When one decides to learn a new language and relies on a school, as a rule-if one is not a beginner-one faces an entrance test to assess what one’s starting level is and consequently the path to take. Italian language learning obviously does not fall short of this little “rule.” But how is the starting level determined when taking an Italian language course?
The levels of Italian for foreigners are defined through the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, represented by the acronym CEFR. The CEFR is a descriptive system used to assess the skills achieved by learners of a foreign language and is a document that provides a common reference basis across Europe for teachers to use when developing teaching materials and exams for modern language learning. Finally, the CEFR outlines a progressive sequence of common reference levels. There are 6 levels – also for Italian for foreigners – and they are used throughout Europe.
– Level A1
– Level A2
– Level B1
– Level B2
– Level C1
– Level C2
Let’s look at the levels in detail:
Levels A1 and A2 correspond to a basic level of learning of the Italian language; levels B1 and B2 correspond to an intermediate level, in substance the speaker is able to use the language autonomously; levels C1 and C2 represent the most advanced level and indicate a great mastery of the language in complex situations.
Italian language learning levels for foreigners
Elementary Levels A1 and A2
Learners at this level can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and survival phrases. Can introduce him/herself and can ask similar questions (e.g. “Hello, my name is Tom, what’s your name?”). Can speak simply and slowly and can make him/herself understood as long as the other person is willing to “help”!
Learners starting from level A2 are able to understand isolated sentences and commonly used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance such as work, family, shopping. Can communicate in a simple way in routine matters and can describe, using simple vocabulary, some aspects of his/her everyday life and immediate surroundings.
Livelli Intermedi B1 e B2
Can understand the most important and crucial messages in standard language on topics related to family, work, school, leisure, etc. Can produce simple connected text on the same topics as above. Can produce simple connected text on the same topics as above, can describe events, ambitions and wishes, and can make him/herself understood. Can express him/herself briefly and briefly.
The B2 student understands complex text and reasoning, both abstract and concrete. Can take part in technical discussions in his/her field of competence and specialisation and interacts spontaneously without any tension or hesitation. Can produce clear, detailed text and expresses him/herself clearly.
Advanced Levels C1 and C2
Learners starting at C1 level can understand a wide range of complex and lengthy texts and, above all, can extract the deeper implicit meaning. Learners on the C1 level express themselves fluently and spontaneously and can use language flexibly. Can produce clear, detailed texts with knowledge of Italian grammatical structures and structures of discourse.
The highest level for those who want to start an Italian language course. Usually who starts a course starting from this level is someone who needs a simple improvement or to “brush up” the language because he/she has not used it much. The C2 student is in fact in total control of the language, he/she masters and uses it in an almost native way.
What level of learning are you at?
Discover it with the “Centro Linguistico Italiano Dante Alighieri” of Rome
As mentioned above, before starting an Italian language course for foreigners, if the student is not a beginner, the chosen school is required to administer an entry test to assess the student’s level of knowledge in order to better direct him/her towards the most suitable course of study and place him/her in the most suitable class group. In this regard, the Centro Linguistico Italiano Dante Alighieri in Rome, active since 1994, is a school specialized in teaching Italian to foreigners where it is possible to take an entry test before the beginning of each course.
Moreover, at the “Centro Linguistico Italiano Dante Alighieri” school, which has an agreement with the University for Foreigners of Siena, it is possible to take the CILS exams. The CILS certification is an officially recognized language proficiency certification that attests the linguistic-communicative competence of the Italian language as L2 and covers all six levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.