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CEFR Language Fluency Levels and What Differentiates Them

As you travel on your language learning journey, knowing about fluency levels can help you level up in your language fluency. This particular article will focus on the European CEFR language fluency levels and what differentiates them.

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There are 3 tiers and 6 different levels of fluency in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or CEFR. The Basic User of a language is split into A1-Beginner and A2-Elementary. Independent Users are split into B1-Intermediate and B2-Upper-Intermediate. Proficient Users have two levels: C1-Advanced and C2-Proficient. So, what divides A1 from A2? Or B1 from B2? Take a look in the description below.

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Basic User A1-A2

A1- Beginner

“Candidates belonging to this CEFR level have a basic understanding of a certain language. They are aware of the commonly used phrases, can introduce themselves and can describe where they reside. However, they face difficulty in understanding the language unless spoken at a slower pace and might require help.”

A2- Elementary

“Learners in the A2 CEFR level can easily communicate and understand daily expressions and answer routine questions without difficulty.”

To move from Basic to Elementary, you will need to learn any daily expressions and be able to understand them at a regular spoken pace. 

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Independent User B1-B2


“Candidates of the B1 level can travel easily communicate their needs with ease and also form well-structured sentences. They are able to express and communicate their views and opinions in a better manner.”


“Although the basic understanding of a foreign language remains the same as that of the B1 level, candidates in this CEFR level show better fluency and spontaneity. They can structure clear sentences on their own and communicate with native speakers easily. Those at the B2 level can express their opinions with more convenience.”

Both Intermediate and Upper-Intermediate speakers have a solid understanding of the foreign language. The difference between B1 and B2 is the raised level of fluency and ease of communication.

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Proficient User C1-C2


C1 CEFR level means candidates belong to an advanced level of proficiency in a foreign language. The language fluency and vocabulary show a distinctive and remarkable development. Individuals in this level of CEFR can use the foreign language for academic and professional purposes with ease and efficiency. Those belonging to the C1 level can speak, read and write in a foreign language without any difficulty.”


C2 is the highest level of proficiency in a language wherein a candidate can use a foreign language without any restrictions or difficulties. Those in this CEFR level can conveniently argue or present their opinion and can easily understand the nuances of a language. Candidates in this level become as fluent as a native speaker of the language in question.”

Proficient users may be categorized as either advanced or proficient. The difference between the two is that proficient speakers can do everything an advanced speaker can do but can also understand even nuanced language.

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CORE Languages offers free language learning content in English, German, Spanish, and French at varying CEFR levels. Check it out!


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