The Best Articles on Fluent Forever
How to Learn a Language: An Overview
Language learning is complex; it’s one of the reasons I love it so much. You’re dealing with four separate, yet linked skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking – which are in turn linked to thousands of separate, yet linked facts – grammar rules, vocabulary words, pronunciation rules, etc. Figuring out how to work on each of these aspects individually and as a whole has been a hobby and passion of mine for the last nine years. While a detailed discussion of each aspect of this method is quite a bit of material (hence the forthcoming book!), this should get you well on your way.
Is there a more efficient way to learn vocabulary?
In most grammar classes and textbooks, you learn words in groups. You might learn about animals on one day and fruits the next. This is comfortable, both for language teachers and students. Your teacher gets to have a clear lesson plan (today is about numbers), and you get to accomplish something (today, I learned the numbers!).
But is this the most efficient way to learn vocabulary?
The Key to learning pronunciation
As rumor has it, you can’t learn to have a good accent if you’re above the age of 7, or 12, or some other age that you’ve most definitely already exceeded. But that can’t possibly be true. Singers and actors learn new accents all the time, and they’re not, on average, smarter than everyone else (and they certainly don’t all start before the age of 7).
So what’s going on here? Why does everybody tell you that you can’t learn good pronunciation as an adult? And if that’s not true, what is?
8 Ways to Create Better FlashCards
I’m an Anki nut. In some sense, I owe three of my languages to Anki. One of my favorite things about Anki is its flexibility; you can make flashcards in any way you choose.
Once you’ve created and memorized a lot of flashcards (I recently passed 20,000 flashcards…geesh), you’ll start to notice that not all cards are created equal. Some flashcards are easy to remember, they teach you precisely what you want to learn, and they generally make you smile when you see them. Others make you want to throw your smartphone out the window. Good flashcards can make the difference between sticking with a language until fluency or giving up after a few months, so I’m making this guide to help others learn from some of my terrible, terrible flashcard-related mistakes.
On Hacking Fluent Forever
Today, I’m going to talk about the first major revision to the methods presented in Fluent Forever. I’ve been wanting to share this stuff for a long time, and it seems like today’s the day when I actually have the time to write about it. Yay!
The methods I wrote about in Fluent Forever came out of a lot of trial and error. I’d start on a language, try some stuff, see what worked or didn’t, and adjust my approach accordingly. Once I started writing the book, I had a year or two to do intense research. That gave me a chance to understand why things worked or didn’t, and tweak my methods accordingly. It also gave me a chance to think about whether there was a way to break my methodiltni down into steps that were easier to follow and more effective than simply: “Hey, go make a bazillion flashcards and learn all the things!”
Publications Fluent Forever has been featured in:
- [The Four Hour Work Week] How to Learn Any Language in Record Time and Never Forget It
- [Scientific American] How to Teach Old Ears New Tricks
- [Lifehacker] I Learned to Speak Four Languages in a Few Years: Here's How
- [Wall Street Journal] To Get Fluent in a New Language, Think in Pictures
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