Monday, December 01, 2008

English: fluent

At work at the moment I am receiving the first few applications for one of the programmes that I will be running next summer. This particular programme is open to participants from all over Europe (and possibly even beyond) but will be run in English, and we are asking participants to apply in English.

One of the applications I received today declared itself to be from an applicant whose English was 'fluent'. Don't get me wrong, it was very good. But fluent it certainly wasn't. In particular because in formal statements of the applicant's experience I frequently found this word: "coz".

I've always wondered how one is supposed, on such applications, to state one's level in a language when the goalposts are not declared. After all, this particular applicant surely does have an English more 'fluent' than most of his(her) counterparts. Someone should invent a solid measurement of language level. And no, I don't mean an exam.

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