The European Language System.

Monday and Tuesday, I take my B.1 exam at the end of my first language course. Since many of you are unversed in what that actually means, I thought I would take a second and explain a system that I actually think has a lot to offer (click image to enlarge).

All languages in Europe are (pretty) universally scaled on an A.1 to C.1 scale. I’ve given my best interpretation of what these levels actually look like in the real world:


*Passing a B.2 exam (at the end of the B.2 course work) is the baseline requisite for professional certification. It’s what employers will expect, and what students must achieve before they can begin a degree program in a German University.

What this means for us:

Because we came in with a formidable foundation, we are really pretty far along, as far as our language classes are concerned. For instance, this test will clear me to take a B2 course (actually split into B.2.1 and B.2.2) which will give me the option of passing that B2 exam as soon as August.

PLEASE PRAY for these exams to go well and for our continued language courses to keep being fruitful (for clarity, Mallorie is in school as well, but does not have any tests yet).

Takeaways from this system:

  1. My understanding is that all language courses follow this pattern, so you could know that you are a B.1 in German, and an A.2 in French. I like this system, because it gives you a realistic idea of where you stand, and because it is universal, it means something. It tells you what you need to work on, and how to improve.
  2. Immersive classes (where you have to ask questions in the foreign language and expect answers in kind) are GREAT for learning, which (again, as I understand) is the modus operandi here for most all language courses. They help you to know how your communication skills really are.
  3. Just like cramming for the ACT, it is possible to cram your way through certifications, and to not retain it. It’s true that if you don’t use it, you lose it. We were warned about this phenomenon from the school this past week. After this next class, I will plan to take a break from the intensive class to focus on individual needs, and Mallorie will break from one-on-one tutoring and experience an intensive class.

It’s lots of fun to learn a new language, and it’s even more fun (in our case) that I have new friends from all over the world that I’ve only carried on conversations with in German, even though neither I nor my new friends speak it as our first language. The reward in learning another language and engaging with people in their language is awesome! I would highly recommend it as a way to grow personally!



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