CEFR French Levels Explained
What is the CEFR?
The CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) is an international system which measures the level of different language abilities. It is split into six different sub categories and was created to categorise a language learner's level in order to help with language teaching and testing.
As it is international, the CEFR qualification is recognised throughout the world making it easier for employers and educational institutions to evaluate people's language abilities. For example, being assessed a B1 level allows foreigners to work in Canada.
Unless you plan to learn a language for work or study applications, knowing which level you are is not ultimately necessary. It may however help set a learning target in order to see progress and be encouraged to carry on learning.
LFWA entry level
We have established our own entry-level category covering language needed in order to start working towards CEFR A1 level.
LFWA French Levels
A0 - niveau débutant complet (complete beginner)
A0 level is our own entry level category covering language needed in order to start working towards CEFR A1 level.
The student has no prior knowledge of French. This level will allow the student to discover the basic elements of the language, such as the different phonemes, the alphabet and its pronunciation, to get started.
Our Complete French Course covers A0 level in lesson 01.
Here we take a look at the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) French levels from A1 to C2.
Transitioning between levels
You will notice that at the end of each level and the beginning of the next, a few lessons will cover both levels. So for example lesson 23, covers levels A2 and B1. This is natural as language learning is dynamic and this crossover helps with transitioning and progressing towards the higher level.
CEFR French Levels
A1 - niveau découverte (beginner)
A1 level is the first stage of the CEFR 'basic [language] user' category.
This level will allow the student to discover the foundation of the language such as conjugations, auxiliaries, numbers, etc. They will also learn how to form simple sentences about personal topics such as one's family, and how to start interacting with others by asking and answering simple questions.
Our Complete French Course covers A1 level in lessons 02-12.
A2 - niveau usuel (elementary)
A2 level is the second stage of the CEFR 'basic [language] user' category.
This level will allow the student to continue working on sentence building as well as new grammar points. Past tenses such as the passé composé will be introduced. The student will be able to start reading and understanding short texts. Exchanging with others will become easier as long as it is short, simple and on topics they have studied.
Our Complete French Course covers A2 level in lessons 13-19.
B1 - niveau seuil (intermediate)
B1 level is the first stage of the CEFR 'independent [language] user' category.
This level will allow the student to work on challenging grammar points such as connectives, and new tenses like imparfait and conditionnel will be introduced.
This will help the student to participate in and understand the main points of a longer conversation as long as the exchange is slow and clear enough and about topics familiar to the student. They will also be able to read longer texts in the language.
Our Complete French Course covers B1 level in lessons 20-29.
B2 - niveau indépendant (upper intermediate)
B2 level is the second stage of the CEFR 'independent [language] user' category.
This level will allow the student to work on challenging grammar points such as complex relative pronouns. More complex tenses are introduced (for example: passé simple and subjonctif) and the student should now be familiar with all of the tenses.
They should be able to have a spontaneous conversation with a native French speaker or watch tv shows with minimal disruptions. They will also be able to read complicated texts and express their point of view on a number of different topics and form complex arguments.
Our Complete French Course covers B2 level in lessons 30-36.
C1 - niveau autonome (advanced)
C1 level is the first stage of the CEFR 'proficient [language] user' category.
This level will allow the student to understand a speech or a discussion even if its structure is not very clear or is mostly based on “implicit meaning”. They will be able to express themselves spontaneously with a fluency nearing that of a native speaker.
Our Complete French Course covers C1 level in lessons 37-38.
C2 - niveau maîtrise (proficiency)
C2 level is the second stage of the CEFR 'proficient [language] user' category.
At this level, the student should be able to read, understand and write any type of document, even specialised texts like academic articles. They will also be able to express themselves as well as a native speaker.
Our Complete French Course covers C2 level in lessons 39-40.
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