When I started learning Japanese about a year and a half-ago my idea of fluency was being able to converse with people who didn't speak English. Recently I've realized that I can do that now, but i don't feel fluent in Japanese. What is fluency and where do I go from here?
Can you do what you wanted to do when you first set out to learn the language? If not, keep working. If you can - great. Why does it matter if it's regarded as fluency or not?
Fluency is when you stop asking yourself if you are fluent or not, you are to busy just using/enjoying the language and
don´t really worry about that kind of stuff. Keep on doing what you are doing. Good work by the way!
"Someone could learn 2,000 words and develop excellent pronunciation but still be very lacking in comprehending what's said back to them. That's a fluent parrot. Not a communicator or a fluent person."
The above comment is very interesting. I can agree and like the expression 'fluent parrot'. However, someone with 2,000 words spoken with excellent pronunciation, could be a fluent 'communicator' if those words were purposively selected so that almost everything they happened to encounter in their 'small world' could be expressed using those words. That might be a hypothetical situation, but it is logically possible.
"What's your answer going to be?"
frankly... I wish It could be the "please don't bother me"-alternative, more often these days (:
But... I think I would give some examples of what I can do in the language.
And If they still want to know if I'm fluent or not, I would say "yes I am" and move on.
Fluency is a matter of being comfortable in the language in a variety of situations. It takes a long time, and a lot of speaking, to feel totally comfortable. We just have to keep going at it, and therefore it is best to think of what we have achieved, and not what we have not achieved, and to enjoy the fact that we have, through hard work, acquired a new skill, the ability to communicate, at whatever level, in a new language.