What follows are descriptions of the language levels we use in our website. Of course this is not an exact science, but these descriptions will give you some idea of how we define them.
We use these to help assess our teachers. You can read more on this on the Informal / Professional page.
A native speaker is someone who has learned and spoken the language from early childhood. It is generally considered a person's primary language also known as their mother tongue. Native speakers will be able to speak the language very comfortably and be very familiar with slang and idioms.
C2 - Proficient
Someone with a C2 level speaks the language on a near-native level. Even though the language is not their mother-tongue, they understand, speak and write it really well and have no trouble with the great majority of the slang and idioms. This person can generally be considered to be bilingual in both this language and their native language. The C2 level is very difficult to obtain, unless the person lives in a country where the language is spoken as a primary language.
C1 - Advanced
A C1 level speaker can also be considered as someone who is a fluent speaker of the language. They will have no problem speaking, reading, writing and understanding the language and don't really need to take pauses to think while they are speaking. They might make the occasional mistake and maybe won't understand all slang or idioms, but they can communicate without any trouble and make themselves very easily understood.
B2 - Upper Intermediate
Someone with a B2 level is a proficient speaker of the language, meaning that they are pretty advanced. They will have more difficulties expressing themselves than C1/C2 or native speakers, but can usually get themselves understood and will be able to understand reasonably well. They are able to hold a conversation, and read and write without too many difficulties, even though they will make some mistakes here and there.
B1 - Intermediate
People with a B1 level are able to have simple conversations on various topics as long as these topics aren't too complicated. They might have more difficulties understanding or writing the language. As long as their speaking partner doesn't speak too fast and doesn't use advanced vocabulary, they will be able to understand a lot.
A2 - Elementary
People with an A2 level are still at the basic learning level. They can speak some simple sentences, but will have difficulties understanding and writing. They will need their conversational partner to speak very slowly and repeat a lot.
A1 - Elementary
People with an A1 level are just starting out. They still have a hard time forming even basic sentences and it will be pretty difficult for them to hold a conversation. They will need a lot of assistance.