Preface from Tim
Back in 2012, Gabriel Wyner wrote an article for Lifehacker detailing how he learned French in 5 months and Russian in 10, using mostly spare time on the subway. That article went viral.
But don’t run off! That was nothing but version 1.0. This post gives you version 2.0 and more.
He’s spent the last two years refining his methods and putting them on steroids. Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired, was the one who told me, “You have to check this guy out. His new book is amazing.” Keep in mind that I’d previously told Kevin that I thought most books on language learning were garbage. I took his endorsement seriously, and I wasn’t disappointed.
This post gives you Gabe’s new blueprint for rapid language learning:
- A revised and updated version of his original post
- New techniques from the last two years of experimentation
- How he learned 6 languages in just a handful of years
- Tips and tricks you won’t find anywhere else
The “and never forget it” in the headline was Gabe’s idea. Read the article and let me know what you think. Is it possible? I, for one, hope it is.
And speaking as someone who’s studied 10+ languages as an adult, I can tell you: you’re much better at learning languages than you think.
Enter Gabriel — An overview of what this is and why it works
Two Foreign Words
Let’s compare two experiences. Here’s the first one: you come into a language class, and your (Hungarian) teacher writes the following on the board:
Kitchen cabinet – konyhaszekrény
She tells you that this is going to be on your vocab quiz next week, along with forty other words you don’t care much about.
Experience two: You and your most adventurous friend are sitting in a bar, somewhere in Scandinavia. The bartender is a grey-bearded Viking, who places three empty shot glasses in front of you in a line. From behind the counter, he pulls out a bottle labeled Moktor and pours a viscous, green liquid into the three glasses. He then grabs a jar and unscrews the lid. It’s full of something that looks and smells disturbingly like slimy, decaying baby fish, which he spoons into each shot glass. He then pulls out a silver cigarette lighter and lights the three shots on fire.
“This – Moktor,” he says, picking up one of the glasses. The locals in the bar turn towards you and your friend. “Moktor! Moktor! Moktor!” they all begin to shout, laughing, as the bartender blows out the flame on his shot glass and downs the drink. Your friend – your jackass friend – picks up his glass, screams “Moktor!” and does the same. The crowd goes wild, and you, after giving your friend a nasty look, pick up your glass and follow suit.
As a result of this experience, you are going to remember the word “Moktor” forever, and if you still remember the Hungarian word for kitchen cabinet, you’re likely going to forget it within a few minutes.
Let’s talk about why this hap