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Language Hacking French : A Conversation Course for Beginners Paperback – September 27, 2016
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"Benny was fantastic. He lived up to everything. He had the students asking question after question. We had over 100 students packed in the auditorium. Considering we were up against another event on campus, that is pretty awesome. His intro video was great, his presentation was spot on. We appreciated him spreading the word to travel on our programs, but getting the students engaged to travel anywhere in the world."―Lock Haven University
Ten years ago, Lewis spoke only English. But constant travel, along with a buoyant attitude, has unmasked the polyglot within.―National Geographic
Our conference was by far Poland's most successful one yet, an accomplishment owing in large part to the enthusiasm, inspiration, and knowledge brought to the stage by Mr. Lewis.―TedX Warsaw
Lewis' focus on the benefit to business of multilingual language ability is striking a resonant chord.―Forbes
Inspiring and epic words. Everyone left that speech with a new sense of purpose for not just learning, but living a new language.―Trivago
Benny Lewis is the Eckhart Tolle of language learning.―The Guardian.
...a polyglot viral sensation... eager to show people that the best way to learn is by conversing.―MSN
About the Author
Irish native Benny Lewis speaks over ten languages - all self-taught. In 2003, he spoke only one language: English. After university, he moved to Spain and was soon frustrated that he could not speak Spanish after six months of studying. So he decided to abandon traditional learning approaches and just start speaking - and everything changed. Today Benny is known as The Irish Polyglot and speaks Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Hungarian. He is the author of the bestselling book on language learning, Fluent in 3 months. He also runs the largest language learning blog in the world, www.fluentin3months.com, where he breaks down the language learning process for busy people. Lewis is a full-time 'language hacker', and devotes his time to finding better, faster, and more efficient ways to learn languages. For the first time, he has applied his methods to helping people learn specific languages in his new Language Hacking series.
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Benny instead focuses on speaking from day one, regardless of how many mistakes you make, and using words and dialogue relevant to you. The course presents a lot of materials in the context of real-life scenarios, and makes you construct your own dialogues using not only words in the course but also words you look up that you would need for your own conversations.
The book is well laid out, with each unit containing a wide mix of material, including transcripts of the audios, helpful grammar hints, pronunciation hints, and exercises. I found some of the pronunciation hints particularly helpful, alerting me to nuances I had missed in other courses I’ve taken. The pictures, color and font make the book seem inviting and friendly, not a scary language textbook. You don’t get bored doing this work! You can listen to the related audio on an app you download to your phone. Once you’re downloaded the app’s files, you don’t need an Internet connection to listen, so you can use it when traveling, for example.
The scariest part of the course is recording and uploading videos of yourself speaking French. I didn’t like this at first, but in retrospect it was an enormous help. By listening to recordings of myself, I could better understand what I really sounded like and what I need to work on (in my case, my accent). That revelation alone made the course worthwhile.
Full disclosure: (1) I was part of a group that tested a beta version of the course. The final version is even better, as the book beats using printouts. (2) I am not a complete beginner, having done some other French study (even since my long gone school days). But it’s a testament to the quality of this course that in its early units I learned some things I didn’t already know.
So if you want to learn French to be able to speak it, instead of just dazzle people with your perfect verb conjugations, Benny’s course is a great way to go about it.
What you have to understand is that learning a new language is not hard, it just takes patience, persistence, and hard work. Particularly with this book, all you have to do is commit yourself to speaking and going through it and you'll learn how to actually speak at an intermediate-advanced level.
Also, if it's your first time learning a new language, I would also pick up a dictionary (or use a free online one), a grammar handbook--Benny gives you lots of grammar explanations, but further/different explanations are helpful--and a Lonely Planet French Phrasebook. The phrasebook will help advancing your French after you finish Benny's book. On his blog, Benny has always recommended the Lonely Planet ones, and I couldn't agree more.
My only complaint is that the format of the book could be a tad better at times. Lines can be too short for long practice sentences or are too close to the paperback binding--making it difficult to write. Minor problems.
can only access the audio through an app. I would gladly pay more to have access to CDs or mp3s that I can download directly into my computer. The dialogues and essential phrases are great. However, I would prefer to edit out the English introductions and instructions at the beginning of every track as I find it distracting to have to listen to it every time I want to listen to the dialogues. It also prevents me from "shadowing" the material effectively.
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I've attempted learning a new language five times unsuccessfully before bumping into Benny's teaching skills.Read more