Which Level is More Than Enough for a Target Language

Wendy Chang 張雅鈞✈️
3 min readMar 24, 2022

Few days ago I saw the following tweet about language level, especially those for European languages. The person said B1 level is more than enough because A1 and A2 also mean nothing, while B1 and B2 differ not much.

However, I tweeted back since I had different opinions. Now I would like to explain more in the following paragraphs.

Define “Enough”: What You Want to do with the Language

Before we argue which level is enough, we should start with what you want to do with the language: to introduce yourself, to communicate with store keeps when traveling, to speak to native speakers while working, to express your opinions on books, movies, or certain topics. The “enough” differs from person to person.

It matters where you will need to use the target language.

Photo by Ruffa Jane Reyes on Unsplash

The Framework Can’t be Applied to Every Language

This framework aims to provide an overall and quick understanding for people to get to know how fluent you are in a European language. In Korean and Japanese proficiency test, they have similar structure. In Korean one (TOPIK), there are level 1 to level 6, corresponding to A1 to C2. However in the Japanese proficiency test (JLPT), N1 is the highest level.

Besides, there wasn't speaking test modules in these 2 language exams. Therefore, you cannot apply the framework and understand directly. Sometimes a person who obtains Level 6 in TOPIK or N1 in JLPT may not be able to have a fluent conversation with other language users.

My Personal Experience

Since I just received German B2 certificate, I would like to take it as example.

If I just want to work and live in Germany, then B1 is enough for me to apply for a job. I can understand daily conversation, TV news, and most of the information I need to live there.

But if I want to fully understand what Podcasters say in mal angenommen or YouTube videos like MrWissen2go Geschichte, I have…

Wendy Chang 張雅鈞✈️

左手寫媒體寫公關,右手點戲點電影,翻譯遊走語言間,紅白拖要不停走。Writer, translator, and polyglot. PR and communication professional. Twitter: @wendychang1114