The day that I have been planning for for months finally arrived today. I have been waiting to take the graduate reading proficiency exam in French since August. I had, of course, planned to have already taken the exam last Friday, but the whole having to get my appendix out thing kinda messed that up. Nonetheless, I made it to the test today fully prepared, and I think that it went really well.
You might be wondering why it is that I have to take such a test, right? Well, as luck would have it at such a highly reputable and well-known linguistics department, our curriculum says that we need to prove our proficiency in at least three languages by the time we're done here. I've also heard it through the grapevine that they are trying to push that number up to four rather than three. What they don't tell you right off the bat is that they can't just be any language. The languages in which you prove your proficiency need to do something for you as a linguist and a researcher. Luckily, I already know French and I'm studying Franchophone West Africa, so that lines up very well, and it's one of the "recommended" languages for the program. I also know Spanish, but that's not going to get me very far, so I don't plan to even bother trying to use that for one of my languages. Since I'm in African Linguistics, I have to show proficiency in an African language, so luckily I'm already well on my way to doing that with Bambara. There's two off the list. I could probably find some way to be tested in Senari, but rather than do that, I'm going to hold off and wait until I take the year-long field methods course, because in that course, we always learn an African language. That'll be another one off of the list for the next academic year. For language number four, the one that is just recommended, I'll likely end up taking the graduate crash course in German, since a lot of the scholarly literature written about African linguistics is in German. Yes, you may recall that I'm terribly afraid of learning German, but I'm going to try to overcome my fears and just do it...after all, it really is necessary at this point in the game.