I took my second Korean language progress test today. It was something I had been anticipating for over a month and worked hard to prepare for. I did fine, and my test score was around where I thought I needed to be at this point in my testing–at the 1+ level in speaking at 24 weeks (on a 0-5 scale). Overall I did OK on my exam. I used complicated vocabulary well, and my sentence patterns were decent. I made some mistakes. My fluency is lacking, and I don’t have a large vocabulary. My ability to talk about complex concepts is still very limited. I also misunderstood some directions on the interview portion of the exam and took a minute to recover. That was one of the lowlights. On the other hand, my freeform conversation with the tester was great.
The testing observer confirmed these results with me, but apparently the tester did not think I did too well. That’s a little disconcerting. I know I need to buckle down and work harder–and smarter–but I don’t know what gave them the impression I didn’t do so well. I haven’t have a chance to talk to them yet. They talked to my wife, who was a bit alarmed because she did not talk to the observer who graded me and thought I had bombed the test. I believe I’m close to where I need to be, but I also know I need to work harder because the learning curve will continue to grow steeper. Unfortunately, I’m not gifted at learning languages. I do fine, but I have to really work hard when learning a foreign language. I have to work at learning technical subject. Language development is very technical because all languages are built on a set of grammar and pronunciation rules. Some universities compare the ability to learn foreign languages to learning mathematics. I like numbers and languages, but I am not inherently a math person–nor apparently am I a guru at learning languages. It’s a necessity though in my field and will help me communicate as I travel around the world. I’ll learn, but it won’t be easy.
Tomorrow I’ll go to the tester and find out what’s on their mind. I want to make sure I know their personal assessment of my Korean ability. I also gave the testing tape to a third-party to review for their feedback. I want to make sure that all instructors in the program know where I am in Korean and will give me the help I need to get to where I need to be before I finish the class.