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The System of Testing Chinese Language Skills

In China, many students not major in English are troubled by the College English Test (CET) because most of them have to pass the CET-4 and CET-6 if they want to graduate from the university. If you study Chinese, I think you can understand that kind of feeling too.

For those who always fail the test, they complain the CET-4 and CET-6 are too difficult to pass. Therefore, there was a joke about the fourth and sixth levels in Chinese language: We should also establish the system like CET-4 and CET-6 in Chinese language learning for those who learn Chinese in China. They are supposed to write with the brush pen in classical Chinese, or even the inscription on oracle bones. And the materials of listening will be the songs sung by Jay Chou.

That’s just a joke, but nowadays, we really have the system to test the language ability of the Chinese language learners. After three years preparation, the ZHC will be tried in Shanghai, Jinagsu, Yunnan and Inner Mongolia. It is said that this test could be a standard for various organizations to employ and promote the employers. Unfortunately, it is not to test foreigners who learn to speak Chinese, but our Chinese people.

However, as a matter fact, the Chinese language test is not a fresh thing. It existed long ago. Chinese students must have remembers that we have been learning Mandarin Chinese from the elementary school to the university. Actually, the test itself is a strict test to check the Chinese language ability. But it hasn’t worked to promote the native language culture even it has lasted for so long.

Nowadays, many Chinese people cling to learn foreign language and ignore the importance of the native language. There are also so many phenomena about the unstandardization of Chinese language. Aiming at improving students’ standard Chinese, we have Mandarin grade test. But the scope of amplification is very limited. Does this newly system can really improve our ability to learn to learn Mandarin?

Some people think that today’s system of testing Mandarin ability become more commercial because they think people will earn money through carrying out this test. And accordingly, many institutions are established as qualified Mandarin program to train us to improve our language skills, helping us pass the test and get the qualification.

Therefore, the road of Chinese language learning system should be the free and non-profit one. If we force people to learn Mandarin in China by some certain way, it will cause many problems. Since Chinese is our native language, we should take the responsibility to maintain it and promote it. If we are forced to learn it by some compulsive measures, the revival of Chinese language will become a business.

In fact, the so called “foreign language popular while Chinese language unpopular” is just a false appearance. English is the most widely spoken language in the world, so it is beneficial for us to learn some English. However, many people have learned English for so many years but not really for the reason of loving to learn English. But maybe the foreigners who study in China to learn Chinese are willingly.

We just mentioned the native language. But what is the native language? It is the language that we spoke since we were born, even spoke in our dream. In all, it is the language we speak no matter what we are doing. It is inherited from the thousands of years’ Chinese culture. We can’t just abandon it as long as we are living in China. For the testing system that aims to revive Chinese language, we can learn from that of in Britain, Brazil or Japan.

At present, more and more foreigners cling to learn Chinese language in China, Why can’t we Chinese people learn our native language more positive? Only when the program of testing Chinese language skills are tuned into the free and non-profit one, can we encourage our Chinese people to appreciate the beauty of the language by learning willingly. And then we can be proud of the increasing foreign people of learning Chinese language.

Therefore, we should give us more introspection when we carry out certain programs to test the language skills. If we want to reach the goal of reviving our Chinese language, we should make it naturally, without the purpose of earning money. If we don’t, it is just a business. 

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