If you’ve spent any time on the internet looking for methods to learn a new language, you will probably have run across the website called Fluent In 3 Months, which is known as the most popular language learning blog on the internet.
The guy who started that mega-useful site also wrote a book that goes by the same name. What is Fluent in 3 Months? Read my review on the book, and you’ll get your answer to that question!
Fluent in 3 Months is a strategy book. And the mission is to learn a new language – any language! The author, Benny Lewis, tried and failed to learn languages several times. Learning German in the traditional classroom setting didn’t work for him. Neither did fully immersing himself by moving to Spain for six months to learn Spanish.
But now, as of the book’s printing, Benny can speak twelve languages confidently, and he knows the basics of another twelve (24 total!). What changed for him to make such an enormous difference? He found a better approach to learning a new language.
Fluent in 3 Months is his book that tells how he went from a monolingual, to a hyper-polyglot!
In this book he also shares his primary methods for learning new languages and how you can use them yourself.
This book is primarily aimed at people who are about to start learning a new language, but it is certainly useful for those who are already working on that goal. The techniques he teaches in the book are top of the line, and you can definitely find something that you can use yourself.
It’s a decent sized book at a little over 200 pages, and you can probably get through it in a few days of reading at a normal pace. Be sure to have a notebook to write down the tricks you learn, as you’ll want to be able to refer back to them when you apply it to learning your new language.
Set Yourself Up to Win
Fluent in 3 Months starts off by busting the language myths that may have been holding you back. It knocks out twenty of them one by one and leaves them down for the count. Some of the myths that get debunked are:
- It’s harder when you’re an adult
- You don’t have enough time
- You have to learn a lot before you use the new language
- You have to have no accent when speaking the new language
If you believe any of the above, then Fluent in 3 Months will show you how and why these limiting believes are simply not true. And even if you don’t believe any of these particular myths, there’s sixteen other ones that get put to rest!
Then the book will help you to clearly define what it is that you want to do with the new language. Is your goal to have a normal conversation with a native? Read manga or books in the new language? Get a job in a new country or just visit?
Each goal should have a slightly different focus on what vocabulary to learn and an appropriate time frame to aim for. Knowing where you want to go with the new language will help you to get there a lot faster.
You wouldn’t drive across the country to a new city without mapping out the best route for you to take, and yet nobody applies this same philosophy when it comes time to learn a new language.
Most go at it haphazardly and then get frustrated when they’re not making the kind of progress that they want. Fluent in 3 Months will help you to identify and establish your goals so that you head straight to where you want to go.
The author wasn’t able to learn a language the way that schools and universities teach it. The usual way that schools teach is through a lot of reading and a lot of rote rehearsal (repeated words over and over again)
Unfortunately, this isn’t the way that people naturally learn languages. I mean, how many books did you read when you were three, right? Did you repeat the same words 10-20 a day, each day before moving on to new ones?
Most likely not, unless you were one of those weird kids.
Instead of the normal techniques, Fluent in 3 Months will teach you Benny’s two primary learning methods for new words:
1) The Keyword Method – This is a unique way to remember a word’s meaning and pronunciation by using the power of stories. People have been sharing and learning information through stories for thousands of years because it works. I personally use this to help remember Japanese Kanji and it works like magic.
2) Spaced Repetition – Used in combination with The Keyword Method, Spaced Repetition will help you to take the new words you are learning and lock them in by reviewing words right before your long term memory forgets them. On a side note, if you’ve only got five minutes to study on any given day, then this is the technique you’ll want to use.
Plus, in addition to the two core learning techniques, you will be given a special bonus technique that you can use if you’d like. But you might want to wait to use it until no one else is around. I’m just saying… 🙂
Fluent in 3 Months will also show you how you can learn a language naturally without having to learn the grammar (translation: the boring part) until a much later time.
As a final note, Benny has a philosophy that you should be able to speak the new language from day 1. Don’t learn tons of vocabulary and then later on try to make sentences out of them. Just learn the phrases right from the start and get into the habit of talking to people in the other language (even if it’s just to yourself).
Any Downsides To the book?
For me, I found there to be a couple downsides to Fluent in 3 Months. Nothing major by any means, but all the same I wanted to share both sides of the story with you.
One thing was that it shows you a few methods that you can use to boost the speed at which you learn any language (which is awesome), but then it’s entirely up to you to create the system for your target language.
I kind of felt like I was given instructions on how to climb a mountain and then the instructor said, well it’s time for me to go… good luck with that!
In all fairness, this book never promised to be anything more than that, but it was just the feeling I got after finishing that now I had to do more work on my own.
I would have been 100% okay if, after finishing the book, he had then said, “and here is my Japanese phrasebook that uses all these techniques. $9.99 please”
I would have said “INSTABUY!”
The other thing was that, there was a section where he gave specific tips on several languages, but the Japanese section was really small compared to the others. Lame.
Those were the only things I didn’t like about it. So it’s nothing major, just me crying like a baby.
There’s a lot more in this book to help you learn a new language. Here are some of the things you will find:
- How to immerse yourself – anywhere!
- How to speak from day 1
- Learning tips for specific languages
- How to go from non-speaker to fluency, and from fluency to mastery
- Great language learning resources (some free / some paid)
Benny may not be the authority on any one particular language, but he is absolutely the authority when it comes to learning a language. His book has helped me and many others and it can help you too if you’re interested in his methodology.
If you hop on over to Amazon you will see that there are over 200 reviews of it with a 4-star average!
As you can see, the response from other language learning students has been very positive.
Let me finish this review off with an analogy. Let’s say that where you are right now in your language learning is New York and the level of fluency that you desire to be at is California. The approach you’re probably using to learn right now is like driving a car across the country.
Don’t worry, you’ll get there. It just might take a while and you will probably get board and tired half way there.
But by using the learning techniques that you will learn in Fluent in 3 Months, you trade in that car for a private jet! You’re going to get to fluency fast! You’re going to get there first class! And you are going to have a lot of fun while doing it!
If you feel that the things I’ve talked about can help you to learn the language you want to know, then I recommend that you purchase your copy on Amazon.com right now.
Because Fluent in 3 Months is a private jet. And jets are the fastest way to travel.
Well, that about sums it up! If you liked this review, let me know with a comment below. If you didn’t like this review, let me know anyway! Thanks!