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What’s it Like to Be a Language Hacker?


Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. ?

So, my new Language Hacking courses are on their way to bookstores around the world, and we've already had over a thousand pre-orders.

While the courses are en route, I've got together a group of language learners who are trying out the courses ahead of time, sharing videos from the missions, and giving me their feedback.

We've got people from all around the world and of all ages in the group – from teenage language learners to people in their 80s.

Here's what they're telling us so far, having finished Unit 1 of the course.

Read on, and you'll pick up a few language hacks from the courses too.

“Nothing like studying at school”

There are thousands of dedicated language teachers in schools all around the world – and many, many of them do an amazing job.

Even so, perhaps because of the syllabus, or the course books, not everyone has a positive experience of learning languages at school.

Julie Englefield

Just finished Unit 1 Spanish. Hurra! This is not painful at all. Nothing like studying at school or evening classes. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to follow. I am going to enjoy this experience. – Julie Englefield

I studied German for five years at school, and even after that I still struggled with basic tasks such as ordering a meal in a restaurant. I know many other people who've had a similar experience.

This happens because school courses typically focus on reading and writing a language.

Language Hacking, by contrast, focuses on speaking your new language, so you can use it with real people, by interacting with them in real-world conversations, right away.

“Small tips that give big results early on”

Have you ever heard of the Pareto Principle? It's also called the 80-20 rule.

The Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto came up with the principle when he noticed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. He then noticed that 20% of the pea-pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.

It's quite refreshing to see a casual but practical course like this… I do like how it eases you into it, starting with short dialogues that are explained in an everyday way. And even though we are encouraged to make mistakes, I appreciate how you point out things like “Ich bin Lehrer” is natural vs. “Ich bin ein Lehrer.” Small tips that give big results early on. – Daniel

You might have noticed the Pareto Principle in one of the following ways:

  • 20% of the people at your office do 80% of the work
  • 20% of the websites you visit take up 80% of your internet time
  • 20% of the apps on your smartphone are the ones you use 80% of the time

When I created the Language Hacking courses, I asked myself: “What's the 20% of the work that language learners can do to get 80% of the results?”

I want language learners to get big results for a small amount of effort. Why? Because when you see yourself making fast progress, you're motivated to continue learning.

That's why I don't teach you everything about a language in the Language Hacking courses. Instead, I teach you what you need to know to start having real conversations, today.

“I like the focus on me-specific language”

Learning me-specific language is one of my favourite language hacks.

It involves learning the words and phrases that are relevant to you, right from day one. That way, you're ready to talk about yourself and dive into real-life conversations.

Kevin Crisp

“I like the focus on me-specific language, as this really differentiates the course from other products. I feel pushed and hopeful that I will make progress fast. The little grammar snippets are not overwhelming… The presentation of how to guess cognates was particularly helpful.” – Kevin Crisp

In the courses, I show language learners how to build me-specific scripts. I provide the foundation script (in Spanish, French, Italian or German), and you, the learner, build your own unique script on top of it.

Through the course, you build more and more me-specific scripts.

Julie Englefield

“I've been revisiting my Spanish via Duolingo and it's good but I'm not sure I'll need “los elefantes beben leche” (elephants drink milk) at my stepson's wedding in Colombia next year. I shall be armed with my own personal scripts!” – Julie Englefield

You can memorise these scripts as mini-monologues, and rely on them whenever you're asked questions. You'll be ready to manage all the most common situations you come across in your new language.

“Very practical and useful” (The Curtains Method)

One of the things we wanted to avoid with the course is making you learn unnecessary words and phrases.

So many courses have long vocabulary lists in every unit. And you feel like you have to learn them because they're part of the course, right? Even if you're asking yourself: “when will I ever use this word?”

Vladimir

“All these sentences from the course we will use very likely when we go to a foreign country. It's like a survival kit for talking with natives in a foreign country. Very practical and useful.” – Vladamir Velickovic

That's why, when I created the Language Hacking courses, I followed The Curtains Method.

I learned The Curtains Method from Joseph, a member of the Fluent in 3 Months team. When he studied Mandarin, he focused on learning the words he knew he'd use a lot, and ignored those he was sure he'd rarely or never use. He felt particularly frustrated that the word “curtains” was taught early in the course. When would he ever need to say “curtains” in an everyday conversationas a beginner?

Rather than “never” learning them, words like that are best left for intermediate learners. It's simply a bad use of a beginner's time to learn such words when there are way more essential ones they should know.

Magda

“I really like the personalized approach: we can all add vocabulary that is relevant specifically to us instead of focusing on vocab we do not necessarily need in the beginning. I also like the way all content in a unit nicely builds up towards enabling students to complete the mission. It makes the material very coherent.” – Magda Kasprzyk

That's how the The Curtains Method was born. In the Language Hacking courses, I only ask you to learn words and phrases that you'll actually use.

“TOTALLY embracing my inner Tarzan”

When you start learning a language, the most important thing is that you're able to communicate. That way, you can use the language in real conversations and make progress fast. Perfect grammar can wait for later.

That's why I advocate embracing your “inner Tarzan”.

Stacy DiGregorio

“TOTALLY embracing my inner Tarzan right now. For YEARS, being afraid to sound like that had been the reason why I didn't attempt to speak another language.” – Stacy DiGregorio

After you embrace your inner Tarzan, you'll be willing to say things in your target language like ‘I Benny. Me writer. I Ireland.’

Sure, it sounds funny. But when you don't take yourself too seriously, you learn much faster.

“Revolutionary”

I've been sharing my Language Hacking approach on Fluent in 3 Months for over five years.

Together with many other language bloggers who share similar ideas to me, I've been edging towards a language learning revolution.

Dave Gardner

I'm loving the material so far. It's interesting, fun and inspires confidence. I have complete faith that this method will be revolutionary and play a key role in achieving my goal of fluent Spanish. – Dave Gardner

With the launch of the Language Hacking courses, my approach to language learning is about to go mainstream – not just an ebook that I'd have on my site, or a viral YouTube video, but a real course with the most experienced educational publisher on earth.

That's why I'm so excited about the launch.

Even More Feedback on Language Hacking

That's not all! We've had even more great feedback on the Language Hacking courses in so many other ways:

“Encourages me to describe myself”

Marcia

“I especially like that the book encourages me to describe myself, to find vocabulary useful to me, bicycling, hiking, being a librarian, living near mountains, etc.” – Marcia Rodney

“I feel like I am making great progress”

“I love the course and how it is broken down into bite sized chunks. I feel like I am making great progress and not being overloaded. I love the fact that my script is me specific. The audio is very clear so I am able to follow along well.” – Darren Robinson

“I love that the book requires you to be active”

“I love that the book requires you to be active all the time. You have to listen carefully, and then find things out yourself. It's really important to be active learners, and the book doesn't allow you to get by without it.” – Omer

“Already I feel much more confident”

This course so far ticks the right boxes for getting started in chatting with someone. I'm looking forward to developing my skills. Already I feel much more confident about speaking German even if I make mistakes. Who cares? They know what I'm trying to say. – M. Simpson

Start Language Hacking, Today

Inspiring feedback, right? I for one am pleased to know my courses are helping all these people. And this was just with our test group before it's released to the world in September!

Are you inspired too? If you'd like to become a language hacker, then pre-order your language hacking course. Select the language you want to learn:

Spanish | French | German | Italian

author headshot

Benny Lewis

Founder, Fluent in 3 Months

Fun-loving Irish guy, full-time globe trotter and international bestselling author. Benny believes the best approach to language learning is to speak from day one.

Speaks: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Esperanto, Mandarin Chinese, American Sign Language, Dutch, Irish

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