There are different language levels, defined according to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), ranging from A1 to C2. The aim of the levels is to create a comparable framework for the level of knowledge of a learned language. In addition, the language levels serve the mutual recognition of different qualifications in the participating countries. The introduction of the CEFR has resulted in many benefits for learners and teachers.
What does CEFR level mean?
Language skills can be assigned to a specific level according to the criteria set out in the CEFR. This categorization is not only helpful for the learner's self-assessment, but it also serves as proof of qualifications to be achieved in certain life situations.
The scale contains a list of skills on which the language level classification is based. It divides language skills into the following three categories:
elementary language use
independent language use
competent language use
Each of the categories is subdivided once more. There are therefore a total of 6 graded language levels, A1 to C2.
What are the advantages of standardized language levels according to the CEFR?
Learning successes become comparable, which previously had been extremely difficult due to different education systems in individual countries.
The CEFR brings the core skills of comprehension, writing and speaking, which are of primary importance for successful communication in a foreign language, to the fore.
Language certificates can be offered throughout Europe.
The language levels range from A1 with elementary language skills to C2 with almost perfect pronunciation at native speaker level. The language levels A1 and A2
Competence level A indicates that the learner has "elementary language use", i.e. is a beginner. Specifically, the so-called can-do descriptions are used to check performance and level.
The language level A1
For language level A1, this means that the learner can communicate in a simple way and is able to hold conversations about him/herself and another person if the interlocutor speaks slowly and clearly and occasionally gives assistance.
Examples for level A1
Ich heiße Lilli und komme aus Hamburg.
Ich wohne mit meiner Frau in Dresden.
Zwei Brötchen, bitte!
Meine Katze ist 4 Jahre alt.
Language level A2
If you are one level higher, you are already able to converse independently about common topics. In addition, level A2 states that a description of one's own situation, things around them and expressing needs are possible without outside help.
Examples of language level B1
Meine Schwester geht nächstes Jahr in die Uni. Dafür hat sie lange gearbeitet.
Vor einer Woche bin ich umgezogen.
Nächste Woche würden wir gerne ein Wochenende in Berlin verbringen.
What does B2 level mean?
At B2 level, you can grasp the main points of more complex topics and engage in specialized discussions in your own field. The active vocabulary is appropriate for effortless conversations with native speakers covering a wide range of topics. The learner can clearly defend their own positions and make trade-offs.
The language levels C1 and C2
Those who are at competence level C are able to use the language in a competent manner. This means that the learner is able to converse and hold discussions on complex topics without difficulty. Furthermore, they effortlessly understand difficult and long texts and can reproduce their content in their own words.
What characterizes the C1 level?
C1 is the entry level of competent language use. The person who is learning the foreign language can grasp the content of longer demanding texts well. An extensive vocabulary has become so ingrained in the learner that they can speak spontaneously and fluently without having to think. Good communication and flexible use of the language is possible in all life situations. Sentences can be structured in a complex way.
Examples for the language level C1
The other day I was thinking about sending my mother a card by mail for her birthday. The e-cards are very nice and often quite funny, but they are not as personal as a card you write yourself. For my mother, it would certainly be nicer if she could keep a card with a pretty motif printed on it and look at it again and again.
Yesterday, a news program reported on a hurricane that caused major damage to infrastructure, even though protective measures against hurricane damage had been taken two years ago.
The C2 language level
To be able to reach the C2 language level, the learner must have a near perfect command of the language. C2 is considered the native speaker level. Comprehension of textual content and spoken language is effortless at any level of difficulty. Content from written and spoken sources can be evaluated and summarized. At this level, the foreign language speaker can understand and use the language in the same way as a native speaker.
Real certainty about one's own language level can be obtained, for example, by attending a German course, at the end of which there is a test to check the level. As a rule, the classification into the various language levels only becomes important when it comes to carrying out certain jobs in the context of employment or enrolling at a university, for which a certain linguistic ability should or must be present.
Which language level means that I have a secure knowledge of German?
At language level B2, fluent speaking is possible and contents of written and spoken language are sufficiently understood.