How do you feel about calling yourself "fluent"?

Do you feel comfortable calling yourself "fluent" in English?

I started thinking about this topic recently when I was telling someone about my experiences living in Japan. She asked whether I'm fluent in Japanese, and I started to give my usual complicated answer.

I'm never sure what to say. On one hand, I have no problem getting by completely in Japanese. I can ask for the things I need, share my opinions, enjoy TV shows, and read signs. On the other hand, there are a lot of ideas that I can't express. There are a lot of topics of conversation that I can't follow along with well. And I can't put a sentence together nearly as well as I used to when I was using it every day.

When people ask me "Are you fluent in Japanese?" I usually explain a lot of what I've just described. I don't think it's true to say "No, I'm not fluent" but I also don't feel like I can confidently proclaim fluency.

When someone asks whether you're fluent in English, what do you say? Do you tend to overplay or underplay your abilities? Answer in the comments!


  Print this Article