Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It

Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It

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by Gabriel Wyner

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The ultimate rapid language-learning guide! For those who’ve despaired of ever learning a foreign language, here, finally, is a book that will make the words stick. At thirty years old, Gabriel Wyner speaks six languages fluently.  He didn’t learn them in school -- who does? -- rather, he learned them in the past few years, working on


The ultimate rapid language-learning guide! For those who’ve despaired of ever learning a foreign language, here, finally, is a book that will make the words stick. At thirty years old, Gabriel Wyner speaks six languages fluently.  He didn’t learn them in school -- who does? -- rather, he learned them in the past few years, working on his own and practicing on the subway, using simple techniques and free online resources. In Fluent Forever Wyner reveals what he’s discovered. 
The greatest challenge to learning a foreign language is the challenge of memory; there are just too many words and too many rules. For every new word we learn, we seem to forget two old ones, and as a result, fluency can seem out of reach. Fluent Forever tackles this challenge head-on. With empathy for the language-challenged and abundant humor, Wyner deconstructs the learning process, revealing how to build a foreign language in your mind from the ground up. 
Starting with pronunciation, you’ll learn how to rewire your ears and turn foreign sounds into familiar sounds. You'll retrain your tongue to produce those sounds accurately, using tricks from opera singers and actors. Next, you'll begin to tackle words, and connect sounds and spellings to imagery, rather than translations, which will enable you to think in a foreign languageAnd with the help of sophisticated spaced-repetition techniques, you'll be able to memorize hundreds of words a month in minutes every day. Soon, you'll gain the ability to learn grammar and more difficult abstract words--without the tedious drills and exercises of language classes and grammar books.
This is brain hacking at its most exciting, taking what we know about neuroscience and linguistics and using it to create the most efficient and enjoyable way to learn a foreign language in the spare minutes of your day.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a fun way for anyone to discover the secrets of language instruction presented in a conversational, stress-free way — no matter how little time you have." —The Chicago Tribune

“A brilliant and thoroughly modern guide to learning new languages. Fluent Forever won't teach you French, or German, or any other language — but it will teach you how to learn whatever language you do want to learn, and to learn it faster, and more efficiently.  If you want a new language to stick, start here.”
—Gary Marcus, cognitive psychologist and author of the New York Times bestseller Guitar Zero
“Aspiring polyglots of the world, take note: this book will help you pick up any new language in record time. If you’re looking for a practical, brain-friendly, field-tested approach to language learning, search no more: you’ve found your guide.”
—Josh Kaufman, bestselling author of The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything…Fast!
“Never before have I seen a language-learning method — or method for learning anything! — that synchs up so perfectly with our current scientific understanding of how memory works. I now understand why my past attempts to learn other languages (Spanish, German, Latin) have left me with little more than a smattering of near-random vocabulary words, and I'm inspired to try again. Fluent Forever promises a fun, personalized learning regimen that is sure to wire a new tongue into your brain with speed and simplicity. And Wyner’s sharp wit will keep you entertained along the way! I've never been so excited to challenge my mind.”
—Karen Schrock Simring, contributing editor at Scientific American Mind magazine
“Fluent Forever more than meets the daunting challenge of learning a new language by giving the reader a solid game plan based on how people actually learn and memorize information. From the first chapter, I couldn't wait to get started using Wyner's techniques and tons of resources. His writing is engaging, smart, and conversational, making learning a real joy. If you've ever wanted to become fluent in another language, do yourself a favor and start reading Fluent Forever now.”
-Melanie Pinola, Contributor Writer for LIfehacker.com and author of LinkedIn in 30 Minutes
"Fluent Forever is the book I wish I had had during my numerous failed attempts at learning different languages. It’s a refreshingly fun and engaging guide that shows you how to language-hack your brain.  Wyner’s done all the hard work so that the reader can actually enjoy the process of becoming fluent in a language quickly!"
—Nelson Dellis, 2011 and 2012 USA Memory Champion
“This is the book I'd use next time I want to learn a new language. It employs an intelligent mix of the latest methods for learning a language on your own using the web, apps, and voice training tips in an accelerated time frame.
—Kevin Kelly, Senior Maverick for Wired Magazine and author of What Technology Wants
"I know what you're thinking: But learning a new language is soooo hard! The solution? Stop being a whiner and start reading Wyner.  This book is a winner!  Guaranteed to rewire your brain in as many languages as you'd like."
— Joel Saltzman, author of Shake That Brain!: How to Create Winning Solutions and Have Fun While You're at It
“An excellent book…Wyner writes in an engaging and accessible way, weaving in his personal language journey. His method, proven by his own achievements, is clear: focus on pronunciation, avoid translation, and use spaced repetition extensively.  And he offers lots of specific techniques to make sure you’ll never forget what you’ve learned.  I'd recommend this book to anyone who is serious — not just aspiring but really serious — about becoming fluent in a foreign language.”
—Kevin Chen, Co-Founder, italki.com
“Mash up the DNA of Steve Jobs and Aristotle, add training in engineering and opera, and you get Gabriel Wyner, whose ingeniously elegant system helps us knuckleheads learn not just foreign languages but, well, everything. Autodidacts rejoice!”
—Jay Heinrichs, author of Thank You for Arguing and Word Hero
“Americans refuse to realize that all languages are foreign — yes, including English. It's time we learned how to speak like the rest of the world: in more ways than one. This book is a hilarious toolbox that helps you get a head start. Pick a foreign language (yes, including English) and voilà: el futuro es tuyoHigh-five to Gabriel Wyner!”
—Ilan Stavans, author of Dictionary Days: A Defining Passion 

Kirkus Reviews
The creator of the popular language-learning website Fluent-Forever.com debuts by putting between covers the essentials of the program that he and myriad others have found helpful.The author is indeed a buoyant, ebullient Harold Hill of a salesman (no dour Willy Loman here!). Throughout his text—which includes many self-help design features, including text boxes, bullet points, illustrations, chapter-end reminders and “key points”—Wyner reminds us repeatedly about how enjoyable his program is. About the vocabulary cards he recommends, he writes, “You’ll discover that they’re a lot of fun to create and a lot of fun to review.” That’s certainly debatable. The author’s program does make use of many sensible and even revolutionary methods for learning a language—principally, the use of visual and auditory reminders of the vocabulary and grammar a novice needs to learn. The more senses involved, the more certain the learning and retention. Wyner also slays a few hoary dragons that continue to dominate lots of classroom instruction: learning vocabulary in clusters of related words (he proposes that learners begin with the 625 most common words), studying grammar in isolation, translation exercises (he advises using only the new language). His arguments and justifications take a little over half of his text; the remainder he calls “The Toolbox,” and here he gives very specific advice about—and illustrations of—his flashcard techniques. He also recommends the heavy use of Google Images and other online visual and auditory aids for beginners—especially sound clips of native speakers. He urges that learners would benefit from mastering the International Phonetic Alphabet early in the process, and he provides a host of appendices, including the “International Phonetic Alphabet Decoder.”A sensible approach that nonetheless requires a substantial commitment of time and energy; as the author well knows, there are no shortcuts to learning anything worthwhile.

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Meet the Author

Gabriel Wyner graduated summa cum laude at USC, where he won the school’s Renaissance Award.  His essay on language learning for Lifehacker.com was one of the site’s most read in 2012.

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Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
lovelybookshelf More than 1 year ago
I have a working knowledge of Italian, enough that I can read and write it, and I do fairly well when listening, too. But speaking? That's where I have an enormous deficit. It makes me sad that my Italian is so passive now, compared to when I was a kid and actually using it everyday. I'm missing out on most of the fun of knowing another language! I couldn't resist giving Wyner's Fluent Forever a try. "Forgetting is our greatest foe, and we need a plan to defeat it." Wyner's approach is based on a spaced repetition learning system, or SRS. My first reaction when I realized this was dread: Doesn't SRS mean boring flashcards? But Wyner makes it sound like it could be fun. This isn't a dry read at all. His writing style is engaging, sometimes even humorous. He is enthusiastic about language learning, and his excitement is infectious! Plus, he provides and explains a lot of scientific research about how we learn language, how memory works, and statistics that prove the effectiveness of SRS. The key is to learn new words (or grammar rules, or whatever information you need to know) by simultaneously creating multisensory experiences because "neurons that fire together wire together." The flashcards used in SRS are unique to and personally created by each individual, whether you choose to create them on paper or within an app. I tried Wyner's suggestions for a week (via Anki), and was shocked by how much I learned, far more quickly than in the past. Fluent Forever focuses on learning on one's own, outside of a classroom. This is great for those studying uncommon languages, or for those living in areas with few, if any, resources for their target language. The book has a nice, user-friendly layout: key points are highlighted in a separate box at the end of each section, there are special notes for intermediate and advanced learners, and a clear index which makes for easy future reference. And it is chock full of resources: books, apps, internet sites (including where you can find language partners for speaking practice), word lists, and more. Wyner also breaks down the different kinds of resources and how they are best used. He does not promote working through every single exercise in dull textbooks, cover to cover. Instead, this is language learning at its most efficient, tapping into the way our brains secure memories and the rich experiences that come with communicating in another language. Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Blogging for Books to be considered for an honest review.
hmweasley More than 1 year ago
I've been trying to teach myself Japanese for over a year now. In that time, I've managed to make some progress, but it's been really slow going. When I saw this book, I immediately wanted to read it and see if it could offer any advice. It ended up being even more helpful than I thought it would be. The book does a great job recommending what to do in order to actually learn a language, and it's all very easy to follow. I'm pretty sure that I've already accomplished more in the few weeks since reading this book than I did in the entire year before that trying to teach myself Japanese. I honestly can't praise it enough. This book has a lot of helpful advice, and the author clearly knows what he's talking about, which is evidenced by the number of languages he's managed to teach himself. The author also runs a website that is helpful as well, and the book provides a lot of advice for other resources to help you. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning another language by themselves. I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In a nutshell: 1) Make flashcards(physical or digital) for every aspect of your target language including pronunciations, spellings, translated definitions. Use a frequency dictionary(purchased separately) to determine the order in which you produce your cards. 2) Add mnemonic devices like pictures to enhance your personal connection to the information to memorize. 3) Review the flashcards. Repeat often. And then some more.
Chris5280 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Review it please?