IMO, to be fluent is to purposely use incorrect grammar

Let’s all of us remember that linguistic rules are descriptive and not prescriptive. Gammar rules are a suggestion and you only have to look at poetry in any language to see that. Of course you have to learn the rules before you know what you can get away with. All that matters is if you’re understandable. And that can vary wildly by region. Grammar and vocabulary are alive and evolving constantly.


I think lawyers also need to be familiar with colloquial language because law is all about how language is used and interpretation of its grammar.

I see your point, but I think it depends what type of lawyer you are. I personally translate a lot of legislation, court documents and stuff like that, and it’s all super stiff and written in quite a narrow type of standardised language. So I just need to be ‘fluent’ in that same type of language to translate it, both in the source language and the target language.
If you were representing people in court, you’d need colloquial language to communicate with your clients, understand witnesses etc., who aren’t legal professionals and could have any level of education. But that’s just one area of law.
The point is, everything is about language, so you’re going to have problems if you’re not fluent in the area you’re operating in, whether that’s telling stories in the pub, giving a presentation at a scientific conference, or reading a historical manuscript.


But yeah, maybe I’m just disagreeing for the sake of disagreement. The more broadly you know the language, the better. I’m just not sure whether I would reserve the word ‘fluent’ for being able to use non-standard grammar. That’s perfection level, whereas fluency is more just about being able to function in a language with minimal effort.


I agree with you here.

I think learners of language, particularly Japanese learners, get caught up in the idea that fluency = native/near native use of a language.

When actually fluency is simply being able to communicate and put your thoughts and feelings into words.

There are plenty of non-native English speakers who speak accented English with sometimes strange turns of phrase that I would consider to be fluent in English because despite the accent and strange phrasing they are able to articulate exactly what they need and want to articulate.

Perfection is the enemy of good, after all.


Most common “breaking of grammar rules” are actually well documented by grammar resources, such as use of 全然 as “extremely” or use of なきゃ/なくちゃ. Some things aren’t, of course, but one needs to be especially careful in Japanese that one isn’t picking up 役割語 from fiction or language that isn’t appropriate for polite contexts.