The Kelsey Arabic Program

Producing Arabic speakers for over 50 years and counting

Enough English to Study with us?

Where do you think you are in your speaking proficiency of the English language? Assess yourself with the following “I CAN” statements.

 

Level 0+

  • I can use more than 50 words of English in appropriate contexts.

Level 1

You are at Level 1 when you can confidently check each of the following Level 1 language activities.

  • I can initiate conversations and use appropriate leave-takings to close conversations.

  • I can make a selection from a menu and order a simple meal.

  • I can ask and tell the time of day, the day of the week, and the date.

  • I can go to the market of butcher and ask for vegetables, fruit, milk, bread and meat, and I can bargain when appropriate.

  • I can tell someone how to get from here to the post office, a restaurant or a hotel.

  • I can negotiate for a taxi ride or a hotel room and get a fair price.

  • I can make a social introduction of someone else and also give a brief speech to introduce myself.

  • I can understand and correctly respond to questions about my marital status, nationality, occupation, age and place of birth.

  • I can get the bus or train I want, buy a ticket, and get off where I intended to.

  • I can use the English language well enough to assist a newcomer in all of the above Level 1 situations.

 Level 1+

  • I have a 1+ proficiency because I can do all of the Level 1 activities and at least three of the following Level 2 activities.

Level 2

You are at Level 2 when you can confidently check each of the following Level 2 activities.

  • I can give detailed information about the weather, my family, my home and my living arrangements.

  • I can take and give simple messages over the telephone.

  • I can give a brief autobiography and also talk about my plans and hopes.

  • I can describe my most recent job or activity in some detail and also describe my present role as a language learner.

  • I can describe the basic structure of the government in both my home and host countries.

  • I can describe the geography of both my home and host countries.

  • I can describe the purpose and function of the organization I represent.

  • I feel confident that my pronunciation is always intelligible.

  • I feel confident that people understand me when I speak in the new language, at least 80% of the time. I am also confident that I understand what native speakers tell me on topics like those of Level 2.

  • I could use English well enough to assist a newcomer on any of the Level 2 situations.

Note: If you think you are a Level 2 speaker of English or higher, we think that you will do just fine both living in Jordan and studying Arabic with us at Kelsey. If not, you might find life in Jordan and breakthrough in the Arabic languages (Spoken and Written) to be very difficult initially. Therefore we would recommend more extensive studies of English before your arrival.

This self-rating checklist of speaking proficiency comes from the book LAMP: Language Acquisition Made Practical and is based on the FSI / ILR proficiency scale (see the left side of the chart below):

Level 2+

  • I have a 2+ proficiency because I can meet at least three of the following Level 3 requirements.

Level 3

You are at Level 3 when you can confidently check each of the following Level 3 items.

  • I do not try to avoid any of the grammatical features of English.

  • I now have sufficient vocabulary and grasp of grammatical structure to complete any sentence that I begin.

  • I can speak at a normal rate of speech, with only rare hesitations.

  • I can confidently follow and contribute to a conversation between native speakers when they try to include me.

  • I am able to correctly understand any information given to me over the telephone.

  • I can listen to a speech or discussion on a topic of interest to me and take accurate notes.

  • I can speak to a group of native speakers on a professional subject and have confidence that I am communicating what I want to.

  • I can understand opposing points of view and can politely describe and defend an organizational position or objective to an antagonist.

  • I could cope with a social blunder, an undeserved traffic ticket, or a plumbing emergency.

  • I can understand two or more native speakers talking with each other about a current event or issue.

  • I could serve as an interpreter for a newcomer in any of the Level 3 situations.

  • I feel that I can carry out the professional responsibilities of my work in English.

 Level 3+

  • I have Level 3+ proficiency because I can meet at least three of the Level 4 requirements.

 Level 4

You are at Level 4 when you can confidently check each of the following Level 4 requirements.

  • I practically never make grammatical mistakes.

  • I can always understand native speakers when they talk with each other.

  • I can understand humor and language puns, and I can actively participate in fun and humorous situations.

  • My vocabulary is always extensive and precise enough for me to convey exact meaning in professional discussions.

  • I feel I have a comprehensive grasp of the local cultural “knowledge bank”.

  • I can appropriately alter my speech style for a public lecture, or a conversation with a professor, an employee or a close friend.

  • I could serve as an informal interpreter for a “bigwig” at a professional or social function.

  • I feel that I could carry out any job assignment as efficiently in English as in my first language.

 Level 4+

  • My vocabulary and cultural understanding are always extensive enough to enable me to communicate my precise meaning.

  • People feel that I share their knowledge bank well enough to talk about and defend any of their beliefs or values.

Level 5

  • Native English speakers react to me just as they do to each other – I am usually considered an “insider”.

  • I sometimes feel more at home in English than in my first language.

  • I can do mental arithmetic in English without slowing down.

  • I consider myself to be completely bilingual and bicultural, with equivalent ability in both English and my first language.

  • I consider myself a native speaker of English.

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