Free book: The polyglot project, how to learn languages
Today I've got an interesting treat for you all! Almost 140,000 words (534 pages) of free information about learning languages.
This project was headed by Claude Cartaginese, who gathered the advice from dozens of “youtube polyglots, hyper-polyglots, linguists, language learners and language lovers” and put them all in this one book, which is free to everyone.
The advice given in these pages is quite interesting and extremely varied!
You have everything from brief to-the-point advice, to short biographies… to long biographies, and to inspirational stories. There are lots of language learners I have been in touch with including Moses McCormick, Stujay and Anthony Lauder (all of whom also contributed to the Language Hacking Guide), as well as several others that I have talked with… and even some I've argued with.
Claude got in touch with me just as the project was coming to a close and I was happy to contribute my own chapter to the book. I talk about the kind of communicative advice I write in the Guide and on this blog.
I must say that I straight out disagree with some overstudy or LingQ is the best thing since sliced bread philosophies in the book, especially since some are from the “language lovers” spectrum (i.e. they don't actually speak a foreign language fluently yet, although that's just a couple of people out of the dozens of genuine bilinguals and polyglots), but pretty much everyone manages to add an interesting idea for ways to learn your language. There are also a lot of general alternatives to the traditional academic approach and lots of encouragement and positive attitude.
As you can see from this blog I try to get people to speak a language, and because of this focus, a lot of my advice is not echoed by those more interested in simply learning a language for the sake of it. Fortunately, quite a few do emphasise the importance of constant practice too.
If you feel your learning/studying strategy could do with some improvement, or you are interested in hearing the background of some other language learners, then you'll likely have an interesting read in The Polyglot Project.
Claude made the 534 page PDF available and you can read that directly on my site by clicking “PDF” below. Alternatively, Right Click it and “Save As” (depending on your browser/system, control click on a Mac) to store it to read it later.
I went through the process of converting the PDF so those of you with an iPad, Sony Reader, iPod, Android etc. can read it much easier as an ePub, and those of you with an Amazon Kindle can read the Mobi. Note that some foreign symbols (like an occasional Chinese character for illustration) were lost in the conversion to ePub/Mobi.
Get these below:
My contribution is on page 228 of the PDF or you can click my name in the ePub/Mobi table of contents.
The book is also available in print for those of you who prefer dead-tree-format and you can order that from Amazon. Due to printing, distribution etc. costs this is $16.95. Note that contributors don't earn anything from Amazon sales, but thanks to the use of an Amazon affiliate link I get an entire US$0.67 per sale by purchases through the link below 😛