Congratulations! Number 1…but in what?




Last week my phone exploded when this appeared. The Netherlands brought home the linguistic gold. For the second time in a row, you scored the highest position in the Language Proficiency Index.

But…before you crack open the champagne, I’d like to make 2 things clear:

1. The results were based on a multiple choice test.
2. The people who took the test all volunteered to do so.

What does this tell us?
To me, it says a lot.
It tells me that your passive knowledge (recognising the correct answer) is fantastic. This is absolutely true. English has become such a part of Dutch culture – just a couple of weeks ago so many stores had huge signs screaming “Back To School Sale!” in their windows. I have never seen a “Terug Naar School Uitverkoop” sign in this country. English is all over the radio, and TV and films are all kept in English, etc. Your passive skills, recognising English when you hear it or read it, are so well-developed. Well done!

However, If I were to give you a test where you had to come up with the correct answer yourself, how well would you do? I doubt that your score would be as high. My college tests are never multiple choice. I make every single one myself. Teachers have actually criticised me for making tests that are ‘too hard’ (and yes, they take 3 times as long to grade, which means I resent myself deeply a few times a year) because I want my students to formulate their own answers. But hey, I have high standards and I’m lucky to work at schools where this is not only recognised, but encouraged. (By all my students, not so much. 🙂 )

And the second part – about the test being based on volunteers – this is very interesting to me. If you sucked at something, would you take time out of your day to be reminded that you suck at it? Probably not. To me, these results are biased because they are not based on a neutral group, criss-crossing through all levels of Dutch society. I think people who were generally interested in English, and therefore more motivated, took the test.

Ok. That’s my two cents….for now!

If you want to work on your ACTIVE use of English,  feel awesome when speaking and writing, get into the subtleties of formal and informal Business English, coupled with a huge confidence boost and tons of laughter, do join me on December 7th for the classiest masterclass of the year! With lunch and cocktails, too! Tickets are going fast, so grab your spot hier.

And to me, dear buffi, you’re number 1 already. Just for reading this far! Thank you so much for that.

See you next week!
With love, and yes, a confetti cannon,

X Buffi X

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