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French Language Certification

1852 French language certification

About the French Language

French is a Romance language that belongs to the Indo-European language family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, like all other Romance languages. French is an official language in 29 countries across different continents and is spoken as a first language in France, the Canadian provinces of Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick as well as other Francophone regions, Belgium (Wallonia and the Brussels-Capital Region), western Switzerland, Monaco, partly in Luxembourg, the states of Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont in the United States, and in north-western Italy. French evolved from Vulgar Latin in Gallia, to Old French followed by Middle French and finally became the Modern French that we know of today.

Learning the French Language

Being able to speak and understand French gives you the freedom to communicate with over 75 million native speakers in France, Belgium and Luxembourg. Besides, you can also interact with 263 million people around the rest of the world, who use French as a second language -- most of them in West Africa. French is taught in Universities worldwide because of its prominent presence in the worlds of jurisprudence, journalism, academia, and diplomacy. It is also used in international and regional courts and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations; one of twenty official and three working languages of the European Union; and an official language of NATO, the International Olympic Committee, and also the Council of Europe.

French is easy to learn for native English speakers. Although it is different from English, it is relatively two simpler. What makes the two languages similar is also the fact that they have Latin roots. These factors altogether make learning French an added advantage in work, travel, studying abroad, etc.

French Language Certification

When we talk about a French language certification, the first thing we need to know is what the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL) is. So the CEFRL, or more commonly known as the CEFR, is an international standard developed by the Council of Europe to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe and increasingly, in other countries. Since 2001, this is a reference in the field of learning and teaching French.

The second important thing to know before beginning to learn French or obtain a French certification is the levels involved. The Common European Framework divides learners into three broad divisions. These are further categorised into six levels, wherein each describes what a learner is supposed to be able to do in reading, listening, speaking and writing. Given below are the categories and subcategories of French language levels or French levels-

1. Basic user- This level group is further classified into two:

i) A1 level French (Breakthrough or Beginner)

  • Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and fundamental phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.

  • Can introduce themselves and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where they live, people they know and things they have.

  • Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

ii) A2 level French (Waystage or Elementary)

  • Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).

  • Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.

  • Can describe in simple terms aspects of their background, immediate environment and matters in areas of urgent need.

2. Intermediate user- This level group is further divided into two:

i) B1 level French (Threshold or intermediate)

  • Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.

  • Can deal with most situations likely to arise while travelling in an area where the language is spoken.

  • Can produce simple connected text on familiar topics or of personal interest.

  • Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

ii) B2 level French (Vantage or upper-intermediate)

  • Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their field of specialisation.

  • Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.

  • Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

3. Proficient user- This level group is further divided into two:

i) C1 level French (Effective operational proficiency or advanced)

  • Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer clauses, and recognise implicit meaning.

  • Can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.

  • Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.

  • Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

ii) C2 level French (Mastery or proficiency)

  • Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.

  • Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.

  • Can express themselves spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.

CEFR certificates are accepted and regarded throughout Europe and almost all other countries around the world. These certificates help when you apply for jobs in French-speaking nations. They are also crucial if you wish to pursue higher studies at French-speaking academic institutions.


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