Friday, September 5, 2014

Book Review: Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner

ISBN: 0385348118
Published: August 5th, 2014
Publisher: Harmony
Read from August 12th to 15th, 2014
Synopsis from publisher:
The ultimate rapid language-learning guide! For those who’ve despaired of ever learning a foreign language, here, finally, is a book that will make the words stick. At thirty years old, Gabriel Wyner speaks six languages fluently.  He didn’t learn them in school -- who does? -- rather, he learned them in the past few years, working on his own and practicing on the subway, using simple techniques and free online resources. In Fluent Forever Wyner reveals what he’s discovered.

The greatest challenge to learning a foreign language is the challenge of memory; there are just too many words and too many rules. For every new word we learn, we seem to forget two old ones, and as a result, fluency can seem out of reach. Fluent Forever tackles this challenge head-on. With empathy for the language-challenged and abundant humor, Wyner deconstructs the learning process, revealing how to build a foreign language in your mind from the ground up.

Starting with pronunciation, you’ll learn how to rewire your ears and turn foreign sounds into familiar sounds. You'll retrain your tongue to produce those sounds accurately, using tricks from opera singers and actors. Next, you'll begin to tackle words, and connect sounds and spellings to imagery, rather than translations, which will enable you to think in a foreign language.  And with the help of sophisticated spaced-repetition techniques, you'll be able to memorize hundreds of words a month in minutes every day. Soon, you'll gain the ability to learn grammar and more difficult abstract words--without the tedious drills and exercises of language classes and grammar books.

This is brain hacking at its most exciting, taking what we know about neuroscience and linguistics and using it to create the most efficient and enjoyable way to learn a foreign language in the spare minutes of your day.


I've been trying to teach myself Japanese for over a year now. In that time, I've managed to make some progress, but it's been really slow going. When I saw this book, I immediately wanted to read it and see if it could offer any advice. It ended up being even more helpful than I thought it would be.

The book does a great job recommending what to do in order to actually learn a language, and it's all very easy to follow. I'm pretty sure that I've already accomplished more in the few weeks since reading this book than I did in the entire year before that trying to teach myself Japanese. I honestly can't praise it enough.

This book has a lot of helpful advice, and the author clearly knows what he's talking about, which is evidenced by the number of languages he's managed to teach himself. The author also runs a website that is helpful as well, and the book provides a lot of advice for other resources to help you. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning another language by themselves.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

No comments:

Post a Comment