‘Benchmarking Chinese character learning and teaching: an England GCSE Perspective.’

Wen Melody Lu, Sin Manw Lam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study investigated 724 Chinese characters extracted from General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) (i.e. Year 11) Mandarin Specification Guide. Among the 724 Chinese characters on the list, 331 components were identified. There are 14 ‘super builders’ components in which each component is capable of forming a range of 21 to 146 Chinese characters. The study also aims to examine the equivalence of GCSE Mandarin to the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) in 2009 and 2022, and the Common European Framework for Reference (CEFR). Among the four character lists, two components扌(for action) and 艹 (for plant) are not found in the GCSE Mandarin Chinese. The benchmarking of the GCSE Mandarin revealed that it is approximately equivalent to A2 of CEFR and Level 2 in the HSK (2022). While Mandarin Chinese shares the same curriculum with other European languages, it is debatable whether the typological gaps between Chinese and other European languages have been addressed. The insufficient inventory of action words may inhibit the linguistic performance of non-native Chinese learners, in particular their communicative competence of the language. Thus, a contextualized specification catering to the language rather than a mere translation of the vocabulary list and grammar items is suggested.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Language Learning Journal
Publication statusIn preparation - 2022


Dive into the research topics of '‘Benchmarking Chinese character learning and teaching: an England GCSE Perspective.’'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this