Top positive review
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In at the deep end
on 17 April 2014
Someone recommended this book to me, so I thought I'd give it a go.
I can't say that I would have tried it if I hadn't had the recommendation, so I am glad they did.
The reason I would have been reluctant to have a look at this book is that the title suggests that the author has found an easy way to learn a language fast, and that if you pay your money then you can too. If you pay your money.
I was brought up on the Jungle book, and "feed them silence when they say, come with me the easy way", so I was sceptical about feeding them money.
So when I started reading it, I already had one eyebrow raised, with the other at the ready, and was ready to sneer my way through the book.
So I was very pleasantly surprised when I found that the author is not offering an easy way to learn a language, quite the opposite.
This book offers a counter-intuitive way of learning languages, which involves:
1. Lots of time commitment.
2. Sheer bloodyminded determination to get past any social inhibitions that you might have.
3. Plenty of booklearning, but at a later stage than you would normally expect to do it.
Basically, the method is to find people who speak the language, either in your area or line. And start talking to them. A Lot. When you've built up a reasonable level of confidence, THEN you start on the bookwork, to set what you are doing in to a real life context.
So you need to jump in at the deep end and sink not swim. All the better to immerse yourself. And as this is just a metaphor, you can't actually drown. Just hideously humiliate yourself with a bunch of total strangers from another culture :)
So why do I like this book? It offers a counter intuitive method of learning languages, that is not easier than others, and in fact looks harder, but which gives a well argued case for why if you put the effort in that you'll see results within a good time frame. I also like the way that he defines what fluent is. The cover might make you think that the author is offering an easy way, but there don't seem to be any false promises in the book itself.
Another thing that he says is that you should make a public commitment to your learning, to really ramp up the pressure. Well here goes. I'll edit this in a few weeks time to tell you how it went.