I would like to recommend a language learning website:
Fluent Forever — http://fluent-forever.com/ — How to Learn Any Language Fast
And Remember it Forever!
It contains interesting language learning strategies.
The author, Gabriel Wyner, an opera singer, just published a book about the same topic and it’s
(Much better than Benny’s book.)
My book is on the way. I am eager to read it.
I don’t plan to read his book, but I had a look at his website. It’s certainly worth looking through. The most important part is, of course, the method section
Here are a few comments:
“This is where an early focus on pronunciation comes in: if you look into the science of memory, you’ll discover that it’s much harder to remember words you can’t pronounce well.”
I don’t know about the science, but I have certainly thought that I find it much more difficult to memorise words when I don’t know their pronunciation. I also find it difficult to memorise words when I am not sure of their meaning. When I was using Anki heavily for German, I often deleted words from my deck because I found them confusing and didn’t want to waste time trying to memorise them when I could be memorising easier words.
“Starting with pictures and graduating to simple definitions and fill-in-the-blank flash cards (see below), you can teach yourself the vocabulary and grammar of a language without the added mental step of translating back and forth from English, and actually build fluency instead of translation ability.”
I have never understood these suggestions. How does one learn vocabulary from pictures? I can see how it would work for simple nouns that represent real objects, such as words like ‘apple’, ‘banana’, ‘mobile phone’ and ‘car’, but what kind of picture can you find to represent words for more abstract things or verbs, or adjectives, or prepositions? Maybe it can be done, but I don’t know how. I also don’t think looking at English translations of words builds translation ability instead of fluency.
Anyway, the rest of his method appears to be about using Anki to memorise words and to concentrate on the most important words first. Not bad advice at all. Still, what I can’t find on his website or his YouTube channel is any real demonstration of his ability in any of his languages.
Anything I can’t picture is hard for me in any language. How does one picture ‘the’?
“How to Learn Any Language Fast
And Remember it Forever!”
“It contains interesting language learning strategies.”
All these strategies have been around for a looooong time. The site might be interesting for people who never learned a language on their own though.
I wanted to say exactly that! Old wine, new bottles. Plus, Opera Singing Gabriel Wyner, probably doesn’t mention in his book that he actually learned his languages by going to the most expensive language school in the entire world: Middlebury College. I don’t mean he went there to do an undergrad and picked up languages. I mean he goes there regularly and spends $10,505 for tuition and room and board for 8 weeks. But, I guess you have to read that in the fine print when you buy his book or download his $99 training video on creativelive.com.
Oh Julia, when you said “My book”, I thought you were going to be an author! :)~~ I’d definitely read yours
Yes, he did mention in his book that he learned German in Middlebury College. Old wine, new bottles - you may be right. But better than Benny’s “snake oil” book. His tips how to use Anki are quite good and completely free to access, without buying the book.
All these strategies have been around for a looooong time, ok, you may be right. Compiling old strategies together with new web/computer stuff for the non computer geek is a good thing. The Anki templates & Anki tutorials are well-done and useful.
See Using Anki Online: Chapter 2
Supplemental Book Resources
I saw the first video on his YouTube channel. His pronunciation appears to be really good, but this video does not demonstrate his level in any of his languages, beyond maybe that he is at a good A2 level or above. He speaks German for 14 seconds and we have no idea how spontaneous it was. He may well be C2 in all these languages, but with these videos, we cannot know.
The pictorial representations of prepositions are only clear because of the English underneath. Probably the ones for in, on, under, and over are quite clear, but there is no way without the English that you could guess the ones for at, near, up, down, opposite, and past.
I don’t think he claims anywhere that he has invented an original learning system. I think it’s fine to give advice, even when it’s not original.
But that isn’t the point. He may mention in passing that he went to Middlebury (in fact it is a regular thing for Mr Money-bags, apparently) and he may not claim to have originated his method, but understatement and omission are forms of lying. So, by leaving out the part that he himself only used his own method to supplement his (5 figure) language school training, he is hoodwinking his kickstarter investors, reading public and now the WJS (recent article in there). Now, I am certainly not saying his advice is bad or his Anki templates or method is ‘snake oil’ per se. I’m just saying you should have a spine and say the whole truth if you don’t want to be called out in public for it. Tell the whole truth and stop pretending that you yourself learned languages this way…because you didn’t. And, I’d add, you cannot.
That’s the hoodwinking part, btw. Making people think they can learn this way because you did. Come clean Mr Money-bags. Don’t woo us with your opera-singing obfuscations!