A few days ago, our babysitter greeted me with the morning's news - foreigners wanting to get a long term residency permit were going to have to pass a language exam! She was aflutter with the news and I suggested that she'd have to add bureaucratic jargon to our day-to-day conversations, since that is what the stories said foreigners would be tested on. She thought that as Americans with conversational Czech, we'd have no problems passing the exam. Having been denied my visa last time I applied based on missing page numbers in the statement my health insurer mailed over, I doubted this leniency and started reading up on the subject.
The proposal seems to still be in discussion, but the tests would be based on Czech at the A2 level. The government has agreed that the tests would be free; lessons, not. A little digging found a book in pdf form called "Čeština jako cizí jazyk, Úroven A2" or "Czech as a Foreign Language, Grade A2" It is downloadable from the Ministry of Education and is a guideline for the European Union on how Czech at the A2 level is understood, taught and assessed. For anyone interested in taking the test, I hope this helps.
I scanned through the guide tonight and can assure you it covers grocery shopping and visiting embassies. Unfortunately, it lacks a discussion about the colloquialisms that truly make getting around the country an easier experience. I feel a bit sorry for the studious foreigners armed with their A2 lessons trying to understand the slang used by their fellow citizens (in stores, taxis, restaurants and even governmental agencies). But, in the end, we learn from our language failures and experiences and that may be what the people recommending the exam want foreigners settling in to be encouraged to go out and get.
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