Tag Archives: esl

How (not) to test language proficiency

The United States of America has no official language, although English functions as the de facto language of the government and media. This doesn’t mean English is the only language in use. In some regions, Spanish is spoken by the majority. Large cities often have a “Chinatown” area, where Chinese languages dominate.

There are many who view this multilingualism as a problem. Several groups exist to promote and lobby for legislation to make English the only official language of the US. ProEnglish  is one very prominent example. You can read an essay over here outlining their philosophy.
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I want to taste all my classmates

I’ve been involved in English proficiency testing for a few years, and in that time I’ve come across some unintentionally humorous answers from students and test-takers. When I say ‘humorous’, I don’t mean to make fun of anyone. On the contrary, I admire the effort these people put in to learn a second language, often as adults when it is more difficult. They really are doing their best to communicate, but when you read their answers as a native speaker of English you can’t help but smile. Continue reading

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