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September 17, 2012

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Foreigners' practical Chinese skill tested

SHANGHAI launched a comprehensive Chinese language test yesterday to better measure foreigners' languages skills and help universities and companies with the vetting of students and employees.

The new, computer-based test, called by the pinyin abbreviation SHNC, focuses more on practical daily communication skills, compared with HSK, a national standardized written benchmark for the Chinese language.

The first group of 50 expatriates from countries in Asia, Europe, the Americas and Africa took part in the test, which covers listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.

"It's very simple to me," said Emre Glirbuz, a Turkish student studying in Shanghai University in an exchange program. He has been studying Chinese for more than one year and his teacher recommended he take the test.

"I love Chinese culture," he said. "China has lots of job opportunities and I want to stay in the country."

"My teacher told me that the test will be helpful to look for a job," he said.

Yanagisawa Michiko, a Japanese housewife, has been living Shanghai for about two years while her husband works in the city. "The neighborhood committee told me about the test," she said. "I have studied Chinese for about 18 months and I want to take the opportunity to examine my learning."

The test contains three levels and the center is giving only the most simple one this year.

Test-takers were led to individual rooms to finish the 30-minute test on a computer.

The oral questions include choosing pictures according to words heard on the earphone, reading sentences aloud, and telling stories according to videos or pictures displayed on the computer.

The written part includes writing a paragraph and composing Chinese text messages such as the answer to the question, "What day is it today?" sent to the test center via cell phone.

The test will be held twice a year and those who pass the test will receive a certificate issued by the Shanghai Language and Character Level Test Center affiliated with the Shanghai Education Commission.


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