CEFR Levels - The recognised levels of language ability.
There are so many different posts, on DL; so many that ask one simple question, in different ways; 'the same question' How good am I getting in my chosen language (s)?
I think I can describe myself as a long term DL user, current streak 50+ (5 days in hospital prevented it being longer. So I thought I'd just share the Internationally recognised language levels, with you if you are interested.
On here I am coming up to level 11; on my mobile, where I started; level 13. But I remember being on level 4, thinking I know so much now, only to find that it took a long time to get to level 5. And what did the numbers mean anyway? They were a source, and still are, of encouragement. To try to judge their relevance, I looked at Luis' own tree in Spanish; The program is his baby, after all, and the rest of the team, of course. His tree was completed, and he was on level 16, which I wrongly guessed must be the top. But then I spotted the people in the 22's - 25's !
So here are the abridged levels, if you don't know them, of the CEFR - this stands for the Common European Framework of reference. It is 6 levels, broken into 3 levels of two parts.: "Basic user" - CEFR Level A1 and A2. These mean that you can generally understand familiar and routine things, and communicate in a direct way, with perhaps a little assistance. "Intermediate user" - CEFR level B1 and B2. This has a wide range, from beginning to start to be able to comprehend and discuss things on a casual level, past, present, and future, including hopes - to beginning to be able to converse about more abstract ideas, or perhaps be able to talk in detail about your own field of speciality (perhaps your job or major interest. You speak with some fluency, without the need for outside assistance, perhaps with just the 'occasional search for a word" "Advanced user" CEFR level C1 and C2. You can speak or talk about virtually anything with some ease. You can use language for academic or other reasons at a complex level. You can 'Argue'
So - six levels from - 'I'd like a sweetie' all the way to being able to tell someone "Why they are wrong, why you are right and the reasons, that they are wrong,' (That needs a lol in computer-speak)
I'm happy being on my level 11 and 13. I equate this to somewhere in CEFR terms as level A2 and level B1, which is quite something. 85% plus has come from DL. I've been her 9 months. Someone posed the question, on here 'If I complete a DL Tree, will I become fluent?'. I don't know the answer. All I know is that after 9 months, for the first time ever, I held a real conversation with a lady, in Italian. We both were only a tiny bit stuttering, occasionally searching for the odd word...But she has known Italian for over 12 years. I hope this answers the question.
Nice explanation of CEFR.
However, Duolingo levels do not equate at all to knowledge level. Duolingo levels reflect amount of time spent doing Duolingo. There are also many things that can affect Duolingo levels. Using Luis's level is especially fraught with problems. Duolingo has undergone many revisions since it was created that affect the Duolingo levels. In addition, I expect that Luis could easily flip a switch and set his level to 100, if he wanted to do so. Indeed, there are Duolingo developers that have posted screenshots of their Duolingo pages with astronomically amounts of Lingots. (Apparently, Duolingo pays its developers in Lingots. :) )
Simply, someone could be level 20 in Duolingo and only have reached the same point in the tree as you have. They would have a similar CEFR level to you, but a vastly different Duolingo level.
If someone has prior experience with a language and they use all of the shortcuts, when they finish the Duolingo tree, their level will be somewhere around level 16. (I don't recall exactly what the level is, but I'm sure someone else will correct me.)
It is much more realistic to compare where someone has reached on the Duolingo tree to the CEFR than to compare Duolingo level.
BUT, when it comes to learning a language, the challenge is to practice every day. Having a daily habit of studying pays off in the end. Therefore, Duolingo levels are very useful in comparing effort. And, therefore, they are quite handy in providing us with motivation to use Duolingo.
P.S. - If anyone spends any time using Immersion, their Duolingo level (experience) often sky rockets. You get much more "experience" using Immersion IMHO.
Brilliant reply. Thanks. The bit about DL staff being paid in Lingots, was hilarious and I'm still chuckling! The worst thought (because often the best humour comes from true experience) is that it might just be true. If it is true, the team, need to come up with a lot more things to spend your hard-earned Lingots on.
I recognise that DL levels are a measure of effort. It is a truism, that you could simply repeat 'Basics 1' several thousand times, if you had the inclination, and get to a very high DL level. I agree that the DL level, for effort, is a most useful incentive. But it is nice to compare them with an external source.
As for 'immersion training' that would be the ultimate learning tool. I know. One of my best friends is an Italian who teaches English at University and often shakes her head at me for trying to learn language at home. But 'a casa, mainly with DL' is where I've learnt it. recently I started evening classes at a level 1/2 standard, Thanks to DL, my vocabulary was enormous.....but I could hardly speak a word. Some of this was lack of confidence. Yet I have spent most of my adult life performing on stage, in one capacity or another! So it was a treat, for me when, for the first time, I could actually put some thoughts into spoken words.
The mistake I made with DL, at first, because of it's game-like nature, was to rush the units, just to see what the next one was. I soon learnt to go back to practise, over and over 'stuff I knew (or realised I didn't ) well. When I signed up on the computer, under a different user name (by accident) it was the best practice I could have. I am still trying to 'catch up' with myself, between the computer and the mobile app. The great thing, is that lessons, such as 'possessives, 'conjugations' and all the nella's and sulla's and degli's which seemed so hard, seem so natural. And I wonder why I found them a struggle in the first place. But I most certainly did. At the moment I seem to struggle with clitic pronouns, yet get 90% right 90% of the time. Which really equates to I don't really know them.
I am not a natural with Languages. They are a fight. I've had some books and stuff, but DL is the only thing that has encouraged me to 'get at it' on a daily basis. It is as close to immersion, stuck in my little English town, that I can get.
I'm sending you some Lingots, cos I have more than I know what to do with. In a few weeks, when I have got to another section on DL. I will pay to take a second certificate, and pray that I haven't somehow gone backwards.
Una nuova misura on DL, that has just arrived; I am told, after completing a unit that I am capable of translating 52.8% of all current Italian Literature. When I dis my first certificate in December, a few months ago, I got 2.16 / 5.0 which is 43%. I was quite proud of that, at the time.
As a further measure, I have tried 'past' GCSE papers. Basic and Advanced. I think these equate to what I knew as 'O' and 'A' levels. Obviously I only had access to the written part of the exams. In the first paper, I marked myself with 100%. And thought that was being harsh! on th harder paper. I gave myself 2%. I could understand 75% of the words, in some of the narratives, but there in was the problem. Miss just one word or nuance and the whole meaning of the stuff was different. There was an article about a lady from Northern Italy who was seeking Voluntary Charitable work down south in Campagna. How nice There were some questions to answer, but before long I vaguely picked up that the woman, was perhaps a snob and bigot, and I think it was something about 'too many foreigners in the country' taking the all the jobs, and the poor recipient having to consider the applicant.
So with just a 75% understanding, I think I got the completely wrong understanding of the thing. But measures are tools, and the tools themselves deserve a wee scrutiny. .
PS I don't remember having come across the acronym IMHO - I have guessed it to be 'in my humble opinion.'
Congratulations on your first real conversation in Italian! Complimenti!
I agree with Salxandra that Duo levels don't equate at all to CEFR levels.
I practice a lot, so I am almost at level 11, but haven't even completed 25% of my tree yet! At this rate, I will reach the highest level (level 25) when I am only halfway through my tree.
I also agree with Salxandra that Immersion is a wonderful learning tool. I am shocked at just how different the writing structure is in French than in English. At this point, I am still baffled by it. :-)
But, it is helping me to learn and to understand the language in a way that would not be possible otherwise.
It seems as though you are making good progress. Don't worry about percentages and all of that right now. Percentages don't matter, as long as you keep practicing, and as long as you love the language and are enjoying yourself.
Buona fortuna a voi!
Also, if anyone is interested, here is a link to further explanation of CEFR levels:
I agree, of course with everything you've written. You seem to be using DL, the right way. I know the marks and percentages mean little, but they are an incentive. At the end of the day, I simply want to learn a language . I see you are doing French. With me It just happens to be Italian. Like most English kids I was taught French at school. Maths and stuff was a doddle. I couldn't understand how some people could find it hard. I couldn't understand how the same kids could breeze through French, when I couldn't. For decades I held the belief that I must be a linguistic dyslexic.... Yet I was so good at English. Marks, percentages, etc, mean little. When you can actually have a convo with someone.... Then you know you are getting somewhere. It's a real joy. I owe most of this to DL.
"I practice a lot, so I am almost at level 11, but haven't even completed 25% of my tree yet! At this rate, I will reach the highest level (level 25) when I am only halfway through my tree."
Nah, the gaps between levels get pretty huge eventually! FYI I'm about a level A2 in Spanish in reality.
6 months ago A2 was a distant aspiration to me. Now I even doubt my English. As I wrote the word 'aspiration' I thought ....that has something do with 'breath, not just 'aspiring' to something. So I've been off to the dictionary. And I was right and wrong on both accounts....Right in the fact that the word pertains to both things; but wrong in not knowing the fact that this was correct.
Level 23. Is still quite an achievement, even if you say you are a 25%er. I know how much time and practice that takes. But you maybe right. The more we learn, the more we learn that we don't know. I downgrade myself constantly, but I only think, because I'm being realistic, not pessimistic. One day I may give myself a score of 75%. If so, that's beating my native English, which I am rapidly downgrading to c. 60% It is an eye-opener to realise you don't even understand your own language.
I've finished the tree. I was quoting someone else with the 25% comment.
The gaps between levels increase? I never noticed! That makes me feel better because I really didn't want to reach higher levels until I'd put in the work on my tree.
Thank you for that information; I'll have to pay attention now. :-)