Level A1 of CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for languages)

Niveau A1 du CECR
According to CEFR, Level A1 (Breakthrough) is considered the lowest level of generative language use although, from now on, there is an even more elementary level: the level A1.1 which serves as reference for the DILF and the DELF Prim A1.1. At level A1, the learner can interact in a simple way, ask and answer simple questions about themselves, where they live, people they know, and things they have, initiate and respond to simple statements in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics, rather than relying purely on a very finite rehearsed, lexically organised repertoire of situational-specific phrases.

Global scale of the skills of level A1 of the CEFR

The global scale of the common reference of the CEFR defines level A1's user capable of the following linguistic skills:

  • 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.

Self-assessment grid of level A1 of the CEFR

The CEFR describe level A1's user capable of carrying out the following linguistic skills:
​Understanding
Listening
​​​I can recognise familiar words and very basic phrases concerning myself, my family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly.
​​Understanding
​​Reading
​​I ​can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences, for example on notices and posters or in catalogues.

​​Speaking
​​​Spoken interaction
​​I can interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech an help me formulate what I'm trying to say. I can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.
Speaking
​​Spoken production​
​​​I can use simple phrases and sentences to describe where I live and people I know.
​​Writing
​​Writing
​​​I can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings. I can fill in forms with personal details, for example entering my name, nationality and address on a hotel registration form.

Qualitative aspects of spoken language use of level A1 of the CEFR

Range
​​Has a very basic repertoire of words and simple phrases related to personal details and particular concrete situations.
Accuracy
​​Shows only limited control of a few simple grammatical structures and sentence patterns in a memorised repertoire.
​​Fluency
​​Can manage very short, isolated, mainly pre-packaged  utterances, with much pausing to search for expressions, to articulate less familiar words, and to repair communication.
Interaction
​​Can ask and answer questions about personal details. Can interact in a simple way but communication is totally dependent on repetition, rephrasing and repair.
​​Coherence
​​Can link words or groups of words with very basic linear connectors like 'and' or 'then'.

Communicative language activities and strategies of level A1 of CEFR

​​Overall oral production
​Can produce simple mainly isolated phrases about people and places.​
​​Sustained monologue: describing experience
​​Can describe him/herself, what he/she does and where he/she lives.
Addressing audiences
​Can read a very short, rehearsed statement - e.g. to introduce a speaker, propose a toast.
​​Overall written production
​​Can write simple isolated phrases and sentences.
​Creative writing
​​Can write simple phrases and sentences about themselves and imaginary people, where they live and what they do.
​​Overall listening comprehension
​​Can follow speech which is very slow and carefully articulated, with long pauses for him/her to assimilate meaning.
​​Listening to announcements and instructions
Can understand instructions addressed carefully and slowly to him/her and follow short, simple directions.
Overall reading comprehension
Can understand very short, simple texts a single phrase at a time, picking up familiar names, words and basic phrases and rereading as required.
Reading correspondence
​​Can understand short, simple messages on postcards.
​​Reading for orientation
Can recognise familiar names, words and very basic phrases on simple notices in the most common everyday situations.
​​Reading for information and argument
​Can get an idea of the content of simpler informational material and short simple descriptions, especially if there is visual support.
​​Reading instructions
​Can follow short, simple written directions (e.g. to go from X to Y)​

​Overall spoken interaction

Can interact in a simple way but communication is totally dependent on repetition at a slower rate of speech, rephrasing and repair. Can ask and answer simple questions, initiate and respond to simple statements in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.

​​Understanding a native speaker interlocutor
Can understand everyday expressions aimed at the satisfaction of simple needs of a concrete type, delivered directly to him/her in clear, slow and repeated speech by a sympathetic speaker.
Can understand questions and instructions addressed carefully and slowly to him/her and follow short, simple directions.


​Conversation
Can make an introduction and use basic greeting and leave-taking expressions.
Can ask how people are and react to news.
Can understand everyday expressions aimed at the satisfaction of simple needs of a concrete type, delivered directly to him/her in clear, slow and repeated speech by a sympathetic speaker.

Goal-Oriented co-operation (e.g. repairing a car, discussing a document, organising an event)
Can understand questions and instructions addressed carefully and slowly to him/her and follow short, simple directions.
Can ask people for things, and give people things.

​​Transactions to obtain goods and services
Can ask people for things and give people things.
Can handle numbers, quantities, cost and time.



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​Information exchange

Can understand questions and instructions addressed carefully and slowly to him/her and follow short, simple directions.
Can ask and answer simple questions, initiate and respond to simple statements in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.
Can ask and answer questions about themselves and other people, where they live, people they know, things they have.
Can indicate time by such phrases as next week, last Friday, in November, three o’clock.

​​Interviewing and being interviewed
​​Can reply in an interview to simple direct questions spoken very slowly and clearly in direct non-idiomatic speech about personal details.
​​Overall written interaction
Can ask for or pass on personal details in written form.
​​​Correspondence
​Can write a short simple postcard.
​​Notes, messages & form
​​Can write numbers and dates, own name, nationality, address, age, date of birth or arrival in the country, etc. such as on a hotel registration form.
Processing text
Can copy out single words and short texts presented in standard printed format.

Communicative language competences of level A1 of CEFR

​​General linguistic range
​​Has a very basic range of simple expressions about personal details and needs of a concrete type.
​​Vocabulary range
​​Has a basic vocabulary repertoire of isolated words and phrases related to particular concrete situations.
​​Grammatical accuracy
​​Shows only limited control of a few simple grammatical structures and sentence patterns in a learnt repertoire.
​​Phonological control
​​Pronunciation of a very limited repertoire of learnt words and phrases can be understood with some effort by native speakers used to dealing with speakers of his/her language group.
​Orthographic control
​Can copy familiar words and short phrases e.g. simple signs or instructions, names of everyday objects, names of shops and set phrases used regularly.
Can spell his/her address, nationality and other personal details.

Sociolinguistic appropriateness
​Can establish basic social contact by using the simplest everyday polite forms of: greetings and farewells; introductions; saying please, thank you, sorry, etc.
​​Coherence and cohesion
​​Can link words or groups of words with very basic linear connectors like ‘and’ or ‘then’.
​​Spoken fluency
​Can manage very short, isolated, mainly pre-packaged utterances, with much pausing to search for expressions, to articulate less familiar words, and to repair communication.​
Level A1 of the CEFR serves as reference for DELF A1, DELF Prim A1, DELF A1 junior version, DELF A1 for schools and DELF Pro A1 tests.

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