Regarding the issue of fluency - my general experience has been that those who are self taught seem to a have more sensible goals, and a more sensible methodology for studying Latin, than students taught in most school programmes. Through not knowing any better, they are aiming for in Latin what they would expect to aim for in French, German etc - an ability to command the language, its vocabulary,and its idioms.
It is a very educational experience to click through the profiles of the members of Schola - over 1300 now, and growing at the rate of about 3 new members a day. A very high percentage are autodidacts. They are mostly coming to the language alone, but encountering a community of people who see fluency as a goal. They have role models to look up to, people to emulate, like Terentius, and Aloisius. This, in its turn, influences their learning goals.
I find it relatively sad that almost everyone (not absolutely everyone, but almost) I have met with communicative ability in Latin, and an ability to read and discuss a random Latin text, in Latin, has perforce had to acquire that skill in isolation. Certainly, many of those I have met whose goal is command of the language, are autodidacts. We have discussed before why this should be so. Some have suggested these are particularly 'driven' learners. I am not convinced. I just think they are learners who are allowing themselves to follow a more natural progression of language acquisition.
Those who really want to improve now, at least we have a functional Latin audio chatroom, where we can speak a bit every day, and meet others who have similar goals. The social dimension to acquiring language skill cannot be underestimated. Given that there are fewer than 20 fluent speakers now left alive, it is, I think, almost a moral duty of those who have the foundations already, to activate tham, and try to become speakers........
Some seem comfortable with Latin, and the status quo, and regard the past as an insurance policy against the future. To quote the rabbis "Toroh tzivoh lonu Moshe, morosha kehillos Yaakov" - The Torah was commanded us by Moses, it is an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob" - to which word 'mesoroh' the rabbis added a gloss - an inheritance is not received, this is an active verb, indicating something that has to be actively passed on.
The past is no guarantee of the future.
We are actually now in a very dangerous place for Latin. For the first time since the fall of the Roman empire, Latin has become a highly endangered language - there has always been a handover from generation to generation of spoken Latin, albeit learned as a second language - but there has been an unbroken chain of tradition...and at any given point in history, there have been thousands of speakers - as recently as the 1950's this would have been true. The decline has been precipitous.....this chain of tradition is now in danger of snapping for the first time - for of those 20 fluent speakers who remain alive on earth (a shockingly low number - this is Reggie Foster's estimate from 3 years ago), most are well over 65 years old.......)
I started work on Latinum, and intensive research into language revival projects, when this became apparent to me - I think it would be unconscionable if spoken Latin were to die out on our watch - and despite the Herculean efforts of Reggie, Terentius and Aloisius, it is by no means in a safe place.
My personal goal is to gain a massive vocabulary, and to get the skill to pick up any text I want to, and to be able to read it. I don't think this is an unreasonable goal. Nor do I think it is particularly hard to achieve - but, like any language study, it takes daily practice, lots of reading, and even more listening, and, even more importantly, access to a community of like minded people with whom to share and grow.
What I don't understand, is why someone who has devoted a huge chunk of their life to Latin, and who is teaching it, would not want to experience the joy that comes with speaking it, in other words, with having total command over it? Surely that should be a professional goal, to dominate one's subject matter?
If I were learning any other foreign language, with a view to reading advanced literature, that would also be my goal - particularly if I were aiming to teach it.