9 Levels of English
In this series of posts I want to take a look at the levels of English with the understanding that each level is progressive, ie level 1 is the most basic and level 2 builds on level 1 and so on until level 9 which is the highest level for a non-native speaker. I’m not taking this disection from any particular source but rather from my experiences as a teacher and tutor over many years and from the perspective as a native speaker who grew up in America.
Level 1 as the foundational level should include all the various aspects of basic communication with the English language. Such abilities as being able to recognize the alphabet, produce at least 44 of the sounds used in spoken English, write legibly, ask and answer basic information, describe common things and situations and be aware of the two fundamental tenants of English as used by native speakers.
If you search online, you will see results from the terms, ‘basic english’ for example that will list short conversation on saying hello, asking for directions, eating in a restaurant…and claim, ‘just know these sentences and you’ll be speaking English in no time’. I really wonder what people are thinking (or are they?) when they accept such a claim and even start paying some fees, all in the name of ‘speaking English simply and easily’. Even you can do a light social media search and find people claiming that, ‘English is easy, I learn it so quick’ and there you go, in less than 10 words you can understand what is going on. Briefly, there are marketing schemes as numerous as the stars but every star has common elements. You can memorize, you can repeat, you can even learn grammar, yet not have the basic ability in English. This I know from living in many countries, meeting many people who spent many years ‘learning English’ yet I could not have a simple conversation with them. It’s important to understand what ‘basic’ means for the English language. If you skip this part, your efforts in English will end up as a shipwreck on rocky shoals.
The two fundamental tenants of English (most important characteristics) are: time and position. Always, always, always when native speakers use English, they are using time references. Most non-native speakers don’t do this and it’s the primary reason they have never and will never reach level 9. Many of them aren’t much past level 4-5 because they are using the same references as their native language which will cause wrong grammar and errors in term usage. Next to time is position and in particular is the aspect known as “state of being” as described in academic texts. So far I have not heard of a major language besides English which heavily depends on the position known as “state of being”. This means that it is difficult for most people to ‘grasp the essense’ of this concept. I think concept is the right description of this aspect of the English language. Of course it’s not the kind of concept which requires study at a university because all native speakers of English use “state of being” well by the time they are half-way through primary school, if not before. There have been and I suppose continue to be studies of multi-lingual native speakers to learn what goes on in the mind of a child who is learning languages based on different concepts, mostly by natural communication. From what I’ve observed and heard, most children will favor one language and therefore one set of concepts, over the other ones and only if such a child continues using their multiple languages equally into adultlife will they gain the greater abilities of using the concepts of each language. Given this I would say that for most people there is a limitation on how many languages can be spoken at even level 7-8, let alone level 9.
Getting back to English, the concept of position goes farther (and I suppose deeper) than left, right, here, there and much of the time position is non-physical. Even when it’s arbitrary, it’s still essential and no less important than one meter to your right. No amount of memorization will get a non-native speaker to where position will be used correctly. I know this is a skeleton in the closet of most (99%) of the language centers, language tutors, language software groups. They do their best to keep this secret hidden because they simply are using the wrong approach. Just think about it, if they were using the correct approach, wouldn’t they have near 100% success (learners reaching level 9) after a year of operation? I’ve seen all the big names, I know their ‘program’. They all use the same basic methods. They all have the same skeletons in hiding. In this blog I aim to offer the best method, the best approach and the best of how to learn English easily (and by tangent, quickly). Now you can see the entrance way. It’s your move, chief.