The Sproochtest is what we generally refer to as the oral comprehension and expression test needed to be passed at the Institut National des Langues in order to acquire the Luxembourgish nationality.
Those of you who are scheduled to take it on the 17th of January might know that there are a lot of preparation and unofficial (pre)testing methods available, some more efficient than the others.
I have passed this exam in 2015 and obtained the “holy Graal”. In addition, I regularly meet a lot of people who prepare for the test at Languages.lu. This is why I would like to provide you with a list of the best 5 unofficial testing tools - but equally as useful as the official ones - that can be utilized to determine whether or not you are ready for the Sproochtest.
1. Tunnel of love
Despite its name in English, this beautiful love story written by Jackie Messerich is entirely in Luxembourgish. The great thing about it is that you could read it even if you are a beginner! However, to really appreciate it, you would need a minimum A2 level (what you need to have in order to pass the Sproochtest). Even if you would not understand everything, I recommend you try to read it by focusing on the general meaning and context, as well as on how the sentences are structured. If you get at least 75% of this book, I’d say that you are ready for the Sproochtest!
2,99 eur at Ernster and other book shops.
Since speaking a language goes hand in hand with learning a little bit of its culture, this set of 55 flash cards brings you 55 idioms in Luxembourgish. You can use it to prepare for the second part of the oral expression exam when you are asked to look at a picture and describe what you’re seeing. In order to understand most of these idioms, you would ideally have a minimum A2 level in Luxembourgish.
How to use the cards? You can start by describing the image you see on each card, imagine the story around the image and continue by guessing the meaning of each idiom. If unsuccessful, you can turn the card and the idiom is explained with more simple words, however, still in Luxembourgish.
Try to talk about each card for a minimum of 3 minutes. If you manage without anyone helping you with additional questions, then you are certainly ready for the Sproochtest!
9,99 eur at Ernster, Auchan, House of Luxembourg.
3. Practice writing in Luxembourgish to improve your oral fluency
I hear it over and over again: most of you who prepare for the test don’t have many opportunities to speak Luxembourgish outside the classroom. Therefore you think of the exam as something theoretical and less practical, when in fact, the opposite is true.
The first part of the oral expression test is a conversation with the two testers about yourself. If you plan on passing the test, you certainly have prepared the part about where you come from, your family and your work. But after this first part, the discussion could go into any direction. To know if you are prepared, I invite you to answer in writing to the following 2 questions: 1) Are you happy in Luxembourg? Include 2 things you like and 2 that you dislike and 2) What did you do yesterday?
Remember that the focus is nor on how well you write nor on how sophisticated your syntax is, but on whether or not you are able to write one page to answer each question. If you did it without any struggle and you can reproduce that orally as well, you know that you are 100% ready for the Sproochtest!
4. The news in Luxembourgish
Watching or reading the news in Luxembourgish is an extremely efficient way to find out if you are ready for the oral comprehension part of the Sproochtest.
The daily news brought to you by medias such as rtl.lu, eldo.lu or 100koma7.lu are very useful in testing your oral comprehension on a regular basis. The great thing about them is that most of the time you can read what you hear or find a written summary of the audio, which helps you understand more.
Even though the oral comprehension test is a multiple choice test, the questions require that you understand quite a lot of nuances. One way of testing your own comprehension is to take the first article you see when you open one of the websites mentioned above. Read it, listen to it and then try to answer the questions a journalist would ask himself: what? who? when? where? Are you able to answer these 4 questions? Repeat this exercise for 3-4 days. If you are able to answer 75% of the time, then you are ready for the Sproochtest!
5. 1000 words in Luxembourgish
You might know that acquiring a certain level in a language implies knowing a certain number of words. For example, having the A1 level is equivalent to having a 500 word vocabulary, the A2 level is equivalent to knowing 1000 words and a B1 level means mastering 2000 words. Add to this, of course, the ability to construct sentences with them, the vocabulary alone won’t allow you to express yourself in a coherent way.
How can you determine whether or not you know a minimum of 1000 words, the equivalent of having the A2 level necessary to pass the oral expression part of the Sproochtest?
One way would be to use the book by Jacqui Zimmer entitled “Meng éischt dausend Wierder” (My first 1000 words) or any other 1000 word dictionary or vocabulary index.
Another way would be to start listing the words you know thus far in Luxembourgish.
Alternatively, you can go to point 1 of this article and, if you know at least 75% of the words used, you are ready for the Sproochtest!
Good luck for the Sproochtest!
If you are still in the preparation phase, check out my other articles about learning Luxembourgish.
About the Author:
Daniela (Clara) Moraru is a serial entrepreneur who set up companies in Romania, UK and Luxembourg, and an INSEAD certified independent director with expertise in Marketing & Communication. She holds an MBA from John Welsh College of Business, Sacred Heart University, with a double concentration in Marketing and International Business, a certificate in Global Management from INSEAD and a Master in Management from Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu.
Ms Moraru is CEO of Languages.lu, a boutique language school specialized in tailor made courses for companies and individuals, as well as in language camps for children and teenagers during all school holidays. She is known as the «Ambassador of the Luxembourgish language» because she promotes heavily the language among non Luxembourgers. She has conceived and published 6 different learning materials to learn Luxembourgish.