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I heard from 2012 JAN onwards you need to have DELF B1 passed as a qualification to apply for French Nationality. can anyone verifiy this :confused2:

Merci.
 

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On top of the DELF (which is explained in Bev's link), which includes levels A1-B2, there is the DALF C1 and C2, the highest levels.
 

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I heard from 2012 JAN onwards you need to have DELF B1 passed as a qualification to apply for French Nationality. can anyone verifiy this :confused2:

Merci.
Hello

i can't comment on the nationality requirements. However, I sat the DELF exams (there are several) when I came to France in 2001. My personal opinion is that if you want to become a French national then it's natural that you have a certain competenance in French, and the DELF is just that!

After the DELF exams come the DALF exams, and they are not easy.

DejW
 

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Just out of curiosity, how difficult did you find the DELF tests?

The level of French they wanted when I took French nationality seemed pretty basic - if you could conduct both of your interviews (one with the gendarmes and one at the prefecture) in French, then you "obviously" met the language requirement.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I did the DALF C1 in December, after studying French for 6 years it was not difficult, then again I do have the advantage of using French everyday with my husband.

I'm also learning Italian at university - the way my uni structures it is that you do a level each semester; you start at the bottom, level A1. So in studying the language for only a few hours a week we can get to B1 in just a year and a half - I think asking for anything less than B1 level is insufficient, so this requirement is pretty reasonable.
 

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Just out of curiosity, how difficult did you find the DELF tests?

The level of French they wanted when I took French nationality seemed pretty basic - if you could conduct both of your interviews (one with the gendarmes and one at the prefecture) in French, then you "obviously" met the language requirement.
Cheers,
Bev
You can get an idea from the sample papers here Sample papers - DELF - DELF version junior - DALF - CIEP
 

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Passing DELF B1 with a "high" grade (say 80% +) would give you a very basic level of "independence" in day-to-day life in France.

DELF B2 (again with a "high" grade) would give you more confidence, but you'd still be lacking a lot of vocabulary and grammar structures.
As a comparison point with English, B2 is the level of the Cambridge First Certificate in English Exam.

As it was said above, it seems absolutely natural and logical that if you want to apply for nationality, you should have a strong command of the language, at least a "high grade DELF B2" level.

DALF C1 allows you to enter university without a language test. IMO that should be the benchmark for nationality (or at least a DELF B2 with 70/80%+ grade). This is the level that would give you real confidence with the language for your everyday life in France.

When I "reintegrated" the french nationality of my great-grandparents there was no need to produce a "diploma" but the interaction with the consular officers along several "meetings" and "interviews" was conducted always in french and it was not a "basic interaction". It was a conversation between two almost native speakers of the language (one native, the consular officer - one learned and spoken at home since childhood, me).

Cheers,
jacques.
 

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Thanks for that - the B1 level doesn't look too bad. My big fear would be any real emphasis on grammar and the like. I don't generally have too much trouble making myself understood (though I still sometimes misunderstand - with often hilarious consequences).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I agree with jacquest, I think the requirement of a B1 level for nationality is still too low.

I was looking at the link that Bev provided and I noticed the following:

"Le niveau requis est le niveau B1 du cadre européen commun de référence pour les langues. Il correspond au niveau d'un élève en fin de scolarité obligatoire apte à écouter, prendre part à une conversation et à s'exprimer oralement en continu."

Am I the only one that questions this? I would like to think that a native-French speaker would have a higher level than B1 at that age.

I took the DALF C1 a year ago and found it difficult. I wasn't a student at the time, I was working full-time and taking care of my husband after an operation. I looked at the official DALF exam book a few times and went in there and wung it (as a side note, anybody know the past tense of the verb to wing it as google is undecided?). I've spend the last few years in France speaking only in French and I only passed thanks to my high score on the speaking section. I arrived in France in 2007 with a B1 level.

I did the B2/C1 exam in Dutch a few years ago. At the time I sat that exam I had only been studying Dutch for the past 7 months, and I started from scratch. I did the exam following 7 months of intensive language study and preparation for the exam. I found the exam to be far more practical than the French one. I passed the exam with a score of 70% (the minimum required to pass).

I found the French exam to be "fluffy". It seemed to me that the article to be read in the written comprehension section was just saying the same things, laying out the main points in different ways, over and over again. You had to follow a protocol for the writing section and I felt I was just writing "fluff". I think that a big part of the French exam is following the rules and producing a certain style of written and oral expression. The Dutch exam was more practical in the sense that it only tested your Dutch language abilities. I am not a philosophical person, I am practical and to the point.

A friend who had done the DALF exam before told me to go in there and just talk, talk, talk during the oral expression section. Go in there confident and sound like you know what you're talking about. I went in there and turned the discussion into a political debate, regularly interrupting the examiners and contradicting their views while presenting valid arguments. This is exactly what years of French dinner dates spending hours debating around the table had taught me was the right thing to do. From an anglo-saxon perspective this would have been rude. I think the examiners enjoyed debating with me, haha. I aced the spoken section.

In conclusion, I think that the exam is easier for someone that is studying the language in a formal setting at the time they take the exam. My experience with the Dutch exam showed me that. The type of learner you are and the exam format are important as well - I just found the French exam too theoretical for my liking.

Other people's experiences are different. This is just my experience. I do think, however, that most people will agree with me when I say that the French language exams are not just about testing your language abilities, but about learning and using the French style of taking exams.
 

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OK, I'm going to disagree a bit with jacquest and snoezig. I think the level of French (or "local language") that should be required for taking nationality is that of day-to-day functionality in speaking and comprehension, plus the ability to write to make oneself understood.

As snoezig mentions, the French have a particular way of teaching the "proper" form for writing an essay or making an argument which has little or nothing to do with day to day functionality in the language. What's important is that you can understand spoken French (a news broadcast, for example, or directions to do something or to go someplace) and that you can make yourself understood reasonably well (giving directions or reporting a problem, for example).

When I took my first aid training in order to get my driving license in Germany, one of the things we had to do was to practice reporting an accident (in German) by phone - giving the location and nature of the problem so that the police could send help as needed. That's the sort of practical language ability that should be required of candidates for nationality. Or composing a letter (or e-mail, these days) to a merchant describing a problem with something you've bought and asking for advice, help or a refund. In my (not at all) humble opinion anyhow.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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My opinion is that reaching the B1 level in a language is easy. The real blood, sweat and tears comes after that.

With the right classes, support and motivation once can reach B1 very quickly. It's possible to reach this level without even living in the country where the language is spoken. Mastering slang, informal language and idiomatic expressions (everyday language) along with advanced vocabulary is a hard slog requiring dedication and time. Most people couldn't reach C level unless they spent significant time in the target language country.

I guess that's what I base my opinions on.
 

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In the DALF C1 we had to write a synthèse - a specifically French task which involves reading three articles which talk about the same topic, then writing an essay which does not add any new information, but which incorporates the most important points from the articles and putting them in a coherent order.

The DALF C1 included these:
Writing - synthèse + argumentative essay
Listening - rapid speech with multiple choice questions about various topics
Reading - a very long article with complicated language and short + long answer questions
Speaking - we were given some articles about a topic and then had to talk for 15 minutes, the speech had to be structured logically. The 'judges' then asked us questions about the topic for a further 10 mintues.

The topics in all of the sections were often technical and specific, none of that 'Listen to Sam and Mary's conversation at the beach', no, we had to talk about genetically modified foods, globalisation, architecture in today's world, ect.

Even if your French is perfect, you will lose points for a bad synthèse, same goes for the argumentative essay. For this reason I think DALF C1 would be too high to expect for nationality, but I do think B2 would be more appropriate than B1.
 

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I agree with Sarah - I think the B2 is the right level as well. I think that at the B2 level you could function in a French-speaking working environment with no major problems. At the B1 level I think you would only be able to function in low-skilled jobs.

I agree that the C1 is asking a lot.

I am uncomfortable with the French exam style. However, I realise and accept that part of living here and integrating means embracing my new country's way of doing things whether I like it or not. So I am very glad that I did the C1 - I needed to be aware of the differences between my way of learning and sitting exams and the French way.

For anyone thinking of doing the exam, I just wanted to stress that a big part of the French language exams is showing that you have learned the French style, that it is not only about language skills.
 
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