Learning a foreign language is always synonymous with openness, memorization, sharing and, of course, culture. British are not the best at it! Indeed, according to Speaking Agency, 75% of parents surveyed believe that their children will have a better level than they themselves. And to top it all off, 60% say that this gap in foreign languages has penalized them during their professional careers.

These figures show a clear improvement in the perception between language and culture, but also the desire of everyone to learn to speak a language other than English. Certificates such as CILS or CELI allow you to learn the Italian language simply and efficiently.

But how exactly do these diplomas work? And how can you learn Italian with them? That's what we're going to see right now! Avanti!

Where is Italian spoken around the world?
If you want to learn Italian, you should learn more about the history of the language.

What's The Italian CILS?

CILS, also known as Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera, or Certification of Italian as a Foreign Language, is an international language test in Italian, which ends with the issue of a certificate.

This certificate, recognized by the Italian State and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, assesses your overall level of fluency in the Italian language, and evaluates the level of competence, especially in Italian grammar or written expression, for all those for whom it is not the mother tongue.

Born in the 16th century, the Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera was created when the Grand Duke of Tuscany (Ferdinand I of Médicis) decided to create a school, whose objective would be to teach Tuscan Italian to German students. Gradually, the principle became more democratic, until the CILS, as we know it today, was born, which allows for greater integration into the professional and academic world.

Because this type of certificate, while recognized by the state, is also accepted by universities and employers, and will sometimes even prove to be a decisive gateway to study in Italy. In a more concrete way, the University for Foreigners of Siena is responsible for drafting and correcting the subjects of the CILS, taking as a basis and reference the official texts of the European Union, then setting the levels of the "common framework of reference in language".

CILS has four levels, which represent a language level reached by the learner, from fluency in the Italian alphabet to perfect oral comprehension:

  • CILS Uno: Level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which corresponds to the autonomous but basic use of the Italian language,
  • CILS Due: Level B2, where students speak the language in such a way that they can be understood in many everyday situations,
  • CILS Tre: The C1 level, which certifies that you can communicate on a daily basis, but also in more formal and professional scenarios and circumstances,
  • CILS Quattro: The C2 level, which guarantees advanced linguistic skills and allows dialogue in most life situations, whether at work, on the move or with friends.

Finally, it could be useful to specify that the CILS tests take place in several stages: A test of oral comprehension, use of the Italian language, a written test, and an oral test. This is enough to immerse yourself completely and succeed in achieving an ideal perfection.

See the best online Italian lessons here.

How can you learn to speak Italian?
Learning Italian might be easier than you think. (Source: pixabay.com)

What's The Italian CELI?

The CELI is also a certificate of knowledge of Italian, the acronym of which is, in Italian, Certificato di conoscenza della Lingua Italiana. Delivered by the University for Foreigners of Perugio, and recognized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this diploma is presented in much the same way as the CILS, around six levels.

These six levels, developed by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), range from A1 to C2, and can be conducted upstream through an intensive Italian course, the Reggio Lingua courses. In this way, the student will be best prepared for the CELI, and will be able to conduct a conversation about Italian cinema at the same time, or make significant progress in oral expression.

During these preparatory courses, the teacher will build on the examinations of previous years, and develop language skills in the most complete way possible. By taking as a basis listening, reading, written production, speaking, or knowledge of the structures of the language, the student will thus improve his pronunciation, as well as his Italian vocabulary.

Note that CELI 3 is the level that allows you to enrol in an Italian school, without having to take the admission test for foreigners offered by the school. A quality certificate!

Even beginners can make great progress and learn to speak Italian quickly with language lessons. Everyone can study Italian and learn some conversational basic Italian words and phrases. Learning a new language should not be a drag, on the contrary learning how to speak Italian should be a great way to discover Italian culture.

Take Italian courses London to prepare for the CILS and CELI exams.

The Curriculum Of The CILS And CELI

Every certificate is prepared and involves one or more language courses, and Italian is no exception. These language courses can also be conducted independently, particularly for CILS. For this diploma, anxiety will not be the order of the day, since failing parts of the exam one year only means that you will have to take those specific parts again the following year.

To register for CILS or TFSA, you must go through a certified centre and pay an examination fee. For example, the registration fee for CILS varies between £105 and £175, depending on the level of the candidate, but also on the exam centre you choose to attend. Some test centres also offer preparation courses, which is quite useful, isn't it?

There are enough test centres, but they are still quite targeted. CILS, for example, can be taken in the UK, in Italian cultural institutes, or in other approved centres, twice a year (in June and December). As for the TFSA, it happens three times a year, on the same date, all over the world, a bit like the baccalaureate in the end!

As you will have understood, whether it is the CILS or the CELI, the two certificates are very good opportunities to progress in a foreign language, or even to become bilingual in Italian! In a short time, you will just have to mix a few elements such as motivation, willingness to learn and to share as well as a good amount of listening, and you will be able to pass the tests with flying colours!

Find an online Italian language course here or check out how to improve your Italian accent.

How much does an intensive Italian course cost?
You could also learn Italian while learning how to cook. (Source: Angele J)

Check for online Italian courses here.

Why Take the CILS and CELI Italian Exam?

The CILS and the TFSAs are very useful certificates for many reasons. First of all, and this seems logical, they allow you to master the Italian language as well as possible, and to progress at your own pace, in a free framework recognized by the linguistic world in general.

This recognition sometimes implies a necessity in some areas. Enrolment in Italian Universities then requires the CILS, while this diploma will be very useful to all those who wish to enter the working world with a competitive edge, but also in the world of teaching the Italian language, etc.

Many Italian companies and brands recognize the CILS or the TFSA as a necessary asset to develop good working relationships. Some foreign companies also agree, contributing to the learning of Italian!

The TFSA, like the CILS, is a passport for the future, and may also be suitable for students from outside the European Union who wish to enrol at Italian universities. It is also suitable for people who want to assess their knowledge and skills in modern languages, as well as for those who want to integrate effectively into the professional world.

Join a language school and take some Italian language courses and learn all the Italian phrases, Italian verbs and words you will need to get by during your trip to Italy.

It is also worth noting the existence of the CIC (Certificato dell'italiano commerciale, or Certificate of Commercial Italian) and the PLIDA (Progetto Lingua Italiana Dante Alighieri, or Dante Alighieri Italian Language Project), which will be excellent supports and supplements to these certificates. Indeed, here too, these are certifications in Italian, which will strengthen a university application or consolidate your language skills!

Both recognized by the State, they are also proof that the Italian language is well and truly mastered by the student, and work in much the same way as the CELI or the CILS. Different levels, a final certification, and that's it!

Nevertheless, the Italian certificates are a real door opener to all our desires, projects and ambitions, assuming that they correspond to the Italian language, of course! Whether it's working, engaging in a conversation in Italian, travelling, or simply living in Italy, the CILS and the CELI are proving to be great opportunities and effective tools to achieve our goals!

So, ready to dive into the big bath?

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A student by trade, Daniel spends most of his time working on that essay that's due in a couple of days' time. When he's not working, he can be found working on his salsa steps, or in bed.