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Introduction to GFL

1. What is German as a Foreign Language (GFL) or Deutsch als Fremdsprache (DaF)?

DaF (GFL) is the term used for the German language spoken by non-native speakers. It is a field of study, an academic subject and describes the language courses for non-native speakers of German. The equivalents to DaF are, for example, English as a foreign language (EFL) or for non-native speakers of French Français comme langue étrangère (FLE).

In German language courses, the four basic language skiils listening, reading, speaking and writing are systematically developed and practised. Additionally, the study of phonetics, meaning the correct pronounciation of words and sentences, plays an important role. Grammar teaching alone is no longer part of DaF-didactics. Grammar knowledge serves as a supplement tot he afore-mentioned basic skills. These are usually divided into two sub-sets: receptive skills (listening and reading) and productive skills (speaking and writing).

spoken language written language
receptive skills
Listening Reading
productive skills Speaking Writing

2. How much time do I need to attain a specific language level?

Level Time
A1 80-200h
A2 200-350h
B1 350-650h
B2 600-800h
C1 800-1000h
C2 more than 1000h

Quelle: Goethe Institut

Please note: "Learning is an individual process. How much time you need to attain a certain level depends on various and individual factors: your commitment, your time input, and your taking advantage of additional practice resources.

Should you already have studied one or more languages, you may learn German faster. It makes a big difference if you participate in a language course in your home country or in Germany, where you will be exposed to the German language outside the classroom.

Also of relevance is the intensity of the instruction (intensive vs. evening courses, for example). Please consult the testing location of your choice."  (Quelle: Goethe Institut)

3. Which competences do I have on which level?

Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEF)

    Listening Reading Speaking Writing
Basic User A1 I can understand familiar words and phrases provided it is spoken slowly and clearly. I can understand familiar names, words and simple phrases on notices, posters etc. I can interact in a simple way. I can introduce myself and others and answer questions about personal details. I can write a short postcard. I can fill in forms with personal details like name, address, nationality.
A2 I can understand simple informations about areas of most immediate relevance (family, employment, shopping). I can understand rthe main points of simple notifications and announcements. I can find specific informations in simple everyday material (timetables, menus etc.). I can understand short simple personal letters. I can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. I can write short simple notes and messages. I can write a very simple personal letter.
Independent User B1 I can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. I can understand clearly spoken broadcastings. I can understand texts about areas of everyday and job-related language. I can understand private letters about experiences, dreams, hopes. I can deal with most situations like family, leisure, work, traveling and experiences. I can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
B2 I can understand the main ideas of complex texts on both concrete and abstract topics. I can understands most TV news, features and the majority of films in standard dialect. I can understand the viewpoint on a topical issue in articles and reports. I can understand contemporary literary prose. I can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. I can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages.
Proficient User C1 I can understand extended speech. I can easily understand telivision programmes and films. I can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. I can understand papers and longer technical articles. I can express myself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. I can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. I can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
C2 I can understand with ease virtually everything heard like colloquial language, local language and unfamiliar terminology. I can understand with ease virtually everything read (manuals, technical articles, literature). I can express myself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations. I can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.

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