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Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It [Kindle Edition]

Gabriel Wyner
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.87
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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

Review

"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

From the Inside Flap

"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 voilàel futuro es tuyoHigh-five to Gabriel Wyner!"
--Ilan Stavans, author of Dictionary Days: A Defining Passion 

Product Details

  • File Size: 2505 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony (August 5, 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IBZ405W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,115 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
71 of 72 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This review comes after I have finished the book as well as explored the author's website.
The strong points: 1. an emphasis on starting off with correct pronunciation (he says otherwise you end up learning two languages rather than one). He has very good videos on the mechanics of pronunciation available. He also sells trainers for specific languages.
2. The use of minimal pairs (two words like cat and cut that differ by only one sound). He has a way of using these to train you to actually hear the differences, which can be very tricky in some foreign languages. You have to hear the differences before you can produced them, but understanding how they are produced gives you a leg up.
3. The use of IPA (international phonetic alphabet) to represent the actual sounds.
4. The use of pictures to associate with a new word. This is how you get the concept associated with the word you are acquiring. It is also how you avoid translation, which impedes thinking in the language.
5. The use of a spaced repetition system (ANKI) to integrate concept, sound, spelling and emotional connection with recall. Tricky issues like gender and grammatical problems are also addressed.
6. Frequency lists are discussed and often provided on his site.
7. Tremendous amount of info on webs resources to practice conversation (and his website also gives info on picking topics).
8. The book is so rich in content that I have probably omitted something significant.

OK, nobody is perfect, so what's missing?
1. The pronunciation material should help you master individual words. But an equally, if not more, important part of conversation is called prosody and concerns the rhythm and stress applied to a string of words.
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85 of 91 people found the following review helpful
By B.L.
Format:Kindle Edition
There are a lot of books and web products lately that are designed to help anyone learn a language, even those of us who gave it a good try for several years in high school and barely came out of it knowing enough to ask how to find a toilet. I think the various methods are probably going to work best for different people, so I'm definitely not going to say anything like "This is the BEST method! Forget all that other stuff!" but I still say that this is an approach that's been carefully thought out, and planned, and the author clearly works extremely hard to make sure that he's explaining himself clearly.

There are a few core principles to this approach that it's important to understand
1. It puts a strong emphasis on sound and pronunciation
2. It takes an immersion approach (where you attempt to go directly to thinking in the new language and developing associations in it, rather than trying to translate between two languages)
3. It puts a lot of emphasis on the use of flash cards.
4. You build your own learning materials, rather than using a premade solution. (Except, possibly, for the part where you're learning the sounds). There's a lot of detail on how to do this, though, including resources on the web that you can use to help you.

Flash cards are the core of the approach he's advocating. I know there are some people who just HATE the experience of using flash cards, so if that's you this is probably not the way to go.

The short version of my feeling about this is that if you want a lot of control over your learning process, you're really serious about learning a language, and you like the idea of using techniques that have a lot of scientific and research backing behind them, this book is VERY much worth it.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
UPDATE: see the conversation in the comments for the author's response to my query on Duolingo. Thanks everyone for the feedback! I'm updating this to 5-stars. Terrific!

In high school I ripped my French book in half. Well, I tried to. The pages came out easily enough, but the hardbound cover was near impossible. I sure tried, though. If you are like me, you can probably relate to the feeling of that "wall" in learning a foreign language. For me, it was right around conjugating time, and it wasn't pretty.

FLUENT FOREVER is all about making learning foreign languages fun, easy, and--hopefully--permanent. Some of the first things author Gabriel Wyner promotes are never to translate foreign words and to throw out (actually he says burn) books with English-y pronunciation guides (e.g. bawn-JURE).

Wyner encourages fun, laziness, and multi-sensory involvement. He lists a TON of free resources online to build your learning repertoire. He talks about using spaced repetition systems (SRSs) and the IPA (international phonetic alphabet). And you know what? It all makes a ton of sense. Wyner explores scientific studies and shows case-by-case examples of why his methods work. His life is proof, as he can speak six languages fluently, having learned them all in a few years' time.

A lot of these free resources have been catalogued on Wyner's site Fluent-Forever.com.

Here's what Wyner never mentions: Duolingo. Maybe he's never heard of it, but at the beginning of 2014, it won a best educational start-up award and had 25 million users. It was also named as app of the year by Apple (the first ever educational app with that award).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars totally recommend this book
If you want to learn a language this is an important starting place for you, I believe. It's an easy read (the author can be quite entertaining) and the language learning process... Read more
Published 2 days ago by b_uzo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
just as expected
Published 2 days ago by Teresa Workman
5.0 out of 5 stars I thought this was an excellent book and well worth the $10 or so it...
I thought this was an excellent book and well worth the $10 or so it costs. I could not say the same about many of the others in this genre. I highly recommend it.
Published 3 days ago by JimG
4.0 out of 5 stars This was a well worth the money book. There ...
This was a well worth the money book. There are a few areas in the book that can seem a little more technical for my taste but everyone has a different line for such element.
Published 6 days ago by Tek0ne
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn a new language--any language with the learning process outlined...
I absolutely love this book! It will teach you an outstanding process for learning any language you wish to learn. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Karen Mondala
4.0 out of 5 stars Re-kindle your excitement to learn new things.
Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner is a truly empowering read. Super practical, immensely readable, and relentlessly encouraging, the book is a celebration of both the beauty of... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Nick Duffel
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, solid information
This is the most interesting language learning concept I have ever seen. I am going over the book again, making notes. Then I have to get in gear and learn my chosen language!
Published 18 days ago by Shelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Good resources listed and clearly and concisely written. The book provides a clear simple effective means to learn a language quickly.
Published 20 days ago by David minix
5.0 out of 5 stars Will make learning a language easy..if you're committed to the...
When I first saw the description (and promise) of Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It by Gabriel Wyner I thought this book would be perfect for... Read more
Published 23 days ago by Carole McDonnell
2.0 out of 5 stars Get it from your library
I picked this book up at the library to see what it was about. It does not offer much in the way of new learning paradigms for adults. In fact you could just go to Memrise. Read more
Published 27 days ago by C. L. Beard
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More About the Author

Gabriel Wyner is an author, opera singer and polyglot based in Los Angeles, CA. After not getting anywhere in 5 years of high school language classes, he reached fluency in German in 14 weeks with the help of the immersive Middlebury Language Schools. As a result, he fell in love with the process of language learning, going on to spend two months in intensive Italian courses in Perugia, Italy. Searching for ways to bring the immersion experience into the home, he began to develop a system that rapidly builds fluency in short, daily sessions. In 2010, his efforts paid off. He learned French to fluency in 5 months, and then Russian in 10 months.

Born in Los Angeles, Gabriel graduated summa cum laude in 2007 from the University of Southern California with dual degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Vocal Arts Performance, and was awarded the Renaissance Scholar's prize for excellence in unrelated disciplines. He then moved to Vienna to pursue triple Master's degrees at the Konservatorium Wien in Opera, Lieder and Voice, and graduated with honors in 2011.

Currently learning Hungarian, Gabe is looking forward to starting Japanese in mid 2014. His book on language learning - Fluent Forever: How to learn a language fast and never forget it - will be published on August 5, 2014 (Harmony Press/Random House).


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