how’s that spanish?

Want to see a video of an English language learner whose level of English is equivalent to my current level of Spanish? Click here.

Not exactly bilingual, eh? But still not too shabby considering I could only say “hola” a few months ago.

(If you’re curious to learn more about the U.S. government’s language evaluation system, click here or here. I’m currently a 2; I need to get to a 3.)

NYT’s columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote recently that he uses a simple one-word test to determine whether someone is truly proficient in a foreign language: he asks, “how do you say ‘doorknob’?”

Uh… not a clue.

Fortunately, I have a few more months of full-time language instruction left ahead of me.


This entry was posted in FS Life, Life in DC, Spanish. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to how’s that spanish?

  1. Kate says:

    I say phooey! to Kristof’s test. I’ve spoken French for 25 years (and lived in it, and worked in it…) and my husband for 32 years (and lived in it, and worked in it…) and neither one of us could think of the French word for doorknob.

    Hang in there! Doorknob or no doorknob…

  2. Carlo says:

    Kristof’s comment also shows generational bias – some buildings don’t even have real doorknobs anymore (automatic doors anyone?) – so that’s a word that’s even less useful than normal.

    Alternate test of the test: how many times have you said or read “doorknob” in English (before reading this post) in the past year?

  3. Alex says:

    I think you’re both totally right. The “one word test” is an interesting concept, but I don’t think doorknob is the right word.

  4. Theresa says:

    Yeah, I just asked my husband what the word for doorknob is in both French and Fon, and got a remarkably gallic shrug.

  5. QuelleBelle says:

    What popped into my head was “portecloche.” Which I then realized was incorrect, but I thought at least I was close – I was just thinking of the word for doorbell, right? Nope.

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