Welcome back to another chapter in the “What is fluency?” story, The Italian Fluency special!
Last time, we heard from a selection of polyglots and their definitions of fluency. I got so many positive messages and lots of great feedback that I decided to make it a series, so you can get ideas from different language experts from all over the world about what fluency means to them.
Italian was the first language that I ever learnt on my own and sparked my passion for languages that changed my life forever. Holding a special place in my heart, no matter which languages I moved on to. So, as today is the famous Italian celebration Ferragosto, I thought it would be the perfect time to share an Italian special. So here is a selection of awesome Italian teachers sharing their unique perspective on this tricky subject.
To me, fluency means being able to speak about virtually everything daily-life related even if you don’t know 100% of the words, because you’re able to paraphrase them using terms you know.
It means “following your gut” when speaking, in the sense that you don’t have to stop and think about grammar, things just come out naturally.
It means feeling that something “sounds right” or “sounds wrong” even though you can’t exactly explain why.
Fluency is not perfection: you’ll still be making mistakes even when you’re fluent. It’s even better than perfection, because you can keep on discovering new things, improving, reaching new goals… without ever getting bored!
You’re fluent when your only thought is to communicate with another person and you don’t care HOW it’s coming out. You can have only ten words in your vocabulary and use them so effectively that people are connecting with you. The opposite is true too. Fluency is simply a feeling.
Unfortunately, this word gets people stressed out over performance and deflects from how you feel when you’re spending time with the language you’re learning.
If you’re doing what you truly love in your target language and have a supportive community, you’ll always be fluent because that passion and joy will help you overcome any uncertainty and appreciate the process.
What helps is to dig inside and find what makes your language learning thrive and use that to communicate with enthusiasm
As a language student I have always wanted to be flawless. And I knew I wasn’t, which made it incredibly difficult for me to speak. I obstinately refused to talk to people. Of course, this attitude prevented me from knowing if I really was able to have a conversation, to be fluent. The concept of fluency reminds me of water: an incessant movement forward. For me, you are fluent when you raise the anchor — actually, the multiple anchors that you self-impose, and navigate freely. Get rid of impositions, time constraints, perfectionism, and take your time to look around, observe, absorb. That’s when you are fluent, and the best thing is: you can only grow.
So, what do you think? Do you agree with these Italian ladies or do you have your own definition of fluency?
Let me know in the comments.
Alla prossima! (Until next time!)