Update: The Language Hacking Guide is no longer available.
Who doesn’t want to speak another language?
We English speakers are generally rubbish at learning languages –while Europeans (and Asians and Africans) often speak three, four or more languages we struggle with simply ordering a coffee in Paris.
Why is this?
There are many reasons – It’s hard to learn a language. We don’t have the time. We can’t afford a teacher or a language course. We have no one to practice with. Everyone in the world speaks English anyway.
The Language Hacking Guide shows you why all of these excuses are just that – excuses. It gives you all the advice and resources you need to stop procrastinating and start speaking.
The guide has been created by Benny Lewis, an Irish polyglot who writes the Fluent in 3 Months blog. We’ve featured Benny on Never Ending Voyage a number of times as we are huge fans of his language learning tips, so we are very excited to see the release of this guide.
We’ve been inspired by his ambitious missions to learn a new language every three months and his positive attitude to language learning – he believes that everyone has the ability to learn a language and it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Like many people, Benny barely passed his language exams at school, and certainly wasn’t able to hold a conversation in a real life situation. It wasn’t until his early twenties that he discovered some unconventional approaches to language learning and can now speak eight languages. In this guide he shares his techniques so that anyone can start communicating with natives in any language from the first day, and reach fluency in a matter of months.
What does the guide include?
The first part of the guide focuses on your mentality. The thing that has struck us most about Benny´s blog is his unrelentingly positive attitude. This seems to be the key to successful language learning, and it fact applies to anything new you try in life.
Benny talks about the need for a strong motivation to learn a language and how important it is to focus on the positives – there are no difficult languages, there are just different languages.
Another barrier can be an unwillingness to make mistakes but we need to accept that making mistakes is vital for the learning process. We agree with Benny´s view that there is no such thing as natural talent – anyone who can speak one language can learn another and saying that you aren’t talented in languages is just another excuse.
After leaving us in a positive frame of mind the guide moves on to more practical steps – coming up with a plan of action with some well defined targets and goals. Throughout the guide worksheets are provided to help you put the ideas into action – starting now!
The main focus of the eBook is on speaking a language with a whole section dedicated to communicating from day one. How do you start speaking before you know anything? Benny shares his tips and his belief that the best way to learn a language is immersion – ideally stopping speaking your native language completely.
This is a pretty scary idea especially when you are a beginner, but doing this was the turning point in Benny´s language learning success and he gives some great advice on how it is possible.
Throughout the guide he shares his unconventional ideas of how to learn a language – from hosting couchsurfers in your home and speaking from day one to giving up your native language entirely.
The final section suggests recommended learning resources including ideas for remembering vocabulary, finding time to study, finding native speakers to practice with and plenty of free resources to help you progress.
Why should you buy it?
The Language Hacking Guide is packed full of so many useful ideas for learning a language that you are bound to find some that resonate with you. One of its strengths is Benny’s relentless enthusiasm – his passion for languages is inspiring and after reading the book we felt very enthused to implement the techniques and take our Spanish learning to the next level. Benny´s personality shines through – the guide is conversational in tone, easy to understand and entertaining.
In fact, one of the biggest motivators I felt after reading the guide was the sense that Benny is always with you. He’s like a good angel on my shoulder reminding me not to speak English, to stay positive, to spend more time studying, to be brave and talk to that stranger. His story is so inspiring and he is so passionate about helping others to learn languages that you feel like you don’t want to let him down.
So who is this guide for?
This guide isn’t going to be for everyone. If you’re just vaguely interested in learning a language but don’t really want to commit to making it happen, then this guide won’t help.
If you’re happy to just muddle through your trips abroad without actually making any local connections beyond ‘Can I have the bill please?’, then you can probably live without it.
However, if you really want to learn a language but have always struggled to make any real progress, then The Language Hacking Guide will be incredibly useful. If your travel dreams include getting a deeper connection to the countries you’re visiting, like ours do, then this guide will help make that a reality.
Make no mistake, some of these things will push you out of your comfort zone and Benny makes no apology for this, but since when has doing anything worthwhile and rewarding been easy?
The Language Hacking Guide costs €67 for the English only version or €75 with 23 translations into different languages. Both versions include a 32,000 word (almost 200 page) eBook (as PDF, ePub and Mobi formats), the entire book read as an audio book, 6 worksheets and 3 hours of audio interviews with other polyglots sharing their secrets to success. They also include access to Benny’s video course Speak From Day 1 where you can see his techniques put into practice. As of January 2012 there are eight videos in the series but new videos will be added free of additional charge.
The price may go up in the future when even more content is added so take advantage of this price now and receive the updates for free. This is much less than you pay for many language courses and will save you money in the long run.
We tried out many of the techniques in the guide on our Language Hacking 7 Day Challenge. We implemented as much of the advice as we could (including stopping speaking English!) and reported back on how we got on.
Are you looking for Christmas gift ideas? See our guide to the 50 Best Gifts for Travelers. They are ideal for travel lovers who want to pack light and include something for every budget.