I am currently learning Czech in order to better communicate with my partner’s family and found the book very insightful. I would recommend it for anyone looking to learn a new language or improve upon one that they already know.
Speak from day one.
This suggestion comes up many times throughout the book. I have tried to learn several languages with moderate success and can see the value in it. Waiting to know enough words or grammar before you start speaking will cause you to never start.
Prior to listening to the book I had been learning Czech for a year and a half on my own but did not start progressing until I finally build up the courage to start using the Czech that I have in order to make conversation.
I am lucky that my partner’s entire family speaks my target language so I do not need to look hard for someone to practice with. Nowadays it is easy to find someone to practice with.
There are many resources available for finding paid tutors or language exchange partners fluent in your target language. I won’t go into detail here but I would suggest visiting his website for more information.
Learn how to learn.
One of the key things I have been learning through my language learning journey is: learning how to learn. Fluent in 3 months outlines a great place to start and is a valuable guide to get you from beginner to master.
It breaks down how to: start, learn words, grammar and gives you a great overview of where you should focus at which point. Learning words In a new language can be extremely challenging. He explains how can make it easier by creating fun stories for each word you learn.
These stories can give you cues to the pronunciation and meaning of the word. Turning those stories into cue cards with Spaced repetition apps like Anki will make sure that you are reminded of these words and stories at the perfect time, just as you are about to forget them.
Set your goal.
Learning a language is like all things goal orientated. The more specific you make your goal the more likely you are to achieve it. Setting a goal of “learn this language someday” will give you some feel-good vibes and make you feel like you are accomplishing something.
However, this is dangerous because the reward you get from setting the goal and talking about it might actually hinder your ability to reach it. In order to reach your goal, it is best to be specific. The standard European fluency rating scale is great for this purpose as it gives definitive levels to reach and explains what those levels mean
You can also set daily, weekly and monthly goals until you are at your desired level of fluency. These shorter-term goals will help motivate you to keep going by giving you positive feedback.
Additional motivation can be harnessed by booking either a vacation or a speaking session with a speaker of your target language. The financial investment you will have made in these activities will ensure that you reach your goal, otherwise, you will have let the money go to waste.
Should you read or listen to it?
I would recommend reading it rather than listening to it. I listened to it as an Audiobook for convenience but strongly believe it would have been better to read it myself.
Although I could understand him and gained valuable insights from listening to it, there are several reasons why I would recommend reading it yourself.
- His Irish accent can be hard to understand if you are not familiar with the Irish accent.
- He makes many references to his blog which gets annoying as you hear him spell out the website many times.
- In a later chapter, he goes through suggestions that can be extremely helpful for learning the specific languages mentioned but get tedious if you are only learning one or two of the languages he is providing details for.
All of these negative points come purely from the reading of the material as you could easily skim over it and focus on the material relevant to you while reading.
Overall I would suggest this book as prerequisite material for anyone wanting to learn a new language. It is better to spend the time beforehand to learn the most effective way to learn and spend your time more effectively while learning the language. Please let me know if there is anything you think I missed or you had a different opinion of the book in the comments section below.