FRANSK KULTURHUS
– French language, cultural and certification centre
and French library

What is my level in French?

At Fransk kulturhus, our courses follow the levels defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL): A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2. A levels correspond to beginner levels, B to intermediate and C to advanced. These are therefore progressive levels.

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages as a theoretical tool

The CEFRL is a tool which was launched in 2001 to identify and define the theoretical principles of language learning in order to make people’s and skills’ mobility easier. It is now available in 40 languages throughout the world.

The CEFRL establishes a language proficiency assessment scale which is transposable to any language and independent of the assessing organisation, unlike other assessment systems which are often specific to a country or even an organisation and generally relevant to a single language. Each level therefore corresponds to general skills which are the same in Norwegian, French, English etc.

According to the Framework, the fundamental skills required for proper communication are:

  1. Linguistic competence: language proficiency, with its lexical, grammatical, semantic, orthographic, phonological and expressive components.
  2. Pragmatic competence: being familiar with the structures and articulations of speeches and messages, and being able to produce a meaningful speech.
  3. Sociolinguistic competence: the ability to adapt the language to the speaker, i.e.using language adapted to the situation.

The importance of sublevels

At Fransk kulturhus, we have divided the A1, A2 and B1 levels in sublevels (A1.1, A1.2 etc.) in order to have a better homogeneity in our groups. Thus, someone who learned French a long time ago and remembers the fundamentals will not have to go back to the very beginning and do the entire A1 level. In order to ensure that you are in the appropriate group, we offer a free online positioning test.

Here is a summary of the skills per CEFRL level: 

A1I can understand familiar words and very basic phrases concerning myself, my family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly.I can interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech and help me formulate what I’m trying to say. I can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics. I can use simple phrases and sentences to describe where I live and people I know.
A2I can understand phrases and the highest frequency vocabulary related to areas of most immediate personal relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local area, employment). I can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements. I can communicate in simple androutine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar topics and activities, I can handle very short social exchanges, even though I can’t usually understand enough to keep the conversation going myself. I can use a series of phrases andsentences to describe in simple terms my family and other peopleliving conditions, my educational background and my present or most recent job.
B1I can understand the main points of clear standard speech on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. I can understand the main point of many radio or TV programmes on current affairs or topics of personal or professional interest when the delivery is relatively slow and clear.I can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. I can enter unprepared into conversation on topics that are familiar, of personal interest or pertinent to everyday life (e.g. family, hobbies, work, travel and current events). I can connect phrases in a simple way in order to describe experiences and events, my dreams, hopes and ambitions.  I can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. I can narrate a story or relate the plot of a book or film and describe my reactions.
B2I can understand extended speech and lectures and follow even complex lines of argument provided the topic is reasonably familiar. I can understand most TV news and current affairs programmes. I can understand the majority of films in standard dialect. I can read articles and reports concerned with contemporary problems, in which the writers adopt particular attitudes or viewpoints. I can understand contemporary literary prose.I can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible. I can take an active part in discussion in familiar contexts, accounting for and sustaining my views. I can present clear, detailed descriptions on a wide range of subjects related to my field of interest. I can explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
C1I can understand extended speech even when it is not clearly structured and when relationships are only implied and not signalled explicitly. I can understand television programmes and films without too much effort. I can understand long and complex factual and literary texts, appreciating distinctions of style. I can understand specialised articles and longer technical instructions, even when they do not relate to my field.I can express myself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. I can use language flexibly and effectively for social and professional purposes. I can formulate ideas and opinions with precision and relate my contribution skilfully to those of other speakers. I can present clear, detailed descriptions of complex subjects integrating sub-themes, developing particular points and rounding off with an appropriate conclusion.
C2I have no difficulty in understanding any kind of spoken language, whether live or broadcast, even when delivered at fast native speed, provided I have some time to get familiar with the accent. I can read with ease virtually all forms of the written language, including abstract, structurally or linguistically complex texts such as manuals, specialised articles and literary works.I can take part effortlessly in any conversation or discussion and have a good familiarity with idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms. I can express myself fluently and convey finer shades of meaning precisely. If I do have a problem I can backtrack and restructure around the difficulty so smoothly that other people are hardly aware of it. I can present a clear, smoothly-flowing description or argument in a style appropriate to the context and with an effective logical structure which helps the recipient to notice and remember significant points.

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