What does fluency in a language mean?

General discussion about learning languages
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
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Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (passive advanced, active basic)
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Re: What does fluency in a language mean?

Postby Cavesa » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:13 pm

tarvos wrote:Of course C1 is useful. The question is whether it is always necessary and under which circumstances it is necessary. The returns above C1 become diminishing and we have a limited amount of time and not all of us care about learning languages as much as hobbyists like some of us here do. B2 is much more than tourist phrases and it's a very useful level if you need to use a language without necessarily working in it. The question could be whether 3 languages at C2 or 6 at C1 would be more useful; I would always pick the latter.

I am not sure, where do you see any need for further explanations, because I totally agree with you about this (which has been obvious for the last five years or so). I know damn well what B2 is and I have no clue, where do you see such stupid opinions in my posts, when I am exactly speaking against the stupid generalisations.

What I was speaking against is this backlash to the "everything but fluency is worthless" attitude, which is the opposite. Claiming that C1 is in general not useful, that it is just about academic or cultural knowledge, and other such opinions, that is nonsense. Yes, many people may not need C1 (and I totally agree that most don't need C2), but I think it is not ok to glorify touristy skills and downplay the higher levels. The people speaking badly about the high levels are usually not B2, from what I've observed. People at B2 tend to be either aiming higher or satisfied and rightfully proud of their skills without any need to envy others.

The problem is envy. Lots of learners react to the reality of what is needed to achieve the high level with the typical childish behaviour: disrespecting or even offending the people achieving the better results. While the author of the article reacted to the wake up call in Italy by working much harder on their Italian, many others just start convincing themselves that the more successful learners are actually doing something wrong or wasting their time. You know, the typical "I didn't want Joe's stupid toy anyways" behaviour.
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