Friday, September 25, 2015

Fluent Forever - Gabriel Wyner

As a perpetual language learner and a sort of failed polyglot, and someone with a lousy memory, I'm always looking for ways to improve my language abilities. So when a cool coworker and fellow language learner recommended this book to me, I was intrigued enough to squeeze it in to my reading as soon as I could, instead of putting it on my recommended books list for future reading if/when my TBR pile ever gets small enough, etc.

The book's subtitle is "How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It" and the book outlines tools and techniques that I think would be super helpful to anyone who is learning a language from scratch. It does have helpful info for those of us who are more intermediate in a language, but who are not fluent and would like to improve, but overall it's a bit more written for beginners.

Many of the suggested tools are free, which is great; language learning can get expensive, so I appreciate that he didn't fall back on only recommending "pay expensive tutors!" and "drop everything and get into a lengthy and expensive immersion program!" although both of these things are indeed mentioned among a lot of options. I personally would love to attend a good immersion program, but it's hard to get a large chunk of time off of work, etc. - so if you're a person younger than I am and you're an aspiring polyglot, don't make my mistakes - take advantage of any and every opportunity you can before your life gets too settled! </soapbox>  :)

But back to the book. One thing the book talks about a lot is using spaced repetition and creating flashcards to set up your brain for remembering words and grammar. After reading about this method in detail, I am definitely going to try it out. I do already use flashcards (little paper ones with no frills), but I haven't been consistently using them, so I think trying something new might be helpful. I'll let you all know how it goes.

So all in all, if you're looking for a new way to approach language learning, give this book a try. And if you do, let me know how it's going!

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