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28 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The "special forces" gimmick!, 5 Feb 2004
This review is from: The Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast (Paperback)
There is no such think as learning a language quickly so what you will find in this rather unsubstantial book is a way to learn how to speak the language very badly. Not only that, you will learn to do so in a time consuming way. The "technique" in thsi book consists of filling in grids of so-called high-frequency words and then, of course, you have to set about LEARNING them. Nothing innovative there, except that you had to waste your time finding out words to fill in the grids. You may as well have bought a phrase book and gone through the expressions in that! As far as grammar goes - ooh yes, grammar: the thing all language learners apart from real aficionados hate - well, Hawke's advice seems to be that you don't need to worry about it much. If you look at the section on the future tense, Hawke tells you not to worry if you don't get it exactly right! That's hardly the attitude I would expect from a soldier! If that's the way US elite forces operate (The "special forces " gimmmick is a new one on me - I thought I had seen them all, but this is the one used in this book!), it's hardly surprising a certain bearded gentleman from Saudi Arabia is still at large! Hawke is "certified" in seven languages, according to the blurb on the back. This pathetic little book makes me wonder just how little you need to know, and how badly you can get away with speaking a language in the military, if the system in this book is any indication of achievement levels.
There's no quick-fix where language learning is concerned, so obviously, this book is not going to do much for you!
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Nov 2009 18:25:54 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Nov 2009 18:27:37 GMT
Frank Coles says:
I think you're a little pissed that this wasn't a quick fix. It's not sold as one, it's designed for those who need a solution to being thrown into a situation where you need language skills yesterday. Of course you still have to work at it. That's the point of having the grids, which you can adapt to suit your needs. E.g. you might need specialist sporting, science or political language as soon as you step from the plane, this isn't the kind of thing you can find in most phrase books. But using the methodology presented here you can build your own vocab, and even using basic phrase books you'll find regional differences, or inaccuracies that prevent understanding. As for grammar, he's giving you the basics, not saying don't worry about it, and as most language learners know, you will pick up a lot of your grammar with usage - the same as when you were a child. It's a useful book, not perfect, but useful. I think it's a shame you gave it one star, I believe it deserves more.

Posted on 29 Nov 2012 16:14:27 GMT
Elizabeth says:
I suspect that being 'certified' in a language simply means he's taken an official test and passed well enough to get a proficiency grade - although that doesn't give any indication of *which* level he meant.=)

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Mar 2013 15:04:06 GMT
Well, every piece of useless crap will have a nitwit who thinks he's being interesting by sticking up for it.
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