Level A0 is not included in the CEFR. It corresponds to the beginner with no previous knowledge in language and culture.
Level A1 (Breakthrough) – is considered the lowest level of generative language use – the point at which the learner can interact in a simple way, ask and answer simple questions about themselves, where they live, people they know, and things they have, initiate and respond to simple statements in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics, rather than relying purely on a very finite rehearsed, lexically organized repertoire of situation-specific phrases.
Level A2 does appear to reflect the level referred to by the Waystage specification. It is at this level that the majority of descriptors stating social functions are to be found like use simple everyday polite forms of greeting and address; handle very short social exchanges; make and respond to invitations; discuss what to do, where to go; make and accept offers.
Level B1 reflects the Threshold Level specification for a visitor to a foreign country and is perhaps most categorised by two features. The first feature is the ability to maintain interaction and get across what you want to, in a range of contexts. The second feature is the ability to cope flexibly with problems in everyday life, for example cope with less routine situations.
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.
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 and enables to produce clear,
smoothly flowing, well-structured speech, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
Level C2, whilst it has been termed ‘Mastery’, is not intended to imply native-speaker. What is intended is to characterise the degree of precision, appropriateness and ease with the language which typifies the speech of those who have been highly successful learners. Descriptors calibrated here include: convey finer shades of meaning precisely by using, with reasonable accuracy, a wide range of modification devices; have a good command of idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms with awareness of connotative level of meaning; backtrack and restructure around a difficulty so smoothly the interlocutor is hardly aware of it.
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