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Mia Voyo Antaŭen

July 28, 2013

Antaŭ ol vi maltrankviligas… mi ne skribos la tutan blogon en esperanto. 😉 Sed mi bezonas praktiki.

So while running back and forth over the weekend, I’ve come to something of a decision about my road forward with my foreign languages.

Obviously, I’m still trying to work on broadening the languages I speak.  Hebrew is still important to me, and my Esperanto is a work in progress.  (I’m still lamenting not being able to get to the chat-practice in DC the week before last, but that’s life.)  And my Ladino is going hand-in-hand with my Spanish on some level… but it’s the Spanish that’s going to get the priority over the coming months.

I’ve decided to sit for the DELE in November.  I’ve made what I consider a “good decision” to go sit for the exam for the B1 level.

My goal is still B2 or higher, but the issue is that I don’t know where I genuinely stand in terms of my ability – I can understand the other native English speakers in my office who are working on their Spanish, and I can understand most of the local morning drive-time radio show on the local Spanish station… but I have trouble sometimes understanding my Argentine coworker when he’s speaking to me (and it’s not just vocabulary).  My logic’s fairly simple: I’d rather take a level that I think I can pass, where I personally judge myself sufficiently competent, and then stand for the B2 exam next year, than stand for the B2 now and potentially fail and discover I have a long, long way to go (and be depressed about that).

I know that some silly piece of paper isn’t going to really make a difference as to whether or not I can “speak” Spanish… but there’s a few things I’m considering.  Having a credential would definitely help in terms of my being able to list the skill on my resume, whether that’s a factor that helps in my current job or a future one.  It’d give me good guidance as to where I need to be shoring up my abilities going forward.  And it’s a nice boost of confidence now that I’m out of school and I don’t have grades to tell me objectively as to how I’m doing.

I think I have to work on a couple of things, between now and November:

  • Vosotros – I’m assuming (and folks, if you’ve taken the DELE, please tell me if I’m wrong) I need to know this, and I never learned this form.  All of my classes when I was in school concentrated on “Latin American” Spanish.  Even Duolingo doesn’t showcase this form in the translation exercises.  (I’ve never tried to answer using it… but I suspect that it’d show up as “wrong”.)
  • A couple of the verb tenses – I’m weak on subjunctive past and conditional, and I’m sure that my usages of other tenses could use tweaking.
  • Vocabulary – Let’s face facts.  Broadening my vocabulary would always help.

But I think I’m giving myself sufficient time to prepare between now and then, and we’ll see how I do…

  1. You’ve firmed up your strategy – good stuff. Taking the B1 sounds like the right decision.
    Speaking to other learners can be really deceptive. They will be translating stuff from English, rather than express things how a native speaker would. You’re aware of this, I know.
    Good luck, and keep us posted 🙂

  2. Good luck with your exam, sounds like a good strategy. I sat the C1 in May and the best advice I can give is to do the practice exams on the DELE website to guess the right level, but sounds like you’ve given it a lot of thought. As for the vosotros they don’t specifically test it, but you have to be able to recognize it, especially the imperative. There are a few very typical Spain-Spanish sentences structure they use that a Mexican for example wouldn’t, but for the most part it’s ok if you understand how it works.

    • I appreciate the advice. I’ll have to take a stab at a few more tests then, perhaps… but I think that I’m not likely to float up from B1 and consider going for B2 next year…

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