What does "competent" in a language actually mean?
March 5, 2014 6:13 PM Subscribe
I'm trying to decide how to categorize my language skills on a job application/resume. What does "competent" in a language actually mean?
posted by geegollygosh to Work & Money (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm applying to a program where Spanish language skills are needed for some of the positions. I have... okay Spanish.
I can have a pretty extensive conversation with someone on nearly any topic, but my grammar will be wrong pretty often (say one minor or major mistake every other sentence or so), and I won't always have the vocabulary I need if it's something that isn't day-to-day vocab. I can do all the basic tenses fine, but things like past perfect subjunctive or similarly obscure tenses are pretty much totally lost on me.
My reading comprehension is pretty good-- I am currently reading Harry Potter, and read more or less at the same speed I would read it in english, although I need to look up a word or so each paragraph. On more unfamiliar topics it's a little slower but I can understand.
Every so often I meet someone that I just can't understand at all, whether because of their accent or their way of speaking, which really shakes my confidence.
What is this considered? I feel like claiming "competent" is a definite stretch, but I'm not actually sure what it means, especially when compared to "proficient," which is the next step up if I understand right.