Click on any CLB level in the table below to view the descriptors for listening.
Stage I: Basic Language Ability
- Understand simple greetings.
- Understand a few simple words.
- Understand common expressions.
- “Excuse me." "Watch out!”
- Understand very simple information.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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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