Levels in French
CLE integrates into the organisation of its courses the research done by the Council of Europe in the “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages”. This guideline aims to provide a method for assessing and teaching that applies to all languages across Europe. Six different levels have been defined and are becoming widely accepted as the European standard for language competences.
- A1 and A2 designed for an elementary user,
- B1 and B2 designed for the independent user,
- C1 and C2 for the experienced user.
This guides our teachers with their educational objectives.
The four competencies (understanding written French, understanding spoken French, writing French and speaking French) are all taught but priority is given to speaking French. At all levels, you will develop a knowledge of grammar and vocabulary and you will study the sound and written form of words. Thanks to a variety of relevant materials, you will familiarize yourself with French society of today.
The objective is to develop what one would call communication (cultural and language know-how) in order to help you when you have left CLE and are on your own.
Each week, you will receive a program outlining the content of your course.
We will give you the characteristics associated with each level. CLE offers courses for complete beginners through to the advanced level of C1.
Complete beginners and Beginners level A1
The objective for complete beginners is to reach beginners level A1. At this stage you are able to understand very simple phrases about daily life if someone speaks to you slowly and clearly. You know how to introduce yourself, to describe your work, to talk about your tastes and your hobbies and to describe your past. You can write a postcard. Your ability allows you to respond to simple and practical things.
Course description : Objectif niveau A1
Elementary level A2
At this level, you are able to understand simple phrases dealing with familiar subjects that occur in daily life. You can pick up the key subject of a conversation and can participate in a simple exchange. In class, you work on written documents about everyday life (letters, guides, advertisements, instructions and announcements) and you can identify the key facts in a short article.
You are capable of speaking about your daily life, expressing your feelings and giving your opinions. You can manage in shops and at the station, for instance, and you can deal with basic administrative matters.
Writing is not neglected: you are able to write simple letters to say thank you, invitations, to reserve a hotel room, etc. You could equally write an article for a magazine describing your situation or your life history.
Course description : Objectif niveau A2
Intermediate level B1
At this level, you understand the key points of a conversation, or a radio or television broadcast.
You are capable of expressing yourself about personal or professional subjects, or you can take part in a conversation on subjects that you are familiar with. You could, for example, talk about a film that you have seen and explain and justify your opinion of the film. You are able to tackle the majority of situations that you meet when making a journey.
You understand the basics of written text using everyday language: e-mails, brochures, articles and film reviews. You can write simple texts and make your self understood about familiar subjects.
Course description: Objectif niveau B1
Upper intermediate level B2 and advanced level C1
These classes address those who can handle the French language spontaneously and with ease, being able to follow a complex argument and develop a point of view. At these levels you are capable of expressing yourself precisely and with clear meaning as much in your personal domain as professionally or academically. You are able to follow a radio or television broadcast and most films using standard French.
In class, you work on quite long documents about well-known subjects as well as text or recordings about specialized subjects. You are able to talk about complicated information that you have read or heard. Documents studied describe French society today, describing attitudes and behaviour.
You are able to write clear, structured text, making official reports or essays.
How long will it take to reach each level ?
It is difficult to indicate how long it will take to reach a level because it depends on so many factors:
- your motivation,
- your mother tongue (if it is ‘close’ to French, you will progress quickly),
- your method of work and the way you study,
- your character (if you are reserved and daren’t express yourself outside of the classroom, you will progress more slowly than if you are an extrovert and chatty),
- your age (in general, it’s easier when you are 20 than when you are 65!).
Progress is generally fast from complete beginner to beginner level A1 then on to A2. On the other hand, the more you progress, the more time it takes to move from one level to another – it is possible to reach level A1 in 100 hours but it will take at least 200 hours to move from level B1 to B2.
If you don’t study, you could live in France for many years at level B1, B2 or C1 and yet never reach level C2.