Description of the various levels we offer
This is only a guideline.
Each language demands a slightly different teaching approach, which results in unique components being taught in each of the levels described below. Additionally, please keep in mind that the student’s progress will depend on a variety of factors, among which are the student’s preparation and his or her exposure to the foreign language outside of class (hours of homework, films, music, conversation with native speakers, etc.)
It is common and recommended to repeat a level if a student has not fully acquired the material presented in it. To decide whether to move up a level, we recommend you seek your instructor’s advice at the end of a session. If this is your first time studying with us, we encourage you read further.
We highly recommend you attend the Free Demonstration or Practice Sessions we hold before new sessions start. When we do not have Demonstration or Practice sessions before a new session (which tends to be the case in the summer), we encourage you to attend either the Zoom Informational Meeting or the Open House we organize to give you a chance to meet our instructors and discuss your specific requirements as well as have your level evaluated. Visit our News & Events page for updated information on this topic.
This level is designed for students who have never studied the foreign language or studied it “decades” ago and can hardly remember anything.
At the conclusion of this level, you will recognize familiar words and basic phrases concerning yourself, your family and immediate surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly. You will understand familiar written names, words, and very simple sentences, for example, on notices and posters or in catalogues.
You will interact in a simple way provided your interlocutor is prepared to repeat or rephrase words or communications at a slower rate of speech and help you formulate what you are trying to say. You will be able to ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics. You will use basic phrases and sentences to describe where you live and people you know.
You will be able to write a short, simple postcard, such as a holiday greeting, fill out forms with personal details, such as your name, nationality, and address on a hotel registration form.
Beginning II or “False Beginning”
This is a continuation of the previous level for students who have attended Beg. I or a similar class in another school or for students who studied a language “decades” ago but still remember the basics as explained in the Beginning I description.
At the conclusion of this level, you will understand phrases and most frequently used vocabulary related to areas of immediate personal relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment) and you will be able to catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements.
You will be able to read very short, simple texts and find specific, predictable information in basic everyday material such as advertisements, menus, and timetables or short simple personal letters.
You will be able to communicate in uncomplicated and routine tasks requiring a straightforward and direct exchange of information on familiar topics and activities. You will be able to handle short social exchanges, even though you may not understand enough to keep the conversation going. You will be able to use a series of phrases and sentences to describe in simple terms your family and other people, living conditions, educational background and present or most recent jobs. You will also be able to write short, basic notes and messages relating to areas of immediate need as well as very simple personal letters, for example thanking someone for something.
In the advanced beginning levels you learn to give opinions, agree and disagree, talk about yourself and your experiences, read simple articles from the press, book excerpts or engage in phone conversations.
You can understand the main points of clear standard speech on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. You can understand the main point(s) of many radio or TV programs on current affairs or topics of personal or professional interest when the delivery is relatively slow and clear. You can understand texts that consist mainly of high frequency everyday or job-related language. You can understand the description of events, feelings, and wishes in personal letters.
You can deal with most situations likely to arise while traveling in an area where the language is spoken. You can enter unprepared into conversation on topics that are familiar, of personal interest or pertinent to everyday life (e.g. family, hobbies, work, travel, and current events). You can connect sentences in a simple way in order to describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes, and ambitions. You can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. You can narrate a story or relate the plot of a book of film and describe your reactions. You can write simple connected text on topics, which are familiar, or of personal interest. You can write personal letters describing experiences and impressions.
In this level and the ones above, you learn to take part in conversations with native speakers, read magazines, newspapers, novels, understand TV, and radio broadcasts, write reports and different kinds of texts.
You can understand extended speech and lectures and follow even complex lines of argument provided the topic is reasonably familiar. You can understand most TV news and current affairs programs. You can understand the majority of films in standard language.
You can read articles and reports on contemporary problems in which the writers adopt particular viewpoints. You can understand contemporary literary prose, interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible. You can take an active role in discussions in familiar contexts sustaining your point of view.
You can present clear, detailed descriptions on a wide range of subjects related to your field of interest. You can explain your point of view on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
You can write an essay or report, passing on information or giving reasons in support of or against a particular point of view. You can write letters highlighting the personal significance of events and experiences.
You can understand extended speech even when it is not clearly structured and when relationships are only implied and not signaled explicitly. You can understand television programs and films without much effort. You can understand long and complex factual and literary texts, appreciating distinctions of style, specialized articles and longer technical instructions, even when they do not relate to your field of interest.
You can express yourself fluently and spontaneously without significant obvious searching for expression. You can use language flexibly and effectively for social and professional purposes. You can formulate ideas and opinions with precision and relate your contribution skillfully to those of other speakers. You can present clear, detailed descriptions of complex subjects, integrating sub-themes, developing particular points and rounding off with an appropriate conclusion. You can express yourself in clear, well-structured text, expressing points of view at some length.
You have no difficulty in understanding any kind of spoken language, even when delivered at fast native speed, provided you have some time to get familiar with the accent.
You can read with ease virtually all forms of the written language, including abstract, structurally or linguistically complex texts such as manuals, specialized articles, and literary works.
You can take part effortlessly in any conversation and have a good familiarity with idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms. You can express yourself fluently and convey finer shades of meaning precisely. If you do have a problem you can backtrack and restructure around the difficulty so smoothly that other people are hardly aware of it.
You can write clear, flowing text in an appropriate style, complex letters, reports or articles, and present a case with an effective logical structure. You can write summaries and reviews of professional or literary works.