So the past few days I have heard people say “I am fluent in _____.” And they ramble off a language or two. But are they really fluent? What does it honestly mean you are fluent? Does taking 3, 4, 5, or even 8 classes dedicated to some language, and having a perfect grade in the classes envoke fluency? I don’t think so.
Why? Well the definition of fluent is “able to express oneself readily and effortlessly” (source). Then why on desktops are there dictionaries, thesaurus, and grammar guides. Most Americans will probably say they are fluent in English, but those that are reading this ask them to define defenestrate* for you.
Chances are unless they have advanced education or something, they will not know what that means.
Maybe to be fluent, thet need to be able to talk for some amount of time. But what would be a reasonable amount? I am 22 years old, English is my native language. I know bits of others, but the other day somebody asked me something general, like my name, and I just gave them a blank stare for a few moments. Wouldn’t a plain answer flow out like the definition?
Maybe there are studies that investigate this, and I just have no idea where to look for such things. I just got aggervated hearing like four people saying how they were fluent. I just wanted to say “ok, translate: [insert a crazy phrase] for me.”
*defenestrate: to throw out of a window. (I have three ‘words of the day’)