The Four Levels Of Language Proficiency

When learning, it is important to set benchmarks to measure your progress.

Remember that we set “measurable goals” when we started out? You can tell how well you are doing by determining which level of proficiency you have reached.

The first level of proficiency is when you can get the general idea about what you’re reading in your target language. At this level you have only just started using the new language and are still building your vocabulary. By reading articles in the language and grasping new words, you are on your way to expanding your vocabulary substantially.

The second level is when you can start to write in your target language. This means that you have a good enough grasp of the grammar of the language and have a large enough vocabulary to be able to form proper sentences. You may still be using a dictionary or thesaurus to help you choose better words for your writing but that is something that will only help you get to the next level of proficiency quicker.

The third level of proficiency (and one you should be proud of reaching) is when the spoken language no longer sounds like gibberish and actually begins to make sense. At this level you should be able to hold conversations and use the language with some freedom. Basic linguistic functions like asking for directions, shopping at the market, debating, arguing etc should be a piece of cake for you.

The last level of proficiency is when you have mastered the language and have started thinking in it. Reading, writing and conversing in the language is no longer a conscious effort but a natural ability. But this is certainly not the end of your learning process. Languages evolve continually and as the cliche goes “there is always room for improvement”.