I’ll Never Know Everything!
Okay… this one might be true. You might never know every single word that exists in your target language, but cut yourself some slack, do you know every single word in the English language?
I know a lot of English and consider myself fluent but there is no way I’d be able to hang with nuclear scientists and understand every bit of jargon they use.
Or consider some non scientific slang you might hear… like bubbler!
“Op’ (common involuntary midwestern noise) scuse’ me, just need the bubbler (drinking/water fountain) there…”
I learn new words in my native tongue every week!
Fluency is a difficult word to define and everybody seems to have their own definitions of what “fluent” is and looks like. I personally believe that “fluency” means I can survive in a country where that language is spoken. As such, I would consider myself fluent in a language if I had the ability and confidence to go out, find some sort of housing, shop for food, make friends and plans, and be able to take part in community events while speaking with people and understanding them!
If I can work a job in the target language, then that’s mega-fluent in my book! Your grammar might not be 100% perfect, your pronunciation may not be 100% correct, and you probably won’t know every single word that you hear but that’s okay! I’ve never had an instance where a speaker of another language got mad at me for trying to speak in their native tongue and making mistakes. People are flattered and generally impressed that you are making the effort to communicate with them in their language!