Language hackers, e-mail list and the upcoming guide

Language hackers, e-mail list and the upcoming guide


Every day I get several e-mails through the contact me form on my site from other language learners out there, sharing their struggles (that I can certainly relate to) and asking for advice.

Sometimes, I can give the advice in just a couple of sentences, other times I need to refer to a long post that I or another blogger has already written. Sometimes I feel like I need to write a response that would take hours to read to express the level of detail required. However, almost every day I get asked… what is your learning method??

While I definitely think I’ve been transparent about a lot of what I do with languages on this blog, I know that lots of people are curious to hear more. So today I’m announcing two major projects that I’ll be adding to the site, for the purposes of providing more information for those of you interested in trying similar approaches to be fluent in a language quickly. These will be separate to the blog itself, which will continue in the same way as before.

The first is the language hacking league, an e-mail list for those of you genuinely interested in getting more involved in the Fluent-in-3-months project and getting some extra tips:

Language Hacking league e-mail list

For the purposes of being more transparent to those of you curious about the steps taken as I learn a language myself, and while not overwhelming blog readers with too much information, I’ve set up a language hacking league e-mail list that you can join if you want.

The e-mail list will include very brief weekly updates on progress in my current mission and tips for what you should do in a similar situation, as well as answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and some extra language learning tips in compact form that will not published be on the site. It also includes some of the best links on the Internet for language learning.

Since only the most interested of you will be joining, I will also be using this list to ask for your help on occasion, because there are times when I feel like asking for help on something relevant to the project. I know that some readers would be interested in helping me out with, but it would disrupt the flow of the blog if I made a whole post just about a single thing; especially since I know that there are a lot of not-so-active readers out there that do genuinely just want to read some language tips and hear the story of the mission and nothing more. Sometimes I will simply ask for your opinion on something I’m working on; this is a way for me to keep more direct contact with those most interested.

Of course, I will not be using this e-mail list to spam people. You can try it out, and if you don’t like it, you can easily permanently remove your e-mail from the subscription list.

One major thing I’ll be doing in this list for the really curious among you is that it will be where I will first publicly announce my missions. So, in future if you want to find out where I am going next and what I’ll be doing there for 3 months, all you have to do is subscribe and you’ll find out before anyone else! I will send such e-mails a few weeks before I actually travel.

I will, of course, write general mission updates every few weeks or so on the blog that will contain the most interesting parts written in the e-mail list. So as I say, only those genuinely interested in more details, links and extra language hacks should join the e-mail list :) The second project I’ll be working on over the next months for later release is the language hacking guide. Here’s some information about it:

The language hacking guide – how to become fluent in 3 months

[Update: The language hacking guide is ready!! You can get your copy and read more information about the actual contents here.]

It’s inspiring how many of those e-mails I receive every day have recently said that they’ve actually read through my entire archive of posts (only about 9 months to date, but still, I write a lot each time) in an attempt to get a good idea of my language learning method.

The problem is, my posts are all over the place – basic grammar tips in one post, advanced accent reduction in another, with sprinkles of the positive attitude that makes it all possible. You can definitely see how I think by reading all of my posts, but it’s hardly a good overall guide that you can read systematically.

So I’m going to create that guide. Rather than just write a series of posts on the subject, or even release a tiny e-book, I am planning to create the ultimate language hacking guide. I’m not shy to tell you that I think it’s going to be something that a lot of people will want to get their hands on and something that can genuinely help frustrated learners who still can’t speak.

From now on I won’t be referring to it as my method so much. This approach of trying to become fluent in a language quickly is LANGUAGE HACKING. I’m not the only person who does this, and I’ll be getting advice from other language hackers out there, and interviewing them as part of the guide. Other people’s advice will be as important as my own, since I want the scope of the guide to be as broad as possible.

To be honest, I feel that a guide about crucial aspects of speaking languages quickly is just not out there yet. There are plenty of language learning guides and websites already, but they almost always focus on the content of the language rather than the process involved in actually speaking it when the time comes.

This crucial human aspect is a gap that needs to be filled that I’ve been attempting to do on this blog. My current plan for the guide is to have it contain several separate e-books, some audio interviews and possibly some video [for download], as well as other extras that will be decided later on. This is the current vague outline:

PART 1 SPEAKING: The language hacking mentality

If you invest in a course like Rosetta Stone or use advanced input techniques of listening to CDs and such, these methods work (some well, some really badly) for improving your scope of vocabulary or ability to recognise. But a language is much more than pure content. I am amazed that even the most skilled linguists can’t see this. Even after studying for years (either in an inefficient academic programme or using good pure-input techniques) you would still be missing so much that is required to confidently speak the language.

What if you are generally a shy person and aren’t confident enough to express all that you’ve learned? Won’t the locals feel frustrated at your feeble attempts to speak their language? What about the huge amount that you still don’t know? Exactly when will you be ready to speak? A month? A year? 8 years? What will you do if they answer you back in English? What if you move suddenly to your spouse’s country or for work reasons and don’t have the time to invest months into input-based learning?……

There are so many questions that are never dealt with in most courses and I intend to answer them in detail. Those who read my blog already generally know my answers to some of these questions. You need to start speaking NOW if you want to reach a good level quickly.

If you are only interested in a language for its own sake, for literature, or to watch movies in the language, with no plans of actually going to the country that speaks it, then I actually recommend you embrace the pure-input method suggested in the many courses currently available, whether it is free or paid. However, if you want to speak with actual human beings (no iPods, computer programs, books or movies) then I have quite a few tips for you that even the most expensive courses simply don’t supply.

The first part will discuss the mentality and approach needed to talk to human beings in your target language and to gain the confidence to do so. I’ll be presuming that the reader is an introvert, but with an open mind. This part of the guide will also possibly include interviews with other language hackers with similar, as well as different, approaches to language hacking.

PART 2 LEARNING: Several different hacks to learn the language quickly

Of course, if you have no words, phrases, and at least some basic grasp on grammar, it is really hard to actually speak the language no matter how confident you are. I have mostly focused on discussing the human aspect on this blog, simply because it’s so universally ignored. But a lot of people have said that they’ve combined my advice with efficient input methods and the result works extremely well for them.

So in the second part, I’m going to be focusing on actually learning (rather than speaking) the language. On the blog I’ve already mentioned things like getting more time out of your day, image association techniques for memorizing etc., so I will return to those as well as go into the nitty gritty details of the process that I personally go through when trying to start and improve my level of any language until I’m fluent in it.

Using such techniques you can reach a very good level of the language quickly. The reason people can spend years studying a language and not achieving anything worthwhile is because the approach they use is simply flawed.

But saying what I have been doing is still not enough. My own personal language hacking method is definitely not perfect, and can always be improved. So over the next months, I will be testing out some input and computer-based methods that have been extremely popular among other learners, such as SRS, LiveMocha, new memory techniques, and any other suggestions you can give me that have definitely worked for other people, and I’ll be discussing as many good ones as possible in the guide.

However, I will be testing them in the context of how they improve my actual spoken level of the language of my next 3-month mission. I am not interested in theory – I want results.

If there is a technique that works over years (such as the traditional academic approach, or certain inefficient input based methods) then I am simply not interested in it, as that will not help me in the short-term and would thus not come under my understanding of language hacking.

In this part I will definitely be interviewing people who are experienced in using these other approaches, since their long-term experience and advice will be crucial in making any short-term summary I can give to be worthwhile. I’m hoping that the scope of introducing several different methods would mean that the reader could choose one that they feel would work best for them.

Release details

This is an immense undertaking and would take a ridiculously huge amount of time to create. However, being the ambitious lad I am, I’m going to try to have it ready by May, in time for summer and when lots of people will be travelling abroad. Obviously, achieving this target deadline depends on so many things, including how many hours I’m putting into my actual full-time job, the next language mission, and generally having a life! Time will tell if I make the deadline.

After it has been released, I’ll update it with further tips and FAQ based on previous versions. These updates will be free.

I also plan on working with other translators (natives of course) to have the entire guide translated to several languages, after releasing it first in English.

This is a package that you can bet that I’ll be selling rather than giving away for free. Most websites with the kind of traffic and level of subscribers I’m getting here would have countless affiliate links, advertisements on the page, paid promotions etc. Apart from the very rare Amazon link for books, and a silly unobtrusive donate via-Orange-juice button (which in the end is averaging less than 2 actual €3 donations a month!), I’ve done none of that and have focused purely on content from the start. I haven’t sold out my goal to genuinely help people learn and speak languages to make a quick buck, and the concept for creating this guide is just one I’ve had recently. But what I plan to release will be worth paying money for and I’ll be investing a lot of time into it.

I’m not going to be recommending any expensive courses to accompany the product; most resources that I use are completely free. So this will genuinely save people money, especially if they are considering buying some other pure input based course that usually ends up costing hundreds of dollars, or even thousands in the case of academic courses. It will otherwise give them an overview and review of several different free options before they invest their time in them.

The price tag I’ll be putting on it will be US$39 (before other language updates). For the amount of content I plan to include, I think that’s a fair deal. ;) I have little interest in making a million dollars online, but frankly my current frustrating financial situation of oscillating in and out of debt and locking myself in my room to work non-stop for 3 weeks is getting super annoying and has even prematurely ended my first mission on this blog. After May I don’t want to be able to use that excuse for a reason that I didn’t achieve a 3-month mission and I think selling something worthwhile like this could get me out of that pattern.

If you are interested in getting involved and hearing more details about the progress of the guide, you’ll also get information about that in the weekly e-mail list! I’ll be asking people what they want to see in it as I’m writing it, through the e-mail list rather than through this blog. Once again, here’s that form if you are curious to find out more:

This guide will only be for those genuinely interested in having a much more in-depth view of language hacking as I see it, and as those I’ll be interviewing see it. Most readers of the site can very simply ignore the book if they wish, and I consider all readers to be equally important. The site will continue as it has always been :) A lot of the advice in the guide will be freely available on the blog in one form or another, just a little harder to go through in a logical way. And of course, if you just have a single question to ask me, all you have to do is ask!


I’m curious to hear your thoughts on these two projects in the comments! What would you like to see in a free e-mail list that I simply haven’t discussed on the site? What have I not mentioned in this overall plan that you would love to see in a guide? Is it something you’d like to read and listen to? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Every day I get several e-mails through the contact me form on my site from other language learners out there, sharing their struggles (that I can certainly relate to) and asking for advice. Sometimes, I can give the advice in just a couple of sentences, other times I need to refer to a long post […]


  • TropicalMBA

    Benny I can't wait for your guide and my hope as a reader is that you'll be able to spend more of your time on this site in the future, if buying a guide helps you do that, I'm all for it. Cheers.

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks!! Yeah, that's another issue. The next time I have to lock myself away for a few weeks to work, both the mission and the blog will suffer; I'd be able to get out a post a week at best. What I'd earn from selling a guide would give me way more time to focus on this project and to expand on how I'd help people achieve their own language dreams. :)

  • Vilfredo

    Mi atendas vian elektronikan libron kun intereso. Mi aĉetos ĝin se vi havos Esperantan tradukon :)

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    Ni vidu :P :P Se iu ajn volas traduki ĝin por malmulte da mono, mi certe vendos ĝin esperante ;) Dependas de la grandeco…

  • Josh Thompson


    I've benefited lots from your blog so far. I'll be one of those buying your book. I'm right now a few weeks in to a semester-long visit to Beirut. I'm picking up phrases in Arabic quickly, and you've certainly been a solid encouragement for me.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks so much Josh!! I'm so glad to hear that I've been helping people out there actually trying to communicate in their languages :) Glad you're interested in the guide!! Hopefully I'll somehow manage to have it all ready by May…

  • Christine

    Hi Benny, this sounds like a very ambitious and exciting project. I've signed up for the Language Hacking League. I'm working on Italian and Dutch at the moment, so your tips will certainly come in handy.
    I'm a French native freelance translator, so do contact me if I can be of any use later on for the French translation of the guide.

  • jismyname

    Benny, I think you've got it just right. The term “language hacking” is perfect! And selling your expertise is a great entrepreneurial initiative to allow you to continue to live the life you want.

    There's one book, The Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast by A.G. Hawke, that promises a lot but really falls flat. Judging by the outline you gave above, your guide sounds far more practical. I'm happy to sign up for your e-mail list and help where I can. (I've always wanted to be part of a League, sounds mysterious…)

  • Peter

    Signed up to the email list and really looking forward to the ebooks! Especially part one as I'm definitely the introvert who is afraid to talk to people.

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks Peter! I'll be writing these books as if I was writing to myself at age 20 before I started on this adventure. I was a shy electronic engineer talented in Mathematics and not much else. This will not be a guide for extroverts, but I will be pushing people to get out of their shell of course – that's the whole point ;) I don't like other courses that embrace people's shyness and encourage them to stay in their rooms and listen to their iPods.
    Looking forward to reading your feedback from the e-mails!

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks!! It turns out wasn't even taken (so I jumped on it :P ) – others have used the term before, but I'm claiming it for this style of learning ;)
    Could you tell me where that book falls flat? I definitely am interested; I don't want to go down the same path! But I think people can tell from my blog posts and practical advice that I do intend to deliver.
    Welcome to the League :)

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks Christine!! I'm going to release the guide just in English first and then discuss translation possibilities just with those who have read it (rather than hire someone unfamiliar with the project), because I want someone to really get and appreciate the style and purpose of the books. Obviously, professional translators get preference and I will be paying.

    You'll see me talk about translation way later on (May/June etc.), in the e-mail list! ;)

  • jismyname

    I reviewed the book on my blog (…), but in essence the book is 75% vocabulary lists. Rote memorization is not going to help you speak out loud. The book falls flat because any fool can make up a vocabulary list to memorize, but it lacks any techniques for actually speaking and making yourself understood.

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    OK that's good to hear! As I said in the outline here, part 1 of my book will be completely avoiding all of that entirely. In part 2 I will deal with several different interesting methods (rather than suggest that there is one 'perfect' method), and rote memorisation of vocabulary lists is definitely NOT going to be one of them…
    Thanks – I enjoyed your review. It's a pith that others who have attempted to express ways of quickly acquiring languages fail and simply give you their own regurgitation of the academic approach. I'm really planning to have something completely different here.

  • Fern

    I've signed up – this looks interesting!

    By the way, I've not viewed the site for some time (I read the RSS feed) and I really like the new design.

  • Fast Jay

    Interesting, i definately think there is a market out there for your ideas and certainly with your experience you can provide a lot of value and tips.

    I signed up for you email list, hope it proves to be a success.

  • Erin

    I've signed up to the email list and will be looking forward to the guide. I hoped you'd do something like that as it will be really useful to have all the information in one place. Good luck with it.

  • Benjamin Barnett

    Interested in your language hacks for Spanish (you do speak Spanish, right?) because I'm currently developing a site about Guatemala and would love to link to it.

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks! I changed it at the beginning of the year; the old one was a bit dark and comments were hard to read :)
    Glad to have you in the League :D

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    Like with my language mission, I'm going to go on the presumption that it will be a success and work towards that to make it happen!
    Thanks for joining the League!!

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    It seems like the logical thing to do :) Too many people were telling me that they've read my entire site to try to get an idea of my “method” :P This will make things clearer ;)
    Thanks for signing up to be a part of the League :D

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    For the moment I'll be bundling everything together, including the specific languages part. So you'd likely have to link to the guide itself. I do indeed speak Spanish and will be mentioning specific hacks to learn it quicker!

  • David Walsh

    No question, this is going to make the earth shake when it's ready. Amped to talk more as it takes shape.

    Sidenote, headed to Barcelona/Madrid in 2 weeks – so I wouldn't mind hacking Spanish right about now. Haha. Ciao.

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks a lot David!! :) When will you be putting that video up? I'll link to it when Baker & Sean have theirs up too.
    In Barcelona if you learn some rudimentary Catalan they'll really appreciate it :) Best of luck with the Spanish otherwise. I know you have your own store of audio to prepare yourself with :D

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  • AndreaClaire

    Excited about the guide, love the website, etc, etc, etc. Also just wanted to say how happy the picture in this post makes me; the 'over the glasses' look–famous with parents the world over– just gets me giggling everytime.

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks!! I was hoping people would like that :D My parents always read their books in bed like that, so I thought I'd emulate it for the silly-factor ;) Glad I got a giggle out of someone!

  • Sean

    Hope you have a lot of fun with German! So jealous you get to go to Germany. :)
    Also jealous you know it so well. :P I know it at an intermediate level, but unfortunately my total inability to remember noun genders and plurals, and irregular verbs have made me unable to learn it, at least for now. :(

  • Vicki

    Hi Benny!
    Thanks for writing such a great blog! I recently discovered it whilst frantically searching for language tips online, and have now been reading through your archive of posts.
    Like you described at the beginning of your polyglot journey, I would love to be able to speak several different languages – thanks to my dad’s job, I’ve been able to live in Germany and Scandinavia, and I was awestruck at how some of the people I met were able to speak up to five languages fluently! As I’m sure you have written before, I definitely think that one of the best ways to immerse yourself in another culture is to speak the language. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise how truly amazing languages are until the end of my last overseas visit, but am now even more determined!
    I am in my last year of Sixth Form College (studying French as part of the International Baccalaureate, but also keen on taking up Spanish and Danish again!), so any more tips on learning free-of-charge, while also studying other subjects would be very much appreciated! I’ve also applied to do Medicine at uni (you’ll probably think I’m crazy wanting to learn languages on top!), but ultimately I would love to be to use languages to be able to volunteer abroad. Like many of the other people who have responded to your blogs, I probably have the most trouble speaking – even though a recent French speaking exam went alright, I feel like I could do a lot better if it weren’t for the psychological fear of messing up, sounding ridiculous, forgetting words…etc. All the content I do know just seems to disappear!
    Sorry, it’s probably slightly frustrating for you hearing these same problems over and over :).
    It’s fantastic to hear of someone who is so passionate about languages and learning them quickly – the fact that you can do it in 3 months is very motivating! Thanks again for all your posts and good luck with your next mission and your other projects too! :)

    P.S. Will be signing up to the mailing list and will definitely be buying a copy of your guide – it sounds like you will be covering some really important things that seem to apply to quite a few people (i.e. being an introvert…) and it's good if it will help you out too :)

  • Alex Fong

    I'm in. Looking forward to this :D

  • Niko87

    Hi Benny,

    I am Nikolai from Heidelberg, Germany.
    I got to know your page through ScottHYoungs blog and immediately became a big fan :)
    In a comment on one of Scotts articles you mentioned, that you've aquired the habit of getting up at 6.30 am daily, napping for 20mins and going to bed around 12-1am. I think this is great! And since time is a very important aspect in learning languages (in your freetime) I would be glad if you could write a bigger post with a more detailed explanation about how to have more time / how to use your time better – e.g. for learning langueages. Are you going to write about this here or in your upcoming guide?

    Have a good time!

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    Hi Niko!!
    In fact, I definitely plan on writing a whole article about siestas. Learning languages also involves learning about cultures, and this aspect of Spanish culture is one I want to share with northern Europe/America ;)
    I'll also be including it in the time-management part of my guide, you can be sure of that!!
    For the moment, I think you will definitely enjoy this article about how I squeeze more time out of my day for learning a language!!
    Glad to meet another language hacker ;)

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks! I'm looking forward to sharing it – but I really should get started on writing it soon!!!! :P

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    Hi Vicki! Glad you have been enjoying my blog :)
    Don't worry about sharing your problems – these struggles are something we all go through! Hopefully my advice will help you with your confidence!
    Welcome to the Language Hacking League :D

  • chris(mandarin_student)

    Most of the advice given to people for how to initiate and continue conversations with members of the opposite sex (or same if so inclined) seems to be directly applicable particularly in overcoming nerves etc. in conversation (practice for failure, open questions etc.). Naturally there will be more to it than that though as the goals are different (usually ;)).

    Not sure that the human aspect can be considered universally ignored either there is plenty of material around, some of it very good, it brings to mind a really excellent video that circulated amongst a lot of language learners a couple a years ago, I will try to dig up the link I think it was on Youtube, it directly addressed the communication issue. It was one of those videos that basically says it all in a way that people can get.

    For input methods most people talk as as well, I wonder how you would view Kazamoto (I might have spelled that wrong) the AJAT guy, I don't like the style of some of his posts but regardless, a lot of what he writes is spot on imho and I consider him very much in the input camp (in that he certainly used vastly more input than output). He may have taken 16 months or so to master Japanese (what a slacker eh ;)) but to be fair he was aiming at a standard considerably higher than you describe in your three month definition of fluency. I think you are interviewing him? so that should be interesting.

    We have to be careful here, some people do take years to get no-where but others choose to take years to get to a very high standard (which is very very different). The infamous 80:20 rule may bite here, you can get so far in a few months but the next 10% will take longer by far. The 80:20 rule is often over applied but people like Tim Ferris use it to justify learning lots of languages to a reasonable standard rather than one or two to a very high standard (and they can't have it both ways). When I read that (I am pretty sure it was Tim Ferris and a few others but I may be wrong I have read so much over the past year) I wondered what would have happened if everyone in the world had taken that approach to everything they do, luckily real people rarely work like that.

  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks for your comment Chris. I'd be interested in finding that video.

    Since you asked I had an extremely enjoyable chat with Khatz. We share so many views about language learning, and even though we disagree on a couple of things, as we were talking we just accepted that as different approaches with neither being superior.

    After I interviewed him for the guide, I stayed on the line for almost an hour just generally chatting. He is an awesome guy and represents the human-aspect I previously felt was ignored and does it in even more detail than I have and over a longer period of time.

    I'm not surprised that you don't like the style of some of his posts as that would be along the same lines of the kind of “life hacky nonsense” I promote myself. Odd isn't it, that two different successful language learners believe these messages are crucial to share with people…? ;)

    He is in the input camp and I would never criticise his 16 months as being in any way inferior to mine since he certainly got way beyond my definition of fluency and he is much more devoted than I am (this Saturday night in Berlin for example, I spoke as much French and Spanish as I did German, so I'm not all-German-all-the-time – this detracts from my mission, but is part of my style of living). He reached a level of Japanese accepted professionally and that's not something I have ever been interested in myself other than C2 exams, which are just two days of examinations, not living that way all the time. Katz's devotion is impressive.

    You are right about the application of the 80:20 rule. However, I think that if I kept the same momentum and devotion that I do for 3 months, up for a longer time I would achieve something comparable, but I don't know if I could focus on one language for that amount of time. I probably could, but I am currently not so interested – 3 months fits my lifestyle, and I know it wouldn't for most people.

    Although your conclusion is rather vague. “Real people” are lazy and don't apply efficient methods to a lot of what they do. I think such questions about “what would happen if everyone in the world…” are not so helpful. I focus on my own personal struggle and share my thoughts with others. If everyone in the world doing something would make what I do irrelevant, then I'll do something else, or do what they do if it works. I don't think the readership of my or Tim Ferriss' blog is going to jump to 7 billion overnight, so don't worry, the world as you know it won't come to an end ;)

  • scherzophrenic

    One of the things I do to get fluent as quickly as possible is to record myself speaking into my mp3. There are great interjections, opening phrases and segues to memorize. Memorizing positive/negative responses is good, so is opposites of all types. At some point, I start a journal and force myself to think in the language. If you know basic sentence construction and word order, using a verb guide to parse in the correct tense is great practice. Just write and talk about the things you know. I have also been mistaken for a Russian or French. Most French think I am Canadian…which isn't a bad thing at all if you're an American.
    If you listen to the language from various regions, you can get a good idea of where people come from.
    One useful tool is to download the freeware Radio?Sure! It is an internet based radio which also records as it plays, so you can record radio stations in any language and put them as mp3s on your player.

  • chris(mandarin_student)

    Whoa there!! I never said anything about “life hacky nonsense” in regard to AJAT, although it is a few months, back I read all of the posts there and his blog is very different from yours. That element may be there but probably in so much as you are both trying to promote yourselves as a kind of brand and have both progressed through the donate button to purchasable products.

    If you must know I don't actually like the “we are all smart handsome ……. ” type of talk that probably comes from an American influence, Chinese pod had this problem once, everybody smelling of Rainbows etc. It seems that a lot of ego massaging is required. Some of his posts seem to carry a fair amount of arrogance (and I mean arrogance, not confidence). Best seen in one of his videos actually (the one where he has Cantonese cartoons playing in the background). His friend who is taking the video tells him of a guy he met who has studied Japanese at university has great Japanese and he visibly riles at this because in his opinion no-one who studies academically gets to his level (you can see how upset he is quite clearly but his friend doesn't back down). This is arrogant of course because just because someone studies academically (how ever bad that is) doesn't meant they can't master a language (you don't know what else they are doing).

    The AJAT blog has a whole bunch of highly specific language related posts I would highly recommend it anybody.

    It is easy to be critical and amongst the unwashed masses of language bloggers there is a lot of good stuff and a lot of bad, I wouldn't openly criticise most of though although I may debate points aggressively. I think it is fair to criticise brands however so I don't mind saying that Khaz can seem arrogant, or point out where I think it occurs, I am not aware of ascribing “life hacky nonsense” to him though but it is possible after a bottle of wine on a bad evening I have done that and forgotten about it, If you have a link where I have let me know.

  • chris(mandarin_student)

    Just revisited AJJAT it is a lot more commercialised that I remember hmmm, still found some of the good posts in there though and didn't have to pay to read them so worth a look for most people.



    Eu achei o seu site muito interessante, apesar da leitura bem superficial que eu fiz. Pude ver que a aquisição da fluência depende principalmente da imersão a qual você se submete, no caso as viagens para os países em que você aprende o idioma novo. É isso?
    O método só funciona em imersão dentro do país da língua alvo?
    Ou você já testou seu método fora do país ao qual você está aprendendo idioma alvo?
    (Desculpe. Se a pergunta já foi respondida antes.)


  • Benny the Irish polyglot

    Oi Bruno. O método é imersão, mas imersão não tem que ser dentro do país da língua alvo ;) Aprendi a maior parte do português que falo… em Paris!! As minhas dicas funcionam em qualquer lugar e é possível falar com nativos sem ter que viajar, pessoalmente ou pela Internet. Dá pra aprender bastante antes de viajar!!!
    Escrevo esse Language Hacking Guide pra todo mundo, se puder viajar ou não. ;)

  • Laura

    Hello Benny, I just heard of your post (YouTube surfing somehow –> Ted talk, you know how that goes) and while watching the Ted I realized how absolutely retarded I have been about not wanting to learn Spanish. I live in Southern California and am literally surrounded by Mexicans (or Latinos), and for “some reason” never wanted to pick it up. But your talk about the “human factor” slapped me upside the head (that it takes PEOPLE , not grammar books or semester(s)-long classes in order to communicate with people!) I don’t know what happened in that talk to change my perspective but now instead of feeling that I “have to study” in order to speak a language (to who? myself?!), now I just words so I can talk to these warm hearted people. I know you have a book out (and I’ll be checking into that) but which – or what- do you suggest for getting starting talking to people? Do you suggest a phrase book for a starter with talking to native speakers or just download tons of words in the brain? You may have already posted this but like I said I am wet-behind-the-ears new here, [and you really do post all over the place :) ]. If you have already posted this could you send me the link? Thank you for all your hard work and in believing that people are not as dumb as they are told!

  • Laura

    Just read the rules on questions – sorry about that.