What are the CEFR levels of language proficiency? Conversa Spanish Institute

What Are the CEFR Levels of Language Proficiency?

When you’ve looked at language classes, books, games, etc., you’ve definitely seen a combination of letters and numbers, known as CEFR levels of language proficiency. A2? B1? What do these mean? Keep reading to find out!

A brief history of CEFR

CEFR stands for Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Basically, it’s a way to describe proficiency in a language. Although it has “European” in its name, it’s used around the world to measure language ability. The idea of CEFR was proposed relatively recently, only in 1991 during a Council of Europe symposium in Rüschlikon, Switzerland.

It was published in 2001, translated into 40 languages over the next 10 years, and is the most used measurement tool for language acquisition. CEFR is broken down into 6 levels of fluency: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. Each level has certain milestones, vocabulary and grammar that indicate mastery.

Levels of proficiency in Spanish

You likely know what level you fall into, but if you don’t, or you’re curious about what’s ahead, here are the Spanish-specific characteristics of each level:

  • A1: Beginner
    • Here, you can communicate in a very basic manner about everyday situations. This includes likes, dislikes, and conjugating present tense verbs.
  • A2: Elementary
    • At this level, you can have short conversations on topics that you know very well. You can also communicate basically about the present, future and past.
  • B1: Intermediate
    • As an intermediate speaker, you can have a longer chat about topics you know well. You can use some more complicated grammar, and start to feel like you understand culture more.
  • B2: Upper Intermediate
    • This is the level where you feel you can speak effectively in most scenarios. You can express opinions and desires with the subjunctive, too!
  • C1: Advanced
    • At this point, you can speak at the near-native level. At this stage, you’re perfecting your grammar and using colloquial phrases and idioms.
  • C2: Proficiency
    • Those who study at this high of a level are fine tuning tiny details, and have solid command over all aspects of Spanish language and world-wide Hispanic culture.

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