What level is your English?
Haben Sie sich schon einmal gefragt, für was eigentlich unsere grün-orange-roten Symbole stehen? Und was genau sich hinter dem sperrigen Begriff „Gemeinsamer Europäischer Referenzrahmen“verbirgt? CLARE MAAS hat Antworten auf diese und viele weitere Fragen
If you take a look at the righthand column on page 5 of Spotlight, you will find the little text box below, which tells you about the language levels in the magazine: ABOUT THE LANGUAGE LEVELS The levels of difficulty in Spotlight magazine correspond roughly to The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages:
EASY MEDIUM ADVANCED A2 B1–B2 C1–C2
This information is certainly useful to teachers and students, but does it mean so much to you, or does it lead to a string of questions you’ve never dared to ask? What do these combinations of letters and numbers really mean? What is The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)? Who thought it all up, and why? Most importantly, though, what does it mean to you as a learner of English?
We’ve asked language author and university lecturer Clare Maas to answer these and many other questions for you.
What does CEFR mean?
CEFR stands for “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages”. It is a set of guidelines for measuring your progress in learning a foreign language. The Council of Europe devised it to make a comparison of different language certificates easier. The CEFR can be used with any language you learn, not only English. Even so, a lot of the follow-up research has come from English-language teaching and learning.
What are the CEFR levels?
The CEFR includes six levels of progress, which are now used as the standard rankings of foreign-language competence in Europe and beyond. For each level, the CEFR describes what learners are capable of in the skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing. The framework looks at how many things learners can do in a foreign language (quantitative measures) and how well they can do them (qualitative measures) to describe their general language competence.
The six levels are called:
A1 — beginner / breakthrough A2 — elementary / waystage
B1 — intermediate / threshold B2 — upper intermediate / vantage C1 — advanced / effective operator C2 — proficiency / mastery
EASY Learners at A1 or A2 level are called “basic users”.
They can understand and use everyday words and simple sentences about real things. They can talk about themselves, their home towns and their families. They can understand others who speak slowly about these topics, and they can read short, easy texts.
When learners are at A2 level, they can understand and use words important to their own lives, such as work, shopping or hobbies. They can also share simple information on everyday topics. Most basic users of a language form short sentences, make a lot of mistakes and do not speak very quickly.