|I bet they are fluent!|
There are seven stages of learning a new language. The first one is 0. You don't know the new language at all or only a few single unconnected words. Then comes A1, where you can make simple sentences and ask simple questions. If you get answered in the new language you haven't really got a clue as to what they are saying. Level A2 means you are able to follow simple conversations.
B1 means you are able to get into a bit more complex conversations and understand people on the phone or on the radio. B2 means you get even more and are quite able to join in a conversation, only occasionally having to look for words. C1 means you are fluent and C2 means you can converse on a scientific level. I would say I am C1 Dutch speaker. Start with scientific lingo and I am lost. I guess I would also be a C1 English and German speaker. French would be between B1 and B2 and my Italian would be about A1-A2. Of course all those languages don't mean a thing: I am learning Norwegian after all.
Today I phoned to Norway and in my best Norwegian I asked whether I could speak to a certain person. And that was as far as I got. It went downhill from there on in. I had been hoping to impress them with my knowledge, but my mouth decided differently, only uttering incomprehensible nonsense. In the end we turned to English.
I had phoned the bus company because I wanted them to know I was learning Norwegian and was actually quite alright in it, which in turn would hopefully make them offer me a job. Long shot I know, but what can I say. I am convinced of my own abilities. But the conversation did give me some result. The company didn't have any openings at the moment, but were expecting some openings in the autumn, whether they could contact me then? And the lady on the other end of the phone told me I needed to be at level B1 at least! And from my nonsense it was quite clear I was a bit off yet!
It was a bit of a disappointment of course, but on the other hand, I now know what to work towards...