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Language levels according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

6 Niveaus GER

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR for short) provides various scales and descriptors to describe language competences. The CEFR has six language levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2.

These levels serve as the basis for a comparative description of the language competences of learners, the content of language courses and the requirements and results of language tests, for example.

The CEFR have been translated into over 40 languages and are used throughout Europe and on other continents as well. The CEFR Companion Volume published in 2020 updates and extends the original CEFR.

Language levels according to the CEFR

A - Basic user

Level A1Level A2
BreakthroughWaystage
A1.1  |   A1.2A2.1  |   A2.2

 

B - Independent user

Level B1Level B2
ThresholdVantage
B1.1  |   B1.2B2.1  |   B2.2

 

C - Proficient user

Level C1Level C2
EffectivenessMastery
C1.1  |   C1.2C2.1  |   C2.2

 

In some institutions and contexts, the levels are subdivided further. This is the case with some of the courses offered by the SZHB.

Example: A1.1 is subdivided further into A1.1.1 as the first course/first part of the course and A1.1.2 as the second course/second part of the course.

Course levels at the SZHB

What can I expect from an A1.2 course? What can I do when my language level is B2?

All our courses use the level designations used in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and the level is included in the titles of our courses.  The level stated in the title is the target level of the course. The course description often includes the entry level that participants must have for that particular course. This entry level relates to the language competences which are a prerequisite for the course and which participants should have at the outset.

Example: You register for an A1.2 course in Portuguese. This means the entry level is A1.1, i.e. you must already be at this level when you start the course. At the end of the course, you will have reached A1.2 level (target level).

At A1 level you can understand and make yourself understood on a very basic level.

Listening

Can recognise everyday, familiar words/signs, provided they are delivered clearly and slowly in a clearly defined, familiar everyday context.

Reading

Can recognise familiar names, words/signs and very basic phrases on simple notices in the most common everyday situations.

Writing

Can compose a short, simple postcard. Can fill in numbers and dates, own name, nationality, address, age, date of birth or arrival in the country, etc., e.g. on a hotel registration form.

Conversation

Can understand everyday expressions aimed at the satisfaction of simple needs of a concrete type, delivered directly to them in clear, slow and repeated language by a sympathetic interlocutor.

Sustained monologue

Can describe themselves, what they do and where they live. Can describe other people, places and possessions in simple terms.

At A2 level you can master daily situations as a matter of routine. 

Listening

Can understand phrases and expressions related to areas of most immediate priority (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment), provided people articulate clearly and slowly.
Can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements.

Reading

Can read very short, simple texts.
Can find specific, predictable information in simple everyday material such as advertisements, prospectuses, menus, reference lists and timetables.

Writing

Can write short, simple notes and messages.
Can compose very simple personal letters expressing thanks and apology.

Conversation

Can handle very short social exchanges but is rarely able to understand enough to keep conversation going of their own accord, though they can be made to understand if the interlocutor will take the trouble.

Sustained monologue

Can describe their family, living conditions, educational background, present or most recent job.

At B1 level you are able to understand the main points of specialist texts and give a greatly simplified overview of a very familiar specialist topic. You also have the linguistic and intercultural skills to successfully deal with your daily routine, life on campus and an internship or work placement,

Listening

Can understand the main points made in clear standard language or a familiar variety on familiar matters regularly encountered at work, school, leisure, etc., including short narratives.
Can understand the main points of news bulletins and simpler recorded material about familiar subjects delivered relatively slowly and clearly.

Reading

Can understand most factual information that they are likely to come across on familiar subjects of interest, provided they have sufficient time for rereading.
Can understand the important information in simple, clearly drafted adverts in newspapers or magazines, provided there are not too many abbreviations.

Writing

Can compose personal letters and notes asking for or conveying simple information of immediate relevance, getting across the point they feel to be important.
Can compose personal letters describing experiences, feelings and events in some detail.

Conversation

Can exploit a wide range of simple language to deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling.
Can enter unprepared into conversation on familiar topics, and express personal opinions and exchange information on topics that are familiar, of personal interest or pertinent to everyday life (e.g. family, hobbies, work, travel and current events)..

Sustained monologue

Can describe dreams, hopes and ambitions.
Can relate the plot of a book or film and describe their reactions.
Can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions, plans and actions.

At B2 level you have the receptive skills to successfully study abroad. You still require frequent help with oral communication and written production.

Listening

Can follow extended discourse and complex lines of argument, provided the topic is reasonably familiar, and the direction of the argument is signposted by explicit markers.
Can understand most documentaries and most other recorded or broadcast material delivered in the standard form of the language and can identify mood, attitude, etc.

Reading

Can understand articles and reports concerned with contemporary problems in which particular stances or viewpoints are adopted.
Can read novels with a strong, narrative plot and that use straightforward, unelaborated language, provided they can take their time and use a dictionary.

Writing

Can express news and views effectively in writing, and relate to those of others.
Can compose letters conveying degrees of emotion and highlighting the personal significance of events and experiences and commenting on the correspondent’s news and views.

Conversation

Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction, and sustained relationships with users of the target language, quite possible without imposing strain on either party.
Can highlight the personal significance of events and experiences, and account for and sustain views clearly by providing relevant explanations and arguments.

Sustained monologue

Can explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
Can describe the personal significance of events and experiences in detail.

At C1 level you can study almost effortlessly in your target language.

Listening

Can follow extended discourse even when it is not clearly structured and when relationships are only implied and not signalled explicitly.
Can understand a wide range of recorded and broadcast material, including some non-standard usage, and identify finer points of detail including implicit attitudes and relationships between people.

Reading

Can understand in detail a wide range of lengthy, complex texts likely to be encountered in social, professional or academic life, identifying finer points of detail including attitudes and implied as well as stated opinions.

Writing

Can express themselves with clarity and precision in personal correspondence, using language flexibly and effectively, including emotional, allusive and joking usage.
Can express themselves with clarity and precision, relating to the addressee flexibly and effectively.

Conversation

Can express themselves fluently and spontaneously, almost effortlessly. Has a good command of a broad lexical repertoire allowing gaps to be readily overcome with circumlocutions. There is little obvious searching for expressions or avoidance strategies; only a conceptually difficult subject can hinder a natural, smooth flow of language.

Sustained monologue

Can give clear, detailed descriptions of complex subjects.
Can give elaborate descriptions and narratives, integrating sub-themes, developing particular points and rounding them off with an appropriate conclusion.

At C2 level you have the linguistic and intercultural competence to deal with almost every situation you encounter. You can also write your final thesis or an academic article.

Listening

Can follow specialised lectures and presentations employing colloquialism, regional usage or unfamiliar terminology.
Can understand with ease virtually any kind of language, whether live or broadcast, delivered at fast natural speed.

Reading

Can understand virtually all types of texts including abstract, structurally complex, or highly colloquial literary and non-literary writings.

Writing

Can express themselves in an appropriate tone and style in virtually any type of formal and informal interaction.
Can compose virtually any type of correspondence necessary in the course of their professional life in an appropriate tone and style.

Conversation

Has a good command of idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms with awareness of connotative levels of meaning. Can convey finer shades of meaning precisely by using, with reasonable accuracy, a wide range of modification devices. Can backtrack and restructure around a difficulty so smoothly that the interlocutor is hardly aware of it.

Sustained monologue

Can present a complex topic confidently and articulately to an audience unfamiliar with it, structuring and adapting the talk flexibly to meet the audience’s needs.

Useful links

 

Updated by: SZHB