I have often been intrigued by the following questions in various documents across the Indian sub-continent:

Ability to read, speak, and write - Yes.

Fluency level- Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced.

What would be the most appropriate statement (or word) to qualify how well a person speaks a foreign language? It would also have to include the following skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

  • I am proficient in three languages.
  • I speak two languages- one fluently other not so
  • I can converse in two languages
  • I know two languages
  • I have studied three languages
  • I have learned two foreign languages

closed as unclear what you're asking by RegDwigнt Dec 4 '14 at 15:44

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    What do you mean, which would be correct? They all mean entirely different things. I myself know X languages, am fluent in Y, can converse in Z, and have studied exactly zero. – RegDwigнt Dec 4 '14 at 15:43
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    I think fluent (and its different degrees) is a good adjective to express the concept. Fluency: the ability to speak easily and smoothly; especially : the ability to speak a foreign language easily and effectively. – user66974 Dec 4 '14 at 15:45
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    Qualifying the number of languages you speak is not a bad idea. Statements like, I speak two fluently and am conversational in four others or, I know four and have studied three are good examples of how to honestly portray your language abilities. – Misti Dec 4 '14 at 15:53
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    The common, standard levels of studying and knowing a foreign language are, as you mentioned; beginner - intermediate and advanced. You may state that your knowledge or your abilities in a foreign language are at one of those levels accordingly. I think that would help understand your real knowledge. – user66974 Dec 4 '14 at 16:03
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    There is no hard and fast set adjective to express anyone's knowledge. Fluent means you understand it all, aside from an obscure word. Not fluent can mean you get by with help, to I have no idea what any of the words mean. – Oldcat Dec 4 '14 at 21:58