Level B2 of CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)

Level B2 represents a new level as far above B1 (Threshold) as A2 (Waystage) is below it.  It  is intended  to  reflect  the  Vantage  Level  specification.  The  metaphor  is  that, having  been  progressing  slowly  but  steadily  across  the  intermediate  plateau,  the learner finds he has arrived somewhere, things look different, he/she acquires a new perspective, can look around him/her in a new way. This concept does seem to be borne out to a considerable extent by the descriptors calibrated at this level. They represent quite a break with the content so far. For example at the lower end of the band there is a focus on effective argument: account for and sustain his opinions in discussion by providing relevant explanations, arguments and comments; explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options; construct a chain of reasoned argument; develop an argument giving reasons in support of or against a particular point of view; explain a problem and make it clear that his/her counterpart in a negotiation must make a concession; speculate about causes, consequences, hypothetical situations; take an active part in informal discussion in familiar contexts, commenting, putting point of view clearly, evaluating  alternative  proposals  and  making  and  responding to  hypotheses.


Secondly, running right through the level B2 there are two new focuses:

  • The first is being able to more than hold your own in social discourse: e.g. converse naturally, fluently and effectively; understand in detail what is said to him/her in the standard spoken language even in a noisy environment; initiate discourse, take his/her turn when appropriate and end conversation when he/she needs to, though he/she may not always do this elegantly; use stock phrases (e.g. ‘That’s a difficult question to answer’) to gain time and keep the turn whilst formulating what to say; interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without imposing strain on either party; adjust to the changes of direction,  style  and  emphasis  normally  found  in  conversation;  sustain  relationships  with  native speakers without unintentionally amusing or irritating them or requiring them to behave other than they would with a native speaker.
 
  • The second new focus is a new degree of language awareness: correct mistakes if they have led to misunderstandings; make a note of ‘favourite mistakes’ and consciously monitor speech for it/them; generally correct slips and errors if he/she becomes conscious of them; plan what is to be said and the means to say it, considering the effect on the recipient/s. In all, this does seem to be a new threshold for a language learner to cross.

​​Global scale of the skills of level B2 of the CEFR

The global scale of the common reference of the CEFR defines level B2's user capable of the following linguistic skills:

  • Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her 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.

​​Self-assessment grid of level B2 of the CEFR

​​The CEFR describe level B2's user capable of carrying out the following linguistic skills:

​Understanding

​​
​Listening

​​​I can understand extended speech and lectures and follow even complex lines of argument provided the topic is reasonably familiar. I can understand most TV news and current affairs programmes. I can understand the majority of films in standard dialect.
​Understanding
​​Reading
​​​I can read articles and reports concerned with contemporary problems in which the writers adopt particular attitudes or viewpoints. I can understand contemporary literary prose.
​​​
​Speaking

​​Spoken interaction
​​I can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible. I can take an active part in discussion in familiar contexts, accounting for and sustaining my views.
​​​
​Speaking

​​Spoken production
​​I can present clear, detailed descriptions on a wide range of subjects related to my field of interest. I can explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

​Writing


​​Writing
​​I can write clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects related to my interests. I can write an essay or report, passing on information or giving reasons in support of or against a particular point of view. I can write letters highlighting the personal significance of events and experiences.

Qualitative aspects of spoken language use of level B2 of the CEFR

​​In the illustrative descriptors a distinction is made between the ‘criterion levels’ (e.g. B2 or B2.1) and the ‘plus levels’ (e.g. B2+ or B2.2). The latter are distinguished from the former by a horizontal line, as in this example for creative writing.
​​Range
​​Has a sufficient range of language to be able to give clear descriptions, express viewpoints on most general topics, without much conspicuous searching for words, using some complex sentence forms to do so.
​​Accuracy
​​Shows a relatively high degree of grammatical control. Does not make errors which cause misunderstanding, and can correct most of his/her mistakes.
​​Fluency
​​Can produce stretches of language with a fairly even tempo; although he/she can be hesitant as he/she searches for patterns and expressions. There are few noticeably long pauses.
​Interaction
​​Can initiate discourse, take his/her turn when appropriate and end conversation when he/she needs to, though he/she may not always do this elegantly. Can help the discussion along on familiar ground confirming comprehension, inviting others in, etc.
​​Coherence
​​Can use a limited number of cohesive devices to link his/her utterances into clear, coherent discourse, though there may be some 'jumpiness' in a long contribution.


​B2
Can write clear, detailed descriptions of real or imaginary events and experiences, marking the relationship between ideas in clear connected text, and following established conventions of the genre concerned.
​​Can write clear, detailed descriptions on a variety of subjects related to his/her field of interest.
​Can write a review of a film, book or play.
Levels B2.1 and B2.2 (B2+): creative writing
​​To know more about level B2+ of the CEFR.

​​Communicative language activities and strategies of level B2 of CEFR



​​​​
​Overall oral production

Can give clear, systematically developed descriptions and presentations, with appropriate highlighting of significant points, and relevant supporting detail.
​​Can give clear, detailed descriptions and presentations on a wide range of subjects related to his/her field of interest, expanding and supporting ideas with subsidiary points and relevant examples.
​​​Sustained monologue: describing experience

​Can give clear, detailed descriptions on a wide range of subjects related to his/her field of interest.


​​​​​Sustained monologue: putting a case (e.g in a debate)
Can develop an argument systematically with appropriate highlighting of significant points, and relevant supporting detail.
​​Can develop a clear argument, expanding and supporting his/her points of view at some length with subsidiary points and relevant examples.
Can construct a chain of reasoned argument.
Can explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
​​Public announcements
​​Can deliver announcements on most general topics with a degree of clarity, fluency and spontaneity which causes no strain or inconvenience to the listener.





​Addressing audiences
Can give a clear, systematically developed presentation, with highlighting of significant points, and relevant supporting detail.
Can depart spontaneously from a prepared text and follow up interesting points raised by members of the audience, often showing remarkable fluency and ease of expression.

​​Can give a clear, prepared presentation, giving reasons in support of or against a particular point of view and giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
Can take a series of follow up questions with a degree of fluency and spontaneity which poses no strain for either him/herself or the audience.
​​​​​​Overall written production
​​Can write clear, detailed texts on a variety of subjects related to his/her field of interest, synthesising and evaluating information and arguments from a number of sources.




​Creative writing
Can write clear, detailed descriptions of real or imaginary events and experiences, marking the relationship between ideas in clear connected text, and following established conventions of the genre concerned.
​​Can write clear, detailed descriptions on a variety of subjects related to his/her field of interest.
Can write a review of a film, book or play.




​​​​​Reports and essays
Can write an essay or report which develops an argument systematically with appropriate highlighting of significant points and relevant supporting detail.
Can evaluate different ideas or solutions to a problem.

​​Can write an essay or report which develops an argument, giving reasons in support of or against a particular point of view and explaining the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
​Can synthesise information and arguments from a number of sources.
​​Planning
​​Can plan what is to be said and the means to say it, considering the effect on the recipient/s.
​​Compensating
​​Can use circumlocution and paraphrase to cover gaps in vocabulary and structure.
Monitoring and repair
​​Can correct slips and errors if he/she becomes conscious of them or if they have led to misunderstandings.
Can make a note of ‘favourite mistakes’ and consciously monitor speech for it/them.




​​Overall listening comprehension
Can understand standard spoken language, live or broadcast, on both familiar and unfamiliar topics normally encountered in personal, social, academic or vocational life. Only extreme background noise, inadequate discourse structure and/or idiomatic usage influences the ability to understand.
​​Can understand the main ideas of propositionally and linguistically complex speech on both concrete and abstract topics delivered in a standard dialect, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation.
Can follow extended speech and complex lines of argument provided the topic is reasonably familiar, and the direction of the talk is sign-posted by explicit markers.


​​
​Understanding conversation between native speakers

Can keep up with an animated conversation between native speakers.
​​Can with some effort catch much of what is said around him/her, but may find it difficult to participate effectively in discussion with several native speakers who do not modify their language in any way.
​​​​Listening as a member of a live audience
​​Can follow the essentials of lectures, talks and reports and other forms of academic/professional presentation which are propositionally and linguistically complex.
​​Listening to announcements and instructions
​​Can understand announcements and messages on concrete and abstract topics spoken in standard dialect at normal speed.


​​Listening to audio media and recordings
Can understand recordings in standard dialect likely to be encountered in social, professional or academic life and identify speaker viewpoints and attitudes as well as the information content.
​​​Can understand most radio documentaries and most other recorded or broadcast audio material delivered in standard dialect and can identify the speaker’s mood, tone etc.
​​Overall reading comprehension
​​Can read with a large degree of independence, adapting style and speed of reading to different texts and purposes, and using appropriate reference sources selectively. Has a broad active reading vocabulary, but may experience some difficulty with low frequency idioms.
​​Reading correspondence
Can read correspondence relating to his/her field of interest and readily grasp the essential meaning.

​​​Reading for orientation
​​Can scan quickly through long and complex texts, locating relevant details.
Can quickly identify the content and relevance of news items, articles and reports on a wide range of professional topics, deciding whether closer study is worthwhile.



​​Reading for information and argument
Can obtain information, ideas and opinions from highly specialised sources within his/her field.
Can understand specialised articles outside his/her field, provided he/she can use a dictionary occasionally to confirm his/her interpretation of terminology.

​​Can understand articles and reports concerned with contemporary problems in which the writers adopt particular stances or viewpoints.
​​​Reading instructions
​​Can understand lengthy, complex instructions in his field, including details on conditions and warnings, provided he/she can reread difficult sections.
​​Watching TV and film
​​Can understand most TV news and current affairs programmes.
Can understand documentaries, live interviews, talk shows, plays and the majority of films in standard dialect.
​​Identifying cues and inferring (Spoken & Written)
​​Can use a variety of strategies to achieve comprehension, including listening for main points; checking comprehension by using contextual clues.





​​​​Overall spoken interaction
Can use the language fluently, accurately and effectively on a wide range of general, academic, vocational or leisure topics, marking clearly the relationships between ideas. Can communicate spontaneously with good grammatical control without much sign of having to restrict what he/she wants to say, adopting a level of formality appropriate to the circumstances.
​​Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction, and sustained relationships with native speakers quite possible without imposing strain on either party. Can highlight the personal significance of events and experiences, account for and sustain views clearly by providing relevant explanations and arguments.
​​Understanding a native speaker interlocutor
​​Can understand in detail what is said to him/her in the standard spoken language even in a noisy environment.


​Conversation

​​Can engage in extended conversation on most general topics in a clearly participatory fashion, even in a noisy environment.
Can sustain relationships with native speakers without unintentionally amusing or irritating them or requiring them to behave other than they would with a native speaker.
​Can convey degrees of emotion and highlight the personal significance of events and experiences.





​​Informal discussion (with friends)
Can keep up with an animated discussion between native speakers.
Can express his/her ideas and opinions with precision, and present and respond to complex lines of argument convincingly.

​​Can take an active part in informal discussion in familiar contexts, commenting, putting point of view clearly, evaluating alternative proposals and making and responding to hypotheses.
Can with some effort catch much of what is said around him/her in discussion, but may find it difficult to participate effectively in discussion with several native speakers who do not modify their language in any way.
Can account for and sustain his/her opinions in discussion by providing relevant explanations, arguments and comments.




​Formal discussion and meetings

Can keep up with an animated discussion, identifying accurately arguments supporting and opposing points of view.
Can express his/her ideas and opinions with precision, present and respond to complex lines of argument convincingly.

​​​Can participate actively in routine and non-routine formal discussion.
Can follow the discussion on matters related to his/her field, understand in detail the points given prominence by the speaker.
Can contribute, account for and sustain his/her opinion, evaluate alternative proposals and make and respond to hypotheses.
​​​​Goal-Oriented co-operation (e.g. repairing a car, discussing a document, organising an event)
​​Can understand detailed instructions reliably.
Can help along the progress of the work by inviting others to join in, say what they think, etc.
Can outline an issue or a problem clearly, speculating about causes or consequences, and weighing advantages and disadvantages of different approaches.



​​Transactions to obtain goods and services
Can cope linguistically to negotiate a solution to a dispute like an undeserved traffic ticket, financial responsibility for damage in a flat, for blame regarding an accident.
Can outline a case for compensation, using persuasive language to demand satisfaction and state clearly the limits to any concession he/she is prepared to make.

​​Can explain a problem which has arisen and make it clear that the provider of the service/customer must make a concession.



​​​Information exchange
Can understand and exchange complex information and advice on the full range of matters related to his/her occupational role.
​​​​Can pass on detailed information reliably.
Can give a clear, detailed description of how to carry out a procedure. 
Can synthesise and report information and arguments from a number of sources.


​​​​​​​​​Interviewing and being interviewed
Can carry out an effective, fluent interview, departing spontaneously from prepared questions, following up and probing interesting replies.
​​Can take initiatives in an interview, expand and develop ideas with little help or prodding from an interviewer.
​​Overall written interaction
​​Can express news and views effectively in writing, and relate to those of others.
Correspondence
​​Can write letters conveying degrees of emotion and highlighting the personal significance of events and experiences and commenting on the correspondent’s news and views.

​​Notes, messages & forms
​​Can take messages communicating enquiries, explaining problems.Can write notes conveying simple information of immediate relevance to friends, service people, teachers and others who feature in his/her everyday life, getting across comprehensively the points he/she feels are important.


​Taking the floor (turntaking)

​​Can intervene appropriately in discussion, exploiting appropriate language to do so.
Can initiate, maintain and end discourse appropriately with effective turntaking.
Can initiate discourse, take his/her turn when appropriate and end conversation when he/she needs to, though he/she may not always do this elegantly.
Can use stock phrases (e.g. ‘That’s a difficult question to answer’) to gain time and keep the turn whilst formulating what to say.
​Co-operating
Can give feedback on and follow up statements and inferences and so help the development of the discussion.
​Can help the discussion along on familiar ground, confirming comprehension, inviting others in, etc.

​​​​Asking for clarification
​​Can ask someone to clarify or elaborate what they have just said.
​​Note-taking (lectures, seminars, etc.)
​​Can understand a clearly structured lecture on a familiar subject, and can take notes on points which strike him/her as important, even though he/she tends to concentrate on the words themselves and therefore to miss some information.
Processing text
​​Can collate short pieces of information from several sources and summarise them for somebody else.
​Can paraphrase short written passages in a simple fashion, using the original text wording and ordering.

Communicative language competences of level B2 of CEFR


​​General linguistic range
Can express him/herself clearly and without much sign of having to restrict what he/she wants to say.
​​Has a sufficient range of language to be able to give clear descriptions, express viewpoints and develop arguments without much conspicuous searching for words, using some complex sentence forms to do so.
​​Vocabulary range
​​Has a good range of vocabulary for matters connected to his/her field and most general topics. Can vary formulation to avoid frequent repetition, but lexical gaps can still cause hesitation and circumlocution.
​​​​​​Vocabulary control
​​Lexical accuracy is generally high, though some confusion and incorrect word choice does occur without hindering communication.


​​​Grammatical accuracy
Good grammatical control; occasional ‘slips’ or non-systematic errors and minor flaws in sentence structure may still occur, but they are rare and can often be corrected in retrospect.
​​​Shows a relatively high degree of grammatical control. Does not make mistakes which lead to misunderstanding.
​​Phonological control
​Has acquired a clear, natural, pronunciation and intonation.
Orthographic control
​​Can produce clearly intelligible continuous writing which follows standard layout and paragraphing conventions. Spelling and punctuation are reasonably accurate but may show signs of mother tongue influence.



​Sociolinguistic appropriateness
Can express him or herself confidently, clearly and politely in a formal or informal register, appropriate to the situation and person(s) concerned.
​​Can with some effort keep up with and contribute to group discussions even when speech is fast and colloquial.
Can sustain relationships with native speakers without unintentionally amusing or irritating them or requiring them to behave other than they would with a native speaker.
​Can express him or herself appropriately in situations and avoid crass errors of formulation.



​​​​​​​​​​Flexibility
Can adjust what he/she says and the means of expressing it to the situation and the recipient and adopt a level of formality appropriate to the circumstances.
​​Can adjust to the changes of direction, style and emphasis normally found in conversation.
​Can vary formulation of what he/she wants to say.

​​​​
​Turntaking

​​Can intervene appropriately in discussion, exploiting appropriate language to do so.
Can initiate, maintain and end discourse appropriately with effective turntaking.
Can initiate discourse, take his/her turn when appropriate and end conversation when he/she needs to, though he/she may not always do this elegantly.
Can use stock phrases (e.g. ‘That’s a difficult question to answer’) to gain time and keep the turn whilst formulating what to say.
​​Thematic development
​​Can develop a clear description or narrative, expanding and supporting his/her main points with relevant supporting detail and examples.

​​Coherence and cohesion
Can use a variety of linking words efficiently to mark clearly the relationships between ideas.
​​Can use a limited number of cohesive devices to link his/her utterances into clear, coherent discourse, though there may be some ‘jumpiness’ in a long contribution.



​​​​
​Spoken fluency
Can communicate spontaneously, often showing remarkable fluency and ease of expression in even longer complex stretches of speech.
​​​​Can produce stretches of language with a fairly even tempo; although he/she can be hesitant as he/she searches for patterns and expressions, there are few noticeably long pauses.
Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without imposing strain on either party.
​​Propositional precision
Can pass on detailed information reliably.
Level B2 of the CEFR serves as reference for DELF B2, DELF B2 junior version, DELF B2 for schools and DELF Pro B2 tests.