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The Way of the Linguist: A Language Learning Odyssey Paperback – December 5, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-1420873290 ISBN-10: 1420873296

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse (December 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1420873296
  • ISBN-13: 978-1420873290
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,824,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Steve Kaufmann grew up in the English speaking part of Montreal, Quebec in the 1950s. Although he was taught French in school, he could not communicate in that language. It was only after he left high school that he became interested in learning French and was able to make himself fluent. This experience inspired a life-long interest in the discovery of languages and other cultures. After two years at Montreal's McGill University, Steve hitchhiked on a tramp freighter to get to Europe. He ended up studying in France while supporting himself at various odd jobs. He graduated from the elite Paris School of Political Science, l'Institut d'Etudes Politiques in 1966 and entered the Canadian Foreign Service. As a Diplomat, Steve continued to immerse himself in the culture and languages of other countries. In preparation for the opening of diplomat relations with China, Steve was assigned to Hong Kong to learn Mandarin. During this time he made regular visits to China which was then at the height of the Cultural Revolution. He next served at the Canadian Embassy in Japan, where he made himself fluent in Japanese, essentially by studying in his spare time. While at the Embassy, Steve was heavily involved in developing markets for Canadian forest products. In 1974 Steve left the Diplomatic Service to establish and manage Asian subsidiaries for two major Canadian forest products companies. In the early 1980s he returned to live in Vancouver. In 1987 he founded his own company which today has offices in Japan, Sweden and Canada, and of which he is the President and CEO. Steve is fluent in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Swedish and English and is working on two more, Korean and Portuguese. Steve I married with two sons and five grandchildren and lives in Vancouver, Canada. In 2003, Steve decided to write of his experiences in exploring and discovering different cultures and languages in the hope that it would encourage more people to become "

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Eric H. Roth on March 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
This inspiring memoir celebrates the power of languages, and the learning of languages, to bring people together, share insights, and create new connections. A global nomad long before this phrase became a popular cliche, the diplomat-businessman author Steve Kaufmann provides practical tips for becoming a world citizen, master of languages, and staying sane. This book should find a small, loyal audience among linguists, language teachers, and travelers.
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49 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
In THE LINGUIST: A Personal Guide to Language Learning, Steve Kaufmann promises to impart to you the insights that he has gained over a lifetime of learning several languages. The way the book was published and the amateur typesetting that greets you as you open the volume don't augur well. And indeed, the author ends up being something of a doddering old man, who goes into long tangents that have little to do with his proclaimed mission of language education, e.g.:

"As a poor student, I did not often have the chance to enjoy haute cuisine. However, it was not uncommon when I was hitchhiking in Southern France for truck drivers to share with me a full course lunch, including wine. How they continued driving after that was a bit of a mystery to me. I understand that the control on drinking and driving in France has become more severe in recent years."

After this there then follows a long explication of his hitchhiking experience with no connection to language learning. Virtually every stage of Kaufmann's life is marked by a long series of reminisces on local cuisine or geography with language learning being an afterthought.

After Kaufmann's biographical and philosophical musings, one finally comes to a chapter entitled "How to Learn a Language". But here the real tips are obscured by what is essentially a long sales pitch for Kaufmann's own website. A 7-page long appendix is just a collection of views on immigration to Canada.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. N. Cable on November 14, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this quick, enjoyable and very useful read, retired Canadian diplomat and international businessman Steve Kaufmann shares his insights and personal anecdotes about how, as an adult, he taught himself 10 major world languages, earning for himself immense personal satisfaction and enabling his professional successes. This book, evidently the 2nd edition of his 2003 volume "The Linguist: A Personal Guide to Language Learning," is indeed a personal guide rather than an academic tome. It is an excellent complement to the series of short, motivating, enabling videos which the author has posted on YouTube, where I recently "met" him. Enjoyably and inspirationally, this short volume sketches the author's adventures in language learning from Stockholm to Montreal to Paris to Hong Kong to Japan to Vancouver, where he now lives and conducts his revolutionary new language learning website, www.thelinguist.com/.

Kaufmann's observations and advice ring true, confirming experiences and conclusions in my own life of 74 years, including 25 years as a professional ESL teacher and amateur language learner. This book, his short videos on YouTube, and especially "The Linguist" website are valuable resources for anyone wants to learn a foreign language well and enjoy the interpersonal and cultural treasures that it enables.

P.S. Amazon "Top 1000 Reviewer" Christopher Culver, in identical reviews of Kaufmann's 2003 volume and this 2005 revison, unkindly rates them both with a single star. His review title indicates a superficial reading or misapprehension and perhaps an envy of Kaufman's career and accomplishments.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lukas Funiok on March 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Steve knows everything about learning languages. Only thing that has been little bit annoying was the small parts about history, which seemed off-topic to me. On top of that, Steve is realistic and doesn't tell things like "you can be fluent in 3 months". If you consider buying his book, look at his videos at youtube, it gives you a hint on what you can expect.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steve on April 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought this was an excellent read because its geared to those who WANT to learn a language instead of those that have to and there's a big difference. Steve explains to the readers about his excitement of learning a new language and taking that excitement into the approach of learning. This is why he's so successful at learning many languages.
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