Monday, March 23, 2015

Fluent in 3 Months

by Benny Lewis

Why You Should Read This:
  • He gets you excited about how fun languages are.
  • He gives tons of useful links to his website and other places.
  • He's entertaining and charmingly Irish, and certainly an expert source, considering he's become fluent in seven languages while not be a "good" language learner.

And Why You Shouldn't:
  • Most of the useful information is just as easily available on his website. Which is free.
More thoughts after the break...

Thoughts: I found this mostly helpful in the enthusiasm it produced in me, as well as the many links to resources. The central point of this book is basically: speak! Speak the language! A lot! Even if you're really bad! And the rest is pretty much tips to tell you how to do this more easily.

Here are just a couple of the interesting points I picked up:
  • Mnemonics are your friend.
  • Scripting your conversations can be fine at first. Anything to get yourself to JUST TALK.
  • Couchsurfing is your friend. Even in your own province/state.
  • Online penpal websites are your friend.
  • You have a lot of friends, apparently.
  • Communication is your goal: use simple boring words in place of correct ones. In fact, correctness in general is highly overrated.
  • When you want to start to sound a bit more fluent, start adding in "connectors" and "filler words". Things that make the conversation seem more natural. And you can even memorize and script them, if you want.
  • The CEFRL examinations can be a really good goal to work towards.
  • Blending in culturally (clothes, facial expressions, attitude, etc.) can make way more a difference than one might expect towards people thinking you're a fluent speaker. Even more than accent sometimes.
  • It doesn't matter what program you use to learn the language. Rosetta Stone, etc. Doesn't matter in the long run.
Grade: 4 stars

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