Posted: 31 May 2010 05:51 AM PDT
I've never really been good at languages. In fact, to put it bluntly, I suck at them. Part of it is effort and part of it is the fact it takes me 3 weeks to learn to pronounce “how are you?” correctly. I'm always amazed at people who can learn languages well and I'm even more amazed by Benny from Fluent in 3 months who speaks 7 languages fluently, plus is conversational in a few more!
Benny didn’t learn a second language until he was 21, which makes his accomplishment even more impressive. Now he put his tips into a huge ebook, complete with worksheets and interviews. Everybody has an ebook lately and I try hard to limit the amount I review to those that I think are applicable to travelers. Learning a language is something we all want to do so I was eager to read Benny's book and see what I could learn. This is how Benny describes it:
What did I think?
This book isn't about picking up a textbook and doing grammar. It's about getting past that thinking and into immersing yourself in a language through conversation and listening. Having taught English in Asia, I am always disappointed when companies have me focus on grammar and writing. Most Asian students could write a grammatically correct essay that would make a high school teacher proud. But they can't speak the language. They are never taught to focus on talking and communication so they become excellent at grammar rules but awful at expressing themselves.
And that’s not learning a language. After all, what good is it if you can write a sentence in French but can't ask for directions or order food? What I liked about Benny's book was that it focused on getting people to learn how to speak verbally and communicate more so than have people focus on learning from a textbook. When you take a language class, you learn, you repeat, you take a test. You don’t live the language and incorporate it into your life. I never let me students speak Thai in class and I always told them to speak English outside of class. Learning a language doesn’t stop at the door and Benny gives us ways to bring the language into our lives easily.
What didn't I like?
Would I buy this book?
Despite what the title says, Benny doesn’t promise fluency. If he did, I would be skeptical. But he does promise that his book will help you learn a language quickly, give you tips to do so, and get you confident about learning and speaking a new language.
The book has 3 hours of interviews, 7 worksheets, and is 200 pages long, and you get free updates. It costs $39 USD. It's a worthwhile investment if, like me, you really want to learn another language but can never seem to quite get the hang of it. I plan on using it and you should too!
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