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CLAG for Tutors CLAG do dh'oidean

LearnGaelic follows the Comasan Labhairt ann an Gàidhlig (CLAG) [Gaelic Speaking Abilities] scale for structured learning. If you're unsure of what level your learners are, this self-assessment tool will help. Tha LearnGaelic a’ leantainn Sgèile Comasan Labhairt ann an Gàidhlig (CLAG) [Gaelic Speaking Abilities] airson ionnsachadh structarail. Mura h-eil thu cinnteach dè an ìre aig a bheil na luchd-ionnsachaidh agad, feuch an t-inneal aca gus d’ ìre a dhearbhadh.

Introduction to Gaelic RLDs for tutors

The Reference Level Descriptions (RLDs) are scales which aim to support tutors of Gaelic to adults and adults who are learning Gaelic. They simplify the wide range of spoken fluency levels into six bands.

The simplicity of six bands of proficiency provides a common frame of reference between you as a tutor, others in your organisation and students when describing spoken ability. Tutors already know how complete beginners differ from very advanced learners but there can be a great deal of variety in what is meant and understood by terms such as ‘beginner’, ‘intermediate’ or ‘advanced’. Similarly, it is not always straightforward to describe the differences between, say, a beginner and a lower intermediate learner. These scales help tutors clarify what these different aspects of speech are.

The six bands

The RLDs describe proficiency at six bands on a continuum from A1 to C2, as in the diagram opposite. These can also be thought of in terms of three broader levels: A levels as 'Basic User', B levels as 'Independent User', and C levels as 'Proficient User'.

Each level is a band of ability that includes a horizontal axis of categories for describing different aspects of competence, such as range or accuracy, and a vertical axis representing progress in proficiency in those categories. Each level builds on the previous one so if a learner is at B2, the information in A1 to B1 also applies to them.

The RLDs for Gaelic tutors include:

The General Speaking Scale is a single scale that gives an overview of the six bands. The Sustained Monologue scale is a task-specific scale for proficiency in putting forward an opinion or argument. The Proficiency Breakdowns are a set of scales that detail different aspects of spoken proficiency and give a deeper understanding of learners' skills.

What the RLDs are for

These Reference Level Descriptions are not designed to tell tutors what to teach or how to teach it. They are not a checklist of things students should know or have to know.

However, the RLDs can act as a tool in teaching & learning in several ways:

Common Frame of Reference: Most simply, the overall scale from A1 to C2 can provide a common frame of reference for learners, tutors, course organisers as well as community groups such as conversation circles.

Assessing: If you want to know if potential students are at a suitable level for a course or group, they can be assessed according to the RLDs. When working with a mixed-ability group, you can use the RLDs to establish what level the students are at.

Planning: When planning a course or another activity like a conversation group you can use the scales to consider which levels of learners the course would suit.

Gaining Understanding: As the scales are based on authentic learner language, the breakdown scales offer a deeper understanding of how different language skills develop as learners move up the RLD levels. They can help you identify the gaps that learners will need to fill before their skills can progress.

The learners' RLDs

There is also a self-assessment grid and a self-assessment checklist for learners that you can view here. Learners can use these materials to see what level they are currently at and identify which skills they want to develop. It can provide a guide for potential students when considering which course or activity is appropriate for them. It is important to remember that these are self-assessment materials, not strict objective measures.

The self-assessment materials might also be useful to you. They can be used to survey a new class or group to better understand what they can already do and what their goals are.

Next: About the General Speaking Scale

About the general speaking scale

The general speaking scale is based on and expands for Gaelic the ‘Overall Spoken Production’ and ‘Overall Spoken Interaction’ scales from the CEFR Companion Volume with New Descriptors, which you can access here.

The General Speaking Scale is an overview of the speaking skills we can expect learners to have at each proficiency level. (Remember that they do not include reading/writing.) There are six bands of ability in the grid, grouped under three broader levels: Basic User (A levels), Independent User (B levels), and Proficient User (C levels). Each level builds on the previous one so if a learner is at B2, the information in A1 to B1 also applies to them.

As well as this vertical axis of improving proficiency, each band also includes a horizontal axis of categories for describing different aspects of competence, such as range or accuracy. Therefore two learners at B1 might not have exactly the same proficiency, although their skills will be similar.

Examples of words and phrases in the tables come from the data collected by the project. It is not an exhaustive list.

Remember that the bands are a continuum that simplify the description. Each individual is unlikely to exactly match a box. Think of them as bands of ability and the most suitable band is the one that describes a learner's ability better than the other bands.

A1 is not the lowest possible level. Rather, it is the lowest level at which learners can interact with other people in a simple way instead of relying on set phrases they have memorised. A beginner may be at pre-A1 level when they are still relying on set formulas and expressions to communicate.

Similarly, C2 does not describe an ideal native speaker, although some native speakers might be at C2 for certain skills. Rather, C2 is intended to describe the level of ability that is typical for very successful learners.

An individual might be a 'low B1' or a 'high B1'. They might be between bands or be able to perform at different levels in different situations, e.g. B2 when they're prepared but B1 in a spontaneous conversation.

Next: General Speaking Scale

General speaking scale

Basic user A1 Can introduce themselves and others and can answer simple questions about personal details such as where they live, people they know and things they have. Can give a simple description of a picture while showing it to others, using basic words and formulaic expressions, provided they can prepare in advance. Can interact in a simple way, provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help. Will pause frequently mid-clause to help plan or repair.
A2 Can give a simple description of people, basic personal and family information, living or working conditions, daily routines, and likes/dislikes. Can tell a story or describe a picture in a simple list of points. Can explain what they like or dislike about something using, basic adjectives like 'math', 'inntinneach'. Can briefly say what they plan to do at the weekend or during the holidays. Can interact in short conversations, provided the other person helps if necessary.
Independent user B1 Can give straightforward descriptions on a variety of familiar subjects that they are interested in. Can relate a straightforward narrative or description as a linear sequence of points with reasonable fluency. Can exchange, check and confirm information, deal with less routine situations and explain why something is a problem. Can express thoughts on more abstract, cultural topics such as films, books, music, etc. Can enter unprepared into conversation of familiar topics. Can describe experiences and future or hypothetical possibilitities. Can express personal opinions and give reasons for those.
B2 Can give clear, detailed descriptions on a wide range of subjects related to things they are interested in. Can describe the personal significance of events and experiences in detail. Can use the language fluently, accurately and effectively on a wide range of topics, marking clearly the relationships between ideas. Can communicate spontaneously with good grammatical control without much sign of having to restrict what they want to say, adopting a level of formality appropriate to the circumstances. Can interact with enough spontaneity that interaction with very proficient speakers does not impose strain on either party. Can account for and sustain views clearly by providing relevant explanations and arguments. May hesitate after every few words to search for vocabulary or expressions but can select these appropriately from their repertoire.
Proficient user C1 Can give clear, detailed descriptions and presentations on complex subjects, integrating sub themes, developing particular points and rounding off with an appropriate conclusion. Can express themselves fluently and spontaneously, almost effortlessly. Has 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, although hesitations may be noticeable after every few words for conceptually difficult subjects.
C2 Can give clear, smoothly flowing, elaborate and often memorable descriptions. Can express themselves spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations. Hesitations may occur every few words in order to do this. Can backtrack and restructure around a difficulty so smoothly the interlocutor is hardly aware of it.

Remember: Each level includes and builds on the previous levels.

About the sustained monologue scale

This is a task-specific scale that describes learners' ability at sustaining an argument. It is based on and expands for Gaelic the ‘Sustained Monologue: Putting a Case (e.g. in a debate)’ scale in the CEFR Companion Volume with New Descriptors.

Key concepts in the scale include the following:

Topics: from what they like or dislike about something to opinions on subjects relating to everyday life, to topical issues and complex issues.

Manner of arguing: from making simple, direct comparisons, through expanding and supporting viewpoints at some length whilst developing an argument systematically, to taking into account the interlocutor’s perspective and employing emphasis effectively.

Manner of formulation: from presenting an idea in simple terms to highlighting significant points appropriately and formulating points precisely in well-structured speech.

Note that the words and phrases given in the scale as appropriate to each band are examples rather than strict rules about what learners should know. For instance, an individual learner might learn leithid sooner than another.

Next: Sustained Monologue Scale

Sustained monologue scale

Basic user A1 Can present their opinion in simple terms, e.g. 'tha mi a’ smaoineachadh', provided listeners are patient. Can state their feelings about something, e.g. 'tha sin inntinneach/brònach'. Can contrast words/statements with 'ach' and 'no'. Can link words/statements with 'agus' and 'airson', although they will pause very frequently, after approximately every 3 words. Can suggest an idea or thought with 'is dòcha'. They speak for less than half the time they have the floor. Pauses are long and very noticeable, usually lasting around 1.5 seconds.
A2 Can explain what they like or dislike about something and why they prefer one thing to another, making simple, direct comparisons, using phrases like 'nas fheàrr', 'nas fhasa'. Can present their opinion in simple terms, e.g. 'tha mi a’ smaoineachadh', provided listeners are patient. Can link contrasting statements using 'ach'.
Independent user B1 Can express opinions on subjects relating to everyday life and areas of special interest, using simple expressions, e.g. 'nam bheachd', and 'tha/chan eil [rudeigin] math'. Can develop an argument well enough to be followed without difficulty most of the time. Can give simple reasons and provide examples to justify a viewpoint, linking sentences and ideas using phrases like 'a chionn', 'air sgàth', '(a) leithid', 'mar eisimpleir'. In this way, they can produce longer sentences, of around 10 words, with some hesitation mid-clause as they formulate their ideas. Pauses are approximately 1 second long.
B2 Can explain a viewpoint on a topical issue, giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options, introducing opinions with phrases like 'chanainn'. Can develop a clear argument, expanding and supporting their points of view at some length with appropriate highlighting of significant points and relevant supporting examples and detail. Can construct a chain of ideas using linking words and phrases like 'seach', 'an àite', 'mur(a)'. They can speak for more than half the time they have the floor, needing to pause after every 5 words or so to help plan what they are going to say.
Proficient user C1 Can argue a case on a complex issue, highlighting points precisely with supporting examples and concluding appropriately. Can develop an argument systematically in well-structured speech using a variety of formulations such as phrases like 'air an làimh eile', 'a bharrachd air', 'mus tèid mi gu taobh eile na cùis'. Can formulate points logically with nuance, using phrases and conjunctions like 'gu ìre', 'ged a', 'gus an', e.g. 'cha bhi thu a’ mothachadh dè cho eisimeileach ‘s a tha sinn air dealain agus coimpiutairean gus am bi sinn gan call'. Can take into account the interlocutor’s perspective, e.g. 'mar a tha f(h)ios agad'. Can keep talking fluidly, pausing only once or twice in an utterance to help plan or reformulate a thought.
C2 In addition to the points in C1, they can speak for most of the time they have the floor, producing long stretches of speech of up to 10 words before needing to pause.

Remember: Each level includes and builds on the previous levels.

Proficiency breakdown scales

Introduction

The Proficiency Breakdown Scales are based on and expand for Gaelic ‘CEFR Table 3: Qualitative features of spoken language (expanded with phonology)’, which you can find in the CEFR Companion Volume with New Descriptors.

While the General Speaking Scale gives an overall picture of learners’ proficiency, the proficiency breakdown scales are more detailed and address the following different aspects of spoken ability:

They are designed to describe learners' spoken production , not their comprehension or reading and writing skills. They give a deeper level of understanding of the various elements which underpin the General Speaking Scale. As with the General Speaking Scale, these scales move from A1 (beginner) to C2 (very proficient). Each level builds on the previous one so if a learner is at B2, the information in A1 to B1 also applies to them.

Jagged Profiles: An individual might be stronger in one area than another. For example, they might be at B2 for Range but A2 for Pronunciation. Different aspects of language come more easily to different people. Learners also have different aims and for some it can more important to be, say, confident in interaction than accurate in their grammar.

Examples of words and phrases in the tables come from the data collected by the project.

Next: Breakdown scale for 'Range'

Range

Range refers to the extent of vocabulary and grammatical structures that a speaker can use. Words given in the scale as appropriate to each band are examples rather than strict rules about what learners must know.

Basic user A1 Has a very basic repertoire of words and simple phrases related to personal details and particular concrete situations, such as where they live, their family, and their job. Can answer questions about very familiar topics like the weather, how they are, and what they like. Can use simple prepositions like 'air', 'ann', 'aig', and 'le'. Can link short statements using words like 'ach' and 'agus'.
A2 Uses basic sentence patterns with memorised phrases, groups of a few words (around 4) and formulae in order to communicate some information in simple everyday situations. They can exchange direct information on familiar topics like hobbies and everyday life. Can link short statements with conjunctions like 'airson', 'mar sin', and 'no'. Can use prepositions including 'do', 'ri', and 'à'. Can comfortably use prepositional pronouns in the first person, including 'agam', 'orm', 'leam', 'dhomh'.
Independent user B1 Has enough language to get by, with sufficient vocabulary to express themselves with some circumlocutions on topics such as family, hobbies and interests, work, travel, current events, and things they can do. They can use some complex sentence forms, linking clauses using words such as 'gu bheil', 'bho chionn', 'air sgàth', 'ge-tà', and 'far'. Can use verbs in the irregular past and conditional. Can use some compound prepositions, including 'còmhla ri' and 'mu dheidhinn'. Can use some second and third- person prepositional pronouns such as 'romhad' and 'orra'. Can invert nouns where appropriate e.g. 'airson rudeigin a dhèanamh'.
B2 Has a sufficient range of language to be able to give clear descriptions and express viewpoints on most general topics. Can select vocabulary and expressions appropriately from their repertoire. Has a good command of the irregular future, the genitive case and a wide range of prepositions such as 'bho', 'eadar', and 'tro'. Can link clauses and sentences using linking words and phrases like 'cho fad 's', 'a chionn 's', 'gur', and '(a) leithid'. Can invert pronouns where appropriate using 'gam', 'gad', etc.
Proficient user C1 Has a good command of a broad range of language allowing them to select a formulation to express themselves clearly in an appropriate style on a wide range of general, academic, professional or leisure topics without having to restrict what they want to say. Can use more advanced features and sentence structures, such as the dual case of number and clauses beginning with 'a thaobh', 'ged a' and 'gus an'. Has a range of words for communicating the same thing, e.g. 'oir', 'air sàillibh', and 'ri linn'. Can comfortably use all forms of prepositional pronouns they are familiar with.
C2 Shows great flexibility reformulating ideas in a wide range of linguistic forms to convey finer shades of meaning precisely, to give emphasis, to differentiate and to eliminate ambiguity. Also has a good command of idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms. Has some additional compound prepositions and conjunctions in their repertoire, including 'a bharrachd air' and 'air eagal'. Can structure their points using phrases like 'air an làimh eile'.

Remember: Each level includes and builds on the previous levels.

Range - Structures

The following chart presents a range of grammatical structures, including questions, statements, and different tenses. We have provided an example for each structure. Each individual will vary, but this chart provides a general guide as to which structures we can expect learners at different levels to produce (while they may be aware of or understand others). Some structures are more difficult than others, and could take a long time before learners are able to produce them successfully, while others are more straightforward.

The data in this table is based on the results of a series of grammar tests the CLAG team carried out with the speakers in our corpus. Some of these results might surprise you! You can read more about the grammar tests and how we analysed them . This data demonstrates what learners were able to produce in a test situation and may not reflect what they can correctly produce spontaneously all the time. You should interpret this chart along with your expert knowledge of Gaelic learning and teaching.

Structure
Example
Basic user
Independent
user
Proficient
user
A1
A2
B1
B2
C1
C2
Present simple Tha cù agam.
"An toil" questions An toigh leat pizza?
Copula 'S e ruairidh an tidsear.
Cò an tidsear Gàidhlig agad?
Definite article feminine Tha a' chaileag ag ithe aran.
Dative Tha an cù anns a' chàr.
Progressive Future Am bi thu a' tighinn dhan a' phàrtaidh?
Present continuous A bheil thu ag ionnsachadh Gàidhlig?
Definite article masculine Tha am balach ag òl bainne.
Bi past An robh sibh anns an Spàinn?
Bi future Am bi Iain aig a' choinneimh?
Prepositional pronouns Thug an teaghlach picnic leotha.
Plural Tha sneachd air na beanntan.
Dè / Càite / Cuine Dè bhios tu / Càite am bi thu / Cuine thàinig thu
Inversion Tha a' chlann airson ball-coise a chluich.
Questions using 'An e' An e Ruairidh an tidsear?
Genitive with verbal noun Tha iad ag òl a' bhainne.
Regular past An do cheannaich thu iPad ùr?
Irregular past An deach thu dhan taigh-seinnse an-dè?
Conditionals Am biodh i deònach a bhith ann?
Possessive adjectives Tha Uilleam agus a mhac toilichte.
Subordination Tha iad ag ràdh gu bheil am biadh blàsta.
Personal numerals Bha ceathrar aig taigh Màiri a-raoir
Ciamar Ciamar a tha e a' dol dhan obair?
Regular future An leugh thu an t-artaigil a-nochd?
Irregular future Am faic thu Eilidh a-màireach?
Genitive Tha cas a' bhalaich briste.
Dual Tha dà chupa tì air a' bhòrd.
Direct object inversion Bidh mi ga dhèanamh a-màireach.
Double definite article Tha obair nan oileanach fìor mhath.

Key:

  • ○ = No Knowledge
  • ◑ = Partial Knowledge
  • ● = Complete Knowledge

Next: Breakdown scale for 'Accuracy'

Accuracy

Accuracy refers to whether a speaker can use grammar and vocabulary correctly, without making mistakes.

Basic user A1 Shows only limited control of a few basic structures, usually of one clause, in a memorised repertoire.
A2 Uses some simple structures correctly but still systematically makes basic mistakes. Control of longer sentences is more evident when they are telling a simple story, or when they have time to plan what they are saying.
Independent user B1 Uses reasonably accurately a repertoire of frequently used, longer "routines" and patterns of 5 to 8 words associated with more predictable situations.
B2 Shows a relatively high degree of grammatical control. Does not make errors which cause misunderstanding and can correct most of their mistakes.
Proficient user C1 Consistently maintains a high degree of grammatical accuracy; errors are rare, difficult to spot and generally corrected when they do occur.
C2 Maintains consistent grammatical control of complex language, including subordinate and relative clauses, even while attention is otherwise engaged (e.g. in forward planning, in monitoring others' reactions).

Remember: Each level includes and builds on the previous levels.

Next: Breakdown scale for 'Fluency'

Fluency

Introduction

The word ‘fluency’ here refers to the flow of a person’s speech. This means how quickly they speak, how often and why they hesitate, and how much silence there is. It considers speakers’ ability to construct sentences despite pauses and hesitations, whether they are able to maintain a longer conversation or passage of speech, and how easily words and expressions come to them.

Please note: In the chart, you’ll see the measurements of words per minute; you don’t need to count this exactly. An average native speaker or very proficient learner speaks at a rate of around 120 words per minute; therefore, by comparison, you can judge whether a person’s speech rate is relatively natural or noticeably slower.

You will also see the chart refers to ‘turns’; in a conversation, speakers ‘take turns’, which means that one speaker says something which is “preceded, followed, or both by a ‘turn’ of some other speaker.”

Finally, the chart alludes to times when the speaker ‘has the floor’. A speaker takes the floor when they start speaking in a conversation. But they are unlikely to be speaking for 100% of the time they have the floor, because we all need to pause occasionally to plan what’s coming next, or to think of a word, for example. So, if someone speaks for around half the time they have the floor, this means that they are silent or pausing to reflect for the other half.

Fluency scale

Basic user A1 Shows only limited control of a few basic structures, usually of one clause, in a memorised repertoire.
A2 Uses some simple structures correctly but still systematically makes basic mistakes. Control of longer sentences is more evident when they are telling a simple story, or when they have time to plan what they are saying.
Independent user B1 Uses reasonably accurately a repertoire of frequently used, longer "routines" and patterns of 5 to 8 words associated with more predictable situations.
B2 Shows a relatively high degree of grammatical control. Does not make errors which cause misunderstanding and can correct most of their mistakes.
Proficient user C1 Consistently maintains a high degree of grammatical accuracy; errors are rare, difficult to spot and generally corrected when they do occur.
C2 Maintains consistent grammatical control of complex language, including subordinate and relative clauses, even while attention is otherwise engaged (e.g. in forward planning, in monitoring others' reactions).

Remember: Each level includes and builds on the previous levels.

Next: Breakdown scale for 'Interaction'

Interaction

This relates to how the speaker can use their language with other speakers in spontaneous conversation.

As in the Fluency chart, this refers to ‘turns’; in a conversation, speakers ‘take turns’, which means that one speaker says something which is “preceded, followed, or both by a ‘turn’ of some other speaker.”

Basic user A1 Can interact in a simple way but communication is dependent on repetition, rephrasing and repair. Can usually say one short sentence (3-4 words) per turn. Can respond in conversation but the other speaker will usually have to do more of the talking. Discourse markers, or indications that they are following what the other speaker is saying, will usually be in English, e.g. 'right', 'okay', 'so'. Requests for feedback or clarification will also usually be in English.
A2 Can answer questions and respond to simple statements. Can indicate when they are following but are rarely able to understand enough to keep conversation going of their own accord. Have a number of statements to request feedback or clarification in Gaelic, e.g. 'ciamar a chanas tu [x]?', 'can sin a-rithist', 'a bheil sin ceart?', but will also use English for this purpose on occasion.
Independent user B1 Can initiate, maintain and close simple face-to-face conversation on everyday topics or topics of personal interest. Can repeat back part of what someone has said to confirm mutual understanding. Does not always require their interlocuter to lead the conversation and can often contribute an equal number of turns as the other speaker, with utterances of around 6 words. Can indicate that they are following or agreeing with the other speaker using Gaelic words like 'cinnteach', 'seadh', 'tha fhios agam', along with some English words, e.g. 'right', 'aye', 'yeah'. May answer direct questions in English with 'yeah', 'no', before continuing their response in Gaelic.
B2 Can initiate and end conversation when they need to. Can produce longer turns, up to three sentences at a time. Can make active contributions to a conversation with longer turns. Can engage others in the conversation by confirming comprehension and inviting them in. Will use English words and phrases as in B1.
Proficient user C1 Can comfortably lead a conversation without relying on interlocutors. Can select a suitable phrase from a readily available range of discourse functions to preface their remarks in order to get or to keep the floor and to relate their own contributions, of around 8 words, skilfully to those of other speakers. Can use Gaelic discourse markers, such as 'ma-thà', and can indicate they are following the other speaker using words like 'dìreach' along with other English discourse markers.
C2 Can interact with ease and skill, picking up and using non-verbal and intonational cues apparently effortlessly. Can interweave their contribution into the joint discourse with fully natural turntaking, referencing, allusion-making, etc. Can use Gaelic discourse markers like 'cò aig a tha fios', 'chanainn-sa'. English words like 'yeah', 'no', and 'so' may also be used as is common in modern colloquial Gaelic.

Remember: Each level includes and builds on the previous levels.

Next: Breakdown scale for 'Coherence'

Coherence

This relates how the content of what is being said is connected or hangs together.

Basic user A1 Can link words or groups of words with very basic linear connectors like 'agus', 'ach', 'no / air neo'. Their interlocutor may need to help them say what they want in a coherent way, by suggesting vocabulary, asking for clarification, etc.
A2 Can link groups of words with simple connectors like 'nuair' and 'airson', allowing them to talk about a range of subjects, including plans for the weekend.
Independent user B1 Can link a series of shorter, discrete simple elements into a connected, linear series of points, using phrases like 'an uairsin', '(bh)o chionn', 'air sgàth'. This can help them give clear straightforward descriptions of things they’re interested in or give a sequence of events. They usually have enough vocabulary to coherently express their point but may struggle occasionally. Can use some subordination, e.g. 'an rud a tha' to structure a point appropriately.
B2 Can use a number of cohesive devices to link their utterances into clear, coherent discourse. Can structure discourse effectively to be able to present advantages and disadvantages of different issues. Can link ideas logically using phrases such as 'ge-tà', 'an àite', 'mar sin', which allows opinions and arguments to be clearly expressed and sustained. Can add detail to a description using appropriate clause structures ('a', 'nach') so as not to lose coherence. There may be some "jumpiness" in a long contribution as they introduce more complex phrases, including 'ma/ mura'.
Proficient user C1 Can produce clear, smoothly flowing, well-structured speech, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices, like 'air sàillibh', 'a thaobh' which help to integrate sub-themes and to highlight key points. Can express their opinions with precision. Can orally summarise longer texts or more complicated narratives in a way that is easy to follow.
C2 Can create coherent and cohesive discourse making full and appropriate use of a variety of organisational patterns and a wide range of connectors and other cohesive devices, including 'a bharrachd air sin', 'air eagal 's', 'airson 's', and 'mus'. Can coherently orally summarise complex arguments they may have heard or read elsewhere.

Remember: Each level includes and builds on the previous levels.

Next: Breakdown scale for 'Phonology'

Phonology

This relates to a speaker’s pronunciation.

Basic user A1 Pronunciation of a very limited repertoire of learnt words and phrases can be understood with some effort by interlocutors used to dealing with speakers of the language group concerned. Can reproduce correctly a limited range of sounds as well as stress on simple, familiar words and phrases. Can approximate 'ch', 'dh', 'gh' sounds.
A2 Pronunciation is generally clear enough to be understood, but conversational partners will need to ask for repetition from time to time. A strong influence from other language(s) they speak on stress, rhythm and intonation may affect intelligibility, requiring collaboration from interlocutors. Nevertheless, pronunciation of familiar words is clear. Can realise 'ch', 'dh', 'gh' sounds fully.
Independent user B1 Pronunciation is generally intelligible; can approximate intonation and stress at both utterance and word levels. Can distinguish appropriately between long and short vowels, e.g. 'màthair' v 'm’ athair'. However, accent is usually influenced by other language(s) they speak.
B2 Can generally use appropriate intonation, place stress correctly and articulate individual sounds clearly; accent tends to be influenced by other language(s) they speak, but has little or no effect on intelligibility.
Proficient user C1 Can employ the full range of phonological features in Gaelic with sufficient control to ensure intelligibility throughout. Can articulate virtually all the sounds of Gaelic, including distinguishing between broad and slender /R/, /L/ and /N/; some features of accent retained from other language(s) may be noticeable, but they do not affect intelligibility at all. A speaker at this level may have a recognisable accent from a Gaelic-speaking area, or a non-specific accent that is still recognisable as Gaelic 'blas'.
C2 Can employ the full range of phonological features in Gaelic with a high level of control – including features such as word and sentence stress, rhythm and intonation, and nasalisation. Intelligibility is not affected in any way by features of accent that may be retained from other language(s). Can successfully produce lenited /R/, /L/ and /N/.

Remember: Each level includes and builds on the previous levels.

Check out the FAQs for more information.

FAQs / Further information

Understanding the RLDs

Interpreting the RLD bands

There are three broad levels: A levels as 'Basic User', B levels as 'Independent User', and C levels as 'Proficient User'. There are six bands on a continuum from the lowest at A1 to the highest at C2. Each level builds on the previous one so if a learner is at B2, the information in A1 to B1 also applies to them.

Each level is a band of ability, that can also be thought of as including a horizontal axis of categories for describing different aspects of competence, such as range or accuracy. Therefore, two learners at B1 might not have exactly the same proficiency, although their skills will be similar.

An individual might be a 'low B1' or a 'high B1'. They might be between bands or be able to perform at different levels in different situations, e.g. B2 when they are prepared but B1 in a spontaneous conversation.

What if a learner is between two levels?

Like the colours of the rainbow, language proficiency is actually a continuum. In reality, the six bands in these scales overlap. As with the rainbow, despite the fuzziness of the boundaries between colours, the main bands of colour are clear.

In this scale, an individual might be on the threshold of A2 into B1, yet overall more firmly in A2.

About CLAG

CLAG, or Comasan Labhairt ann an Gàidhlig, was a project at the University of Glasgow researching Gaelic speaking ability in adult learners. It interviewed 150 adult learners and 16 native speakers and worked with Gaelic tutors to get a detailed understanding of the Gaelic skills people have at different levels of proficiency. It measured various factors including the vocabulary and grammar structures speakers know, people’s ability to communicate in different contexts, and how quickly or slowly people at different levels are able to speak.

This evidence-based description of the Gaelic that learners know and use was then aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The recorded interviews provided authentic learner language to illustrate language points at a particular CEFR level. The result are these Reference Level Descriptions (RLDs) for Gaelic which are intended to support adults who are learning the language.

The CLAG proficiency scales, self-assessment grid, and self-assessment checklist draw on resources developed by the Council of Europe and Eaquals. The proficiency scales and self-assessment grid build on similar scales in the Common European Framework of Reference (see About the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). The self-assessment checklist builds on ‘ Checklists of Descriptors’ developed by Eaquals.

The project was funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Scottish Funding Council under the auspices of Soillse, the National Research Network for the Maintenance and Revitalisation of Gaelic Language and Culture. It was led by Professor Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh and Dr Nicola Carty at the University of Glasgow, where the scales were researched and created with Dr Susan Ross. Dr Michelle Macleod from the University of Aberdeen compiled the native speaker section of the corpus, and analysed the relationship between the CLAG proficiency scales and other Scottish accreditation frameworks, including the SCQF. The project assistants involved in transcribing and coding the data were Dr Stuart Dunmore and Ms Catrìona Nic A’ Phì.

Recordings and transcripts of the corpus are available from the Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic.

About the Common European Framework of Reference for Langauges

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) was created by the Council of Europe as a standard frame of references for describing language ability. The CEFR provides a common basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses, curriculum guidelines, examinations, textbooks, etc. across Europe.

The general CEFR is not tied to any specific language and doesn't itemise the vocabulary and grammar in the language that is being learned. However, these Reference Level Descriptions (RLDs) for Gaelic produced by CLAG localise the CEFR by providing an evidence-based description of the Gaelic that learners know and use at each CEFR level.

For more information, visit the CEFR’s website.