Miscellaneous Definition Of Fluency

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Sunday 09th of September 2007 01:17:23 AM
Definition of Fluency: Hey all. I was wondering everyone's opinion on when you can consider yourself fluent in a language. Seems kind of simple, I know, but I am a native English speaker and there are still some words, expressions, and idioms that I don't know the meaning of.

I guess I would consider someone fluent in a language when they can easily communicate in all areas (speaking, reading, writing, and listening)in daily conversation. I was just wondering everyone else's opinion. Thanks a lot! Have a great day!

Sunday 09th of September 2007 04:25:26 AM
Fluency comes from the word "Fluid" which means "a non-solid object", but it's most commonly used for liquids, so when we say someone is fluent, it means that the language flows out of his mouth like a liquid.
So to make it simple, fluency is when the flow of the language is smooth, meaning you can express yourself easily, explain things, read, write, understand and interact easily in that language. :)

Sunday 09th of September 2007 10:38:24 AM
I agree with FaWzY. I think that being fluent in a language means that you can be in almost any situation with that language and still be able to abstractly communicate. And, hopefully, not have too strong of an accent. 'Cause that can definitely hamper communication. :p


Wednesday 12th of September 2007 05:25:36 PM
Fluency is when you know how to pronounce poop. (Oopppsss.. Did I just say poop?)

Monday 11th of February 2008 03:26:12 PM
I'd say fluency is when you can understand the language without thinking about its meaning in another language XD

But looking up certain words in the dictionary is okay =P

Thursday 14th of February 2008 09:38:55 AM
Hm, I kinda like your definition. By your definition, I'm fluent in German, even though my grammar sucks! :D


Thursday 14th of February 2008 10:51:58 PM
Fluency isn't a numerical value, and so it isn't really something that can be judged on an absolute level.
Fluency is about being "fluid" (though I'm not sure *how* closely the words are related), in the sense that it just flows from your mouth and into your ears.
You're fluent if you can make your point in most "any" situation, and if you can understand people, in most "any" situation.
But, yes, you're not really fluent if you still have to do two-step communication through another language to get meaning.

To rephrase, let's just put it this way: you're fluent if you think you're fluent.
But that doesn't mean you brag to your friends or post here that you're fluent, but that you travel to a place in which that language is used, not your native language, and you feel fluent. If so, you are. If not, then you're not. Pretty simple.

Saturday 08th of March 2008 08:34:59 PM
I like djr3's definition. I'd like to add - you can tell you are fluent when you have no troubles or anxieties in expressing yourself and understanding others in your foreign language, even under moments of extreme stress or tiredness (like after traveling for 25 hours by plane and trying to carry two 20 kilo suitcases and a backpack through an unfamiliar city on your own, with horrible instructions and mis-printed maps to your hostel :p). Also if you feel a sense of relief returning to the country where your foreign language is spoken after being somewhere where you can't speak a language at all or just a few words of it, then you could also be fluent :) basically, when you are comfortable expressing yourself and your needs in the language in almost all situations and under most circumstances, and you can do so without difficulty, then you are fluent.

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