HSKK preparation

Wow, my Memrise score reached 14 million points, that’s crazy!

Recently I’ve created an HSKK Intermediate Prep course with the words from HSK3 and HSK4 that I still haven’t memorised in order to prepare to HSKK. In one week I’m at about 70 words. But to be honest, when I was doing mock tests this weekend, I still met some words that were not in these word lists, so I guess I will just have to hope for the best. This is the beauty of oral test – there’s no set of rules or word list that you need to learn in order to be ready for it.

Yesterday I practiced a mock exam by myself, I think it was ok, especially because the last 2 questions were easy to understand. I hope to get questions like this on the actual exam πŸ™‚ I also realised that I like doing HSKK mock exams, because they are quite short, just 23 minutes, and they force me to try my best to speak without mistakes and in the best possible way, and I can really feel which words I’m lacking to fully express what I want to say. During my language exchanges I just blurt what I want to say, without caring too much about the grammar, my main goal is to break the language barrier, but with HSKK you need structure, grammar points, vocabulary. So I’m glad that I decided to sign up for this test, I can already feel a big difference. Sometimes I get scared of the difficulty and worry that maybe I will fail. But then I tell myself that maybe it will be ok to fail because the exam fee is not that high, there’s another exam in 3 months (in June), and preparing for the exam is really motivating and pushing me to study harder, so maybe that’s a good thing if I fail and have to practice for 3 months more πŸ™‚

I also noticed that I concentrate better when I study by myself, I signed up for HSKK exam just by myself, my husband hasn’t, so he’s not preparing for it as hard as me. That said, he’s already learning the HSK3 and HSK4 word lists with me, so it seems like he also wants to pass it at some point in future πŸ™‚

This week is going to be a little tough, I’ve scheduled 5 hours of Skype calls with 4 different Chinese tutors throughout the week, let’s see how I’ll hold up πŸ™‚ On top of that, I decided to not completely stop with Korean language exchange, but just reduce it from 4 x 1-hour calls to 4 x 30 minute calls. A lot of calls this week πŸ™‚ The exam is on 13th March, so I have to work really hard on the preparation until then.

I’ve signed up for HSKK!

After 38 days of every day revision with Memrise, I feel like I’m finally all caught up with Unit 1 and can now move onto revision of Unit 2 πŸ™‚

Last week I was pretty good with Korean – I had 2 language exchange calls, wrote a small text in my notebook, and got through Unit 1 of this book, revised 8 grammar patterns and did a test at the end of the unit, which was very hard, but I got just 2 questions wrong (out of 12), so I feel pretty good about it!

However, yesterday I did 2 crazy things which I was not planning to do – I signed for HSKK, the oral Chinese speaking test, intermediate level. I checked mock tests and they seemed quite manageable, however, as I started reading more about the test I got a little bit more intimated, but I don’t wanna turn back, I want to have a go! Even if I fail, there’s another one in June and the test fee is only 20 euros (unlike English certificates, which can cost from 200 to 300 euros). So now I have to go through the HSK 3 and HSK 4 vocab, as well as schedule some practice sessions. Fun, fun fun!

I think I mentioned here a few times that my Chinesepod subscription ended last week and I was not planning on renewing it in order to save money. However, yesterday I got a newsletter from Du Chinese with a very good discount thanks to Chinese New Year, so I couldn’t resist and bought a one year subscription πŸ™‚ Du Chinese is a website mostly for learning how to read Chinese characters, and even though one year ago I kept saying that reading characters is not for me, I feel like I can finally start working on it. Actually, I really want to learn to read and write in Chinese and I hope that with DuChinese I will be able to get a little closer to that goal.

So… how many languages do you speak?

There is no more confusing question that this one for anyone who is multi-lingual.

The thing is, I speak freely and fluently just 3 languages – English, Russian and Slovene. I don’t have to think what I want to say in these languages, the words come to my mind naturally and I can feel super relaxed while conversing in these languages.

Then come the rest of the languages in which I can speak, but with more difficulty – Italian, Spanish, Korean, and recently Chinese. To be honest, I keep mixing Italian and Spanish, so in order to get myself in the “flow” of either of these I need to speak for like one hour straight and then the fluency comes back to me, I get in the “flow” and stop thinking which word should I use – “fare” or “hacer” and so on. Korean and Chinese – well, they are extremely difficult languages, and I often feel difficulty expressing myself on some topics even after weeks and months of studying – some things are easier, some things are harder. I can speak them, I can easily hold conversation about myself, my life, general topics, but I’m definitely not fluent.

I also leave Indonesian out – I only finished A1 and know just some super basic stuff, so I can’t even say I can speak it, because what I can do for now in this language is super limited.

And then there are passive languages – like Serbo-Croatian. I was exposed to it quite a lot through my dad, who speaks it well, so I understand almost everything, I can read subtitles if we’re watching a movie in a language I don’t know. But I can’t speak it. It is not an active language for me, it is a passive one.

So how do I answer to the question – “so, how many languages do you speak?” Do I say 3 because these are my most fluent ones? Do I say 7? Or do I say 8 and include Serbo-Croatian (which I can’t really speak?)

And this is why I always get confused what would be the best reply when I get this question πŸ™‚