Hi friends, hope we’re all keeping well.
Throughout the past year or so, every time I finished a book, I would make a mind map of of all the things I feel I like I learned in that book. I’ve accumulated around 15 of those mind maps so far, and have decided I would like to immortalise the content of those mind maps onto this blog. It feels like a good and refreshing way to go over the books without having to flick through all the pages again.
With that being said, here’s a book review of the book ‘Fluent in 3 months’ by the exceptional polyglot, Benny Lewis.
😲My Discovery of the Book😲
One of the hobbies I talked about on this blog before is language learning. I feel like learning a language can be a wonderful experience when you’re studying a language that actually interests you, and there are many reasons why one would pursue a language aside from just learning about the culture!
If I remember correctly, the book was recommended by the course instructor Jonathan Levi, in his course ‘Become a Super Learner‘, which talked about various different memorisation and speed reading methods, mainly the mind palace technique.
Anyway, I believe he was addressing the students who had signed up for the courses specifically to help learn languages, when he mentioned the supplementary resource of checking out Benny Lewis and his blog ‘Fluent in 3 Months’. The name interested me, and a quick Google search helped me find out a lot more about this person. He was Irish, which of course resonated with me, and could even speak Irish fluently! Keep in mind that in Ireland, while Irish is still taught as a mandatory subject in schools, the language is so hated among many students, and is frequently seen as a ‘dead and useless’ language due to how outdated the course for it is. Honestly, I have a huge amount of respect for people who can come out of the Irish leaving cert course still with a passion for the language.
Additionally, his course name ‘Fluent in 3 months’ was also very catchy. And while I’m always suspicious and cautious about these overhyped ‘language hacks’ and how you can INSTANTLY learn how to speak a new language within a ludicrously short time period, I still consider myself to be open minded to new methods. And what better opportunity to see what his techniques were all about when his book was on sale in the Amazon kindle store!
🧑🎓Favourite Lessons 🧑🎓
His book essentially talked about many different methods of learning a language as opposed to just one, but the core lesson from the book, I think, is to simply start speaking the language from the 1st day, and to continue practise speaking it everyday.
This might seem counterintuitive, and I’m sure many of you are scratching your heads thinking “Huh? But if I don’t know the language at all then how can I even speak in it?”. Exactly, that’s the point. You need to learn a small amount each day to keep the conversation going, such as phrases, conversational connectors, and more. You should basically force yourself to have high level conversations in the language. Once you reach a speaking block with the language, then you immediately know what to focus on for next time.
Another pretty creative idea is to purposefully sign yourself up for exams in your target language, whether it be online or in person. Humans are pretty interesting creatures, and the thoughts of a looming deadline are somehow always able to motivate us to begin studying harder than we would normally.
Some other strategies he talked about in this book included switching methods once you find them becoming boring, laddering, and finding lists of words called cognates in your target language. Cognate words are words in two or more languages that share a similar meaning, spelling, pronunciation, and are essentially immediate hacks to helping you get to know a language. These ideas were all relatively new to me, so I felt I learned a lot in his strategies section of the book.
He also touched on some other aspects of language learning, like debunking common myths of language learning ,best practices, and also focussed on the different types of languages, like Romance, Germanic, etc.
-“A language is a means of communication and should be lived rather than taught”
-“It is not important to be better than someone else, but to be better than yesterday”
-“Don’t make your language-learning all about studying; make it about using your target language”
-“The missing ingredient, and the single thing I have found that separates successful language learners from unsuccessful ones, is a passion for the language itself. For successful language learners, acquiring a new language is the reward.”
-“There is no one true way to learn one or many languages, so I would encourage you to investigate other polyglots’ language learning advice and see what sits best with you and your goals.”
❔Who Would Like This Book❔
Anyone aspiring to learn a foreign language should definitely give this book a shot, especially first time learners.
While some things he talked about I feel I already knew, or perhaps was a bit common sense, I will still admit there’s a lot of valuable advice and insights about the language learning experience that anyone can gain.
⭐️How This Book Changed Me⭐️
-I now try speaking a bit of my target languages everyday, making sure I can form cohesive sentences in conversational settings.
-My passion for learning languages has been reignited more strongly than ever, and has motivated me to continue on with this journey.
-I have found some new language learning tricks and methods in my arsenal, that can enhance my language learning experiences.
Alright, that’ll probably be it for this blog post then. Once again, remember to stay safe out there!