Advanced proficiency in English, often categorized as C1 or C2 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), is characterized by a high level of competence in the language. Here are the criteria that typically describe an advanced proficiency:
Understanding (Listening and Reading):
C1: Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognize implicit meaning. Can understand extended speech and follow even complex lines of argument provided the topic is reasonably familiar.
C2+: Has no difficulty understanding any kind of spoken language, whether live or broadcast, even when delivered at fast native speed. Can read with ease virtually all forms of written language, including abstract, structurally complex, or highly colloquial literary and non-literary writings.
Speaking (Fluency and Coherence):
C1: Can express ideas 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 organizational patterns, connectors, and cohesive devices.
C2+: Can express themselves spontaneously, very fluently, and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.
C1: Can write clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors, and cohesive devices.
C2+: Can write clear, smoothly flowing text in an appropriate style. Can write complex letters, reports, or articles that present a case with an effective logical structure which helps the recipient to notice and remember significant points. Can write summaries and reviews of professional or literary works.
Vocabulary and Grammar:
C1 & C2+: Have 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. Good command of idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms with awareness of connotative levels of meaning. Consistently maintain a high degree of grammatical accuracy; errors are rare and difficult to spot.
C1 & C2+: Pronunciation and intonation are influenced by the first language but only occasionally interfere with intelligibility. Pronunciation is natural and accents, while noticeable, do not impede understanding.
C1 & C2+: Display a high level of cultural awareness and can articulate the cultural connotations of nuances and idioms in the language. Can understand and appreciate literature, complex idiomatic expressions, and cultural references.
Autonomy in Learning:
C1 & C2+: Can take more responsibility for their own learning, including understanding and identifying their own mistakes and seeking out challenging opportunities to learn and practice the language.
At the C2+ level, especially, individuals are expected to be able to perform at a level close to a native speaker, with nuanced understanding and expression in the language. They can adapt their language use to various contexts, understand subtle meanings, and deal with complex topics effectively.