What is Fluency?

Whenever people set out to learn to a foreign language, there are those who aspire to become fluent, practically native speakers of the language. But really, what is fluency defined as, anyway? Here are some criteria I’ve thought of that I think accurately describe fluency in a foreign language.

1) Transition into speaking is fluid and natural. This effectively means that you can answer and ask questions in a foreign language without really thinking about it, and that speaking comes second nature to you.

2) Full command over the language. This means that you can hold complex and lengthy discussions about a topic, whether it’s particularly deep or not, and completely and accurately understand it.

3) Becoming one with the language and culture. In truth, part of speaking a foreign language is becoming intimately familiar with its native speakers and their culture. In this aspect, you observe all the social conventions when speaking, and understand them when they come into play. Some say that this embodies becoming essentially another person when speaking the target language.

4) Accent and comfort in speaking are absolutely impeccable. If you’re going to speak a foreign language, you better be able to imitate the accent. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but that you do it. This also means that you are totally and utterly in sync with speaking the language like a native speaker. If you sound as though you’re straining to say things, then you probably need more practice.