Fluency is defined as a high level of language proficiency whereby the language being used by the speaker is smooth and constant rather than slow and staccato (containing many pauses). Fluency is a desirable trait in any language speaker but is not an essential skill to have . Having said that, fluency offers many advantages and should be a skill that you seek to develop.
The international language of business, law and commerce
An increasing number of companies are adopting English as their official language. They realise that having their employees speak Business English is the most impactful way of maintaining or even gaining market share. This policy extends from the bottom right to the top of these companies, and we have seen instances of CEOs being removed because of their lack of fluency in English.
Why is English the lingua franca?
While it pains a British person to say this, the predominance of Business English in the 21st century is mostly down to the United States. Thanks to globalisation and the proliferation of American companies around the world, their influence has been enormous. Their presence has meant that millions of Chinese, Italians, French and Russians (among many more) have attempted to learn English in order to communicate and trade with businesses headquartered in the United States,
The Internet has also reinforced the need for English as the majority of major websites are written in English, although this number seems to be dropping.
Why should I be fluent in English?
One of the things that our tutors are struck by when they undertake corporate language training is the calibre of candidates. The European Union regulations on free movement of workers along with globalisation now means that British people are competing with stellar candidates from all over the world. While the Brits have the advantage in that their native language is English, non-English speakers have realised that to participate effectively in meetings and conferences they need to achieve a specific standard of the language, and therefore a fluency.
Your level of fluency in English not only reflects on yourself but also on your employer. It allows you to present a positive and professional image for your company when conducting negotiations and participating in meetings. It also works out to be cheaper for your employer in the long-term as well because there is no need to hire costly interpreters and translators.
The different levels of language fluency
Even native British English speakers can find it hard to be fluent in the language. When applying for work in the UK, you will often see advertisements stating that candidates should be fluent in English. This means that they are able to hold conversations with colleagues, customers and clients without the need for a native speaker to help them out. Thety also need to be able to read and write in an understandable way.
The six levels of fluency in any language
Unique Language Training's teachers use various guidelines to determine the language levels of our students. One of the main criteria that we follow is the Common European Framework for Languages or CEFR. These criteria were designed by the Council of Europe to provide a universal method of teaching and assessing all of the languages of Europe.
Basic – Breakthrough level
Basic – Elementary level
You can interact with people in a simple way. You can introduce yourself and possess a limited vocabulary.
Independent – Intermediate level
Independent – Upper intermediate level
You are generally able to communicate with other speakers of English and can converse with ease and there is little difficulty in understanding.
Proficient – Advanced level
Proficient – Mastery or proficiency level
At these levels, you can understand nuance of the language and hold a spontaneous and engaging conversation. You should be able to understand most texts in English and explain them well. Your grammar and sentence structure should be close to that of a native speaker. There should still be differences between you and a native speaker, most probably with pronunciation and accent.
To become fluent in English, you need to learn with Unique's dedicated School of English. Contact us on 020 3566 0145, by e-mail or by filling in the form on this page.