Fluency is one of the things we desire the most in English! But defining “fluency” can be a bit tricky. What is fluency exactly? It can mean different things to different people. One day you may feel super fluent, and then another day – not as much.
So…can we measure it?
Some people would argue that there are ways to measure fluency, but from my own experience, it depends on how YOU define it.
Maybe for you, the definition of fluency is not getting stuck when talking. For others, it’s being able to hold a conversation about different topics without second guessing yourself; And for some it’s simply expressing themselves without feeling ashamed.
To me, being fluent means being able to speak without even noticing what language I’m using, and without negative thoughts about how I’m speaking.
Now, is it possible to have that feeling of fluency – and then lose it?
That’s exactly what happened to me!
And my students have told me that it happened to them too. I had spent several months without using English when it happened to me. When I started speaking again, it felt like I had gravel in my mouth whenever I was speaking. That feeling of effortlessness and ease had completely disappeared.
And that had an impact on me. I wondered if it would always be like this! But I kept speaking, and after some time, I felt like I had gained my fluency back.
This is really how I see fluency. It’s like a muscle. If you stop taking care of it, it loses its strength and agility. It doesn’t mean you have to start from zero to get it back, but it does mean you have to take some action to get back to the fluency you had before.
How about you, have you ever lost fluency before? What has it felt like, and what have you done to gain it back?