by Aggie Chapman
Not dissimilar to the previous level, A2 is still characterised by a large degree of repetition of the limited range of vocabulary and grammar, but contrary to the A1 level, there is more visible use of full sentences in communication.
We begin handling simple social interactions – asking how people are, reacting to the news, asking about people’s job, families, or free time activities. We still hesitate when we speak, but we can already tell a story or report an event, using very simple language, a kind of note-form account rather than a full narrative.
Although we still draw on the familiar elements, our speech is still likely to be somewhat rehearsed, our vocabulary range allows us to vary what we say a bit. We are equipped enough to discuss our daily routines, wants, needs, likes and dislikes, as well as requesting information or making arrangements. We are able to do some shopping, get information about travel, transport, or conducting simple transactions at a bank or a post office. In many ways, A2 is the level of “Survival English”.
Maintaining interaction on familiar topics is not a problem, however, when we start dealing with unfamiliar areas and situations, we are visibly not ready yet. Body language and gestures still help to compensate when we lack the particular word or phrase, but only from time to time.
We are becoming aware of various grammatical structures and tenses, though at this point we can recognise and understand them rather than use them correctly. We tend to mix up and misuse tenses, or use wrong word forms, but even then, what say is usually comprehensible.
Our listening skills are developed enough to understand a person speaking slowly and clearly plus we are able to ask for repetition if we need to. Watching a short commercial is well within the range of our abilities, as is following a single scene of a film. The great thing about TV is that there is a lot of visual help, which makes the whole process way easier and more enjoyable.
Likewise, our reading skills at this level allows us to enjoy comics, short and simple narratives and descriptions, we may attempt the first, short magazine articles. They don’t need to be complex, ambitious texts, we’ll read those later. For now, try to read a description of a celebrity, a short blog entry about somebody’s routines, hobbies or holidays. The words and structures that we already know will make it possible for us to sometimes guess the likely meaning of unfamiliar words.
We are also ready to write simple messages, notes, postcards or emails. We can start exchanging text messages, or emails. One way of getting more practise can be putting updates on the social media in a foreign language. Of course, there will be many instances when we don’t have the right vocabulary, but by looking it up we are learning, aren’t we? After completing this level we, have an option to take the first of the language exams – KEY. While it is the lowest level that we can get a certificate at, the experience of sitting the exam might be very valuable in the future if we then decide to take a higher level one.