pennlogo

 Arabic Department
  University of Pennsylvania
Home Language Requirement Courses The Syllabus Arabic & Islamic Studies Study Abroad Lessons Faculty Links Roger Allen Bibliography

 

Novice

Generic Descriptions-Listening

Novice Low

Understanding is limited to occasional words, such as cognates, borrowed words, and high-frequency social conventions. Essentially no ability to comprehend even short utterances.

 

Novice Mid

Able to understand some short, learned utterances, particularly where context strongly supports understanding and speech is clearly audible. Comprehends some words and phrases for simple questions, statements, high-frequency commands and courtesy formulae about topics that refer to basic personal information or the immediate physical setting. The listener requires long pauses for assimilation and periodically requests repetition and/or slower rate of speech.

 

Novice High

Able to understand short, learned utterances and some sentencelength utterances, particularly where context strongly supports understanding and speech is clearly audible. Comprehends words and phrases from simple questions, statements, high-frequency commands and courtesy formulae. May require repetition, rephrasing and/or a slowed rate of speech for comprehension.

 

Generic Descriptions-Speaking

 

The Novice level is characterized by the ability to communicate minimally with learned material.

 

Novice Low

Oral production consists of isolated words and perhaps a few high-frequency phrases. Essentially no functional communicative ability.

 

Novice Mid

Oral production continues to consist of isolated words and learned phrases within very predictable areas of need, although quality is increased. Vocabulary is sufficient only for handling simple, elementary needs and expressing basic courtesies.

Utterances rarely consist of more than two or three words and show frequent long pauses and repetition of interlocutor's words. Speaker may have some difficulty producing even the simplest utterances. Some Novice-Mid speakers will be understood only with great difficulty.

 

Novice High

Able to satisfy partially the requirements of basic communicative exchanges by relying heavily on learned utterances but occasionally expanding these through simple recombinations of their elements. Can ask questions or make statements involving learned material. Shows signs of spontaneity although this falls short of real autonomy of expression. Speech continues to consist of learned utterances rather than of personalized, situationally adapted ones. Vocabulary centers on areas such as basic objects, places, and most common kinship terms. Pronunciation may still be strongly influenced by first language. Errors are frequent and, in spite of repetition, some Novice-High speakers will have difficulty being understood even by sympathetic interlocutors.

 

Generic Descriptions - Reading

These guidelines assume all reading texts to be authentic and legible.

 

Novice Low

Able occasionally to identify isolated words and/or major phrases when strongly supported by context.

 

Novice Mid

Able to recognize the symbols of an alphabetic and/or syllabic writing system and/or a limited number of characters in a system that uses characters. The reader can identify an increasing number of highly contextualized words and/or phrases including cognates and borrowed words, where appropriate. Material understood rarely exceeds a single phrase at a time, and rereading may be required.

 

Novice High

Has sufficient control of the writing system to interpret written language in areas of practical need. Where vocabulary has been learned, can read for instructional and directional purposes, standardized messages, phrases or expressions, such as some items on menus, schedules, timetables, maps, and signs. At times but not on a consistent basis, the Novice-High level reader may be able to derive meaning from material at a slightly higher level where context and/or extra linguistic background knowledge are supportive. 

 

Generic Descriptions - Writing

Novice Low

Able to form some letters in an alphabetic system. In languages whose writing systems use syllabaries or characters, writer is able to both copy and produce the basic strokes. Can produce romanization of isolated characters, where applicable.

 

Novice Mid

Able to copy or transcribe familiar words or phrases and reproduce some from memory. No practical communicative writing skills.

 

Novice High

Able to write simple fixed expressions and limited memorized material and some recombinations thereof. Can supply information on simple forms and documents. Can write names, numbers, dates, own nationality, and other simple autobiographical information as well as some short phrases and simple lists. Can write all the symbols in an alphabetic or syllabic system or 50-100 characters or compounds in a character writing system. Spelling and representation of symbols (letters, syllables, characters) may be partially correct.