My wife and her family are bi-lingual (they’re German), so I’ve been regularly reminded over the years that I like the idea of learning and speaking a couple of languages.
Well, I recently put in a couple hundred hours doing Michel Thomas’ and Pimsleur’s German courses and while I learned quite a bit, I was actually pretty disappointed with how impractical my vocabulary was after it all. I was basically a functional tourist but couldn’t actually talk about anything that mattered to me.
Thus, I began looking around for a better way to learn German that would actually meet my needs, and I ran into Gabriel Wyner’s work and decided to check out his most recent book, Fluent Forever.
Well, I’m thoroughly impressed. He really has developed an elegant system of learning and retaining languages that has gotten me excited to get back on my German grind.
What’s really great about Wyner’s system is you build your own learning materials, which includes copious use of flash cards, instead of using a premade syllabus. This means you can begin learning to speak about the things you actually want to converse about as opposed to learning how to ask where the tour guide is or how late the restaurant is open until.
Wyner also puts a lot of emphasis on first working out proper pronunciations and spelling rules, which is very different than other methods I’ve checked out and tried. When you read his explanations as to why he does it this way and actually try it out, the advantage becomes obvious.
Once you’re past that, you begin building your vocabulary and sentence-building skills. It takes a bit of time to build your flash cards and using them regularly feels like a grind at first, but it really delivers on its promises once you get rolling.
The learning methods espoused in Fluent Forever are backed by plentiful, high-quality scientific research and Wyner himself walks the walk: he speaks six languages fluently, all learned over the last few years.
If you’ve been wanting to learn a new language and are ready to get serious and get the job done, read and apply Fluent Forever.