FLUENCY TEST - how fluent are you, really?


(upbeat music)

- Hello everyone, and welcome back to English With Lucy.

Today, I have got a fluency test for you.

You all seemed to really enjoy

the grammar test that I posted for you last week,

so today I've got a fluency test,

but it's a little bit different.

Basically, if these things that I'm going to talk about

happen to you, it means that you are fluent.

So I think will be really interesting for you guys

to see how many of these situations have happened to you,

and also to give you something to look forward to.

I know that a lot of you are learning English right now,

with the intention of one day becoming fluent,

so it'd be really nice to keep a record of these things

and work towards achieving the next one.

Before we get started, I would just like to thank

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Right, let's get started with the lesson.

So, how do you know when you are fluent in another language?

Well, I'm going to talk to you about 12 situations,

and if these situations have happened to you,

it means that you are on your way to becoming fluent.

If all of these situations have happened to you,

congratulations, you're fluent.

So I would love you to comment down below

with how many of these situations

have happened to you and which ones.

And also, if you can think of any other

indicators of fluency.

Number one, you know how to swear appropriately.

So when I learn a language, pretty much the first thing

I want to learn are the swear words.

But when I was just starting to learn Spanish,

and I was with my ex (speaks foreign language),

I imitated him a lot.

And he used to swear a lot, not in a bad way.

But then I would try and do it, but in the wrong situations,

and I would get told off.

So you know that you are fluent not only when you know

how to swear, but when you know when to swear.

Number two, you are aware of the mistakes that you make.

That's something that I love hearing

when I'm teaching students.

When they say something, and then they say,

"Ah, no, I made a mistake there,"

and then they correct themselves,

'cause that means that they know what they did wrong,

and they are on that path to fluency.

If you realise that you're making mistakes,

you're one step away from just not making them at all.

Number three, you sometimes don't even realise

that you are reading or hearing the language,

you're just understanding it without focusing.

I would consider myself to be fluent in Spanish,

and sometimes I find myself doing this

on the London Underground when I travel in

to record the podcast on Tuesdays.

Sometimes I just sit there, and I overhear conversations

on the tube because I'm a little bit of a creep. (laughs)

Well if we're going to be honest,

it's because British people don't talk on the tube,

but when a Spanish family comes along they talk a lot.

Which is no problem, I think it's weird that we don't talk.

I'll listen to them, and then about a minute later,

I'll realise, "Oh my god, I'm listening in another language

and I didn't even realise it."

And it feels really really good,

so the next time that happens to you,

you should feel really really good about yourself.

Also I might see like a meme in Spanish on Instagram

and I'll be like desperate to show it to Will,

next to me, and I can't, 'cause I realised it's in Spanish

and it doesn't translate into English that well.

Which leads me onto my next one, number four,

you can understand and participate in humour.

So this was a big pain point for me

when I was learning Spanish.

I once went with a big group of friends

to watch Ernesto Sevilla in Seville. (laughs)

And he's a Spanish comedian with a very thick accent

and he speaks really really quickly

and I sat there thinking I was fluent,

ready to have a laugh with everyone and fit in,

and I didn't understand a bloody word.

(speaks foreign language)

And I realised, I'm not fluent yet.

Now, this one's a difficult one, because some comedians

speak really really quickly, so I'd take this one as,

you know you're really really fluent when you can sit

through a comedy show and laugh at all the jokes.

But I would say you'd need to live in a country for like

10 years and get married and have children there

to even have a chance at understanding

a comedian in another language.

I sometimes don't understand jokes in my own language.

The next one, number five, you know you are fluent

when people don't adapt to your level.

They just go with the flow and use their normal

native vocabulary, including slang, expressions,

figures of speech, the whole hog.

The whole hog, that's a figure of speech, means all of it.

So this is more about sounding like you're fluent.

If people think that you are completely fluent,

they'll start speaking in a really relaxed way

and expect you to understand, but you can start to feel

really really good about yourself if you actually

do understand everything they're saying.

The next one, number six, you know you're fluent

when you have a dream in the language that you're learning.

This has happened to me and it's been really really weird.

I've had dreams about my own family

and close friends speaking in Spanish to me,

when in reality, they don't speak Spanish.

It's very very weird.

I actually have a lot of very confusing dreams

but we won't get into that.

But if you dream in that language,

or dream about your close friends and family

speaking to you in that language,

you know you're well on your way to fluency.

Number seven is a pretty general one,

but you know that you're fluent in the language

when you can do all of the things in that language

that a native person would be able to do

without even thinking about it.

Like going to the doctors, going to the bank,

ordering stuff in a bar or cafe,

giving directions, and that one is something

that I still struggle with because

I just really find it difficult

to tell the difference between left and right.

It's something in my brain, I don't know why.

Sometimes, if I'm driving, and I'm at a roundabout,

it takes me like a couple of seconds too long

to work out which car should be allowed to go first.

Left and right, it's an issue.

Does anyone else have that problem?

Number eight, now take this one with a pinch of salt,

but you know you're fluent when you stop

having to reach for words.

So you stop having to say, "Mm, how do you say it,

what's the word for, mm"

and like waiting and reaching for words.

Now obviously we are all human, every now and again

we are going to have to reach for a word,

even in our native language.

But you'll notice that once you reach fluency,

the rate at which you do it will decelerate.

And sometimes you will even surprise yourself

by knowing words that you didn't know you know.

I sometimes do this in Spanish.

I'll come up with a word, and then I'll be like,

"Go Luce, I didn't know I knew that word."

It's a really weird sensation.

Number nine, something we all aspire to do

when we start learning another language,

it is to watch a film without subtitles.

It feels so good and it means that you are fluent

and you also have a whole new world of art opened up

in front of you and it's fantastic.

And then you can learn so much more about the culture.

Number 10, this is a big one, and I think it happens

to a lot of people without them realising it.

It definitely happened to me with Spanish.

You stop looking for opportunities to practise.

I remember being desperate to practise

my Spanish at any opportunity.

I was desperate to meet Spanish people,

I just wanted to talk in Spanish.

And now I'm really happy if I meet someone

in Spanish so I can have a chat

and kind of brush up on my rusty skills.

But I'm not actively looking for opportunities

in which I can practise.

So it might be something that stops gradually,

and one day you'll realise, "Hey, I'm not as desperate

as I was to practise, I remember when it was be all

and end all for me, and now, I know it."

Which of course really isn't true,

we can always learn more, but your priorities change.

Number 11, this one is such a good one

and it is you know when Google translate is wrong.

Maybe I shouldn't say Google translate,

all electronic translation services.

They don't get everything right.

They are not perfect and when you know

the language fluently, you can correct them

and you can see the amount of errors that they make,

and you'll probably feel embarrassed about

all your homework that you did in the past

using Google translate and how your teacher

really knew that you were using Google translate.

When I was teaching, I used to love it

when students would hand me essays that they'd written

obviously using Google translate,

but without wanting to tell me,

but they would misspell a word in their own language

and so that wouldn't translate, and there would just be like

this random gobbledygook in the middle of a sentence

and the whole sentence wouldn't make any sense

and I just kind of would put like a little red cross

and be like, "See me after class."

And I'd have to talk to them about translation services

but won't worry, we all do it.

And the last one, number 12,

you know that you are fluent in another language

when people can't tell where you're from.

If somebody has to ask you, "Where are you from,

I just can't tell from you accent?"

Or if they ask you that you're from the country

of the language that you are speaking,

you know you're fluent, you do.

My Spanish accent is not perfect,

but people do have a hard time

guessing that I'm English because I've worked hard

to lose the majority of the pronunciation errors

that speakers of English usually make in Spanish.

Right guys, that's it for today's lesson.

Don't forget to comment down below

with which of these situations have happened to you.

And if you can add anymore to the list,

that would be fantastic.

Also, don't forget to check out Skillshare.

Remember that the first 500 people

that click on the link in the description box

will get their first two months free.

And you can connect with me on all of my social media,

I've got my Facebook, I've got my Instagram,

and I've got my Twitter.

And I will see you soon for another lesson.


Which gives you unlimited access to (blows raspberry)

And since you'll (sighs)

And since Skillshare (blows raspberry)

I feel like I've got a lisp.

And I didn't understand a (speaks foreign language)

When people don't adapt to your level they just...

What do they do? (laughs)

Way at a roundabout...

Number 9, hair in my face.

Hair in my face

Number 9, something we all aspire to do

when we start learning a la la la (laughs)

(upbeat music)