Monday, March 14, 2011

Test DaF

Before going into the details of the test, which is what this post really is about, I want to say a word about the test names.

What's the deal with test names? Is there an International Test-Naming Committee for international tests that need names, maybe called the InTeNC? Why must we have an IELTS or a TOEFL? Those are tests for non-English speakers, so why must they be given names that even native English speakers have trouble pronouncing? The Test DaF is not difficult to say, but silly. It makes me think of an incomplete Daffy Duck.


In  a couple of weeks I will be taking the Test DaF - exactly in 14 days. The Test DaF is a test that measures the test-takers' ability in Deutsch (German language) als Fremdsprache (as a foreign language). I'm kinda glad it's named after it's German initials; were it in English, it would be the Test GLaFL. Not the G-L-a-F-L, but the /gla-fl/, all said together, as if it were a word. Like TOEFL is a word: toe, as in a finger in your foot, and fl as in, well, fl.

The test is fairly easy. Easy, I mean, if you can master German. Which I can't. Not that I haven't tried, because I have. Look at my problems: first, I have to know the words. Let's make it easy: door, house, table --> Tür, Hause, Tisch. Now I have to figure out if they are girls, boys, or gays: die Tür (girl), das Haus (gay), der Tisch (boy). Once I have that mastered, I have to wait until whatever I want to say, to make sure I decline it correctly. For instance, anything with die in Dativ is der, so sometimes the girl becomes a boy (dike? tomboy?); sometimes a boy becomes something completely different. Like, when I say something is on the table, I should say it is auf dem Tisch. Not der, not die, not das. Dem. And I also have to explain: is it standing on the table, like a bottle would, or is it lying on the table, like a document would? Yeah, you always have to clarify for the Germans. On the table is just not good enough.

Enough. I don't master that, and that's gonna be a problem.

I can, however, read pretty damn well. In the reading section, I am actually quite confident. It's not difficult anyway. They just want to make sure I can read at a high-school level. Which I can. Even in German. But then there's another part, the part where I have to listen to a couple of conversations and answer questions about them. It's all good with the practice conversations, where the speakers speak fluent, perfect, accent-less German. Slowly, carefully, eloquently. But of course that's not the type of conversation one would get on the street. No, on the street they speak quickly, with very strong accents, and don't enunciate at all. That I have a little trouble with, but I can survive. And since that is exactly what I'm going to be listening to on this part of the test, I have tried to engage in conversations with real people, out there. Too bad I have had to smile and nod so often.

The written section is of course going to be a problem. Not only do I not have a rather extensive vocabulary, but since I don't have the dativ, akkusativ, genitiv and nominativ thingy down, I am bound to make mistakes with every single noun; and those that I don't screw up will be due to sheer luck.

But the spoken section--dude, I got that covered. Speaking fast enough, I can der-die-das anything, and decline it appropriately. Also, I throw in a little English here and there, as the real Germans do, and I just seem so fluent. So eloquent. So German.

I'm about to do a sample test right now. I should be OK. I must be OK. Otherwise I will make a fool of myself in two weeks.


  1. hahahah dude!! u made my day! :)) i kno exactly what u mean there..

    1. Wenn alles gut läuft, sag mir Bescheid! Ich hab C1 geschafft :-)