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  • hey what's up Stefanie the English coach here from EnglishFullTime.com

  • in this video we are gonna talk about how to know when you're fluent in

  • English and actually you can use this little quiz I guess that I made to test

  • if you're fluent in other languages as well but basically we're gonna talk

  • about things that happen to you and to your English when you are fluent so you

  • can know hey are you fluent or are you not fluent what are you good at what do

  • you still have to work on okay because if you've studied English for any length

  • of time that's longer than you know a couple months you know that listening to

  • English every single day does not make you fluent studying English for years

  • and different English Institutes does not make you fluent having private

  • teachers does not make you fluent using English at work does not make you fluent

  • even having a degree or a certificate or something you know from formal higher

  • education a university or something like that doesn't make you fluent I could go

  • on and on none of this stuff makes you fluent right because you and I both know

  • people that have done this kind of stuff and they still aren't fluent maybe you

  • are even someone who's done stuff like this and you're not fluent okay so it's

  • a journey it's a process I'm here to help you with this but I want to explain

  • some of the things that happen to you when you are fluent in a foreign

  • language and I'm speaking from experience go ahead and click the link

  • up here to watch a video where I'm speaking Spanish you can hear how I used

  • to speak at seven years ago versus how I speak it today okay it's completely

  • different anyways a lot happened during my journey of learning Spanish to

  • finally becoming fluent and the thing about fluency that makes it really hard

  • to detect is that it does not happen overnight right it's not like one day

  • you're not fluent and the next day oh my gosh you're fluent it happens slowly

  • over time and you usually don't even realize your improvements as you're

  • improving you realize them when you look back at where you started and you see

  • how far you've come okay so let's talk about how to know when you're fluent

  • there are different things that we're going to talk about speaking

  • understanding how other people understand you etcetera let's get into

  • it so you know you're fluent when you understand at least one dialect of

  • English perfectly you understand everything now granted there's going to

  • be some things you don't understand I mean there's words in English that I

  • don't understand if you try to talk to me about mechanics or something like

  • that it's not that I'm not fluent in English I'm just not familiar with that

  • kind of technical jargon because I don't ever use it right so when you're fluent

  • in a language you understand everything except for the things that you're not

  • really familiar with or maybe once in a while I hear a new idiom and I'm like

  • how I've never heard that before or I hear a new slang term that the

  • younger generations are using okay I feel so old saying that but seriously

  • I'm starting to realize how old I am because I'm hearing slang and I'm just

  • like oh my gosh kids are saying that these days anyways so you know you're

  • fluent when you understand English pretty much perfectly one dialect of

  • English because there are so many different dialects you guys I went to

  • Ireland and I could barely understand people there so don't feel like you need

  • to understand every single native speaker that's just not realistic okay

  • next you know you're fluent when you can speak automatically without translating

  • in your head you don't even have to think about what you're gonna say or how

  • you're gonna say it you just speak you don't worry when you're in conversations

  • like oh my gosh how should i form this sentence what verb tense should I use

  • you're not even having those thoughts those thoughts are not occurring to you

  • because you just open your mouth and you speak and you know exactly what to say

  • and you know you're fluent when you make very few errors and you're able to catch

  • your own mistakes okay so you pretty much sound like a native speaker you

  • speak the way that they speak you make minimal errors and when you do make

  • errors you're able to catch them and if you're not sure if you can catch your

  • errors just write a page in English or make a video that's two to three minutes

  • in English and then read what you wrote and watch your video and try to catch

  • your own mistakes if you can do it cool you're pretty close to fluency okay next

  • you know you're fluent when you can use a wide range of vocabulary and

  • expressions and you don't feel like you're repeating yourself I remember

  • when I was still learning Spanish I would say the same things over and over

  • again because I didn't know

  • another way of expressing it for example I would say ah que interesante

  • mm que interesante mm que interesante which means how interesting right but I

  • would say that for everything you would tell me something cool and I'd say oh

  • how interesting you would tell me something interesting and I would say oh

  • how interesting you would tell me something normal and I would say oh how

  • interesting I literally did not know other ways to express my feelings and my

  • emotions and as you get more and more fluent that becomes easier expressing

  • your ideas expressing your emotions you do it effortlessly right and you're not

  • searching for words like how can I say this and you don't have that annoying

  • feeling on the inside where you're just like man I keep saying the same thing

  • over and over again I'm so tired of feeling repetitive okay when you're

  • fluent you don't have that okay next you know you're fluent when you can explain

  • and talk about a variety of subjects that are conversational and technical I

  • know a lot of English learners who can explain everything about their job

  • perfectly in English but then when you want to talk you know about something

  • totally conversational like hey what'd you do yesterday or what do you eat for

  • dinner or what are you gonna do later today they just freeze and they're like

  • you know because that normal everyday vocabulary they just don't have it or

  • they keep forgetting it or something like that but when you're fluent you can

  • talk just as easily about casual conversation type stuff as you would

  • about your work and the technical jargon that you use there now if you can't talk

  • about what you do at work and you lack that technical jargon then that's one

  • thing you know you have to improve if you do know the technical jargon of your

  • work and you can communicate that easily in English but you struggle with regular

  • conversations then you know that your focus should be on talking with people

  • everyday in English improving that area okay next you know you're fluent when

  • you use grammar tenses naturally and easily and there's really no such thing

  • as a difficult tense right when tenses are difficult for you that's because

  • you're either a beginner or you're at an intermediate stage of learning where you

  • have not become familiarized with all the tenses and

  • have not been exposed to them enough to know when and how to use them because

  • grammar is actually something we internalize when you're first learning

  • it when your teacher is first teaching you they break it down into every little

  • structure and they explain every scenario in situation and time and tense

  • how it's used etc etc but eventually you internalize that and you get to a point

  • where stuff just sounds right you're like I don't even remember what this

  • grammar tenses called I just know how to say it and that's that okay

  • so that happens when you are fluent things just sound right you know it's

  • right because it sounds right you might not even remember the grammar tense and

  • you start making the same mistakes that native speakers make this happens to me

  • in Spanish I got so fluent that I started misspelling words the same way

  • native Spanish speakers misspelled words I would confuse the B and the V for

  • example which if you're a Spanish speaker you know that that's a very

  • common mistake it's crazy because I used to have a flawless spelling in Spanish

  • but that's when I was at a more intermediate level and I still had all

  • the rules totally ingrained in my mind and I

  • remembered everything you could ask me anything about grammar and I knew the

  • answer but I couldn't speak the language so now that I've internalized the

  • language I literally go through the same things that native speakers go through

  • and this is gonna happen to you too this is another thing when you get so fluent

  • in English there will be certain things that you will struggle to express in

  • your native language because you just realize there's no translation you

  • learned it in English you understand it in English and then when someone from

  • your family says hey explain this thing to me you're like oh I want to tell you

  • how it is or what it is but it just doesn't make sense unless I say it in

  • English you have internalized the language then you realize that languages

  • are just different codes of expressing ideas and some things literally can't be

  • translated or they're very difficult to translate this actually happened to me

  • the other day when one of my friends asked me about mate mate is a typical

  • tea in Argentina it's a specific drink okay that people have there and they

  • wanted to know all the details like how do you prepare this tea how do you drink

  • it how do you share it because you know you pass it around and you share it

  • with multiple people that might sound disgusting if you're a germaphobe but people do

  • this all the time and it's very normal anyways I was trying to explain it and

  • my brain would not think in English I could not explain this whole ritual in

  • English it was so hard it was actually exhausting and I was just like oh my

  • gosh I wish I could explain this in Spanish because it's just so hard to say

  • in English okay so that is gonna happen to you when you get super fluent in

  • English you're gonna struggle to express things in your native language because

  • certain things just don't translate well now another thing that happens when

  • you're fluent in English is that English words and grammar and sentence

  • structures start to affect your native language okay you may even mess up in

  • your native language this happens to me sometimes frequently I've even said

  • things like yeah I shut it off the water instead of saying I shut the water off

  • that is a sentence structure that comes from Spanish and that's how I would say

  • in Spanish so sometimes those grammatical structures slip into my

  • English and I just mess up it's a really crazy phenomenon but it happens it's

  • quite common okay next you know you're fluent in English when native and

  • non-native English speakers are impressed with your English they go wow

  • you speak really well they're shocked by your pronunciation they're shocked by

  • how natural you sound and they congratulate you on it because they're

  • really impressed so that happens when you're fluent in English and if it has

  • happened to you already congratulations that's awesome

  • next you know you're fluent in English when you understand jokes understanding

  • humor in a foreign language is one of the most difficult things because you

  • don't just have to understand the language and the grammar you have to

  • understand the culture you have to understand yeah the culture that's it

  • basically you have to understand why it's funny you have to read between the

  • lines let's just say that so anyhow you know you're fluent in English when you

  • can watch comedians and understand what they say now some jokes might still go

  • over your head okay but for the most part you're surprised like wow I totally

  • understood that I got that and you can laugh at it and understand the humor the

  • same way a native speaker would next you know you're fluent in English when

  • don't get stuck when you're speaking and if you do get stuck you're quickly able

  • to get around whatever is making you stuck and think of a new way to say

  • whatever you're going to say I get stuck when I speak English sometimes I'm like

  • oh man am I even making sense right now am I saying this way I want to say it

  • and I realize that maybe I'm not making the most sense so I look for a new way

  • to say whatever I'm gonna say and when you're fluent in English you do the same

  • thing you don't get stuck first of all on basic stuff

  • but then if you do get stuck with a bigger idea that you're trying to

  • express you just look for a new way to say it and you do the best that you can

  • next you know you're fluent when you can speak coherently for any length of time

  • whether that is 30 seconds 2 minutes or whether you're giving an entire speech

  • in front of an auditorium of a bunch of people what I have found

  • after doing hours and hours and hours of lessons with English learners and

  • talking with a non-native English speakers is that when you're at an

  • intermediate level a lot of times you tend to talk in circles you end up it's

  • like the more you talk the less sense you make so my tip for you here I don't

  • just want to leave you with this problem is make shorter sentences and pause more

  • between your sentences and don't try to talk for too long if you're not sure if

  • you're making sense and if you start saying the same thing over and over

  • again to try to make it make sense but you're just rambling kind of like what

  • I'm doing right now then just stop okay take a break let the other person speak

  • in the conversation and let there be a natural flow of ideas from one person to

  • the other next you know you're fluent when you are not afraid of speaking with

  • native speakers now I know that some people are shy by Nature

  • or they're naturally introverts even native English speakers sometimes don't

  • want to talk with other native English speakers they get shy when they have to

  • do a presentation or something like that so that's not exactly what I'm talking

  • about because that exists and that can exist even in your native language but I

  • just mean you don't have those thoughts in your head like oh my gosh are they

  • gonna understand me what are they gonna think are they gonna make fun of me you

  • don't have those negative thoughts because you know you're fluent in

  • English and so if you don't feel comfortable speaking with a native

  • speaker it's probably more related to your personality and you

  • we don't like doing presentations and stuff like that even in your native

  • language and it's not about your lack of fluency in English next you know you're

  • fluent in English when you can comfortably maintain a conversation and

  • maintaining a conversation means it's shared fifty-fifty between two people or

  • if there's more people everyone is participating equally in the

  • conversation and you're able to exchange ideas transition to new topics

  • pause appropriately share anecdotes tell jokes and you just feel comfortable

  • you're able to maintain a conversation and there's no like awkward silences

  • like okay what should we say now should we talk about now sometimes that can

  • happen even in your native language maybe if you're not very good at making

  • conversation but for the most part when you're fluent in a language you should

  • have the same conversation skills that you have in your native language okay

  • you should at least be at the same level there okay I know this video is long but

  • we still have a few more so hang in here with me and we'll get through this list

  • you know you're fluent in English when you feel like yourself okay when you

  • don't feel like you're being fake when you don't feel like you're a different

  • person I remember when I first went to Argentina and I had to speak Spanish for

  • literally like the first two to three years I was so frustrated because I was

  • like I just don't feel like myself I'm not Stefanie when I being Stefanie

  • okay what does that mean that means that I can talk with anybody I have no

  • problem talking with strangers I have no problem presenting I like telling jokes

  • these are things that make up Who I am it's part of my personality but then

  • when I would be in Argentina living there and being around native speakers

  • it was like I was a completely different person and it was so frustrating because

  • I didn't have the confidence to tell jokes I lacked fluency for the first

  • couple of years and I was constantly stuck inside my own head thinking like

  • oh nobody's gonna understand me I couldn't relax I couldn't enjoy the

  • practicing process of improving the language I just didn't feel like myself

  • I wasn't able to maintain conversations easily I didn't feel comfortable talking

  • with strangers finally all of that went away okay and I was able to overcome all

  • of those issues and again I talk about it in the video that I linked

  • earlier where I'm speaking Spanish so if you want to learn more about that go watch

  • that video next you know you're fluent in English when you understand

  • subtle differences between very similar sentences and you're able to pick up on