I think what they mean on the youtube video is “basic fluency”, when you can speak about all basic topics which are close and familiar to you… I think thats the only kind of fluency which is attainable with small vocabulary. In order to have REAL fluency with basic vocabulary you should be really talented in guessiing the meaning of unknown words during a conversation, and having the hability to express complex ideas with basic estructures. Maybe some people can do that, but i Can´t.
Besides, I think the level of speaking, doesnt have to be parallel with your level of understanding on the language.
There are people who can say many things on the language but understand little, and the opposite.
Steve always says that listening and reading are the key to learn a language, and that after massive INPUT, if you put yourself in the situation of talking, you will natuarlly activate all this passive vocabulary. I believe that was true for him, but i dont fully agree thats how works for everybody.
And dont get me wrong please, I think Lingq is a FANTASTIC TOOL, i probably will continue being member for many many years. But from my point of view is only a piece on the PUZZLE. To speak good a language you need 3 main things INPUT, OUTPUT , and GRAMMAR (in that order of relevance). And my experience shows me that they all 3 are important, and the 3 help each other to get better. Take for instance my English, i had during my life massive input and massive output on this language, however i never bother studying its grammar (in school i never passed any English exam), also never i had any feedback or somebody correcting my mistakes. As a result, i can speak “fluently”, I can express my ideas, but my English is full of mistakes. There you have it. Do a lot of input and you will understand everything, do a lot of Grammar and you will talk with less or no mistakes, do a lot of Output (better with feedback) and you will be able to express better your ideas. My personal experience confirmed me that. I think a lot of massive Input will HELP you to speak good, but it wont MAKE you talk good.
I know some people can disagree with me. Another case, i remember that after almost 2 years using Lingq everyday to learn Russian, i could understand a lot, i would say like at a B2 level. But my speaking was A2. At that time i could understand almost everything but i was struggling to convey my ideas to form simple sentences (maybe because of the type of language, since in Russian you have to declinate a lot of stuff in order to make a sentence, when you listen/read, all phrases are already declinated by the native speaker and you must only understand the meaning which is much easier).
To speak more or less decently it took me another year, and to achieve this i had to force myself to do other things than Lingq… I had to TALK a lot with native speakers, and i forced myself to use the estructures and words i was seeing at Lingq and i considered they were useful and i wanted to use them. I think during this time i was creating conexions of my brain between the ideas i wanted to say and the proper phrases that i should use to express them. I firmly believe that every idea has a different sentence, and estructure in every language to express it, and you have to make this sentences go out of your mouth while you having this idea in your mind in order to make this brain conexion IDEA / PHRASE (thats just my theory, but i guess somebody said something like that before, i dont think im the first who thought about it).
I came to conclusiont that understanding a sentence at lingq, even if you meet it in different contexts many times, does not guarantee that you will be able to use it properly in a real conversation. In order to do that, like i said, you have to force yourself to use it 1 or 2 times in real conversations until will be automatic in your speech (but of course to do that you still need Lingq or another input source, you cant reproduce what you haven´t seen before). Thats why I believe that when you´re using lingq you have to judge with senteces/words are the most important and delibertely start using them in real conversations. Another great way is writing historys using this words/estructures that you´d like to activate and use more, and to get a feedback later.
This was my experience, i guess it also depends from the person, i guess to another people maybe just reading and listening would be enough. And they can easily speak after. But that was not my case in Russian. Everyone is different.