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39 Reviews
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good explanation on how to learn languages
The thing about how to learn a language books is that no one way will work for everyone. I have read a few and found that Gabriel Wyner's book works for me because it is a system described by someone who used it to learn the several languages he needed in his career as an opera singer. It is not a list of words or endless grammar, there are plenty of other resources for...
Published 2 months ago by Jane

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3.0 out of 5 stars Have had to stop at chapter 3 to find my own resources that his plugged website does not provide
As my first book into looking at building some core basic skills for learning a foreign language i found a lot of theory in the early chapters useful. I am only 3 chapters in but have hit a block where he describes training your ears to hear sounds that are hard to pick up due for non native speakers. He directs you to his website where he says he is working at releasing...
Published 9 days ago by MonkeyD


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good explanation on how to learn languages, 22 Nov. 2014
By 
Jane (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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The thing about how to learn a language books is that no one way will work for everyone. I have read a few and found that Gabriel Wyner's book works for me because it is a system described by someone who used it to learn the several languages he needed in his career as an opera singer. It is not a list of words or endless grammar, there are plenty of other resources for those things. Here he gives many practical approaches which anyone can use and he also looks at your mindset when you begin learning your chosen language. He gives access to the top 650 words to learn first on his website. He is a big fan of spaced repetition, which I am not, but I am giving it a go in case it fits my way of learning and, even if it doesn't, I have found that this doesn't stop you from getting good information from this book. This is written by someone who really wants to help you get over the early stumbling blocks you may come across in the early stages. I got so many good tips on how to take learning a block of vocabulary to something that can be used to communicate which is, after all, the main point of it all. Finally I feel I have found something that will help me speak a second language a reality.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressed, 8 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It (Kindle Edition)
Changed my view on my ability to learn languages, started with Spanish & am now rapidly learning words & their pronunciation using Anki flashcards.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fundamentally New Way To Learn Anything, 26 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It (Kindle Edition)
This is a brilliant book! It introduces the latest concepts in teaching and learning and if you need to learn absolutely anyting and haven't heard of Spaced Repetition System, do yourself a big favour, buy this book and save countless wasted hours.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential guide if your learning a new language, 11 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It (Kindle Edition)
I was slightly sceptical about this book prior to buying/reading as I thought it might not be that beneficial due it’s bias about learning and remembering “any” language rather than just the specific language I am studying, but wow – how wrong am I. This book is an invaluable resource that explains what happens in your mind when you learn a language, and how you can train your mind to be far more efficient, and therefore learn far more than you could without having read the book.

In a very simple style, and in places rather humorous text which makes this book fun to read, the author takes you through the processes of what happens in your mind when you learn a new language, and how you can overcome your minds “natural barriers” to learning. By explaining each process or learning stage in detail, and often with well researched (but not overly complicated) examples and charts, the author lays a strong and logical foundation which you can use to start efficiently learning your chosen language or subject.

The main methodology emphasises the creation and use of flashcards as the key aid to learning, which might sound tedious and a route that you might have attempted previously, but the author takes the time to explain the benefits and why this process is important. It also allows you to determine your individual learning speed as you can select the words or areas of interest that you want to study and focus on, and also takes you through the process of building the flashcards themselves (in either electronic or paper based format) – as ever, there are pros and cons with each, but again the book will highlight the drawbacks and advantages of each, and allow you to make an insightful decision about which media will be the most beneficial to your leaning style.

The layout of the book was also perfect for me, nice short chapters and sections that encouraged you to continue reading, but which also provided natural “stopping” points to review and take in what you have read. The book is also full of fun facts and trivia about language (again, it gives many different examples of all languages rather than focusing on just the one) and the format works incredibly well on my Kindle Paperwhite, with no distorted text (even when using Chinese or Russian lettering) and clear easy to read tables, charts and images.

A couple of points worth mentioning, these are not negatives about the book but just something to be aware of: Firstly the book is shorter than I expected, the first 2/3 is the actual text of the book while the second 1/3 is reference material based on the first section (i.e. how to make flashcards, the key 625 words to learn first etc.), however, I still felt the main body of the book was in enough detail and didn't leave me feeling short changed by my purchase. Secondly, the text often directs you to the author’s website for additional resources such as short videos or pronunciation guides. This might sound like a marketing ploy, but is actually very beneficial – the website is a treasure trove of free information and advice, and also has sections for each language so you can focus on the your specific area of study (i.e. for me it’s Russian). Used in conjunction with the book, the website will add considerable depth to your study.

This book is an absolute essential if you are just about to start learning your first foreign language. It will help you understand your minds learning process, and what natural barriers stand in your way. It will provide you with clear and concise targets that will help form the “backbone” of your study, and take you through each stage with well researched and logical techniques which are also rather fun. The book effortlessly explains everything you need to start learning, and most importantly for me, it gives me the confidence, knowledge and enthusiasm required to approach learning my desired language. A really well thought out book that should be an integral part of anyone’s language learning toolkit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, 11 Jan. 2015
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If you follow what this book says it should be impossible NOT to make progress in any language of your choice! Remember, though, there is no shortcut to hard work and dedication. Like hypnosis, this book cannot put in your mind what you have not studied. A great book to help you get going in ANY language!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly informative, 20 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It (Kindle Edition)
Wow! What a brilliant read! This book is basically a flash card learning system, but not like any you think you know. The author's passion for both language and the system is extremely infectious and will have you learning like you never have before. I wish this book was out years ago, it is a system I shall be using from now on and I can't wait to add a few more languages to my brain. If you only read one language acquisition book, make it this one. It is packed with information, tips and links to really push you further. I can't rate this highly enough.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I knew all this years ago., 12 Sept. 2014
By 
Honeypie (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
I am loving this book. The explanation on how the brain forms memories will help with subjects beyond languages and it is well written with good humour, gives useful resources, and is not preachy on what to do or not do. Can't wait to try out all the many different tips.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Have had to stop at chapter 3 to find my own resources that his plugged website does not provide, 21 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It (Kindle Edition)
As my first book into looking at building some core basic skills for learning a foreign language i found a lot of theory in the early chapters useful. I am only 3 chapters in but have hit a block where he describes training your ears to hear sounds that are hard to pick up due for non native speakers. He directs you to his website where he says he is working at releasing packs for all languages. 2 problems 1. They are not free and cost $12 2. He has been working on them since 2013 and only 3 languages are done. Japanese which i am trying to learn is something like 15 in the list so i may see it may see it by 2020. I feel he could have provided us with some links to places where these things are available rather than plugging his half baked attempt.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Certainly the best guide to learning a language (any language) written to ..., 17 Aug. 2014
By 
Matthew Notley (Guildford, UK) - See all my reviews
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Certainly the best guide to learning a language (any language) written to date. It focuses on ingenious methods to remember information and - very importantly - making the process interesting and personal to you. It makes heavy use of the resources which modern technology and the internet makes available to us. Highly recommended to anybody seriously intent on learning a foreign language.

I'm still in the early stages, but can already say that the methods work. 7 days of using the SRS memory methods described and I've pretty much learnt 90% of the International Phonetic Alphabet by heart (a very useful tool for helping your pronunciation).
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2.0 out of 5 stars For memory experts only, 22 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It (Kindle Edition)
This is a personal method the author has devised using flashcards. It's not for me. I hadn't realised it when I bought it, but I read an article by the author in an online news article- maybe the Guardian- that explained this technique. I think the article alone was sufficient, most of the rest is padding.
( ok looks like-I haven't finished the book and dought I will). But in fairness there is one interesting technique about 'minimal pairs' that links to his personal (paid) website, sadly not completed. Pity the poor guys that paid in advance for this- two years after publication the only completed section is French!
Some students may find inspiration from it, but I will keep looking (perhaps until I've finished learning Russian!)
EDIT - it's lifehacker.com, search for Wyner and that site, to see if it's your cup of tea.
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