Hello everyone. This is a topic I've been mulling over lately, and I'm looking for input from both teachers and learners.
Fluency is a vague concept. I'll use myself as an example. I have lived and worked in Latin America for about two years now, and I can confidently say I'm "fluent" in Spanish. I can read a newspaper comfortably, listen to the radio comfortably, and speak about whatever I please. My girlfriend and I only speak in Spanish, and while we sometimes have communication issues, these issues are rarely the fault of my Spanish. Nevertheless my Spanish has so much room for improvement. I only need to read a few sentences of a well-written novel to understand that there are ways of communicating in this language which I would have never dreamed of!
The problem is that I am actually too comfortable with my Spanish. And I see this same problem with English learners who have passed the intermediate level. What do you do once there's no more grammar left to learn? This is where I think the real, deep learning starts to happen--to begin to understand and use the idioms, tones, and nuances of expression.
Obviously, having a great teacher helps enormously, but what should a student do outside the classroom? I was hoping the Verbling community could share its collective insight.