dialogue at all; the remaining 121 only appear in the dialogues that only cover one HSK 4 word per dialogue, or in a handful of cases 2 (but with a relevancy score of less than 8%). (See the Addendum below for additional dialogues covering only one word per dialogue.)

As before, I’ve computed this “relevancy score” as the number of HSK 4 words that appear in the lesson’s key vocabulary versus the number of words that don’t appear in HSK 1-4 and are not “harmless” additional vocabulary. The general idea is that a word is harmless if it helps, or at least does not distract, study for HSK 4. I’ve considered a word harmless if

For the purposes of computing the score, if a word appears twice in a lesson, and the second occurrence is a compound making use of HSK vocabulary, I’ve only counted it as irrelevant once; for instance, lesson “That’s Not Your Food” contains both 鱼香肉丝 and 肉丝; 肉丝 is an “irrelevant” word (for the purposes of studying for HSK 4), but since 鱼香肉丝 only adds HSK 1-4 components I’ve not counted it as a second irrelevant word.

I applied the same sort of criteria when designing the list for HSK 1-3, but since it was harder to construct the list for HSK 4 I’ve been more thorough in marking words as harmless or not. The resulting list consists of 112 and has an average relevancy score of 37%, which is pretty good. Detailed statistics below the list of dialogues.

In the selection of dialogues I’ve tried to prefer Intermediate level dialogue, with some Upper Intermediate. Lower levels were only picked if they covered words that weren’t covered in higher levels.

If you use Pleco for studying Chinese (if not, you should!) you might also want to download the Pleco flashcard file that I have created for these dialogues. As before, 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 4 (67% coverage, 112 dialogues, 37% relevancy)

Detailed Statistics

Words that were not covered in any ChinesePod dialogue:

Words that were covered, but only in lessons that covered only one HSK word or contained too many non-HSK words (note: the count of relevant words per lesson obviously depends on how many lessons have already been picked, and thus how many words have already been covered; starting with a different selection might leave a different set of “lone words”):

The following words from HSK 4 were covered, but in slightly alternative form:

Addendum: Additional Dialogues (78% coverage, 61 dialogues, 30% relevancy)

The list above does not pick any dialogues that cover less than 2 HSK-4 words per dialogue. The list below consists of 61 additional dialogues, covering one HSK 4 word per dialogue, bringing the total coverage of HSK-4 up to 78%.

About two-thirds of these lessons are taken from the Elementary level (with a handful of Newbie lessons). For these levels I only picked lessons with a very high relevancy score (average relevancy score across the Elementary and Newbie lessons here is 45%). The idea is that these dialogues are then easy enough for a HSK 4 learner that they can listen just to the dialogue itself, skipping the full lesson. Since a dialogue lasts typically less than a minute, this doesn’t take much time and at least it will give you an example use case of those vocabulary words.

The other one third consists of Intermediate level lessons; since listening to an Intermediate level dialogue is more useful for HSK 4 learners, I’ve allowed a slightly lower relevancy score here (average relevancy score across the Intermediate level lessons is 18%).

This vocabulary is available from a separate Pleco flashcard file.

Detailed Statistics

Adding the dialogues in the addendum leaves the following words uncovered:

If you really wanted to, you could cover an additional 52 of these by picking a further 52 dialogues from Intermediate and Upper Intermediate levels, with an average relevancy score of about 6%; you can cover the remaining 8 words by using Advanced dialogues (still leaving 75 words from HSK 4 that are not covered in any ChinesePod dialogue). Since the relevancy scores of these dialogues is so low, I think it’s not worth it.