The Language You Speak Has a Level. Do You Know Which One It is?
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) offers to all learners a way to classify their knowledge. According to CERF, language ability is described on a six-point scale, from A1 for beginners up to C2 for those who have mastered a language
Do you talk, read and understand another language but you do not know if you are advanced, medium or beginner? Maybe you are a better writer than a speaker or vice versa. Well, for the sake of all doubts, there is a scientific way to grade your level. With the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or CEFR, you can.
The CEFR is an international standard which defines a person’s linguistic ability. This means that someone’s English abilities can be tested in areas such as writing, reading, understanding and speaking. Therefore, with the score they obtain, a level can be assigned. These are: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2.
According to the Centro para el Desarrollo de Lenguas Extranjeras (CDLE), the first level (A) is basic, (B) independent and (C) is someone proficient.
If you can present yourself and others; understand what someone else says -but they must speak very slowly- talk about your likes and preferences and communicate effectively in basic situations, then it is likely that you are in an A1 level. The recommendation for people who are in this first stage is to join a Duolingo Classroom with the CDLE or be part of their initiation workshops.
A2 is a level in which you can talk about your social and physical context, understand basic expressions about employment, shopping, family and so on; complete tasks that are routinely and involve in a direct exchange of information. You can also describe places, people and things. For this stage, reading, listing words, listening to music in the language you are learning are very practical suggestions. However, joining languages schools or institutions is a suitable option too.
The next level is B1. If you may understand situations regarding family, work, school or leisure topics; write and understand simple texts, justify your point of view and describe experiences, dreams, ambitions and events then this is your level. Practice by watching TV shows and movies. But, also join the CDLE’s conversational clubs.
Understanding main ideas in complex texts written in technical language, writing long and detailed essays, comprehending literate works; describing specific situations, and talking without too much strain to native speakers may mean that you are a B2 student. The suggested practice is reading articles about your interests and joining the CDLE’s Dual Immersion Program.
Being proficient, in the first level, means you can understand a wider range of long and demanding texts and conversations. Express yourself spontaneously, but with clarity, proper grammar and with a lexicon that adapts to both professional and colloquial words. C1 people can benefit from Encuentro Limitless (offered once a year by the CDLE). There they can listen, read, understand and interact in a technical conversation with a professional.
Lastly, at C2 a learner can understand almost everything heard or read. Also, they can recognize implicit meanings in texts and speeches. They can express themselves using precise meaning in complex situations, of any kind, and other non-verbal communication symbols. For them, the best thing they can do is take the TOEFL test or the Duolingo English Test.
The CEFR is used mostly in academic and employment environments. It is important for resumes, school admissions, University requirements and other scholastic approaches to languages. Furthermore, being fluent in a language may give you a better experience when you travel or you watch a movie in its original language. In a globalized world, speaking various tongues is very valued by companies, institutions and people.
If you are feeling curios about which level you have, the CDLE suggests trying to do a free test on this page: Language Level. There, you can check out if you are a A1, B2 or even C2 in French, English and German. Afterwards, you could take a test in the official sites for languages such as the Alliance Française, The British Council, CVA or Goethe Institut.
♦By Grace Lafontant. CDLE intern/Image: Freepik.es