Fluent forever pdf

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Published digitally worldwide via the Fluent Forever website and blog .. flashcards you'll be using here: flashcards. Fluent Forever Summary by Gabriel Wyner unlocks the secrets of how to improve your memory so you can learn new languages faster and. Free most popular books, medical books, engineering books and others- pdf drive.

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Language learning is a sport. I say this as someone who is in no way qualified to speak about sports; I joined the fencing team in high school in order to get out. Read Fluent Forever PDF How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It Ebook by Gabriel caite.infohed by Dreamscape Media. Read Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It PDF Ebook by Gabriel Wyner. Pine Bookshelf, ePUB B00IBZW.

But work is too strong a word. Finding Meaning Through Google Images In the beginning of this chapter, we talked about the limitations of translation—how translation strips words of their music. Last, hold off on a pronunciation book or trainer until the end of Chapter 3. This book is a winner! There are audio components—the sound of the word cookie and the sound of milk pouring into a glass.

There are two main types of SRSs: Choose your SRS and learn to use it. Then look at your daily schedule and determine how much time you have available. First released in , Anki is free, easy to use, and runs on every operating system and smartphone.

You tell it how many new flash cards you want to learn every day, and it handles the rest. In roughly thirty minutes per day, you can learn thirty new cards and maintain all of your old cards. Scale up or down as needed to fit your schedule and tolerance for LCD screens.

If you prefer working with your hands, you can create an SRS with physical flash cards. Named after an Austrian science journalist writing in the s, the Leitner box is just a particularly clever way to use a flash card file box, some dividers, and a calendar. In the original version, your box is divided into four sections. You review section 1 every day, section 2 every two days, section 3 every three days, and so on.

Fluent Forever Summary

If you forget, it moves back into section 1. This acts like a gauntlet for words; any flash cards that can get all the way to the last section have won their way into your long- term memory. Not sure whether or not to use a Leitner box? When you use physical flash cards, you benefit from an involved, hands-on arts and crafts experience with each of your cards.

First things first. Second, it is extraordinarily easy to get pictures from Google Images into computerized flash cards, and pictures are the most effective way to remember large amounts of information. Third, the process of finding images for computerized flash cards is one of the most powerful learning experiences you could ever hope for. Again, your brain sucks in images like a sponge. Just a few seconds browsing through twenty dog images will create a powerful, lasting memory.

Making duplicate cards on a computer is easy; doing it by hand can get tedious. Go to Appendix 3 and pick your poison. If you choose to use a Leitner box, then you have some supplies to pick up and a calendar to fill in.

If you go for Anki, then download it, install it, and follow the video tutorials until you understand how to use it. You will have two customizable time commitments: If you can connect your review time to another regularly recurring event in your life e. While daily reviews are best, any regular routine will naturally adapt to your schedule.

Start with a small number of new cards fifteen to thirty per day; you can always decide later if you want to go crazy with your flash cards. As mentioned earlier, you can learn thirty new cards per day and maintain your old cards in exchange for thirty minutes a day. If you go overboard with learning new cards, they will come back later, whether you have time for them or not.

After the summer, when I had significantly less time, those cards showed up for months in my daily reviews. I eventually got through them, but if I had begun learning Russian in that way, I may have run away screaming. Learn new cards at a rate that you know you can maintain. As a result, some words may involve a small handful of cards.

SRSs give you the ability to retain everything you throw into them.

Fluent Forever PDF

I tend to go on card creation binges once a month, sitting for absurd numbers of hours in front of my computer and making hundreds upon hundreds of cards in a weekend. You may prefer a more moderate approach. A Tip for Missed Days When dealing with a bloated review pile, continue learning two to three new words per day. It will spice things up a bit without adding much to your time commitment.

The only difficulty is that your reviews will pile up whether you want them to or not.

Pdf fluent forever

Remember, your SRS is just a fancy to-do list. Once you get back from your vacation, you may have a long list waiting for you. At that point, you should complete those reviews first.

Once you find a convenient time to review, your routine will transform into a habit on its own. These habits form easily for the same reasons that SRSs work so well. All of those hormones that help you store information tend to feel good. Choose your system and get familiar with how it works. Then look at your schedule and figure out where your language studies will fit in.

Our neurons can play the most extreme version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon ever devised: How much of a majority? No one knows precisely.

While we can analyze specific texts with precision nonfiction texts are approximately 80 percent nouns , we run into problems when counting words more generally. Words turn out to be extraordinarily slippery creatures when you attempt to count or classify them.

Is bear a noun, a verb, or both? Should we count bear separately from bears? Answering these questions is sometimes more an art than a science.

Additional studies show a 5: Nondeclarative memory—memory of habits, skills, and so on—seems to be located elsewhere. It was Robin Williams. While writing The Jungle Book in rural Vermont, he painted his golf balls red, put tin cans on the snow, and went to town. The magic number turns out to be 10—20 percent of the final test delay, so if their test was a year later, we would see the best results at a delay of fifty-six days.

It is as if our brains know that something we encounter once a week will be important in five to ten weeks, but something we only encounter once a year will be important in five to ten years. Anki is free in all cases but one: If you have a reliable Internet connection on your iPhone or iPad, then the app is unnecessary although I wholeheartedly recommend it. The Android app is free.

Accent is the soul of language; it gives language its feeling and truth. Zoop boing brn zroyen! In an ideal world, the written language and the spoken language walk together, hand in hand. They share words freely among themselves, help each other through tough spots, and generally have a good time together. You come along, hang out, and soon enough, the three of you are good buddies.

You may have encountered broken words in English. Unfortunately, sheem had a friend named skeam. Skeam seemed quite similar in meaning and usage to sheem, but I never seemed to see both words in the same place, so I never knew when to use which word. I avoided using either of them whenever possible. I only discovered the true identity of skeam in the middle of college, when I finally decided to Google both words and figure out the real differences between them and instead discovered that my two words were in fact one word and one pronunciation mistake.

My two schemes lived in a crevice they had hewn between my spoken language and my written language. This crevice was, thankfully, small. I only rarely fell in and became confused, because schemes are not everyday occurrences. But imagine, for a moment, how difficult it would be if your entire language were dotted with schemes, skeams, and sheems lurking behind every corner. At the end of my French immersion program, I sat in a classroom with seven advanced French students, discussing philosophy.

One of my colleagues raised her hand and pointed out that there was another philosopher we should be discussing. French Tip of the Day If you encounter an errant French word in your travels, you can assume that every final consonant is silent except for the consonants found in the English word careful c, r, f, and l are frequently pronounced. My colleague had been caught by a broken word, but this time, her language was full of them.

French is notorious for its quirky spelling. French is, accordingly, two languages: In the ideal world we discussed earlier, you and these two languages will grow together and support each other. When you read a book, new words and bits of grammar find their way into your conversations. Every time you encounter new input, it improves your understanding and fluency in every aspect of your language. This process only works if you can successfully connect the words you read to the words you hear.

Which broken desserts, budgets, and terrains were still hiding in the shadows, armed with their silent final consonants, and waiting for their opportunity to cause confusion? If you can build a gut instinct about pronunciation, then every new word you read will automatically find its way into your ears and your mouth, and every word you hear will bolster your reading comprehension.

How can you do this quickly? Hello, can you hear us? We are sinking! Zis is ze German coastguard! Vat are you sinkink about?

They have a seemingly superhuman ability to hear the differences between every sound in every language, and there are quite a lot of sounds to hear. If, on the other hand, you were learning Korean, you would find that t as in tan and t as in Stan are two entirely different letters, which form entirely different words. Back when you were a baby, you could hear all of them. This made your world a very confusing place.

You were surrounded by babbling adults, each of whom had slightly different ways of saying their vowels and consonants. Your ears rang with the sounds of hundreds of different consonants and vowels, and you lay within this chaos, searching for order. You began to find this order between six months and one year of age.

The best data we have on this process come from studies of Americans and the Japanese. A Japanese baby, however, has no trouble whatsoever recognizing the two sounds, an ability that gradually vanishes between six and twelve months of age. What happens at this critical juncture? There is a smooth line that connects the letters r and l, and a consonant can fall anywhere on that line.

In an American household, a typical baby will hear hundreds of slightly different consonants that tend to fall into two large piles along this line: We tend to think of r and l as two distinct sounds, but they are not. Each consonant is a group of sounds that are roughly similar.

A baby in a Japanese household may hear many of the same sounds, but most of these sounds fall directly in the middle of the r—l spectrum: They rightly group all of these sounds together into a consonant halfway between r and l.

When you listen to a person with a thick Japanese accent, notice this: Hearing the Unhearable: It is not that he misinterprets what he hears; he literally cannot hear the difference between these two sounds. As far as his brain is concerned, the words rock and lock might as well be spelled the same. In learning English, he is fighting his own brain.

How can he possibly hope to succeed?

The most promising research in this field comes from a collection of studies performed at Stanford and Carnegie Mellon. Researchers took a group of Japanese adults, gave them a small wad of cash, headphones, and a computer and told them to sit in a room and listen to recordings of the words rock and lock. Even after practicing, it remained terrible.

So far, so bad. Fortunately, Japanese speakers never misinterpreted me when ordering biru beer in Japan. How could they? Here comes the magic: For every correct guess, they saw a green checkmark. For every incorrect guess, they saw a red X.

Suddenly, they began to learn. After 3 twenty-minute sessions, they had successfully rewired their brains. They had learned to hear the unhearable. We can take this research and use it for our own needs.

Rock and lock are classic members of a special group of words known as minimal pairs. These are pairs of words that differ by only one sound, and every language is full of them. These pairs get right to the heart of the hearing problem in a language, and practicing them with feedback provides the best way to train our ears and rewire our brains.

I used them to learn the obnoxiously difficult sounds of Hungarian in twenty minutes a day for ten days. The Benefits of Ear Training: How does ear training cause all of this to happen? This gives you two superpowers: Sound rules connect spelling to sound and sound to sound. You can observe this with kids. Your second superpower allows you to notice when words break those rules. In English, we have lots of pronunciation rules: This is the case in every language.

If you can hear all of the sounds in your language, then you might get surprised by the spelling of a word but never by the sound of a word. You gain all this at the expense of a few hours of minimal pair study. To rewire it, listen to minimal pairs in your target language—similar sounding words like niece and knees—and test yourself until your brain adapts to hear these new sounds.

Sit on YouTube or Wikipedia for a few hours, look at pictures of mouth positions, and mimic recordings until you can sound like a native speaker for three seconds. It will Blow. An accurate accent is powerful because it is the ultimate gesture of empathy.

To be fair, a good accent can occasionally get you in a bit of trouble. A few years ago, I went to Japan and learned a few simple Japanese phrases. I remember walking up to a lady and asking where to find the nearest department store. Her eyes opened wide, surprised by the tall lanky white guy addressing her with a half-decent Japanese accent. A little! A little little!

All in all, I think developing a good accent is worth the effort, even if it makes people think you know more than you do. The alternative—a thick, non-native accent—will get you in much more trouble. People with strong foreign accents are frequently treated as less adept at the language and less intelligent as a person than they are. And even if this is unfair, it is understandable. To try to relieve this discomfort, you may start speaking louder, using simpler words, switching to their language if you can , or avoiding the person altogether.

My father inexplicably develops an exaggerated Spanish accent whenever he orders Chinese food: This phenomenon can screw up your language learning. You currently speak the most common language on earth.

We just care about pronunciation—we have to; no one will pay us for bad German—so we take the time to do it right: Half of a good accent is simply a matter of timing. We learn to parrot words accurately before we have any idea what they mean, so that we can get onto a stage without embarrassing ourselves.

You should do the same. If you wait until later to work on your accent, you will have butchered every word in your vocabulary hundreds or thousands of times. If, instead, you work on your accent early, then you will tend to pronounce all of your new words correctly. First the bad news: Eventually, you will find two voices in your head—an old, crummy one, and a new, awesome one. So how do you learn to pronounce new sounds? We simply know that the sounds we make are created by the movements of muscles in our mouths.

We pick up an awareness of the everyday movements of our tongues and lips, and we combine them in a few new ways. Perhaps you meant Fondue?

Oh, now I understand! You need to know what your mouth is actually doing whenever you open it. Watch them. The phonetic alphabet they developed does two awesome things: In IPA, there is only one, always: Ridiculous English Spelling: This is super useful. When I began Hungarian, I looked up the sounds of that language on Wikipedia. The IPA symbols themselves spell it out for me, and they can do it for you, too. There are two barriers in the way: In general, you only need three pieces of information to make any sound: Your vocal cords go on and off.

The rest of the IPA focuses upon the location and behavior of your tongue. Now what? Go backward. Say the end of the word, and then add one letter at a time until you can say the whole thing. It manages to string together four consonants in a row before reaching its first vowel.

Tongue Tricks Back-chaining is, incidentally, the cheat code for tongue twisters. You can use it to combine words in the same way you would use it for letters. For a real challenge, enjoy this Czech classic: By going backward, you practice the end of the word every time you add a letter.

Pdf fluent forever

This makes it easier and easier to finish the word correctly and automatically. A good accent can make the difference between a conversation that starts in French and ends in English, and a full conversation in French. It plane lee marks four my revue Miss steaks aye can knot sea. Eye ran this poem threw it, Your sure reel glad two no. My checker tolled me sew… —Jerrold H.

But how do you know which sounds to produce? Somehow, you have to connect the writing system of your language to your mouth and ears. Now wait a second. What if you only want to speak? Kids learn languages without first learning to read.

Kids learn languages by listening and watching adults for thousands upon thousands of hours. Adults do this for free for their own kids, but those same adults will tend to charge you a lot of money. The written word, on the other hand, is plentiful and free. Even if you never intend to read a book in French, you can get a thousand illustrated examples of every word in your language from Google Images. This is too good a resource to ignore. The problem with written resources is the danger of broken words—our Dekart and Descartes—and this is the problem we must overcome.

This challenge is different in every language, because every language shows a different degree of correspondence between its spelling and pronunciation. English is one of the worst offenders when it comes to our spelling system—it is legendary for its wackiness—but even English operates under a large set of dependable rules, which is why you can predict the pronunciation of fake words like ghight, phime, and moughtation.

Every language has its patterns, and we make our job much easier if we can get those patterns into our heads. There is only one prerequisite to learning a new pattern: We can do this in many ways—we could listen to recordings of every new word we read, for example—but the best way to do this involves a phonetic alphabet.

Sound Clues in Chinese More than 80 percent of Chinese words contain phonetic clues. Chinese characters also can hint at their own meaning: Our eyes are a powerful source of input. I once showed a friend one of my digital flash cards for French. It had a picture of a cat with the word chat underneath, and it played a recording of the word. This problem vanishes as soon as I teach them a phonetic alphabet.

When I learn a language, I tend to use a combination of recordings and a phonetic alphabet, at least until the little French man in my head starts sounding very French. Then I stop with the recordings and rely on my phonetic alphabet.

Do you need to learn a new phonetic alphabet? Not really, especially if your language has relatively simple and strict spelling rules, like Spanish or Hungarian. You can rely upon recordings instead. But even for those languages, a phonetic alphabet can make your job easier in two ways: Because of the quirky nature of memory, this makes your task easier. More Is Less: The Learning Paradox On the surface, it seems you have a lot to do.

Just r Symbol in IPA: Upside-down R: Tongue position from Appendix 4: You let your uvula flap up and down rapidly against your tongue. Vocal cords from Appendix 4: Buzzing ue Symbol in IPA: What the hell? This phenomenon shows up in every subject. As a kid, I loved math. It had this neat quality, because everything was connected. That pattern changes and becomes more subtle and nuanced with every little fact you learn.

Soon you begin to see the connections between multiplication and division, and multiplication and exponents, and multiplication and fractions. Eventually, your giant floating pattern of multiplication becomes part of a bigger floating pattern—a universe of math.

As long as I could connect every new thing I learned to this universe, I had an easy time with math. They were trying to memorize equations, but no one had successfully shown them how those equations connect with everything they had already learned. They were doomed. At some point along their path, their interconnected math universe had shattered into fragments, and they were trying to learn each piece in isolation—an extremely difficult proposition.

Who could possibly remember the formula for the volume of a hexagonal prism? It was so much easier if you could see how all the pieces interrelated—how multiplication connected with the area of rectangles, how the area of rectangles connected with triangles and trapezoids, and how the volume of prisms connected back with multiplication.

Math can be hard for the same reason that languages can be hard. Every time we can connect two memories, we strengthen both of them—neurons that fire together wire together. Naturally, there are limits. There is an art to building memories; it takes balance. How can you determine where more is less and where more is just more? The key is relevance. If not, then not. On the other hand, if a sound seems foreign and difficult, then go nuts. Learn everything. Learn its spellings, its behavior in your mouth, its relationship to the other sounds you already know.

See how your textbook or dictionary notates it. Find some example words. Do whatever you can; the more you do, the less work it will be. Create flash cards to memorize every spelling pattern you need. But work is too strong a word. Sound is the way we connect our thoughts to our bodies. We see an eagle in the sky, we turn to a companion, and our tongue flies up and forward, our lips fly open, and our vocal cords engage. There are two basic paths through pronunciation: The standard route uses published resources: If your grammar book comes with recordings, it likely contains a series of pronunciation lessons scattered through the book.

Ignore all the vocabulary and grammar in your book and jump to each pronunciation section. If your grammar book is text only, then consider buying a dedicated pronunciation book with CD and working through it from cover to cover.

If you need help remembering a given sound or spelling, then you can pick and choose whichever flash cards you need from the Gallery. These trainers are cheaper than a pronunciation guidebook, and they should do a much better and faster job than the standard route. Some textbooks begin with a detailed chapter devoted to the alphabet, spelling, and sounds, with CDs brimming with individual phonemes, minimal pairs, example words, and example sentences. Free, native-speaker recordings of more than 2 million words in three hundred languages.

Once you start making flash cards, Forvo will become your best friend. A Hint for Rhinospike Your request for a recording will be done more quickly if you record something in English for someone else.

Rhinospike is a handy website for native-speaker recordings. You submit a text and someone will record it for you, usually within twenty-four to forty- eight hours.

Go watch these. They take you on a tour of your mouth and the IPA. They make pronunciation understandable, and they give you access to one of the most powerful pronunciation tools available, the IPA. You can copy all of its example words for each sound, and you can use it with Appendix 4 to get mouth instructions for any weird sound in your target language.

Wiktionary is turning into a great resource for many languages, with pronunciation entries in IPA for many words. Each language has several online dictionaries, some of which are excellent. I have the best ones linked on my website. These courses are old and some of them are extraordinarily boring, but many contain excellent recordings.

COM can get you in touch with native speakers, who will talk with you or train you for very small amounts of money or in exchange for an equal amount of time speaking in English. You can spend an hour going through words with them and asking them to correct your pronunciation, which can help immensely. The best of these will include minimal pair tests. For the Intermediates Some intermediate language learners get lucky. They studied with teachers who stressed excellent pronunciation habits and, as such, built a solid foundation.

Then you can pick and choose the tools that you need. If you can hear the sounds, but you have trouble producing them, then play around in Appendix 4 or get a tutor on italki. Any effort you put in now will speed up your progress for the rest of your journey.

Or boy. This reputation may be unfair nowadays. Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination. They have a different word for everything.


We point to a fuzzy animal and name it. And so a word begins. But this is just a fragment of the story. We want to speak our minds without thinking about grammar or translations, and the key to this ability lies beneath the surface of every word.

There, if we learn how to listen, we will hear a quiet symphony. Words are, after all, our communal brain. It is an impossible thing, a word. The grammar provides the lowest notes: Sound and spelling are playing too, naturally. Beyond twenty or so dog definitions, there is a multitude of kindred words.

Your dog might yip, or bark, or save Timmy from the well. Because translations strip the music out of words. When I was in Russian school, we watched a movie where the protagonist got drunk, forgot his shotgun, and got eaten by sobakas.

In Russian, sobakas leave behind empty, tooth- marked boots. Where are the alternate meanings of the word? Where are the kindred words that bring sobaka to life in your mind and mouth? How can you know where to start? Not all words are created equal; we use certain words far more often than others. English has at least a quarter of a million words. We get a lot of mileage out of our most frequent words. Why not learn mother first and niece later?

These are the words of our lives. Why not learn them first? Enter the word frequency list. Researchers take a giant mass of text—millions of words from TV scripts, novels, newspapers, the Internet, news broadcasts, academic papers, and magazines—and jam it all into a computer. The computer counts the words and spits out gold: I showed up to a Russian immersion program with the top thousand words in my head.

In the entrance exam, I responded to two essay questions: Question 1: What will you buy? Make a shopping list. Lots of meat. Chicken, beef, and pork! All types of meat. And … beer! Also, many bottles of wine! Oh yes, in addition, we shall have bread with cheese! They placed me in the advanced class.

Within a few weeks, I picked up the vocabulary I was missing. My shopping lists are significantly longer now. As such, you can learn these words with pictures alone. So how shall we begin? Unfortunately, these lists can be cumbersome. These words are practical, easy to visualize, and quick to translate— words like dog, school, car, and city. Back then, you asked your parents about new words: This makes the rest of your new language much easier to learn. Learn those first. These words are easy to visualize, and so you can learn them with pictures instead of translations.

This will give you the foundation you need to easily learn abstract words and grammar in the next two chapters. In Chapter 2, we talked about our mental filters, and how they save us from information overload. Use Small Dictionaries Lonely Planet Phrasebooks and glossaries at the end of grammar books are great resources, because they only contain the most basic words.

The first will show you what your words really mean, and the second will connect that meaning to your own life. Here, fun is serious business. If you get bored, your mental filters will turn on, and all of your precious work will leak out of your ears.

You can look up the spelling of each of your words in a dictionary or the glossary section of a grammar book, and you can usually find pronunciation information in the same place, supplemented by recordings at Forvo. Next comes meaning. Game 1—The Spot the Differences Game: Finding Meaning Through Google Images In the beginning of this chapter, we talked about the limitations of translation—how translation strips words of their music.

Google Images. You may have used it already. You go to images. This is a fine use of time but not extremely interesting. You can do better, by searching for your words in your target language. Every image will now show up with its corresponding caption. These images come from websites in your target language, and so they can tell you precisely how a word is used. But Google Images will tell you a much more nuanced and weird story.

Nearly every devushka on Google Images is a close-up chest shot of an eighteen-year-old girl in a bikini. The game is a lot of fun; the Internet is full of weird, funny pictures in all sorts of languages.

Take ten to twenty seconds to play and then move on to the next word—before you get sucked in for an hour! I suspect stick figure devushkas wear stick bikinis.

Game 2—The Memory Game: Somewhere in your head, you store every image you see. In the process of searching for your images, you create a unique, memorable experience for every word in your vocabulary, and your flash cards will serve as reminders of your personal Spot the Differences game.

You can make your word memories even more distinct by adding a personal connection. Which chat cat comes to your mind first? I want to talk like a lady in a flower shop. Your little orchestra is starting to play, and it sounds pretty good.

Are you done? In English, we treat most of our nouns equally.

Fluent Forever How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It(Sample)

Modern English still contains a similar sort of madness. Germans frequently talk about an information or informations without causing confusion. I try imagery: We think of information like a big ocean, and we take out a bit and tell it to each other. A luggage is metaphorical, too? It is a living history of our desire to make sense of our words. Gender was a prominent feature of Proto-Indo-European, a language spoken in the fourth millennium BCE by a nomadic tribe living in southwestern Russia.

Their language gave birth to most of the languages spoken in Europe, the Americas, Russia, and the Indian Subcontinent.

These are two sides of the same coin; we just love making groups, sensible or not. To quote Mark Twain: Wilhelm, where is the turnip? She has gone to the kitchen. Where is the accomplished and beautiful English maiden? It has gone to the opera. You do need to memorize it.

Game 3—The Mnemonic Imagery Game: The inventor of the language probably got what he knew about a conscience from hearsay. You might be able to memorize these by rote repetition, but not for more than a few minutes. I want you to imagine all of the masculine nouns exploding.

Your tree? Kaboom, splinters of wood everywhere. A branch gets embedded in the wall behind you. Dog chunks splatter all over the ceiling and floors. You wipe bits of fur and gore from your forehead. Make your images as vivid as you can stomach. Feminine nouns should catch fire. Your nose spews fire out of it like a dragon, a flaming cat sets fire to your bedroom.

Feel the heat of each image; the more senses you can involve, the better. Neuter items should shatter like glass. Jagged, brown-red, sparkling shards of horse spread across the floor, as does your broken heart sniff. Take a moment to imagine the remaining images yourself: No, really.

Go back and do this. See how many of these images stick.

Not so bad, eh? Mnemonic images work for reasons you might already surmise: Make your images as vivid and multisensory as you can. You can even make images for spelling—if ch is for chat cat , then that cat can ride on top of your cheval horse. I use this game for all sorts of nasty things: Until then, make a few images and try it out. The Connections: These are the special pieces of a word that allow us to imagine an image—a unicorn, for example—and send that image to another person.

While your new words may not line up perfectly with their English translations, they will line up with your own experiences. We need to bring out these memories and remember when they happened, how we felt, what we heard, and what we saw. Right from the beginning, your masculine nouns should be different from your feminine nouns, and you can create those differences with vivid mnemonic imagery. Every one of these connections will make your words easier to remember and easier to use in the future.

Any flash cards you create will be a dim reminder of the colorful mass of memories you assemble. Appendix 5 is a list of English words that show up frequently in every language: Go to Fluent-Forever.

Listen to them, particularly in the beginning, when your connections between sound and spelling are still wobbly. Find your word in Google Images. You have a couple options here, the first of which is easy to use and great , and the second of which takes a bit of initial setup but is awesome.

Use number two! Option 1 Basic Version: When you go directly to images. Search for a word any word. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page. Click it. Alternatively, just go to TinyURL. Option 2 Basic Version, Automatically Translated: What if all of those little captions were machine translated into English? You can stick this page into Google Translate. To determine when translation will help you and when it will hurt you, you can use this rule of thumb: Suppose you were learning the French word jolie pretty, cute.

When you run into problems, you have two options. Move on. A word of warning: Limit yourself to twenty seconds per word maybe thirty, if you must.

Once you have some grammar under your belt, then you can really delve into Russian memes and the like, but for now, you have some vocabulary to learn! Use them whenever you have trouble finding a good memory for a new word. When you do, ask yourself about your new word rather than its English translation.

Concrete Nouns: Abstract Nouns: Am I timide timid? If not, do I know someone who is? Do I like to courir run? Do I know someone else who does?

Answer one of these questions and write down a little reminder for yourself on the back of your flash cards. If it does, open your grammar book, find the introductory discussion on gender, and read it. Create a mnemonic image for each gender you need. They can be anything. I like to use relatively violent verbs for noun genders; my nouns rarely survive shattering, exploding, melting, burning, or cracking. Sexual verbs are classic choices.

To quote Joshua Foer in Moonwalking with Einstein: When forming images, it helps to have a dirty mind. Evolution has programmed our brains to find two things particularly interesting, and therefore memorable: You might prefer swing dancing flowers and noses or singing shopping bags.

A burning tennis ball may prove easier to imagine than a burning year, but both are possible and a burning year is still much easier to remember than a masculine year.

Turn to Appendix 5, get your word list ready, and then start creating flash cards. For the Intermediates You probably know many of the words in Appendix 5. Go through the list and separate the words into three categories: Words you know: Words you kind of know: New words: Skip all the words in category 1. For words in category 2, use the Refresher Track in the Gallery. It will help you dust off your old memories without taking too much of your time.

For words in category 3, follow the instructions in the Gallery as if you were a beginner. If you added some dramatic pauses, a glass of wine, and a good French accent dormir … manger … travailler… , you could probably be mistaken for a French philosopher or poet in the right setting. I hamburger eat! You fast give! Enter grammar. At the end of this journey, you will possess the ability to think in a new language and weave stories in a completely new way.

Genius is nothing more nor less than childhood recaptured at will. Most people think of the latter when they hear the word grammar: Our ban on prepositions at the end of sentences, for example, is a recent import from Latin, of all places. The written language is, in fact, our first foreign language—a dialect of our native tongue that each of us learns with varying degrees of success.

Children are ridiculously good at learning grammar. You can test this yourself, if you have access to some kids and some puppets. Show any group of three-to-five-year-old, English-speaking kids a monster puppet, and tell them that this monster likes to eat mud. They will tell you that your puppet is a mud-eater. This is the sort of annoying, esoteric rule that gives my English students nightmares, and yet every illiterate, English-speaking kid learns it perfectly.

So how do they do this? The only input that seems to matter is input that kids can understand. In linguistic circles, this is known as comprehensible input. The basic idea is this: Physical objects, body language, and interaction all serve as a sort of universal translator that helps kids make sense of their first words; it turns these words into comprehensible input.

At least until we make TVs that can bake and serve cookies, the only way to teach a kid a new language is by finding a real person to speak with them in that language. If you ask linguists how kids do this, most of them will tell you about a language-learning machine hidden within the brain of every child.

Every kid can take in sentences from their parents, chew them up, and automatically spit out perfect grammar by their sixth birthdays. Principle 4: Music and All 5: Sentence Play The Power of Input: Your Language Machine Simplify. Stab Beginnings Cheaters Occasionally Prosper: Do This Now: The Path Forward 2: Five Principles to End Forgetting Principle 1: Make Memories More Memorable Principle 2: Maximize Laziness Principle 3: On Arnold Schwarzenegger and Exploding Dogs: Mnemonics for Grammar The Power of Output: Learn Your First Sentences 6: The Language Game Setting Goals: Explore Your Language 7: Specific Language Resources Appendix 2: Language Difficulty Estimates Appendix 3: Spaced Repetition System Resources Appendix 4: Your First Words Appendix 6: Flag for inappropriate content.

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