Language Direct operates within the guidelines of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) – a system of language proficiency validation recommended by the European Union.
Developed by the Council of Europe between 1989 and 1996, the CEFR is used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages and effectively track their progression on the road to fluency.
The CEFR comprehensively outlines what knowledge and skills language learners must possess in order to effectively communicate in a foreign language. To do this, the CEFR divides learners into three broad categories, which can be divided into six levels.
It is impossible to say exactly how many hours of study are required for each level as this depends on factors such as the learner's language learning background, the intensity of study, the learner's motivation, and the amount of study and exposure outside class. However, a rough rule of thumb on the average time required to reach each level is provided below.
CEFR Level A1
Title: Breakthrough or beginner
Description: Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
Average study time required to progress from no knowledge to A1: 90 hours
CEFR Level A2
Title: Waystage or elementary
Description: Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
Average study time required to progress from A1 to A2: 90 hours
CEFR Level B1
Title: Threshold or pre-intermediate
Description: Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
Average study time required to progress from A2 to B1: 150 hours
CEFR Level B2
Title: Vantage or intermediate
Description: Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can 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.
Average study time required to progress from B1 to B2: 150 hours
CEFR Level C1
Title: Effective Operational Proficiency or upper intermediate
Description: Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
Average study time required to progress from B2 to C1: 200 hours
CEFR Level C2
Title: Mastery or advanced
Description: Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.
Average study time required to progress from C1 to C2: 250 hours