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Gimme a B!

April 25, 2009 @ 13:12 By: gordon Category: General

B Like many civil servants, I’m in a position that has a requirement to be bilingual. When I started this job in the fall of 2007, I had to sign an agreement to attain a BBB bilingual rating within two years.

Government bilingualism ratings consist of three letters from A to E (there’s also an X), one each for reading, writing and speaking. The levels for each component can be summed up thus:

  • A is a basic ability to read/write/speak the second language.
  • B means you can handle most situations and concepts.  This is usually the minimum requirement for reading, writing or speaking in a bilingual position. A lot of positions have a BBB requirement.
  • C means you have an advanced ability, just shy of someone who’s first language is your second language. More senior positions often have a CBC or CCC requirement.
  • E means you read, right or speak the second language so well that you’ll never have to be tested on that element again.
  • X is a much-feared assessment because it means you don’t have even a functional ability. Avoid the X!

I’ve had a CBA rating for a couple of years, so I’ve been taking part-time French courses to practice speaking French.  It seems those courses have paid off because I obtained a B on the speaking component of a test I took last week. This means I have a CBB, which means I meet the requirements of my position. (In fact, the C was 2 points shy of an E.)

I’m really happy about this because I was scheduled to go on full-time French training for at least 18 weeks starting in May. Instead, I can continue working on my projects at work and can even take some time off this summer.

Yay me!

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