Language proficiency , eloquence or eloquence (from Latin eloquentia ) is the ability to use a certain language ( individual language ). That means, on the one hand, to express oneself in it and, on the other hand , to be able to understand and interpret it. The term is used for the mother tongue as well as for acquired or foreign languages and applies equally to spoken, sign and written language. Under certain circumstances, one can also speak of a language skill for the use of artificial languages , such as programming languages or visual language.
Due to the systematic nature of languages , a distinction must be made between the pure ability to communicate and interact in a language ( command , in German often “command of spoken and written”) and a degree of competence , i.e. knowledge and correct application the respective complex language and stylistic devices. In the latter case, one speaks of fluency or eloquence.
High eloquence is not necessarily based on a high level of education or professional training; it is often based on the overall personality.
Important prerequisites for a person's language skills are the possession of a basic vocabulary , in a broader sense also the knowledge of the grammatical rules. You may acquire advanced intellectual language skills by studying stylistics , pragmatics , oratory ( rhetoric ) and comparable areas of knowledge, in the case of spoken language also through speech training and voice training . High eloquence by no means refers solely to syntax and semantics and can even convey content largely independently of them that eludes pure factual information. Works by autistic people are particularly impressive examples of this form of fluency . Language proficiency is a fundamental condition for successful participation in social discourse , for belonging to a language community , in more specific contexts for legal and economic business capacity - or in summary for integration into human communities and individual groups. Language skills in everyday life are used in many cultural circles to roughly assess a person's level of education.
- Konstantin Keulen, Kornelius Keulen: A word to no one. Paperback, Piper Verlag, 2003, ISBN 978-3-492-24182-3