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What is elementary proficiency?



Elementary proficiency is the first level of five in the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale of language proficiency, formerly called the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) scale. This level is sometimes referred to as S-1 or Level 1. A person at this level is described as follows:

  • able to satisfy routine travel needs and minimum courtesy requirements
  • can ask and answer questions on very familiar topics; within the scope of very limited language experience
  • can understand simple questions and statements, allowing for slowed speech, repetition or paraphrase
  • has a speaking vocabulary which is inadequate to express anything but the most elementary needs; makes frequent errors in pronunciation and grammar, but can be understood by a native speaker used to dealing with foreigners attempting to speak the language
  • while topics which are “very familiar” and elementary needs vary considerably from individual to individual, any person at the S-1 level should be able to order a simple meal, ask for shelter or lodging, ask and give simple directions, make purchases, and tell time.

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Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 3.5, published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 1999. [Ordering information.]

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