Evaluating Your Language Level

Evaluating your language can be hard and not very fun. There are different ways to evaluate where you are in the language. I think most people (1) take a test or (2) they ask a friend or co-worker. Both will most likely come short of revealing where your speaking proficiency really is. Testing can be misleading and only show strengths in your reading and writing comprehension. Asking a friend can also be misleading since most people are going to compliment “willingness to learn the language” more than give you a critical review of where you are in the grand scope of things.

I have heard it said that once people stop complimenting your language because you speak like them, then you know you are reaching a high level. This would seem to be right. I complimented my oldest child when she spoke her first words, her first sentences etc. but now she speaks “normal/often” and I don’t even think about it. Once we get to that point with those around us, we are getting somewhere (otherwise we probably have a speaking disability).

One of the things that has helped me and many others is to refer to the “Self-rating Checklist of Speaking Proficiency” that is in the back of the L.A.M.P. (Language Acquisition Made Practical by E. Thomas Brewster and Elizabeth S. Brewster) book. The book is a guide to learning any language. This checklist has 10 level, as follows:

  1. Level Zero Plus
  2. Level One
  3. Level One Plus
  4. Level Two
  5. Level Two Plus
  6. Level Three
  7. Level Three Plus
  8. Level Four
  9. Level Four Plus
  10. Level Five

The checklist gives a list of practical things that you should be able to do in the language. Once you can do everything in your current level you move on to the “plus” levels. The plus levels mean you can do everything in the previous level plus three things from the next level, so it evaluates your transition from level to level. This holds true up to level four. Level four and beyond is what separates the men from the boys. These last three levels ask the hardest questions.

Each of the questions are based on your opinion and only you can truly evaluate your language, so be honest with yourself. Use the time of evaluation to find out where you are and make a plan to move forward.

3 thoughts on “Evaluating Your Language Level

  1. Alexander Spear

    Thanks for sharing this! As we are finishing language school in about four weeks, it is very brutally honest to asses where you stand and where you want to be. When you compare to other Americans it is one thing, but to compare to native speakers is really where the truth lies. One other source I read said that when they stop correcting you it is either because you sound like them or they have given up all hope of you learning the language (Eugine Nida and his book Learning a Foreign Language). Hopefully the goal is the first of those options! By the way, I thank God everyday that I am learning Spanish and not Chinese! I do not know how you do it.

    1. Mark (CR!) Post author

      Hey Alexander! Glad to hear you are finishing language school! That is a great accomplishment! I don’t know how I do Chinese either…. but by the grace of God! :-)

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