How long did it take you to become fluent in Spanish?
I have studied spanish on and off for a few years but have problems speaking smoothly or in correct grammar. Pretty good at understanding but speaking is much more difficult.
On the other hand, if "fluent" means being able to stay afloat in a conversation ...
One not only need to "stay afloat" but to be able to swim towards some point (wherever you're going) and, better yet, to be able to swim "against the tide". The basic meaning of "fluent" is related to "flowing" and "fluid". It is reasonable to call oneself fluent when one can read/write/speak/listen without a great deal of conscious effort (you just "go with the flow").
I'd distinguish it from "advanced" by saying that "advanced" suggest that most of the time things go smoothly but there are occasional "rough patches" (which one tries to avoid or which require awkward phrasing or one simply hopes that the meaning is conveyed).
Native level, on the other hand, entails never feeling "I don't know how to express what I want to say." One may pick and choose ones vocabulary/syntax (to best convey the meaning) but then the issue is how to best say something, rather than, how to say it at all.
Hi Vogue and welcome to the forum,
I think most of us are still working on becoming fluent. I know I am.
For now, I am excited about the ability to be able to communicate, read and write. I have been able to get a lot accomplished at the intermediate level. My dream would be to spend some more extensive time in a Spanish speaking country. Since to be fluent means you can not only read and write, but more importantly, understand and respond to conversation with little to no hesitation, I don't think I can realistically call myself fluent until I spend some serious time in conversation immersed in a Spanish speaking country.
If I am wrong about that and unexpectedly find myself fluent one day...that would be great!
I don't think I can answer that, because I am just a beginner!
It takes a long time and lots of practice to become fluent in Spanish.
A better question is, how long does it take native speakers to become fluent? To put my learning in perspective.
Hi, Vogue, welcome to the forum...great question!
You know how Bill Clinton said "it depends on what the definition of "is" is?". Well, it depends on what the definition of "fluent" is. I'm not trying to be flippant, I really mean it.
If "fluent" means truly speaking Spanish like a native speaker, then the answer may be that we will never be totally "fluent" unless we live in a Spanish speaking part of the world.
On the other hand, if "fluent" means being able to stay afloat in a conversation, then you're probably there.
My general experience is that the less a person knows, the more "fluent" he considers himself to be, whereas the more a person knows the less "fluent" he considers himself to be.
Come back to the forum often; you have brought up a great point!