Oral comprehension of English: ranges of years

The kid just hung his head. “This was my third try.”

In 2016, I took a test of French language proficiency. It was for the C1 level of the European standardized language skill rating system, known as the CEFR, or Common European Frame of Reference.  In the typical CEFR exam, you have four separate tests for oral and written production and comprehension.  At the C1 level, the requirements for oral comprehension include things like being able to understand speakers who interrupt each other, and announcements over a crappy train station sound system with lots of background noise.

It’s not easy–certainly the hardest part of the four tests.  After I walked out it, a very unhappy-looking kid in the hall asked me if I thought I had passed.  I asked him the same question.  He just hung his head.  This was my third try, he said.

So….since you’re stuck in COVID-19 confinement anyway, why not work on your English oral comprehension?  This video contains a fat old bald guy reading ranges of years, waiting a few seconds for you to write them down, and then telling you what happened during that period of time.  If you’re planning to go to school in an anglophone country, or to work in any kind of technical capacity, the ability to understand ranges of numbers is essential–I hope that you find this video helpful for practicing those skills! You can find more videos on various and sundry aspects of spoken American English on the Zipf’s Law YouTube channel.

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