Trisha Tests: Fluent in 3 Months

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 Pros 

  • 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.

The Cons

  • 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.

The Verdict

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: 

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Positively Productive Project

Interlinear Book Review: Reading Between the Lines…literally

I recently had an exciting opportunity to check out Interlinear Books! I gladly accepted on the basis that I could read one of their amazing new books. *Please note I am not affiliated with Interlinear Books in any way. This is an impartial review by a language learner for language learners designed to help you make a more informed decision before you make purchases.

 

So what are Interlinear Books all about?

In their own words…

Interlinear are bilingual books that include the original and an English translation below in a smaller font. Interlinear gets you reading fascinating literature in foreign languages – subtitles for books

In my eyes…

“I love foreign literature, but sometimes especially if you are new to a language having a dictionary to hand can be time consuming and the story can get lost in translation. This is were Interlinear Books step in. They have taken the term ‘reading between the lines’ literally providing classic books, but with the English translations in smaller print below should you require it.”

What does it cost?  

Books can vary in price depending on length and complexity of the translation of the text.  The books start from around $12.99 – $29.99. In addition to the paid books, there are also shorter free texts available from their library.

How I used it…

 

I read “The Colloquy of the Dogs by Miguel de Cervantes as part of my 10,000 words a day challenge. I was able to learn new vocabulary by reading interesting literature and did not have to spend time looking up words from a dictionary that I didn’t understand. This meant I didn’t lose the storyline.

What languages are on offer?

Currently, the books are in French, Spanish, German, Greek, Portuguese, Russian, Lithuanian and Swedish!

Translation includes:Capture1

  • Approximately 170 standard-book pages of text for “The Colloquy of the Dogs
  • Over 20 thousand translated words.
  • The original text with aligned Interlinear translations – allows you to understand and learn Cervantes’ vocabulary.
  • Printable/electronically readable PDF and EPUB files
  • A link to download the audiobook!

Translation methodology

In their own words Interlinear translations say that they attempt to translate words one by one and literally. However, there is an exception to this rule: where a literal translation would impair understanding. If it would, understanding is prioritized.

For example, the usual translation of the sentence above would be “Two thieves stole a very good horse in Antiquerra.” Yet, we have translated it completely literally, as we think that such a literal translation is still understandable, especially since the reader is supposed to have at least some prior knowledge of how Spanish works:

 

Interlinear translation - the dog followed not after him

But try reading this translation if it were literal:
literal Interlinear translation from Spanish

As you can see, in such cases, if translated literally, understanding would suffer. Thus we have chosen a more understandable translation:
not exactly literal Interlinear translation from Spanish

In summary, we have made our translations to be literal, even if slightly clumsy. Unless such clumsiness hinders understanding, in which case we have opted for understanding.

Pros and Cons

The Pros 

  • Save time on searching through a dictionary.
  • Clear, well spaced and easy to read the text.
  • Available in different electronic formats, i.e. PDF and EPUB.
  • The translation is of high quality.
  • Good classic books to choose from.
  • Link to an audio version of the books.
  • Printable.

The Cons

  • Limited selection of books at the moment, but I do not doubt that the product selection will continue to increase over time.
  • The books are not for complete beginners as you are required to have a basic understanding of how your target language works.
  • More electronic formats such as Kindle?
  • Printing off the books could be costly for some.
  • Currently only available as an eBook, it would be great to have printed books too!
  • Lazy behaviors could develop due to the translations being directly below words in the target language! It’s easy to gaze down more often than necessary instead of using your own understanding of the vocabulary!
  • For approximately 200 pages of an eBook $29.99 may seem a little pricey for some.

The Verdict

 

I felt that the products from Interlinear books are of very high quality and fantastic for A2 and above levels in languages. It isn’t suitable to learn languages on its own, but it makes an excellent addition to a language learning routine.

For more information or to purchase a book check out Interlinear Book OR for the latest news visit their blog Interlinear Books Blog.

Have you read an Interlinear Book? OR Are you going to purchase one?

Let me know what your views in the comments section below.

Multilingual Puzzle Books

 


Erik Zidowecki

Scriveremo Publishing

No one said learning a language had to be boring!

Learning vocabulary can be a long and tiresome process. Add some fun to it with multilingual puzzle books. Spend several enjoyable hours finding the words in each grid and the new vocabulary will slip easily into your brain!

To learn more about these books and to order check out the main website here: http://www.scriveremo.com