I reassumed my language studies about 3 years ago when I was accidentally hit on the head by a book called ‘Fluent in 3 months‘ by Benny Lewis. At the time I was trying to reach for a French phrase book to brush up on my skills before a trip to Paris. Instead, I accidentally knocked this book off the shelf. I bought it in case I had damaged it, plus people were staring and I did the whole “yes, this is the book I wanted” speech. I am not sure if it was a concussion or the book itself, but a spark was initiated that day that still remains to this day! Thanks for that Benny. So far I have applied this method to brush up on my French, learn Mandarin and Spanish. Now, I intend to learn German from scratch to conversational level in just 3 months!
Just to note I am affiliated with Amazon, but I am not affiliated with this book or Fluent in 3 Months (apart from the large scar on my head, just joking) and Benny is not even aware I was going to review it – “SURPRISE BENNY!“. All opinions are my own.
So What is Fluent in 3 Months (Fi3M)?
Benny had a lot of people to thank at the beginning of his book, but once I finally made it to the introduction I was deeply inspired by his story and it initiated an ancient passion I wasn’t even aware of for languages.
In Benny’s words…
“Language internet sensation, Benny the Irish Polyglot. Can speak a dozen languages thanks to a change in mindset and approach. Benny will help you on your path to fluency via his pro-active communicative techniques”.
In my eyes…
“A very modest Benny, lol informs you that in order to learn a language you actually have to speak it! As comical as that sounds he is right! As students or independent language learners many of us shut ourselves away, pick up a grammar book and wonder why we still can’t have a conversation with a native speaker after years of studying! This method has helped me to have basic conversations with native Spanish and Mandarin speakers within 2-3 months.”
What Does it Cost?
The book can vary in price I paid £9.99 for it, but it is available on Amazon for about £7.00. There is also additional premium online content that currently costs $97.
How I used it…
I read it (obviously), took notes and then made a plan to have a basic 10-15 minute conversation with a native speaker within 3 months. I managed to achieve this in 2 and a half months and the conversation was over 20 minutes! How I managed this was I thought about what I talk about in general conversations and then learned the relevant vocabulary. Writing my mission on the Fi3M forum really helped to hold me accountable for my learning.
What Languages are on Offer?
The book is about learning how to learn languages, but most language groups are mentioned.
A Matter of Fluency
What Fluency is can be a matter of opinion, however, The Oxford dictionary describes it as:
“The ability to speak or write a foreign language easily and accurately /The ability to express oneself easily and articulately.” – Oxford Dictionary Online
Personally, I feel that fluency is about being able to get your point across and understanding/being understood in a wide range of different situations. English, is my native language but I wouldn’t even consider myself completely fluent as there are still words I have to look up or check my understanding of and as for my English grammar – my grammar in Mandarin is better!
The Conversational Approach
I am aware that not everyone is a fan of the speaking from day 1 approach, but to me, it makes perfect sense. A baby wouldn’t grab a grammar book and sit alone in a room reading it! A baby learns from repetition, repeat, trial, and error.
I like to learn some key basics in the languages that I learn, such as “What does X mean?” or “how do you say X in X?”. Therefore I really am speaking from day 1.
Pros and Cons
- The book includes links to a forum, blog, audio links and official website making it very interactive and fantastic value for money. There is also an option to upgrade to Fi3M Pro that includes additional resources in a wide range of languages.
- Benny is very motivating, inspiring and humorous in his approach to learning languages.
- Language learning on steroids! Access to immersion kits and sentence connectors really does help to kick start your language learning so you get speaking it faster!
- If you really feel this method isn’t for you then it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- I personally love this method, but I do understand it is not for everyone. For me, it has worked really well, but it all depends on your learning style and level of confidence. Some people prefer to study languages in isolation with a grammar book and audio kit – if that works for you so be it.
- Fluent in 3 Months is a catchy title, but a misleading one. I would suggest ‘Conversational in 3 Months‘, but that isn’t as catchy. This book (and the additional online features) have really helped me to have basic conversations within 3 months with native speakers.
If you need to learn the basics of a language fast or need a motivational boost I would highly recommend this book. If you follow the advice you too might become conversational within 3 months. I love this book and still regularly refer to it. Benny is straight to the point and hilarious. It is certainly a thumbs up from me!
For more information or to purchase the book visit: Fluent in 3 Months (affiliated Amazon link).
Other products from Benny Lewis is the awesome Language Hacking series with integrated online content and audio features.
Language Hacking – German
Language Hacking – Italian
Language Hacking – Spanish
Language Hacking – French
Have you read Fluent in 3 Months? What are your thoughts?
Let me know what you think of in the comments section: