Thursday, July 29, 2010

I recognize that "language exams" can be (and sometimes are) designed to test something other than language proficiency. When I was a graduate student, we needed to demonstrate proficiency in two languages other than English. In principle, all that was required was the ability to translate a linguistics article, with access to a dictionary. Having achieved roughly that level of competence in German, I was planned to take the German exam. Then one of my fellow grad students, a native speaker of German who had an undergraduate degree from a well-regarded institution in Austria, told me that she had failed that exam.
Mark Liberman at Language Log, Language Tests for Immigrants to Canada

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