The Old Blog Archive, 2005-2009

Archive for October, 2005

A Certificate (Almost) Effortlessly Obtained

I have passed the exams of the both levels of DELF (Diplôme d’études en langue française) in 2002 and it was only natural to go on to pursue the ultimate certificate, DALF, or diplôme approfondi de langue française. I was doing my military service in 2003 and had been through some red-tapes (which went all the way to the chief commander of some obscure army base) to get a leave to take the exam in the summer that year.

The DALF then was divided into four sections, numbered B1 to B4 (letter A was for DELF, which was divided into A1 to A4 for DELF level 1 and A5 to A6 for DELF level 2). I passed three of the four exams and failed the B2, or the listening comprehension section. I had to make up the missing part in order to obtain the DALF certificate.

In 2004, shortly after I finished the military service, I registered for the B2 section and took the exam–and failed again. I am never a very audio person. To my solace, though, a French teacher I know told me that was one of the most difficult listening comprehension exams in recent years. Imagine listening to an excerpt from a Radio France interview that involved people living near France-Spain border talking about French dialects with heavy accent(s)! Designed to let you fail, that is.

Even though the appeal of French culture and the French language are somewhat fading, I still love to have the certificate that is often a requirement for studying in France.

Interestingly, I have later learned that the French Ministry of Education is changing the rules so that the language certificate is now repartitioned into six sections (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2). This is in accordance with a pan-European agreement on a unified scale for the evaluation of a person’s linguistic performance.

Luckily, I don’t need to take the exams from scratch. The French government is generous enough to give out a set of conversion rules. And in my case, I can already obtain a C1 certificate without any effort whatsoever! Even if I had passed the old four DALF stages, I would not have been able to get the would-be C2 certificate. Another interesting thing is that C1 is what most non-francophone countries would offer, and most French universities require only C1.

All this means that I don’t have to do any preparation for the listening comprehension exam (the phased-out DALF B2 stage) and can already apply for the “conversion.” A certificate almost effortlessly obtained. Which reminds me of the hot summer days when I had to review French grammar in stealth while I was standing sentinel…

Acting Like a Thief: Kerim’s New Documentary

Kerim Friedman and his wife, Shashwati Talukdar, have recently made a new documentary on the Chhara community, formerly under the British rule labeled as “the criminal tribe,” and their theatre. According to Kerim’s blog:

Acting Like a Thief is a short film about the Budhan Theatre of Chharanagar. Starting with playwright Dakxin Bajrange discussing his arrest , the film brings us inside the lives of a dedicated group of young actors and their families as they discuss what it means to be a “born criminal” and how theater changed their lives.

This film can be downloaded from the film’s official site. And please support their fund-raising campaign that finances their on-going project (of which Acting Like a Thief is a part) !