Suzanne Murray

I have been reading rave reviews, but has anyone employed it and it worked? Wyner seems like a genius, so I'm skeptical for how this will work for a normal person!

Saeid Mohammadpour Dear Suzanne,
I'm an English teacher. I'm also interested in learning new languages. I already knew some of the strategies and technique of learning and improving a new language(of course, either after a long time of reading different strategies from different resources or in a period of trial/error). But some of the advice and strategies proposed by Wyner were completely new for me. For example, starting the learn the vocabularies from the most frequent words down to the less frequent ones was of so much interest for me. So I started testing that for myself(in learning German as my new language) and I also recommended a list of 625 most frequent English words(which were on Appendix 5 of Wyner's book), and the results were very impressive. Also there were some suggested resources and materials(books, websites, ...) presented on different chapters which can be of so much help for the language learners. As another example of this book's strategies or suggestions that I've used myself was Flash card making instructions( I mean proposing Google Images as the best resource of finding the associated images of the words on the given language).
I believe that most of the language learning and improving methods proposed by Wyner are the results of real-life experience and long term scientific studies. So I definitely invite all the language learners to test them.
ahmed mansour It really does work, I have managed to be fluent in Finnish using a lot of the recommendations and methods mentioned in the book.

In a nutshell, the technique I followed when learning languages:

1- Create flash cards of the most frequent 200-400 words to build your vocabulary. 💥
2- Study some grammar for awareness (AFTER you have big enough vocabulary). 🦄
3- Speak with a native speaker once a week. 🗣
4- Create more flash cards of frequent words 600-2000 words more. 🔥🔥
5- Start a regular hobby/activity in the language. 🤺
6- Read a book you already know in the language you would like to learn 📖

Of course, the order of these steps aren’t in any way strict of course and you can start multiple steps in parallel.

I wrote about my experience over here if you would like to read the full story:
Roel Vyvey There is a myth about geniuses being born with their capabilities, almost every one of them is just as normal as you and me. What "smart people" (genius is a subjective label) do have is a framework for learning new things. They may sometimes be aware of this framework and sometimes they aren't. In this book Gabriel provides such a framework for everyone to use.

The methods Gabriel describes in his book are backed up with research. For example the memorisation techniques are well known and tested even in other fields. They work period.
Linda Hello my fellow language enthusiasts, this book is awesome. It offers many suggestions/tips for increasing your understanding of languages. It suggests using SRSs (Spaced Repetition Systems) for practicing recalling vocabulary, etc.. instead of attempting to learn by rote. By labeling him a genius and seeing him as being somehow more capable you may be making it harder to learn from polygots on how they learn. I am starting to see that Polygots bring a level of passion, enthusiasm and love for languages that enables that to have fun even while they are learning the more difficult aspects of different languages.

I believe that this is part of what makes children such successful language learners: they are allowing themselves to enjoy the sounds they are making and they're having fun too! Whenever I start comparing myself to other language learners, I set myself up for unnecessary frustration. Also, I have learned to combine different approaches to best enable me to make progress. Instead of getting all worked up about 'How fluent am I?", I put my focus on how much am I learning from studying this language and why am I studying it? I expect it to take time to learn a language and I don't put time limits on how long I should be studying to reach a certain level. Instead I view to my learning of each separate language as a journey in its own right.
Carole Her suggestions for how to File Flashcards is very practical. It is easy to learn a List of words. Her method is for long term retention. How to review your vocabulary flashcards and remember them a week, a month, a year later or permanently. It is easy to remember enough for a trip, but this helps you recall those words long after.
Talia Skinner Hi Suzanne,
I too was skeptical but I decided to give it a go and learn Italian. It's working! I'm using the method just as Wyner lays it out in his book with Spaced Repetition using the Anki flash card system. I'm about halfway through his 625 most common words list and I'm not only remembering them, I can read beginner level stories in Italian. I'd definitely encourage you to give it a go as well.
Stephen Wilkes Why choose to be skeptical, why not just put it into practice? I can honestly say it has really helped the development of my Spanish
James Pierce I was floundering learning Italian before purchasing this book. I read it from cover to cover in one week and since then my progress has been astronomically better. Pairing the flashcards detailed in this book with a native speaker to practice on has made me comfortable enough with Italian to talk (slowly) with people in Rome.
Lucy I'm no genius but yes, the flashcard system described by Wyner increased my retention of vocabulary and verb conjugation. And he's right, making your own flashcards IS fun, and it adds to the learning process.
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