the Paco standard for language proficiency

February 8th, 2007

If you've ever had to qualify for going to school abroad, you've probably had to take the silly TOEFL or IELTS language test. Or the silly equivalent for whatever language you need to prove yourself in.

Instead of taking those tests, wouldn't you rather boast about how many languages you speak? Sure, we all would. So the next time a guy asks you "do you speak a foreign language?" followed by "which?", you can say "yes".

That's why we're introducing the newest in language proficiency today: the Paco standard. That's right, Paco is officially certified by at least one qualified linguist and will determine just how good your cv is going to look. The Paco standard determines your proficiency in a given language by the ability to complete the given Paco. The more Pacos you can do, the higher your Paco level in that language.

Each Paco consists of a number (the level number), a popular name (what we all know this level by), and by a silly name (to translate between other proficiency standards).

Allow me to demonstrate how the Paco standard works with an example. What follows is the Paco level of proficiency for yours truly.

Paco 1 - did I hear something?
(would move out of the way of someone with a gun and yelling very loud)


Paco 2 - it's just like language x right?
(understanding the Emergency Exit sign)

Catalan, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Afrikaans-, Latin

Paco 3 - somo tehm words re no tspel correct
(one in five-ish in a sentence)

Spanish, Croatian, Serbian, Slovenian, Czech, Slovak+, German

Paco 4 - small subset, no grammar
(can read the sports section-ish)


Paco 5 - kinda sorta wanted to learn it once
(could speak three sentences in a row if my life depended on it)

French, Dutch

Paco 6 - heard it on the telly
(roughly got tone and grammar but have to translate words from a related language)

Swedish, Danish-, Nynorsk+

Paco 7 - omfg pwnage

Polish, Norwegian, English

UPDATE: The wonderful thing about Paco is that it's easy to compare notes. Here's how. Add up your Pacos to a total score. You get as many points for every Paco as the Paco level, so for example..

1 x Paco1 + 5 x Paco2 + 7 x Paco3 + 1 x Paco4 + 2 x Paco5 + 3 x Paco6 + 3 x Paco7 = 85 Paco
UPDATE2: Added German. What does it say of the language that my mind had repressed it?

:: random entries in this category ::

4 Responses to "the Paco standard for language proficiency"

  1. erik says:

    I like this :D

  2. [...] here’s the real deal. Thank you Martin for coming up with the idea (you should probably read his post about it before you continue), let’s take the internet by [...]

  3. Nawaf says:

    hm, I won't even bother trying to count my score, because I know it won't even be in the double digits :D

  4. Shanie says:

    Err... it's a good method but I can only speak and understand 3 languages + 1 dialect anyway! :D