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The Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast

33 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1581600964
ISBN-10: 1581600968
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mykel Hawke is a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran with more than 20 years of combined military, government contracting, and survival experience. He is the creator and star of two hit shows, Man Woman Wild and One Man Army (Discovery Channel) and currently stars in a series on The Outdoor Channel, Elite Tactical Unit.

In addition to Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast, Hawke is also the best-selling author of two critically acclaimed survival manuals. As a survival instructor, he founded and runs SpecOps, a global media, training, and adventures company. Hawke has been featured in several films and numerous network and cable television shows in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Paladin Press (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581600968
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581600964
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #917,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mykel Hawke is a retired U.S.Army Special Forces Officer (18A).
He retired as a Captain, having served as a Team Commander
and a Combat Commander of Mujahideen Militia.

His service started in 1982 and ended in 2011, having spent
12 years on active duty, and 12 in the Guard & Reserves.
His last 3 officer assignments were with:
- Special Operations Command- Latin America
- United Nations- Special Forces Liaison, KOREA
- U.S. Army Special Forces Command, Ft Bragg, NC (Supporting 3rd Group)

Mykel was a Sergeant First Class Senior Enlisted prior to 9/11.
He served as a Special Forces Medic (18D), Communicator (18E)
and as a Special Forces Intelligence Operator (18F).

Mykel was rated in 7 languages, studied others and while serving
he received the maximum pay for 3 languages at once.
Hawke held a Top Secret Security clearance and completed
Advance Infantry, Advanced Civil Affairs and Combined Arms Staff School.

Hawke holds a BS from UNY in Pre-Med Biology and
an MS in Pschology for Family Counseling from UCA.

Mykel holds high level black belts in Aikido and Judo, studied numerous others
and has been in many street fights and fire fights, from 9 different conflicts.

Hawke has run an adventure company for 20 years teaching survival
and extreme tourism to include production support for many TV & Film projects.
Mykel had to survive on the streets for a winter as a teenager and that started his keen interest in survival, studying it all over the world, whenever he could from many locals in his travels and military service.

Mykel's Survival Manual was rated the best in it's class by KIRKUS, the leader in book reviews, as well as receiving the best ratings by numerous other qualified sources such as the Guardian.

Mykel has designed a unique world class survival knife, rated best in it's class by all the knife magazines and has developed an entire product line of outdoor specialty goods and merchandise of novel solutions to classic problems.

Mykel is most widely known for his work on Television as a Host and Producer for programs such as: 'Man, Woman, Wild', One Man Army & Elite Tactical Unit.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By G. BARTO on March 13, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want to learn most languages, you've got Michel Thomas, or Pimsleur or Berlitz (the courses, not the travel packs) to turn to. If they're available, that's where you should go.

Unfortunately, they haven't yet made these handy-dandy one-size-fits-all solutions for all languages. If you're learning, say, Azeri, or Tahitian, or Georgian, there's precious little out there. This is where the Quick and Dirty Guide comes in handy. While some of the advice is contradictory and some of the ideas about how fast you can learn are exaggerated, this book provides a great format for streamlining and organizing your learning for the more exotic languages where the resources are scattershot.

As a language teacher, I don't agree with all of Hawke's observations on language. But if you're faced with the practical reality of needing to communicate in a week or two, proper language learning has to take a backseat to picking up what is humanly possible. For this purpose, his advice is worthwhile.

If you're looking for a language-learning silver-bullet, bad news - none exists. But if you're looking for a way to organize your self-study of an unusual language, this book is worth looking at.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is largely based on the method used by Sir Richard Francis Burton who was fluent in a couple dozen languages. Burton said "I got a simple grammar and vocabulary, marked out the forms and words which I knew were absolutely necessary, and learnt them by heart. After learning some 300 words... I stumbled through some easy book-work... and underlined every word I wished to recollect." Hawke's book is based on the same idea. You basically fill in tables with commonly used verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc. and learn them. This is a great way to get a good foundation in a new language. You will have an adequate vocabulary to hold many everyday conversations.
However Hawke's ideas should only be used as a stepping stone to real language learning. Hawke tends to assume that grammar in all languages is somewhat similar to English. This is untrue. Grammar and sentence structure vary by language so you will need other tools especially a couple of good grammar books. A sentence like "I stood in front of the bank" could translate into another language as "I bank the in front of stood."
I also disagree with Hawke when he says you will need very few tools to learn a language. Things you really need include grammar books, a phrase book, learning tapes or CDs, software and a movie or two in the new language to learn pronunciation. It useless to know a lot of words if you can't pronounce them
correctly. Premade flashcards, script learning books (urdu, hindi, arabic,etc.), books of verbs and conjugations are also very helpful if you can find them for the language you are learning.
While I don't agree with some of what Hawke has to say I do recommend this book. It is a great method to use to get off to a fast start. However a start is all it will give you. Once you have finished this book you should move onto "How to Learn Any Language" by Barry J. Farber.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
Ignore the negative reviews of this book. The book is called the quick and dirty guide to language learning because that is what is is. It is designed to help you become functional quickly and it does accomplish this if you make the commitment and follow the schedule.
If you want to learn a new language I highly recommend this book. Hawke presents a 7 day process to help you become functional in a new language quickly. He gives you the schedule for each day that includes reviewing what you have learned before you go to bed and as soon as you get up in the morning. If you are traveling to another country on business or for a vacation this book will help you get the essential vocabulary you will need. If you are learning a language in depth this will give you a good foundation. Hawke largely focuses on building vocabulary and learning useful phrases. He also provides information on the most useful grammatical concepts for a new user to master. Grammar books often focus on complicated grammar concepts that new learners really don't need early on. This book actually covers important information that Barry Farber left out in "How to Learn Any Language" such as common word lists. I suggest you buy both, complete Hawke's book and then move onto Farber's.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Kent Ponder on September 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
Having directly taught or directly supervised instruction in exactly thirty languages (at Stanford, Georgetown, US Naval Academy, State U of NY, US Defense Languages Institute, etc), I picked up this book with considerable enthusiasm but found it seriously wanting. Other reviews here have handled some of the details well; I'll direct my comments to just one overriding principle.

This book's structure and method tend to reinforce the unfortunate assumption that, in general, languages consist of pieces interchangeable with the pieces you already know in your own language. This brick-by-brick concept leads to word lists where English is presented in one list of words matched up with the target language's list of words. This reinforces the incorrect feeling that each language is put together with bricks, and you match up your red bricks wih the other language's yellow bricks.

Whereas the reality is that each language presents a different structure. You may think of bricks, but your target language may be frame-stucco or an animal-hide teepee. To understand a teepee, you wouldn't be helped by looking at it and wondering, "Where are the bricks?" As just one example, using two common languages. the American English construction "because I FELT like doing it that way," is very often rendered in Spanish as, "porque sí." How would it help the learner of Spanish to wonder, "Where is the FELT," or "Where is the doing?" The fact is that the Spanish, literally, is just "because yes." But it can often and easily mean "Because I felt like doing it that way."

And yet, despite this very fundamental weakness, this book does offer helpful info of the type to which it's limited.
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