ESL Discussions

Conversational vs Fluent [EDITED]

Good Morning, dear teachers and everyone! :)

What is the clear OR unequivocal difference between CONVERSATIONAL proficiency and FLUENT proficiency? Is there any?

I have googled, but I haven't got the proper answer, yet. Should we take a test to classify our language skill?

I read somewhere that conversational one requires only 3000 words. While fluent one is able speak the language near perfectly (almost like a native), but may require more concentration to communicate thoughts, idioms, and slang; advanced reading and writing skills. Native-level fluency is about 20.000-40.000 words.

When it is related to job, I got a bit confused. What is the great difference between conversational and fluent? This is for any language.

Common Linguistic Proficiency Classification for career

  1. Basic (can write a language decently)
  2. Conversational (can write and speak a language well)
  3. Fluent (can write and speak a language almost perfectly)
  4. Native Speaker/Bilingual (can write and speak a language perfectly, including colloquialisms)

I wonder why there is no level between conversational and fluent. :)))

Everyone is welcomed to join, share info, or even share the same question... ^^

Thank you in advance.

Have a wonderful weekend! ^_^

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Replies

  • Conversational means (as I understand) "can  speak" the language.

    Fluent means both speaking and writing the language. 

  • Hi Onee-Chan: Interesting topic, I knew about this classification but I did not know the specifications. I lived in USA for many years, I went to school, I learned English because I needed to survive in that country. I wouldn't know how many words are in my vocabulary, I consider myself as fluent, but now, I don't think so, according to your information.

    I'm just so happy that I can communicate in English with people arround the world, like you guys, in this English Club.

  • Berbicara dengan sopan, mod. Onee. Speaking politely may raise you to the highest levels of fluency. Thanks for sharing. 

  • I'm not sure where you're getting these standards from. There is no universal system of standards. There are many, and they don't all agree. You can see some info on "standards" below:

    https://www.englishclub.com/esl-exams/levels-cef.htm

    https://www.englishclub.com/esl-exams/levels-alte.htm

    https://www.englishclub.com/esl-exams/levels-cef-alignment.htm
    updated 2010. May need updating again, not sure ;)

    Hope this helps.

    CEFR | EnglishClub
    The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or CEFR or CEF, was created by the Council of Europe and is designed as a scale for all Eur…
  • Hello Youssef,

    It's great to see you on my post. ^^

    You ask them? How can I answer? *kidding ))

    can write perfectly..... I think they mean they can communicate or remember the words about everything without any obstacles. Grammar could be different topic.

    So many thanks for your reply. Good day! :)

  • what did they mean by  they can write perfectly? 

  • Hello Ocean,

    This is for any language. So, you are a Native Speaker in your language, and so am I. :)

    Yup, we need to know how we can classify so that we don't mistakenly give information about our language skill.

    Thanks a lot for your visit. Good day! :)

  • Ohh this is really upper my level so I cant throw a stone here :) I hope someone to give us more details  regarding this significant question.

    Thanks for sharing Onee

  • This is the answer from Mr. Josef,

    "Conversational sounds like a polite way of say not fluent.

    Fluent is fluent in all four skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing"

    Well............I probably have a bit problem with speaking. I need to practice speaking more.

    Thank you so much, Teacher Joe. ^^

  • Dear Rosemary,

    Many thanks for joining the discussion. I have edited almost the entire content of this discussion to give more info, lol. You can read again anytime, please.

    Yes, it is important to know our language skill. And after editing this, I can estimate my English language proficiency though not really sure. ^^

    Sister, I know you know more vocabulary than I do, and it is for sure far more than 3000, right? ^^

    Thank you once again for sharing about yourself. ^_^

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