“Fluency” is a word that used to scare me. I would pause before typing that word next to a language on my resume. It wasn’t until I studied Linguistics that my definition of fluency shifted.
Interestingly, many applied linguistics use the term “fluency” to describe the ability to speak a language without taking many pauses. The focus is more on the ability to convey an idea rather than convey the idea with perfect grammatical accuracy. Like water down a river, the idea does not take several stops, but rather flows.
In many ways, as an ESL teacher, I find that students should have fluency as their goal instead of complete accuracy. Language is used to communicate messages, so if a student can speak and communicate a meaningful message, they are fluent in that language.