A1 | A2 | B1 | B2 | C1 | C2
Language Level according to the CEFR
Language Level Assessment and CEFR
You might know the classification of language levels from A1 (Beginner) to C2 (Proficiency).
It’s an international and universal guideline to assess and describe language learners’ achievements and which can be applied to all European Languages. Since its first version was published in 2003, the Common European Framework of References for Languages has become an important instrument in recognising and acknowledging language qualifications of language learners and to derive educational and subject-oriented measures.
It is used in Europe but also in other continents.
A1 - Breakthrough
A2 - Waystage
B1 - Threshold
B2 - Vantage
C1 - Effective Operational Proficiency
C2 - Mastery
The Common Reference Level
The framework of CEFR is universal for all languages in Europe, and it won't say which grammar chapter or specific vocabulary is required - CEFR uses more general terms to describe learners' language use. Furthermore, the approach is an action-oriented one. That means learners of a language are social agents who must master language activities within a particular social context.
The Council of Europe gives a general description of a learner's language on a global scale.
Generally speaking, level A is an introductory level where learners can give and ask for information about themselves and other family members. The B-Level is an advanced level and considered the level you'll need to master all crucial parts of daily life in a foreign country. B1 is often asked for naturalization applications or permanent stay permissions. B2 can be seen as a native-speakers level, and learners are barely limited to expressing themselves, their planes, wishes, opinions, writing eloquent texts, emails, claims, job application letters and many more. It's the level where you comfortably use the language, and most people pause their learning journey here because all your communicative needs are satisfied.
The C-Level is professional or academic, and you can't say that every native-speaker masters this level! Think of a 12 years old child - it will speak and understand their mother tongue perfectly, yet won't be able to attend and understand a university lecture or write an academic paper. Yet, that's what you are supposed to do if you want to reach the C1 or C2 language level. Many Universities will require C1 to access the Uni; C2 is sometimes required in order to recognize professional grades. For example, if you want to be a teacher in the Swiss Education System, you'll need to prove a C2 level.
Brief comment about native-speaking language tutors
It's a marvoulios thing that through online lessons native speaking language tutors from all over the world are available to teach their mother tongue. Milenuga is following this approach, however we also have tutors who are not native speakers of the language they teach.
To be a native-speaker is a great plus, but you will agree that not every native speaker is automatically a good teacher and it makes them definitely not professional tutors. Quite the contrary it's likely that a tutor with a C2 level for the language they teach has profound linguistic knowledge and has experienced all challenges of its acquisition.
Won't you prefer a tutor with a professional grade and long years of working experience to a native-speaking globetrotter with a laptop at a backpacker's?
The Application of CEFR: Language learning is a highly individual process.
milengua courses are adapted to the CEFR approach by focusing on the personal, communicative needs of learners and by using materials and methods that are appropriate for learners’ individual characteristics.
Your designated course tutor will find out quickly which learning style is the most beneficial for you (visual, logical, verbal, aural…) and will apply it to his/her teaching style. Furthermore, the speed of progress is totally adapted to each student’s capacities. What’s more, themes and domains for communicative activities are always chosen with each student’s requirements in mind and can be adjusted anytime throughout your course just by informing your tutor.
Moreover, we integrate plenty of strategies promoted by the Council of Europe.
face to face interaction with native speakers
overhearing conversations; listening to radio, recordings, etc.;
watching and listening to TV, video, etc.;
reading unmodified, ungraded, authentic written texts (newspapers, magazines, stories, novels, public signs and notices, etc.);
a combination of presentations, explanations, (drill) exercises and exploitation activities,
direct exposure to specially selected (e.g. graded) spoken utterances and written texts in the target language (‘intelligible input’);
progressively reducing the use of native language and including more tasks and authentic texts, spoken and written, and an increasing self-study component;
combining the above with group and individual planning, implementation and evaluation of classroom activity with teacher support, negotiating interaction to satisfy different learner needs, etc.
For every level there are particular exams like those from Goethe Institute or telc for German, Cambridge, TOEFL, IELTS for English, DELE for Spanish, DELF for French, CELI for Italian, and many more. Each exam explains its requirements in terms of which language activities and strategies the exam taker has to master.
Exam certificates are internationally accepted and are often required to gain permanent residence, to become a naturalized citizen or to apply at universities abroad.
Do you want to learn more about our Preparation courses for Official Language Exams?
Information about Swiss Naturalisation
The requirements for becoming Swiss have changed for applications from 1.01.2018. For the “regular naturalization” process you must have lived in Switzerland for at least 10 years and you must have a “C” residence permit at the time of applying. (Years spent in the country between ages 8 and 18 count double with a minimum number of 6 years of residence. )
Furthermore, each canton has its own requirements in terms of how many years applicants need to have lived there. Your community of residence and/or the cantonal naturalization service, from where you can also get the application form, will provide you with specific information about the official requirements.
“Facilitated naturalization” is mainly for those citizens who have been married to a Swiss national for at least 3 years and have lived in Switzerland for 5 years. Couples who live abroad have to be married for at least 6 years and must have “close ties to Switzerland”. (The municipal or cantonal department will decide if this condition is fulfilled).
The application form for the facilitated process of naturalization is available at the State Secretariat for Migration FOM, Quellenweg 6, CH-3003 Bern-Wabern -
for applications from abroad: from the relevant Swiss representation.
* All specifications without guarantee: Information taken from Swiss Confederation's official website / Staatssekretariat für Migration (SEM); (09/2019).
Proving Swiss integration
After the applicant has met the formal requirements she/he will be invited by the office in charge for an initial meeting. They'll inform the applicant about the further process, for example in which way she/he has to prove her/his economic, social and linguistic integration into Switzerland.
Not only do applicants have to be economically independent, they also have to demonstrate they are integrated into Swiss life and society and that they are familiar with the following:
Swiss political system
Swiss culture and customs
Regional facts about your municipality/canton and your surrounding area
In some cantons, applicants will need to sit a written test, but the most common test is the "Einbürgerungsgespräch", a face to face interview with a group representing the local government. Normally, the Federal Migration Office will follow their consensus on whether an applicant is sufficiently well integrated.
milengua preparation courses
milengua courses guarantee an excellent preparation for the Einbürgerungsgespräch. This course not only covers the topics that come up in the interview but also practices answering questions and giving explanations in German. Furthermore, we will give you helpful tips on how you can prove your successful integration into Swiss life and society. Additionally, we offer Swiss German classes in order to get your comprehension of the local dialect to a high level.
In a first free trial lesson, your teacher will assess your language level and find out about your knowledge of the Swiss Confederation. She/he will make a suggestion about how many lessons you'll need to get well prepared - normally 10 or 20, depending on the student's individual prior knowledge and language competence.
Proving language proficiency
As for language requirements, they are very specific and more measurable.
In most cantons, applicants require A2 Level for written language and B1 Level for spoken language in accordance with the Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFR). Evidence of language proficiency is given by obtaining a certificate through an officially accredited institute (for German e.g.: Goethe, TELC, TestDaf) or through the “fide language passport” - a program provided by the Swiss migration service. See here for a complete list.
Normally, the (main) language of your canton is the one that’s required, however, if you are a native speaker of one of the four official languages (German, French, Italian or Rhaeto-Romanic), you don’t need to provide a language certificate. This is also not needed if you have visited a Swiss compulsory school for at least 5 years or you if you have completed a professional education.
Nevertheless, when it comes to the naturalization interview you must be able to hold a 30- minute conversation about your Swiss integration and your motivation behind becoming a Swiss citizen, answer questions on politics, history, geography, culture, and regional topics.
And as if that wasn’t challenging enough, these interviews are often held in regional dialects - so applicants must at least have a good comprehension of Swiss German while they can speak High German.
milengua preparation courses for language exams
Milengua gets you prepared perfectly for officially recognised language certificates. We are experts in efficient exam training. In a free trial lesson, we’ll present you with the different formats and the different language tests (mainly: Goethe and telc). We help you become familiar with the exam in which the following linguistic sub-skills are tested:
Preparation courses usually focus on the “productive” language skills speaking and writing during the lessons while we provide you with a plan for how to develop the “receptive” skills of reading and listening. You will learn and train how to identify the keywords in a text to answer correctly and we will provide you with the techniques to accelerate your reading skills and to single out important information.
For many students, the speaking part is quite tricky, so we’ll practise “exam simulations” of the different tasks until you feel confident and perfectly equipped for the oral exam.
Regarding the written part, you will learn how to use good and suitable phrases, improve your grammar and spelling and - most importantly - how to structure your text and meet the requirements of the task. Any corrections of written work will be made outside the lessons so that in class we can focus on your questions and practise structures that you find challenging.
If you have any more questions or would like more information about the Swiss naturalization process and milengua’s preparation courses, please get in contact with us!
If you want to get a better idea of how a preparation course works, just sign up for a free demo lesson and you’ll meet your personal tutor for a free trial of 30 minutes, where you can try our method without any obligations.