CEFR: What Are the Different Levels of French Language Proficiency in French?


Language proficiency or linguistic proficiency is the ability of an individual to speak or perform in a language. If you love French and want to know the different levels of French Language Proficiency, then you are in the right place. Here, we will discuss different levels of French Proficiency of CEFR. But before going ahead, first, need to understand what CEFR is?


What is CEFR?

CEFR stands for Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The Council of Europe develops CEFR as part of a project called the “Language Learning for European Citizenship.” CEFR standards are used to measure the proficiency of individuals in various languages (German, French, English or Spanish.) spoken in European. This scheme planned as a validation of language ability for non-native speakers of the language. CEFR split language learners into three main types – A, B, C and then additionally divide each category into two categories like A1, A2, and B1, B2

Where the Different CEFR Levels Matter

The CEFR is not only used in academic settings but also used by several employers. A CEFR diploma is very versatile for your CV or résumé, and they often don’t expire. You may need a CEFR certificate for school admissions, to join a University course, and Employment. Several students use CEFR levels for self-assessment. So that students can easily define their current level and can work hard to be proficient in French.

The “A” Levels: Basic User

A1 or Beginner: It is the most basic level of language learning. At this level, the user can do the following tasks:

  • Can recognize and use known expressions and fundamental phrases that used in everyday needs
  • He/she can introduce himself/herself, can answer and ask questions about the personal details, e.g., where he lives, things he has, people he knows, etc.
  • A user can communicate openly if the other person is polite, cooperative, speak slowly and ready for the communication help

A2 or Elementary: At the A2 CEFR level, a language learner can:

  • Understand commonly used terms in most central areas like shopping, employment, family, and geography, etc.
  • Can do tasks which are routine and involve a direct swap of information.
  • Can explain matters of immediate need in straightforward terms.

The “B” Levels: Independent User

B1 – Threshold (or intermediate): When a user reaches the B level of CEFR, he can:

  • Identify the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly used in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • Can handle travel situations in areas where the language is spoken
  • Can write or create texts on personal interest topics’
  • Can explain their dreams, hopes, ambitions, and experiences to others.
  • Can give their opinions, reasons, and plans on a topic briefly

B2 – Upper Intermediate or Vantage: At this stage of French learning a user can:

  • Understand the fundamental idea of a complex text, or technical piece related to his field.
  • Can communicate with a degree of fluency and spontaneity without too much strain for either the learner or the native speaker.
  • Can undoubtedly produce detailed text on a wide range of subjects
  • Can explain his point of view on a current issue by giving advantages and disadvantages

The “C” Levels: Proficient User

C1 – Advanced or Effective Operational Proficiency: When a French language learner acquires this level of CEFR he becomes proficient a user. Here, he can:  

  • Understand a wide variety of high demanding longer texts and conversations, and recognize implicit meaning.
  • Can state ideas without more much searching for expressions
  • He/ She can be active in social media, academic or professional situations by effectively using the French language
  • Can produce cogent, detailed text on most complex topics.

C2 – Mastery (or proficiency) this is the mastery level of CEFR, and here the user is supposed to:

  • Understand almost everything, read, write and speak French with ease.
  • Can summarize information from various spoken and written sources
  • can reconstruct arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation
  • can express himself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely
  • Can differentiate precise meanings of words, sentences, and paragraphs, even in the most complex situations.

French in Normandy provides French language courses for all levels of learners. Learn more about our General French courses or DELF and DALF preparation courses.

CEFR French proficiency