I spent the summer studying abroad in Italy, and upon my return I hoped to skip two levels of Italian class. The following is a transcript from the Italian oral placement exam that I took this September. The conversation was conducted in Italian and has been translated into English verbatim.

TEACHER: Welcome! You must be Ethan. Please come on in and take a seat. You can leave the door open. Now, I’m just going to ask you some questions. Try to pretend that we’re having a normal conversation and that this isn’t an oral exam, and you should be totally fine.

ETHAN: Yes, yes. I am Ethan.

TEACHER: So, let’s get started. Are you excited for school this year?

ETHAN: Yes, yes. Very. I am very stimulated for a year very rapid.

TEACHER: Do you know what classes you are interested in taking yet?

ETHAN: Yes, yes. No. I read the book; I do not know all my classes still. I know the classes this upcoming weekend.

TEACHER: (making a note) I see. Very well. Why don’t you tell me about your summer in Italy? Where were you staying?

ETHAN: Yes, yes. My Italian summer was a very fun and beautiful place. Italy is beautiful. I am very stimulated to take more classes of Italian after I am in Florence for the fun summer.

TEACHER: (making a note) After I was in Florence the whole summer.

ETHAN: Yes, yes. After I was in Italy the whole summer. I apologize truly. I studied all this upcoming weekend yet I am still nervioso.

TEACHER: (making a note) Nervioso is a Spanish word.

ETHAN: Yes, yes. I [personally] know the word. I apologize truly.

TEACHER: Don’t worry about it, please. Why don’t you tell me about your host family?

ETHAN: Yes, yes. My host family. An excellent question! You are asking great questions of me!

A pause.

TEACHER: (makes a note) …

ETHAN: Yes, yes. My host family was a very nice and good family. The food was delicious. A lot of pizza. Pizza, pizza, pizza! Pasta too! I adore this food more than adoring my family. I joke. I joke only.

TEACHER: How does it compare to the food back home?

ETHAN: Yes, yes. The food back home pays far more easily.

TEACHER: (makes a note) …

ETHAN: But I love food and my favorite food is Italian food. To whom is Italian food not pleasing? To nothing, I respond. It is the food for everyone. If I am on an island I would have ate Italian food with me. Crazy, yes!

TEACHER: What is your favorite dish? Did you enjoy the typical Tuscan fare, or did you try food from other regions as well?

ETHAN: Yes, yes. I stayed with a Tuscan family.

TEACHER: (makes a note) What is your favorite dish?

ETHAN: Yes, yes. That is a question, you formal friend! I love many, all types of dishes in Italy. But one restaurant, in this restaurant I actually had lasagna and it was delicious. I am stimulated because I think about it now.

TEACHER: (very quickly, this is all that was intelligible) Temple — sandals — lasagna — Tuscany — fish — homework

ETHAN: Yes, yes. A very interesting question. You question of talent, you formal friend. For me it is hard to answer. But I think of saying, if I was compelled to answer, maybe … Fish.

A pause.

TEACHER: (makes a note) …

ETHAN: Yes, yes. Fish for you as well?

TEACHER: I find it hard to believe that you actually ate the fish in San Gimignano, but clearly you must have gotten the directions from your host family. That must have been quite a trek, and an amazing experience; needless to say, I’m extremely jealous. Well, I’m pleasantly surprised. I’m going to recommend you to L5.

ETHAN: Yes, yes. I will attend L5 classes with joy and determined. I am too stimulated for words. Many thanks to you and God. I joke.