Level C1 of CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)

Niveau C1 du CECR
Level C1, the next band, was labelled Effective Operational Proficiency. What seems to characterise this level is good access to a broad range of language, which allows fluent, spontaneous communication, as illustrated by the following examples: Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously, almost effortlessly. Has a good command of a broad lexical repertoire allowing gaps to be readily overcome with circumlocutions. There is little obvious searching for expressions or avoidance strategies; only a conceptually difficult subject can hinder a natural, smooth flow of language.

The discourse skills characterising the previous band continue to be evident at level C1, with an emphasis on more fluency, for example: select a suitable phrase from a fluent repertoire of discourse functions to preface his remarks in order to get the floor, or to gain time and keep it whilst thinking; produce clear, smoothly flowing, well-structured speech, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

Global scale of the skills of level C1 of the CEFR

The global scale of the common reference of the CEFR defines level C1's user capable of the following linguistic skills:

  • Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning.
  • Can express him/herself 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.

​​Self-assessment grid of level C1 of the CEFR

​​The CEFR describe level C1's user capable of carrying out the following linguistic skills:

​Understanding


​​​Listening
​​I can understand extended speech even when it is not clearly structured and when relationships are only implied and not signalled explicitly.
​I can understand television programmes and films without too much effort.

​Understanding


​​​Reading
​​​I can understand long and complex factual and literary texts, appreciating distinctions of style.
​I can understand specialised articles and longer technical instructions, even when they do not relate to my field.

​Speaking


​​Spoken interaction
​​I can express myself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
I can use language flexibly and effectively for social and professional purposes.
​I can formulate ideas and opinions with precision and relate my contribution skilfully to those of other speakers.

​Speaking

​​Spoken production
​​​I can present clear, detailed descriptions of complex subjects integrating sub-themes, developing particular points and rounding off with an appropriate conclusion.

​​Writing

​​Writing
​​I can express myself in clear, well-structured text, expressing points of view at some length.
I can write about complex subjects in a letter, an essay or a report, underlining what I consider to be the salient issues.
​I can select style appropriate to the reader in mind.

​​Qualitative aspects of spoken language use of level C1 of the CEFR


​​Range
​​Has a good command of a broad range of language allowing him/her to select a formulation to express him/herself clearly in an appropriate style on a wide range of general, academic, professional or leisure topics without having to restrict what he/she wants to say.
​​Accuracy
​​Consistently maintains a high degree of grammatical accuracy; errors are rare, difficult to spot and generally corrected when they do occur.
​​​​​​Fluency
​​Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously, almost effortlessly. Only a conceptually difficult subject can hinder a natural, smooth flow of language.
​​Interaction
​​Can select a suitable phrase from a readily available range of discourse functions to preface his remarks in order to get or to keep the floor and to relate his/her own contributions skilfully to those of other speakers.
​​​​Coherence
​​Can produce clear, smoothly flowing, well-structured speech, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

Communicative language activities and strategies of level C1 of CEFR

​​Overall oral production
​Can give clear, detailed descriptions and presentations on complex subjects, integrating sub-themes, developing particular points and rounding off with an appropriate conclusion.​
Sustained monologue: describing experience
 Can give clear, detailed descriptions of complex subjects.
Can give elaborate descriptions and narratives, integrating sub-themes, developing particular points and rounding off with an appropriate conclusion.

Public announcements
​Can deliver announcements fluently, almost effortlessly, using stress and intonation to convey finer shades of meaning precisely.

​​Addressing audiences

Can give a clear, well-structured presentation of a complex subject, expanding and supporting points of view at some length with subsidiary points, reasons and relevant examples.
Can handle interjections well, responding spontaneously and almost effortlessly.

​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, well-structured and developed descriptions and imaginative texts in an assured, personal, natural style appropriate to the reader in mind.

​Reports and essays

Can write clear, well-structured expositions of complex subjects, underlining the relevant salient issues.
Can expand and support points of view at some length with subsidiary points, reasons and relevant examples.

​​​​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 backtrack when he/she encounters a difficulty and reformulate what he/she wants to say without fully interrupting the flow of speech.


​Overall listening comprehension

Can understand enough to follow extended speech on abstract and complex topics beyond his/her own field, though he/she may need to confirm occasional details, especially if the accent is unfamiliar.
Can recognise a wide range of idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms, appreciating register shifts.
Can follow extended speech even when it is not clearly structured and when relationships are only implied and not signalled explicitly.

​​Understanding conversation between native speakers
​​Can easily follow complex interactions between third parties in group discussion and debate, even on abstract, complex unfamiliar topics.
​​Listening as a member of a live audience
​​Can follow most lectures, discussions and debates with relative ease.
​​​
​Listening to announcements and instructions

Can extract specific information from poor quality, audibly distorted public announcements, e.g. in a station, sports stadium etc.
Can understand complex technical information, such as operating instructions, specifications for familiar products and services.

Listening to audio media and recordings
​​Can understand a wide range of recorded and broadcast audio material, including some non-standard usage, and identify finer points of detail including implicit attitudes and relationships between speakers.
​Overall reading comprehension​
​​Can understand in detail lengthy, complex texts, whether or not they relate to his/her own area of speciality, provided he/she can reread difficult sections.
​​​​​​Reading correspondence
​​Can understand any correspondence given the occasional use of a dictionary.

​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 understand in detail a wide range of lengthy, complex texts likely to be encountered in social, professional or academic life, identifying finer points of detail including attitudes and implied as well as stated opinions.
​​Reading instructions
​​Can understand in detail lengthy, complex instructions on a new machine or procedure, whether or not the instructions relate to his/her own area of speciality, provided he/she can reread difficult sections.
​​Watching TV and film
Can follow films employing a considerable degree of slang and idiomatic usage.
​​​​​​​​Identifying cues and inferring (Spoken & Written)
​​Is skilled at using contextual, grammatical and lexical cues to infer attitude, mood and intentions and anticipate what will come next.

​Overall spoken interaction

​​Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously, almost effortlessly. Has a good command of a broad lexical repertoire allowing gaps to be readily overcome with circumlocutions. There is little obvious searching for expressions or avoidance strategies; only a conceptually difficult subject can hinder a natural, smooth flow of language.
Understanding a native speaker interlocutor
​​Can understand in detail speech on abstract and complex topics of a specialist nature beyond his/her own field, though he/she may need to confirm occasional details, especially if the accent is unfamiliar.
​Conversation
​​Can use language flexibly and effectively for social purposes, including emotional, allusive and joking usage.
​​​​Informal discussion (with friends)
​​Can easily follow and contribute to complex interactions between third parties in group discussion even on abstract, complex unfamiliar topics

​Formal discussion and meetings
Can easily keep up with the debate, even on abstract, complex unfamiliar topics.
Can argue a formal position convincingly, responding to questions and comments and answering complex lines of counter argument fluently, spontaneously and appropriately.

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 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 participate fully in an interview, as either interviewer or interviewee, expanding and developing the point being discussed fluently without any support, and handling interjections well.
​​Overall written interaction
​​Can express him/herself with clarity and precision, relating to the addressee flexibly and effectively.
​​Correspondence
​Can express him/herself with clarity and precision in personal correspondence, using language flexibly and effectively, including emotional, allusive and joking usage

​​Notes, messages & form

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 select a suitable phrase from a readily available range of discourse functions to preface his/her remarks appropriately in order to get the floor, or to gain time and keep the floor whilst thinking.
Co-operating
​Can relate own contribution skilfully to those of other speakers.​
​Asking for clarification​
Can ask follow-up questions to check that he/she has understood what a speaker intended to say, and get clarification of ambiguous points.
​​Note-taking (lectures, seminars, etc.)
​Can take detailed notes during a lecture on topics in his/her field of interest, recording the information so accurately and so close to the original that the notes could also be useful to other people
​​​​Processing text
Can summarise long, demanding texts.

​​Communicative language competences of level C1 of CEFR

​​​​​​​General linguistic range
​​Can select an appropriate formulation from a broad range of language to express him/herself clearly, without having to restrict what he/she wants to say.
​​Vocabulary range
Has a good command of a broad lexical repertoire allowing gaps to be readily overcome with circumlocutions; little obvious searching for expressions or avoidance strategies. Good command of idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms.
Vocabulary control
​Occasional minor slips, but no significant vocabulary errors
​Grammatical accuracy
​​Consistently maintains a high degree of grammatical accuracy; errors are rare and difficult to spot.
​​​​​​​Phonological control
Can vary intonation and place sentence stress correctly in order to express finer shades of meaning.
​​Orthographic control
Layout, paragraphing and punctuation are consistent and helpful.
​Spelling is accurate, apart from occasional slips of the pen.


​​Sociolinguistic appropriateness
Can recognise a wide range of idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms, appreciating register shifts; may, however, need to confirm occasional details, especially if the accent is unfamiliar.
Can follow films employing a considerable degree of slang and idiomatic usage.
Can use language flexibly and effectively for social purposes, including emotional, allusive and joking usage.

​​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.
​​Turntaking
​Can select a suitable phrase from a readily available range of discourse functions to preface his/her remarks appropriately in order to get the floor, or to gain time and keep the floor whilst thinking.​
​Thematic development
​Can give elaborate descriptions and narratives, integrating sub-themes, developing particular points and rounding off with an appropriate conclusion.
​​Coherence and cohesion
Can produce clear, smoothly flowing, well-structured speech, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
​​Spoken fluency
​​Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously, almost effortlessly. Only a conceptually difficult subject can hinder a natural, smooth flow of language.
​Propositional precision
​Can qualify opinions and statements precisely in relation to degrees of, for example, certainty/ uncertainty, belief/doubt, likelihood, etc.

Level C1 of the CEFR serves as reference for DALF C1 tests.