Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

Michael: What are some common Finnish proficiency tests?
Anni: And how do I choose the right one for me?
Michael: At FinnishPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Emma is talking to Jack about her attempts to motivate herself to study Finnish harder. She says,
"I have to take the YKI."
Emma Eronen: Minun täytyy suorittaa YKI.
Dialogue
Emma Eronen: Minun täytyy suorittaa YKI.
Jack Jones: Yleinen kielitutkinto?
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Emma Eronen: Minun täytyy suorittaa YKI.
Michael: "I have to take the YKI."
Jack Jones: Yleinen kielitutkinto?
Michael: "The National Certificate of Language Proficiency?"

Lesson focus

Michael: There are many reasons people learn the Finnish language, and each person definitely has their own. Perhaps, you want to live and work in Finland, or maybe study there for a few years. Regardless of what your reasons may be, obtaining a certificate is one of the best measurements of your attainment so far. And what better measurement of your fluency in the Finnish language than the YKI, or the National Certificate of Language Proficiency?
[Recall 1]
Michael: Let's take a closer look at the dialogue.
Do you remember how Emma Eronen says "I have to take the YKI?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Päivi as Emma Eronen: Minun täytyy suorittaa YKI.
[Recall 2]
Michael: And now let's take a look at our second sentence.
Do you remember how Jack Jones says "The National Certificate of Language Proficiency?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Päivi as Jack Jones: Yleinen kielitutkinto?
Michael: "The National Certificate of Language Proficiency?"
Michael: YKI is short for
Anni: Yleinen Kielitutkinto
Michael: which literally means "General Language Degree." It's officially known as the National Certificate of Language Proficiency and is an official way to demonstrate one's proficiency in Finnish, Swedish, Saami, English, Spanish, Italian, French, German, or Russian. The test is sanctioned by the Finish Ministry of Education and is issued by
Anni: Jyväskylän yliopisto
Michael: or the University of Jyväskylä. The YKI is the official language proficiency test of Finland, and once you've been certified, you can use your certificate when applying for a job or entering a university. Most importantly, passing the test means you are qualified to apply for Finnish citizenship.
Michael: You can take the test and be evaluated on three different levels, which are
Anni: Perustaso
Michael: Basic Level,
Anni: Keskitaso
Michael: Intermediate Level,
Anni: Ylin taso
Michael: and Advanced Level. These three proficiency levels are further divided into six levels. The first level under the basic level is
Anni: 1
Michael: one, or A1 on the CEFR—Common European Framework—scale. At this level, the student is able to understand basic expressions in slow and clear speech. The student is also able to write short texts that may contain errors. The next level under the basic level is
Anni: 2
Michael: two, or A2, on the CEFR scale. At this level, the student is able to understand simple speech that deals with familiar matters. The student is also able to cope with routine speech situations, although pronunciation is not yet perfect. Next, under the intermediate level, is
Anni: 3
Michael: three, or B1, on the CEFR scale. At this level, the student is able to understand longer sentences as long as the topic is familiar and the tempo of speech is normal. The student is also able to comprehend and write simple, coherent sentences on everyday topics with fewer grammatical inaccuracies. Next to this level is
Anni: 4
Michael: four, or B2, on the CEFR scale. At this level, the student is able to understand speech on familiar topics spoken at a normal speed. The student is also now able to cope well in official and unofficial speech situations, as well as write and express thoughts more logically. Under the advanced level, we have
Anni: 5
Michael: five, or C1, on the CEFR scale. At this level, the student is able to understand all kinds of speech spoken at a normal speed. Comprehension may still require a certain amount of effort sometimes, but, overall, the student at this level is able to speak and write fluently on various subjects. And finally, under the advanced level, we have
Anni: 6
Michael: six, or C2, on the CEFR scale. The student at this level is able to understand a wider range of spoken and written Finnish without difficulty. The student is able to speak and write extremely fluently too, and only experiences difficulties and commits errors occasionally. Regarding structure, the test consists of four subtests at all levels:
Anni: Kuullunymmärtäminen
Michael: Listening Comprehension
Anni: Puhuminen
Michael: Speaking
Anni: Luetun ymmärtäminen
Michael: Reading Comprehension
Anni: Kirjoittaminen
Michael: and Writing.
Michael: In the tests for the Basic and Intermediate levels, the speaking part is done in a language lab, but, in the Advanced level, a face-to-face interview is done in addition to the language lab test. The test for Listening Comprehension includes several tasks:
Anni: keskusteluja
Michael: conversations,
Anni: uutisia
Michael: news items,
Anni: haastatteluja
Michael: interviews,
Anni: mainoksia
Michael: and advertisements. Speaking proficiency is assessed in a language laboratory for the Intermediate and Advanced levels. All answers in the language laboratory and the interviews in the Basic level are recorded, while the interviews at the Advanced level are videotaped for assessment. For the Reading Comprehension subtest, the text types used in the test include:
Anni: kirjeitä
Michael: letters,
Anni: viestejä
Michael: messages,
Anni: kertomuksia
Michael: stories,
Anni: mainoksia
Michael: advertisements,
Anni: asiatekstejä
Michael: non fiction text,
Anni: uutisia
Michael: and, once again, news items. The comprehension of the test taker is assessed by how well they answer questions related to the given context. For the Writing subtest, test takers are given at least two different types of tasks, which may include:
Anni: kirje
Michael: a letter,
Anni: mielipidekirjoitus
Michael: an opinion piece,
Anni: valitus tai hakemus
Michael: a complaint
Anni: työpaikkahakemus
Michael: or a job application. Keep in mind that the degree of difficulty for all the subtests are tailored to fit the test level. Once you have passed the test, you will be awarded a certificate containing a separate assessment for each subtest. You will find the details of the language proficiency scale at the back of the certificate. Your score will depend on which exam level you took, whether Basic, which will give you a score of either less than 1, 1, or 2, Intermediate, which will give you a score of either less than 3, 3, or 4, and Advanced, which will give you a score of either less than 5, 5, or 6. If you omit a particular subtest or were only able to complete a part of it, you will receive the result of
Anni: Ei voida arvioida,
Michael: or "Cannot be assessed."
[Summary]
Michael: In this lesson, we had a look at the official language proficiency test for Finnish, which is
Anni: Yleinen kielitutkinto, YKI
Michael: or "The National Certificate of Language Proficiency." Passing this test means you can be qualified to apply for a job or study in Finland, as well as apply for citizenship in the country. You can find further information on their websites, which will be linked in the lesson notes.
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Michael: Did you know that the University of Jyväskylä, or
Anni: Jyväskylän yliopisto,
Michael: is an internationally significant research university? The institution is known to have expertise in the field of education, focusing on both human and natural sciences. The university was founded in 1863, and has its origins in the teacher-seminary established through the efforts of the man considered to be the father of the Finnish public school system,
Anni: Uno Cygnaeus.
Michael: Today, the university is ranked as the second largest university in the country in terms of the number of Master's degrees granted. The university has three campuses in Jyväskylä, called
Anni: Seminaarinmäki, Mattilanniemi ja Ylistönrinne.
Michael: The campuses have some buildings designed by famous architects. The oldest buildings at the
Anni: Seminaarinmäki
Michael: campus are the red brick "barracks" designed by
Anni: Konstantin Kiseleff,
Michael: and built during the 1880s. There are also several buildings designed by the world-famous
Anni: Alvar Aalto.
Michael: He designed, for example, the main building,
Anni: Capitolium,
Michael: which was just renovated in 2017.

Outro

Michael: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Anni: Hei hei!
Michael: See you soon!

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