Being fluent in a non-fluent manner…

I believe most of language learners would like to speak fluently. They hope one day they will speak like a native speaker. So… does a native speaker always speak fluently???

Let’s think about the definition of ‘fluency’ here. What words pop up in your mind now to define ‘fluency’? We might think that a fluent speaker would be able to keep talking forever with no stop, no mistake or no hesitation. This sounds right but this is not the description of how native speakers speak. You can instantly tell that once you listen to any native speakers talking… English speakers, for example, would say “well…” “um” etc. any time. They would mispronounce a word and quickly correct it. I presume this is the case for any language speakers; certainly it is the case for Japanese native speakers.

ええと… あのう… なんて言うか…
eeto             anoo          nante iuka

You might have heard the above phrases your Japanese friends used; the first two words are somehow equivalent to ‘well…’ in English and the third one could be translated to ‘what should I say…”.

Speaking like a native speaker does not necessarily mean being fluent; maybe, we should reconsider what ‘fluency’ means for language learners.

Whatever it is, it is important to speak a lot and practice a lot to improve language skills. Don’t worry about not being fluent; you know, native speakers are not always fluent either.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *