Wednesday, February 5, 2014


The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is the standard scale used in Europe to quantify foreign language proficiency.  According to the CEFR, there are six levels of proficiency.  A1 and A2 are used for elementary proficiency.  B1 and B2 are for intermediate ability and C1 and C2 are used to describe advanced proficiency.

It is quite common to see a language and proficiency level listed on someone's CV (resume) as, for example, A2 German or C1 French.

A1 - Beginner Level
  • Able to understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases 
  • Can introduce him/herself and others.  Able to ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has
  • Able to interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly
A2 - Elementary Level
  • Able to understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment
  • Can communicate regarding simple and routine tasks requiring simple and direct exchange of information about familiar and routine matters
  • Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in ares of immediate need
B1 - Intermediate Level
  • Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • Able to deal with most situations likely to arise while traveling in an area where the language is spoken
  • Able to describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans
B2 - Upper Intermediate Level
  • Able to understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics
  • Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers possible without strain for either party
  • Able to produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options
C1 - Advanced Level
  • Able to understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts and recognize the implicit meaning
  • Can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions
  • Can communicate effectively for social, academic and professional purposes
C2 - Mastery Level
  • Able to understand with ease virtually everything heard or read
  • Can summarize information from different spoken and written sources, reconstruct arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation
  • Able to express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely while differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations
Approximate study hours required for each level

In July, I qualify to apply for permanent residence in Czechland.  However, one of the requirements is to pass a basic Czech language exam.  So I'll have to take the Czech Language Certificate Exam (CCE) in May or June.  I'm not too worried about this because for permanent residency only A1 proficiency is required.  Right now my Czech is in the "more than A2 but not quite B1" range.

The required proficiency level increases for anyone applying for Czech citizenship.  To get a Czech passport, it's necessary to prove B1 level Czech, or higher.

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