HSK 1 Intro

In this lesson, I’m going to introduce the HSK lists. If you haven’t heard of the HSK, you can google it, or take my word for it as it being the Chinese proficiency exam. The exam includes various sections and according to the level there are a certain number of characters tested.

We’re going to start with level 1 (there are 6) where there are 178 characters and 150 words. As I said in the about section, I’m going to just go through the list one by one. I’ll be going rather fast but of course you can follow at your own pace. I’ll be doing 8 at a time since I remember having to learn about 5-8 characters a week (or more).

Here are the first 8. You’ll find the stroke order and my own handwriting on the right.

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A little background on the characters if you don’t know them:

的 (de): possessive particle (as in 我的朋友-my friend) ; used after an attribute (as in 我是中国的-I am Chinese); of [it has other pronunciations and meanings but we won’t worry about them for now]

一 (yī): one; single; a (article) (as in 一个学生-a student) [it has a lot of uses, once you see it used you’ll see]

是 (shì): to be; correct; right (as in 是的-that’s right) [its not used quite in the same way we use the verb “to be”, but as in most words you have to use them and make mistakes to get the hang of it]

在 (zài): exist; be alive; location (as in 我在这里-I am here) [notice it takes place of the verb “to be”]

了 (le): particle used after an action that has taken place or something that has changed. [its super useful, but weird, since English does not have an equivalent. For now you can think of it as the “past” particle which turns phrases as having happened in the past.]

有 (yǒu) : have; possess; get [it has way more uses than just those definitions as a particle]

人 (rén): human being; person; people; creature; sort; soul [put it together with “one” and you get 一个人-alone or by oneself. This is used with other characters to create words such as 男人-man.]

不 (bù): (used before verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs; never before 有) not; won’t; not want to. [It’s used with 是 as in 是不是?-is it or isn’t it?]

Here is a clean practice sheet. Practice, practice, practice. Also practice some short phrases such as 是不是,有人,有了.

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