How can one neutrally and concisely express that someone is able to converse in a particular language clearly, confidently and more or less in a grammatically-correct fashion? — I need to post an advert to find volunteers for a project who really can use spoken English “effectively” but I’m not fussed if they e.g. have an unusual accent or maybe mix up a few words or make non-native mistakes (I mean, a lot of native speakers have “unusual” accents and mix up words as well). However, I can’t make use of people who have only basic skills in English and/or take a significant amount of time/effort to express themselves.
The alternatives I’ve come up with thus far are:
- You must be fluent in English — I reckon this would put off a lot of potential volunteers because “fluent” is often taken to mean “perfect”.
- You must have a strong command of English — Those who speak English “well” but are not confident in their ability to do so might be put off by this one.
- You must have good English skills — This one looks to be more appropriately inclusive than the above two, but “good” might also include those whose English is only “good enough” (which, in this case, is actually not good enough).
- You must be able to speak English clearly — This also seems good, but it seems to suggest that they will only be actually “speaking”, e.g. that this is a casting for a voice actor or something like that.
How can I formulate this as an inclusive, positive requirement (“you must …” instead of “you cannot…”) which effectively filters out those whose English is “less than good” and does so in a socially-acceptable manner?
You are looking for someone conversant in English.
Conversant * adjective*
[predicative] Familiar with or knowledgeable about something.
‘But he has shown in a matter of weeks that his determination to succeed on the field is matched by his willingness to integrate, which means being conversant in English.’
Depending on the level of proficiency you want your volunteers to demonstrate, it may be useful to spell out what you mean, using some of the wording you provided in your question.