OPI Proficiency Interview

OPI Level Descriptions

LEVEL 0 (No Proficiency)
  • No functional ability

Level 1 (Survival)

    The candidate can understand and participate in very simple conversations about:

    • personal welfare and survival on a day-to-day basis
    • basic needs such as meals, lodging, transportation, simple directions
    • simple daily life and routine travel arrangements
    • requests for services such as ordering a simple meal, renting a hotel room, etc.

    The candidate can understand and/or produce:

    • simple questions and answers in face-to-face conversation in a standard dialect
    • main ideas
    • ordinary courtesy requirements
    • can create with the language
    • questions about daily life & routine travel
    • short conversations

    Candidate’s level of linguistic accuracy:

    • requires repetition, rewording, slower than normal speech
    • strong interference from native language
    • makes errors in simple structures
    • has limited vocabulary
    • has poor pronunciation, but makes some distinction in stress and intonation
    • intelligible to native speakers USED TO dealing with non-native speaker
    • interlanguage may dominate
    • Little precision in information understood

Level 2 (Limited Working Proficiency)

    The candidate can understand and participate in routine conversations about:

    • personal background and interests
    • current events
    • concrete topics
    • family
    • work
    • travel

    The candidate can understand and/or produce:

    • facts (but not between or beyond the lines)
    • casual conversations
    • instructions and directions
    • concrete descriptions of people, places, and things
    • narration about past, current, and future activitiesv • a resolution for a familiar situation with a complication

    Candidate’s level of linguistic accuracy:

    • understands and is understandable to a native speaker NOT USED TO dealing with non-native speakers
    • some repetition and rewording still necessary to understand and to be understood
    • sometimes miscommunicates and is misunderstood

Level 3 (General Professional Proficiency)

    The candidate can understand and participate in discussions about:

    • social, economic, cultural, scientific, and global issues
    • professional reports and meetings
    • particular interests
    • special fields of competence

    The candidate can:

    • infer
    • detect emotional overtones
    • describe & explain in detail
    • hypothesize
    • give and support opinion
    • handle unfamiliar and abstract topics

    Candidate’s level of linguistic accuracy:

    • doesn’t understand native speaker who speaks very rapidly
    • rarely requests paraphrasing/ explanations
    • some low-frequency structures evident
    • control of Complex structure
    • native speaker rarely requires repetition or rephrasing to understand or to be understood
    • Appears to be “thinking” in the language

Level 4 (Advanced Professional)

    The candidate can understand and participate in:

    • formal presentations within the range of his/her experience
    • debates, conferences, broadcasts, press conferences
    • meetings, seminars, task groups
    • discussions about editorial and literary material

    The candidate can:

    • counsel
    • persuade
    • negotiate
    • interpret informally for dignitaries
    • represent both sides of an issue
    • tailor language according to context and audience
    • express opinions almost as well as in native language
    • produce highly organized discourse, including extensive use of complex sentence structure and both high- and low-frequency abstract vocabulary
    • understand all standard and some non-standard dialects including common slang / technical jargon
    • understand the type of language heard in speeches when sprinkled with idioms and stylistic embellishments
    • readily and accurately infer meanings and implications”
    • understand all forms and styles of speech pertinent to professional needs
    Candidate’s level of linguistic accuracy:
    • doesn’t readily understand dialect variations and colloquialisms outside the range of experience
    • may have trouble with extreme dialect, some slang, and speech marked by interference
    • may have an accent but rarely mispronounces
    • makes low-frequency errors that a native English speaker wouldn’t make
    • target language culture dominates
    • no patterns of pronunciation and communication errors

OPI General Information

    What is the OPI
    Who can take the OPI
    Level Descriptors
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