1-Sentence-Summary: Fluent In 3 Months explains how to master a new language faster than you ever thought possible and identifies why your beliefs about learning get in your way of succeeding at it.
Read in: 5 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Benny Lewis studied Irish for 11 years and German for 5 years and still couldn’t speak either one. He felt stuck being fluent in only English by the time he reached his 20’s. Moving to Spain after college, he thought he would finally become bilingual.
But after six months, hundreds of dollars spent on language classes, and studying daily, he still couldn’t speak Spanish.
Then Benny met a man at a party who spoke multiple languages and made it look easy. The man told him that his simple trick was just to become willing to make mistakes. That was the moment everything changed.
After trying the man’s advice for the next six months, Benny was finally fluent in Spanish. Today he speaks seven languages confidently and has lived all over the world.
If you’re sitting there thinking “well that’s nice for him but I could never do something like that!” then you’re in for a surprise. Benny has successfully taught thousands of students just like you the same methods he used to become a polyglot.
And he’s shared all of his secrets in his book Fluent in 3 Months: How Anyone at Any Age Can Learn to Speak Any Language from Anywhere in the World!
Here are the 3 of the most helpful lessons this book taught me:
- Set specific and realistic goals rather than flimsy plans and watch out for myths if you want to learn a new language.
- You don’t have to leave your city, and shouldn’t, to interact with native speakers of the language you’re learning.
- Make sure you can carry on a conversation before you get into the finer details.
Ditch that Rosetta Stone and get ready to learn the real secrets from a language learning master!
Lesson 1: If you want to learn a new language you need to watch out for the myths society tells about it and set specific plans and goals.
Whether you’re learning to bake pastries or play golf, mastering a new skill isn’t easy. But when it comes to learning a new language most people feel entirely overwhelmed at the idea.
One of the main reasons is that there are a lot of myths about it. The biggest of all these is the belief of some people they’re not the kind of person that can learn a new language. Some may even claim that they’re not “genetically capable” of it.
This falls apart though when you look at countries like Switzerland, where being a polyglot is totally normal. There’s no genetic advantage that the Swiss have over you when it comes to this skill. So throw away that limiting belief and start learning!
Another common roadblock is that people set a vague goal like “I want to learn French.” This just feels way too big and overwhelming, which makes you likely to give up after not very long.
Instead, figure out how fluent you want to become. Do you want to have conversations with native speakers, or are you just looking to be able to order food? When you know the answer, then you can determine which level you need to get to, break it down into steps, and work on them one at a time.
Lesson 2: Interact as much as possible with native speakers of the language you’re learning, but don’t leave your city to do it.
As you get started with this new goal, don’t just try to memorize new words by saying them a lot. Make connections with that word and your world to help you remember it. You might, for instance, tell yourself a story and remember it with a word that sounds similar in your native language.
Another tip that Benny gives is called spaced repetition. This means starting with the most difficult words because you’re more likely to retain the first words you study each day. Also make sure to use a deck of flashcards, not a long list.
One of the biggest suggestions that you may have commonly heard is to spend time talking with native speakers. If you’re wondering where to go and worried about spending money, don’t. You should stay put.
If you tried to move abroad, you’d be too focused on the culture and settling into the new place to do much language practice. It’s also hard to resist connecting with people who speak your same language when moving countries.
Instead, welcome couch surfers into your home with hospitality exchange networks. Focus on inviting those who speak the language you’re trying to learn. You can also befriend native speakers in your area that can help you practice!
Lesson 3: Don’t worry about the finer details until you can carry on a conversation.
Do you remember learning to ride a bike and having to use training wheels? Wasn’t it exciting to be able to take them off and realize that you could actually ride the bike on your own?
Learning a language is the same way, but you can’t take the training wheels off too soon. In other words, you have to become conversational before you can think about grammar.
If you try to mix this up it’s only going to lead to frustration. Ignore courses that tell you to focus on grammar and vocabulary at the same time. Only think about getting to know the words at first.
Say you want to learn German. You might spend hours trying to understand and remember the differences between der, die, and das only to end up frustrated that it still makes no sense.
You need to instead work on learning words and keep doing so until you can carry on a conversation. It’s at this point that you’ll realize that you already know how to ride the bike but wouldn’t have ever got to that point if it weren’t for the training wheels!
Once it is time to take it to the next level, find grammar tests that are just one level higher than where you are now. Set a goal for when you’ll take it, and make your plan to ace it.
By following all these tips you’ll be fluent in no time!
Fluent In 3 Months Review
I enjoyed Fluent In 3 Months. It’s going to be incredibly useful in a few years when I want to learn a new language. I wish I had known about this book in high school though, then I might have already become fluent in another language!
Who would I recommend the Fluent In 3 Months summary to?
The 62-year-old who thinks they can’t learn a new language, the 25-year-old traveler that would like to be able to have conversations with more people, and anyone who has tried and failed to become fluent in another language.