In one of the previous posts, Van asked me about my definition of fluency. It’s an interesting question and I may have touched on it before. It will be interesting to hear your take on it, so decided to reply as a post.
To be very honest, my definition of fluency changes accordingly to suit my purposes. hahahaha. With most people, I’ll most likely tell you that I’m still learning Korean and not fluent. When I’m going for interviews or going out to impress, I’ll tell you that I’m fluent. With some friends, I admit that I’m an advanced learner but still not fluent. In certain circumstances or with annoying people, I might even tell you that I don’t speak Korean. hahahaha. xD
So yeah, my “fluency” changes.
It does seem like everyone has a different yardstick to measure fluency and I’ve seen so many cases whereby people either overestimate or underestimate their proficiency level (at least according to the way I see it).
There’s no right answer to it, and I guess everyone does view fluency differently. Or “beginner, intermediate, advanced” for that matter.
I think I can only confidently tell everyone that I’m fluent only when I am able to speak, write, read, listen like it’s effortless. I may not need to be able to able to do debates in Korean, but I will only consider myself as fluent if I can express myself (in whatever area I need to) without getting stuck at all. I don’t think I can even read medical texts in Chinese, so I won’t require myself to do that in Korean.
Right now, I think that I’m at the advanced level. But not fluent yet. I get stuck in conversations at times, I can’t churn out some stuff that I need to at the moment (kill me please).
Fluency is also not really an end goal for me. You can always be more fluent, the way I see it. hahaha. Language ability is something that you can continuously improve (:
And yeah, I view fluency as an integration of the 4 major language skills. Won’t ever call myself fluent if I can read, write, listen but not speak, for instance.
How do you define fluency in a foreign language?