Click on any CLB level in the table below to view the descriptors for listening.

    Stage I: Basic Language Ability

Listening Stage 1

    CLB 1

I can…

  • Understand simple greetings.
    • “Hello. How are you?”
  • Understand a few simple words.
    • “Please sit down.”
  • Understand common expressions.
    • “Excuse me." "Watch out!”
  • Understand very simple information.
    • “My phone number is ..."
I understand a few individual words and some familiar short phrases. But, I only understand when the speaker speaks slowly and repeats. I also need pictures or gestures to help me understand. Understanding on the phone is too difficult for me.

    CLB 2

I can…

  • Understand short greetings.
    • “Nice to meet you." "Have a nice day."
  • Follow short, simple directions.
    • “Please wait here." "Have a seat.”
  • Understand some simple requests.
    • “Can you help me?”
  • Understand simple, familiar information.
    • “I live at…" "I work at…”
I understand familiar phrases and some very short simple sentences. But, I only understand when the speaker speaks slowly and repeats. I need face-to-face interaction with a supportive speaker to help me understand. Understanding on the phone is very difficult for me.

    CLB 3

I can…

  • Understand simple social exchanges.
    • “Sorry, I need to go now. See you tomorrow.”
  • Follow simple directions.
    • “Go up the stairs. Then turn left."
  • Understand requests for permission.
    • “Can I borrow your book? I forgot mine.”
  • Understand some facts from a short simple story.
    • “The man went to the store. He bought a book.”
I understand main ideas, key words and a few simple facts. But, I need support from the speaker, such as repetition and explanation. I’m most comfortable with face-to-face interactions and familiar topics. Understanding information by phone is difficult for me.

    CLB 4

I can…

  • Understand my friend talk about weekend plans.
    • “On Saturday, we will go to …”
  • Follow simple instructions from a doctor.
    • “First, take the medicine. Then, drink some water…”
  • Understand short simple commercials.
    • “Hurry and buy it today. Shipping is free.”
  • Understand some details in a weather report.
    • “Tomorrow, there will be some rain.”
I understand simple communication on familiar topics. But, I struggle to understand when sentences are complex or the information is unfamiliar. I sometimes need repetition and explanation. Understanding on the phone is difficult for me.

    Stage II: Intermediate Language Ability

Listening Stage 2

    CLB 5

I can…

  • Understand a classmate talking about likes and dislikes
  • Follow a pharmacist’s instruction on how to take medicine
  • Understand a short phone message from a friend or co-worker
  • Listen to a short news report about a community event
I understand main ideas and some details. But, I don’t understand everything I hear. I have difficulty when the language is not simple, and I sometimes need repetition. I am getting better at understanding on the phone, but the topic has to be familiar, and the speaker has to speak clearly at a slow-to-normal pace.

    CLB 6

I can…

  • Understand a friend or colleague cancelling plans
  • Follow some safety steps in a workplace training video
  • Understand a teacher's advice on how to improve my English
  • Understand co-workers talking about what they need to do
I am beginning to understand communication that includes some abstract ideas. But, I don’t understand everything when the communication is complex. The speaker needs to speak clearly at a slow-to-normal pace, and I may still need some repetition, especially over the phone.

    CLB 7

I can…

  • Understand a neighbour expressing appreciation for a gift or favour
  • Follow instructions to complete a class project
  • Understand a warning from a customs official at the airport
  • Understand information about transit services in the community
I understand main ideas, facts and many links between ideas. I can also determine intentions, moods and opinions. But, I don't understand everything I hear if the communication is complex or the ideas are new and not related to my life, my work, or my studies.

    CLB 8

I can…

  • Understand a co-worker discussing a workplace experience
  • Follow instructions from a computer help line technician
  • Understand a public announcement about a product recall
  • Understand a discussion of opinion on a familiar controversial topic
I understand main ideas, facts and many details. I follow sequencing, topic shifts and can interpret some moods and attitudes. But, I have difficulty following complex conversations that include idioms and unfamiliar expressions.

    Stage III: Advanced Language Ability

Listening Stage 3

    CLB 9

I can…

  • Understand a manager explaining about changes in a company
  • Follow detailed instructions to assemble a piece of equipment
  • Understand recommendations from an instructor on an academic project
  • Understand a short podcast about the findings from a research study
I understand a range of communication on a variety of topics, including some specialized topics in my field. But, I have difficulty when the speech is fast, and I often cannot interpret humour, idioms and cultural references.

    CLB 10

I can…

  • Identify attitudes and intentions when a manager is handling a customer complaint
  • Follow multi-step instructions for a home renovation task
  • Understand a city council proposal about changes in the neighbourhood
  • Participate in job interviews and panel discussions about applicants and candidates
I understand communication on an expanding range of complex topics, including those that are specialized in my own field. But, I have difficulty when the speech is fast, and I sometimes do not understand idioms or interpret humour and cultural references.

    CLB 11

I can…

  • Understand negotiations and arbitration to settle workplace conflicts
  • Follow complex multi-step instructions for urgent tasks
  • Understand political candidates debating issues on the radio
  • Understand an academic panel discussion at a conference or seminar
I understand communication on an expanded range of complex topics and specialized topics in my own field. But I have occasional difficulty interpreting humour, irony, sarcasm and cultural references.

    CLB 12

I can…

  • Understand a legislative proceeding and related media commentary
  • Follow instructions for solving complex problems in my field
  • Follow a court proceeding or a formal workplace meeting
  • Understand formal proposals, presentations and academic theses
I understand an extensive range of complex communication on most general and specialized topics.

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