Mandarin HSK 4+: Keep pinyin for new words and dialogue

Hello everyone
We are going to remove the pinyin in HSK4 PDF but we still keep pinyin for new words (it’s important to pronounce correctly the vocab) and for dialogue.
We want to remove Pinyin for the rest of pdf including practice. let’s talk, grammar, etc.
What do you guys think?


I think this is a great idea. I must admit that my eyes always wander to the pinyin as a crutch :sweat_smile: , and it would be a great exercise, especially at this level, to practice character recognition and reading. :grinning:

1 Like

Yes, perfect.

  • Maybe leave the pinyin on the “Today we learn” page.
    Mostly the “new words” appear there for the first time, and also this page often has extra words, e.g. grammar expressions, instruction words.
  • Please check whether one still can copy and paste the 汉字。
    And maybe, would it be possible to have the dialogues twice? Slides with and without pinyin?

This is the best news I have heard all day and as a result I will start taking HSK4 classes with your company again. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


I started taking classes again only because of this post, only to find out today in class it was false. Extremely disappointed. Why won’t LTL respond to this ask??? I have asked at least 40 times in my feedback and orally,to no avail. It is much easier to learn to read without so much distraction from the pinyin. :confused: :frowning:

1 Like

Hello Leah, we removed pinyin from HSK 4+ but not HSK 4.
It’s a bit of personal choice, I was always learning characters and having Pinyin there was quite important for me. If I look at characters always without Pinyin I would never start to accept them as a real way of communication. They were just used because there were no letters around. The step to fluency in reading came for me when I started to train myself to read characters even when Pinyin was present. It was not that hard really, but it made a huge difference. Suddenly Chinese characters were “my way of reading” and I started to slowly feel “native” in them.

Different personal experiences of course, but that happens a lot. Removing Pinyin of course is the easier way to go, however not necessarily the fastest way to learn.

I understand the different ways of thinking. However, it was very misleading to publish the exact opposite above. Rosie Cao identified herself as a teacher and stated “we are going to remove the pinyin from HSK4 pdfs…” (see her comment above for exact quote.) Therefore, I started studying with you again because too much pinyin was the exact reason I had stopped taking your classes… only to find out that what Ms. Cao, a representative of your company, said was not actually true. This is false advertising and quite unappreciated.

1 Like

Hi Leah, whilst I understand your frustrations here I think this was just human error when delivering the message.

As Head of Marketing, I am sorry you feel this was falsely advertised, it certainly was not meant that way! Everything we publish I want to be as clear and transparent as possible.

Rosie is probably one of the hardest working people I’ve ever worked with behind the scenes and I believe there was probably just an error in communications here.

Do be aware we have regular team meetings multiple times a week to discuss all feedback we get from students. Nothing is ever cast aside and we always listen because we never want to stop improving what we offer. We are a small team who love getting things done, but we only have so many hands and can only implement so much at a given time.

Of course with Pinyin, opinions will always be varied so we have to make our own informed decision.

I myself personally would actually remove pinyin after HSK 2, but we make decisions as a team rather than individually.

Anyway, I hope you manage to keep taking the lessons. Maybe give the HSK 4+ a try and see how you get on? There’s no sign of pinyin there and it might just be what you were looking for :slight_smile:

Hope this reply alleviates some concerns.


It does not. I stated on March 13th I would for this reason start taking classes with your company again, and no one replied or told me that actually Rosie Cao had misspoken. If my comment had been read, it should have been responded to. I had to wait awhile to switch back to your school from the school i had changed to (due to LTL’s overuse of pinyin/PowerPoint translation problems/overuse of English while teaching Mandarin) but that gave you 6 weeks to address Rosie’s error, and no one ever did. Over the past several months, I had asked for pinyin to be removed in over 30 class reviews and no one ever bothered to respond to me; I only seem to get responses now that I am commenting publicly.

Overall your school does an excellent job as compared to almost all other Mandarin teaching schools I have experienced. I sincerely commend you for that. However, this particular point is a very frustrating weakness. Most disappointing, though, is that a trusted member of your company promised something not delivered and instead of correcting the error, you only justify it.

I will continue with you all through my already bought package and maybe I should indeed just do HSK4+ as you suggest, but I will no longer continue to refer my friends or colleagues because not only does the pinyin impede my opportunity to actually learn to read, your continuous lack of response to my private messages while justifying publicly is problematic.

Hi Leah - do be aware that all class feedback is read by the team.

Responding to everyone individually, privately or publicly isn’t possible. As I said we are a small team who work incredibly hard around the clock to provide something of great use to students across the world.

Do note that every single class that is taken is rated and reviewed, so every week there are quite literally hundreds of comments to read, so don’t worry. If you’ve told us once, we’ve noted it. Please don’t feel that you need to write the same thing 30 times. Every students voice is heard.

The team read and digest all comments very carefully and make the necessary improvements.

I’m sure you’ll thoroughly enjoy those HSK4+ lessons. I’ve taken a few myself and they’re really quite fun, with a number of topics on the syllabus that are rarely taught elsewhere.

Hope you continue to enjoy your studies and please accept my apology on behalf of the team for any frustrations.

PS - I changed the topic title here to avoid any further confusion :slight_smile:


I think it’s smart you changed the topic title.

I don’t need or want a reply every time, just in the ONE case where it would have been important and actionable - here - when I literally said I based my decision to start taking classes with you all again on the information your teacher Rosie Cao posted, which turned out to be false.

It would have been the responsible and ethical thing to do. I hear you all justifying your decision over and over; ok, people have varying viewpoints, and compromises must be made, sure, and companies change course. But being accountable for one’s mistakes and apologizing for them in the beginning - especially mistakes which earn you money and has cause others much frustration - would have been much more effective (and ethical) here instead of just justifying the advertising of a claim that your company had made a decision that it apparently did not. While I see you don’t think of this blog as advertising, or of this post as false advertising, when a company employee with authority (in this case, a supervising teacher) publicly publishes an announcement on your company’s website that also goes into many students’ inboxes, it’s hard to think of another way to describe it, even though it obviously wasn’t a formal advertising campaign.

I don’t think another reply here is worth my time or yours. However, I do encourage you to reflect on the importance and power of a company being able to transparently recognize and hold itself accountable for mistakes from the start. You added an apology at the end, which is appreciated, but it seems like an afterthought. Even if you think something doesn’t really matter, it could be something that is very important to another person, as in this situation.

Nevertheless, I will take your advice to try to the higher level, and try to let my very strong disagreement with this pedagogical decision go. This may cause frustration for other 4+ students as I believe I am HSK 4, not 4+, but I guess we will all have to make compromises.