What the … is the CEFRL?


Welcome to the next installment in our “What the … is that?” series, and the first post on a topic that is one of the cornerstones of our business: corporate language training!

The Abbreviation

CEFRL stands for “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages”. Did that answer your question? Or did you just come up with 10 more? The CEFRL helps institutions and employers better understand the language levels of applicants. We are seeing CEFRL levels as part of job ads and University application forms more and more often.

The Levels

But what exactly is the difference between being an A1- and C2+ level?  The CEFRL is divided into three basic level groups: A, B and C

A’s are basic users of the language who can only understand very simple expressions and talk in the simplest grammatical structures. B’s are independent users. They are able to communicate on a more spontaneous level, and in more complex grammatical structures. But they are easily identifiable as non-native speakers. C’s are proficient users. They may still make mistakes in usage, structure or pronunciation but are able to “keep up with the Kardashian’s” misuse of ‘literally’. Within those three user groups, there are two additional levels: 1 and 2. We can then differentiate those further using a plus or minus. So all together, the CEFRL divides language learners across levels from A1- to C2+

Some institutions and testing facilities also use A0 for users who have absolutely no usable language ability. Others state if you can say ‘Facebook’ and ‘McDonald’s’ you have already achieved at least an A1- level of English. 

New research is also being done to expand the levels beyond C and into D, for native speakers who have a deeper and more extensive vocabulary or understanding of several dialects of a given language. But for now, I think 3 letters of the alphabet are enough.

Would you like to know how you measure up? Check out this table and see where you think you fall – but if you’d like a comprehensive and sound answer, a good place to start is our Corporate Training department . This post is brought to you by the letters A, B and C. Join us next week, when we send some fun facts about translations your way!