Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Rezultatele Mele de Proba de Evaluare de Limba Romana

After exactly 255 days in Moldova (with 545 days remaining in
service, but who's counting?) we had our second official Language
Proficiency Interviews. The levels of proficiency, adapted from the
American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages and listed
below from top to bottom, are:

Superior - A spectacular speaker, able to speak with accuracy and
fluency for a long period of time on any topic. This is nearly the
level of a native speaker with a couple grammatical hang-ups.
Advanced High - Between Superior and Advanced Mid.
Advanced Mid - A speaker able to easily discuss "a large number of
communicative tasks." Able to describe events and stories with good
command of time frames. The speaker is very comfortable with a large
vocabulary, but suffers from linguistic breakdowns when confronted
with a situation where he does not know the vocabulary.
Advanced Low - A speaker who can usually get his point across in a
wide range of situations, but can have difficulty formulating more
complicated grammatical structures. When outside of his comfort
bubble in grammar of vocabulary, he speaks tentatively. The speaker
usually doesn't speak for longer than a paragraph.
Intermediate High - Intermediate High speakers perform similarly to
Advanced Low speakers, but experience breakdowns in vocabulary or
grammar more often.
Intermediate Mid - A speaker who knows enough to go shopping, discuss
food, perform in his work environment and answer typical questions
about his life. Discussing more complicated subjects results in
linguistic problems.
Intermediate Low - A speaker who is able to communicate only on a
survival level.
Novice High - A speaker able to respond to basic, immediate
questions, and able to ask some formulaic questions.
Novice Mid - A Novice Mid speaker communicates only with a few stock
Novice Low - Equivalent to Tommy and Helen Keller as far as language
is concerned.

A speaker's ranking on this scale is based on a 30-minute interview.
The interviewer begins with questions to estimate your comfort level
and sets a "ceiling," the level at which you have a language
breakdown. The interviewer then returns the level of conversation
down a notch, and you continue to speak for the next 30 minutes. Also
included is a written scenario, where you read a situation from a
deck of cards and are told to perform in that situation. In my
language test in August, my scenario was to pretend to call my
counterpart, tell her that I was sick and ask her to teach my classes
for the day. This was a relatively difficult task for me back then,
since I didn't have that vocabulary. This time, my scenario was to
discuss with one of my superiors in the village about a secondary
project. This was simple for me, since I had been in the exact
situation only a few weeks beforehand, and new all the vocabulary
with which to discuss gas lines and new furnace rooms.

Last August, I received an Intermediate High ranking. I was matched
by several volunteers then, and bested by one volunteer from the Life
Skills and Health program. Sunday, I tested at the Advanced Mid
level, which is what I had expected to receive, barring some luck
that might have taken me to Advanced High. This keeps me just short
of the level necessary for Peace Corps to fund my Russian lessons
this summer, but I'm sure I can work around it and learn a good
amount this summer, anyway.

I finally am going to start tutoring; I will be writing a Romanian
journal so that I can write about more complicated topics and expand
my vocabulary, while having it checked by a tutor. My goal is to get
Advanced High or even Superior by the time my two years are over, and
the fact that I have gotten this far without a tutor is a hopeful
sign that I can achieve that goal before my time here is over. After
all, if I raised my level from nonexistent to Intermediate High in
three months and improved my speaking another two levels over the
course of six months, I can certainly move up one or two levels in
the next 543 days. But again, who's counting?


At 3:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! We will be delighted to have you translate any situation we may find ouselves in. Mom

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Val said...

You should get the Moldovan citizenship and apply for a job at the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration - the Homeland Needs You! :)

Apart from the joke - Congratulations, really impressive progress! I wish others who lived in Moldova for decades and don't speak a word of Romanian could learn it too.

What teaching methods does the PCV use for language training?

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Peter Myers said...

I've addressed some of language training in my posts from the summer, I believe. But case I didn't give a good overview back then, language training is a 10-week process, with lessons for three or four hours a day. We are taught survival language, and vocabulary specific to our Peace Corps specialization (to exagerate, sixteen different ways to say, "Copilul acela este obraznic si nu are sapte ani de acasa." What makes the training work well are the very qualified teachers and the fact that when we return home from lessons, we actually use the language that we learned during the day. Everything we learn is applicable, and so we practice it all the time and tinem minte.

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

COngratulations on your exam. so why aren't writing about your PCV plans, I mean are you going to participate or maybe organise in any special events?


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