Benny Lewis

Do I NEED to speak from day one?

29 May 2012

This is topic widely discussed and disagreed upon in the language learning community. One of biggest advocates of speaking immediately is Benny Lewis, author of the Fluent in 3 Months blog and creator of the Speak From Day 1 video course.

In the FAQ for that product, he writes: (some emphasis added)

Rather than read through the guide and watch all the videos to find out my one major 'secret', I can tell you right now: you need to speak the language immediately.

No years of studying grammar, no expensive and complicated software, no "magic pill" to master a language while you sleep, you just need to speak it. Speak it regularly, speak it confidently, and speak it immediately. The more you speak, the quicker you will improve.

Now, I'm a BIG fan of Benny. He recently gave me the amazing opportunity to write a guest post on his blog.

But in this particular point, I disagree. I don't think you NEED to speak from day one.

Read more to find out why!

Language learning guide?

24 Jan 2012
Man looking at a guide book
Just follow the guide to Language-ville! Photo by Kevin Jaako.

I receive a lot of emails and comments asking me for advice on language learning. I respond to all of them, so when I notice that I've answered the same question a lot, I try to write an article about it on my blog.

That way, when someone asks me that question again, I can point them to a well-polished article, instead of having to come up with a completely new explanation in the 5 minutes I have to respond to their email.

The article I wrote a couple weeks ago about the importance of listening is one example. However, I got some really great questions in the comments which helped me realize that I left out a very important piece: how to listen, when you don't yet speak the language very well.

Eventually, this will end up becoming a new article.

But wouldn't it be great if I could just have a page somewhere that includes all of my thoughts about listening? As new questions or ideas come up, I could continue to refine it.

This got me thinking that maybe I should be compiling a language learning guide, that covers my opinions about how to learn a language effectively, lots of tips, and the basics of my method.

Read more for my thoughts and let me know what you think!

How long does it take to learn a foreign language?

7 Jun 2011
Guys sprinting
These guys are fast! Photo by Ken Slade

I receive a lot of emails asking for advice on how to learn a language fast.

But how fast is fast? Two years? One year? 90 days? There are even products that claim they allow you to learn a language in just 30 days.

So, how long does it really take to learn a language?

Read more for my opinion!

Immersion tips: How to meet natives

22 Feb 2011
Woman diving underwater
Dive into the culture! Photo by Elena Lagaria

We've all heard stories about someone going to a foreign country for a year and coming back able to speak the language "fluently." (I don't like that word, read this article to find out why.)

But immersion in a foreign country doesn't mean you'll automatically learn the language!

I've heard many more complaints from people living abroad who, despite being surrounded by the language everyday, don't seem to learn it. One problem is that they end up speaking their native language most of the time, rather than meeting new people and engaging them in real conversation in the language they are learning.

So, how can you meet new people in a foreign country and get the most out of your immersion experience? Read more for tips!

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