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https://www.duolingo.com/spudnick12

Fluency

spudnick12
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At what level and amount of words known would you consider "fluency" in duolingo. I am level 10 and know 447 words in Spanish

4 years ago

18 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/olimo
olimo
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I'd say fluency comes long after Duolingo. Also, fluency is not the number of words you know but the ability to recall and use them quickly. For that, you need to practice real-world speaking with other people.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/spudnick12
spudnick12
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Is it good that I text and talk with my spanish friends in spanish and write and read in spanish nearly everyday ... Or is that not enough?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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That is awesome that you are using Spanish regularly. :D

Fluency is a tricky concept. I once watched a youtube video by someone who is a translator for Japanese. They said that fluency is being able to successfully and smoothly navigate the situations you are in. They said that, when they translated for a tech company, they were not fluent because they had to learn an entirely new set of vocabulary. In other areas of their life that was more familiar, however, they were fluent. I hope that makes sense. If you are looking for a number, generalized statement I've read in various articles is that you need between 2,000-8,000 words depending on the language. Of course, grammar and sentence structure are necessary components as well.

Edit: My Japanese teacher also pointed out that, even though she had learned the vocabulary and grammar to speak English, native English speakers could not understand her pronunciation. (Japanese has very few sounds, a little less than 200 I think. English has several hundred more sounds than that.) So, JessieKaye made a great point I'd forgotten to add!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pont
pont
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Personally, I like the practical definition of fluency given at http://www.fluentin3months.com/how-many-words/ :

Fluency to me means that I can live my life entirely through that language in the real world without natives needing to adjust for my benefit.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/0liwia
0liwia
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That's a good one! I think it's a good definition.

I have also read about the 2,000 words thing. There was a whole discussion here on Duo about this a few months ago actually. It is indeed tricky to define what fluency is, and even trickier to define it using a number of words. But it is said that 2,000 words cover approximately 80% of any text or discussion (non specialized, of course), 3,000 90%, 5,000 95% and it goes decreasing. Plus, at that stage you should be able to express yourself using circumvolutions, hence make yourself understandable - even if not using sometimes the exact word. (e.g.: if I don't know how to say "hair tie", I will say "that thing girls use to attach their hair.)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/0liwia
0liwia
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@Mavry: a College educated person has over 17,000 words in his/her active vocabulary, and about twice as much in his/her passive one ;-)

As for the rest, I've always aimed at way more than Duolingo proposes ;-)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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I like that! :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo
olimo
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200 sounds are very few? O_o There are 42 in Russian (6 vowel and 36 consonant sounds). I also googled for sounds in English and found answers about 44-46 sounds. Where do hundreds come from?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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English vowels have multiple sounds each, as do several of the consonants. A's, for instance, can make at least 4 different sounds: Apple, father, another, and ape. L's have a few different sounds based on the arrangement of the tongue in the mouth. For example, the L sound changes in these two situations: la and ul. There might be more for L's but, I've only come across this example.

I never realized how many different sounds I was making in English, until I was learning Japanese. For me, I had to limit all of the different sounds I could make. Meanwhile, my Japanese teacher explained how she and others in Japan experienced a lot of facial pain from all of the different muscles native English speakers use to affect the sounds. She'd never used those muscles before.

The rest I learned about from various reading sources (Human Japanese 2.0 Free online version. Though, I felt that their estimate was over generous when they mentioned one source had said over 2,000 sounds or something to that affect.)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo
olimo
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Well, I can't tell about English as it is my second language (though I hardly pronounce more than the "official" 44 or 46 sounds), but the number for Russian - 42 - is pretty accurate, and 200 different sounds still amaze me.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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I am looking forward to learning Russian :) It's on my list of top 5.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo
olimo
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I'm looking forward to all of you guys learning Russian! I guess it would be fun to help you with my native language.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/spudnick12
spudnick12
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Thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo
olimo
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Sure. This way you'll become fluent faster.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

Five year old kids talk to each other every day, but they are not as 'fluent' as a college graduate ;) You need thousands of words and several verb tenses, plus several other things, to become 'fluent.'

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JessieKaye

You have to be able to understand and speak fluently to native speakers before being classified as 'Fluent'

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nukemarine

Equate fluency with the spoken language and think fluid or flow. How well can the language flow in and out of you verbally? When you watch a native TV show how much are comprehending. When you read out loud from a book or discussing something in the native language how well is that information flowing out of your mouth and into the ears of the listeners? Having a good baseline with regards to vocabulary and grammar helps immensely but you have to practice your listening and speaking skills using comprehensible media.

Likewise, literacy is like fluency but with the written language. The same ideas apply in that a baseline helps but you'll have to practice reading and writing native material.

In fluency and literacy, passive reception (listening, reading) will be much easier than active creation (speaking, writing). In addition, the creative part is hardest to gauge without someone else there to critique you. If it helps, there are sites like lang8 which have language exchange help.

Personally, there's no point in which you are fluent even in your native language. You just become more fluent and literate over time. Given the law of diminishing returns, you'll need to invest exponential amounts of time to get linear amounts of fluency. You probably won't notice that till you get to intermediate (2000+ vocabulary) and advanced levels (6000+ vocab).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brown_Ciara

This really helped! Thanks!

4 years ago