Book summary of “Fluent Forever“: a practical, hands-on method based on brain function that enables one to learn any language effectively in 6 months while spending no more than an hour a day.
By Gabriel Wyner, 336 pages, published in 2014.
Note: This article was written by Romain, from the blog ‘Parlons Plusieurs Langues’ [‘Let’s Speak Multiple Languages’]
Review and Summary of “Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It“
An engineer by trade, Gabriel Wyner was initially paid to, as he puts it, solve problems. Not being exactly naturally gifted with foreign languages, he initially failed at both Hebrew and Russian. Despite his high exam grades, Gabriel Wyner was unable to pick up Russian… so he concluded (as many do) that he must not be cut out for language learning.
It was his passion for singing that brought foreign languages back into his life. Gabriel Wyner, in fact, decided to become an opera singer. Talk about a change in career path!
His training as an opera singer included German, Italian, and French. Wyner learned German by immersion. He signed up for a two-month program at the Middlebury Language School in Vermont, USA, where he was required to sign a contract upon enrolment stipulating that… if he was caught using a language other than German — even once — he would be kicked out with no refund!
It was in this way that the author of Fluent Forever acquired a solid foundation in German. He returned to the same school the following year to perfect his command of German, before moving to Austria to pursue his passion for opera.
Wyner learned French by… cheating on a placement exam!
That’s right. The program he had signed up for to learn French required him to take a type of entry exam to determine his level, and so Wyner had the bright idea of cheating. Since he didn’t want to study in the beginners’ group, but in the “false beginners” group, he used the Internet (and in particular Google Traduction) to fill in a multiple-choice test and write an essay in French.
However, given his score on the test, he was placed in an intermediate-level group… forcing him to take an interview in French 3 months later (just before the start of the program to make sure he hadn’t cheated on the placement exam).
Wyner had 3 months to prepare for the interview. By this time, he was in Austria studying for a double university degree, which already kept him busy 6 days out of 7. His only free time was his hour-long daily subway ride to the university, and Sundays. Not much time to learn a language from scratch, is it?
So, Gabriel Wyner began poking around on the Internet in search of techniques for learning foreign languages as quickly as possible. He discovered various learning methods which he combined and experimented with, eventually creating HIS VERY OWN method.
It’s based on 3 key principles, which would become his commandments:
- Learn pronunciation first.
- Do not translate.
- Use spaced repetition.
By the time the fateful interview day arrived, Wyner had already learned 3,000 words and grammar concepts. After speaking French for the first time in his life with a native speaker, Wyner was ultimately placed in the advanced group!
Let’s briefly review the 3 commandments:
Learn pronunciation first
This rule came to him from his training as an opera singer (this method is also widely used by others, including the army and Mormon missionaries). This technique, linked to the fact that singers need to be able to sing the language they’re learning long before they have time to learn it, helps get the ear used to it while working on listening and learning vocabulary — all of which helps them to pick it up much more quickly.
Do not translate
This rule came directly from the language school that enabled him to speak German in less than 3 months. He believes that beginners should avoid translating words and phrases they don’t know. In fact, it’s an ESSENTIAL step if you want to learn to think in your target language and speak fluently. Indeed, associating a foreign word with a word in our mother tongue, corresponding to an object, takes longer than associating the foreign word directly with the object in question.
Use spaced repetition (or SRS for Spaced Repetition System)
The author of Fluent Forever found this method in various language learning blogs when he was desperate to learn French in 3 months. Spaced repetition is based on brain function, and in particular memory. It involves the use of flashcards.
For those unfamiliar with the word flashcard, this is a card, virtual or physical, on which a piece of information is written on the front and another on the back. The two pieces of information are linked in one way or another. For example, an image of an everyday object and the word for it in the target language.
It’s possible to use spaced repetition via smartphone applications (the Anki application continues to be a pioneer in this field) or thanks to a simple kit with self-created cards (see Leitner System).
In fact, I’ve written an entire article on spaced repetition, the practical application of which I’ve described in an article on how to learn vocabulary.
5 PRINCIPLES TO END FORGETTING
Remember more, in less time.
Principle number 1: Make your memories more memorable.
In our brains, each neuron is connected to an average of 7,000 other neurons, creating a dense network of 150,000 kilometers of nerve fibers. That’s right, each brain contains over 80 billion neurons. All these neuronal interconnections form memory. These connections make up a mechanical process: neurons that have been activated together stay connected together. This is Hebb’s rule. In layman’s terms, this principle helps us to understand how we create memories.
To illustrate this principle, Wyner uses the example of two words: cookie and mjöður.
For the author, the word cookie is unforgettable, as it reminds him of his childhood encounter with the word, which was [an explosion of meanings bound together in a tight web of neural connections.] And that’s all there is to it! By this, Wyner means sight, smell, and taste. But also, the sound of the word cookie and of milk flowing into the glass his father served him before he tasted his first cookie.
All these senses activated at the same time make the word cookie more memorable.
As for the word mjöður, no explosion of meaning… we don’t know what it means, let alone how to pronounce it (as it’s made up of two unknown letters between four familiar ones), which explains why this word [will be forgotten by the end of the next chapter, if not sooner]!
Why is this?
The difference between these two words lies in the levels of processing. They separate the memorable words from the “forgettable” ones, forming a large mnemonic filter.
There are 4 levels:
- Word structure
- Word sound
- Word concept
- Personal connection with the word
Identified by psychologists in the 1970s, they were tested with students using 4 questions:
- How many letters does the word BEAR consist of? (Structure)
- Does APPLE rhyme with the word ‘man’? (Sound)
- Is TOOL another word for instrument? (Concept)
- Do you like PIZZA? (Personal connection)
At the end of this study, it became clear that students remembered the word PIZZA (4th question) 6 times more than the word BEAR (1st question).
The reason is simple: to answer the first question, all you have to do is count the letters. No need to imagine a big, wild animal. Whereas for the fourth question, we automatically use the word structure to identify the word before us. At the same time, we hear the word “pizza” echoing in our heads (the sound) as we picture those hot slices of melted cheese (the concept). Finally, memories come flooding back (the personal connection), and we can answer the original question.
In a fraction of a second, a simple question activated all 4 levels of processing.
These levels of processing are more than just a biological quirk, they act as a filter that protects us from information overload (which we are bombarded with from television, social media, social interactions, etc.). Our brain uses these levels of processing to judge what is important, or what can be permanently forgotten.
What about vocabulary, and how do you get past this filter?
Words in a foreign language tend to fall into the “forgettable” category, because they don’t sound “business as usual,” don’t seem particularly comprehensible, and have no connection to our own lives.
So, to overcome this filter and make foreign words easier to remember, we need to take the following 3 steps:
- Learn how the language “sounds”
- Link these sounds to images
- Link these images to past experiences
Principle number 2: Maximize laziness.
Bad news: we’re programmed to forget.
We know from the father of experimental study of memory, Hermann Ebbinghaus, that after 20 minutes, we’ve already forgotten 40% of the information.
Worse: after a day, we’ve already forgotten 70%.
This process is highlighted by the forgetting curve. This curve drops drastically during the first few hours after learning something and then flattens out without ever reaching total oblivion.
So, what can be done? Work harder? Perhaps longer? At least, that’s what we were taught at school. The problem is, this method doesn’t work. Learning by heart is boring and, what’s worse, totally unproductive if you take into account the way long-term memory works.
Wyner tells us that it’s better to take a lazier approach. That is, study a concept until you can repeat it just once without rereading it, then stop.
[After all, the word lazy is just a synonym for the word efficient.]Gabriel Wyner, ”Fluent Forever”
Principle number 3: Don’t review, recall.
That’s right! Studies conducted once again on students revealed something astonishing:
Studying 2 times is less efficient than studying 1 time while testing yourself during the process.
In Wyner’s words: Madness!
The fact is, studying by reading a list several times… is still reading. If we want to be better at remembering, we have to… try to remember!
Let me explain.
The very act of trying to remember releases a chemical response in the brain that boosts information retention. In fact, the brain’s reward center releases dopamine into our hippocampus with each correct response, helping it to register in long-term memory.
So, to be more efficient, we need to spend most of our time trying to recall rather than review.
It’s quite possible to stop forgetting by creating flashcards that test your ability to recall a word, pronunciation, or grammatical construction. These cards, coupled with images and personal connections, will form the foundation of a powerful memory system.
Principle number 4: “Wait, wait. Don’t tell me!”
The closer we are to forgetting a word, the deeper it will be ingrained in our memory when we eventually recall it. Furthermore, memory tests are most effective when they challenge us, as they keep us interested and therefore stimulated.
If you can regularly test yourself just before you forget, you double the efficiency of each test. Spoiler: this is entirely possible thanks to the algorithm of spaced repetition applications (a correct answer will delay the time at which the application reproposes the flashcard to you; conversely, a wrong answer and the application will repropose the card to you a second time on the same day, and then the following day).
Principle number 5: Rewrite the past.
When we remember, we don’t just access old memories, we rewrite them.
Every act of remembering imbues memories with a record of the day itself. This record provides memories with an additional connection: new images, emotions, word associations, and sounds. These make the memories easier to recall.
Once we’ve rewritten those memories enough times, they become unforgettable.
Sometimes we can’t remember a word, especially when we’re trying to remember it just before we forget it. So, what do you do? Well, you have to find a way to regain access to forgotten information. This means immediate feedback.
There are two possible scenarios here:
- Either the original information is permanently lost,
- or a few bits and pieces remain.
In the first case, immediate feedback enables us to recreate a new memory. According to Wyner, this won’t be as optimal as remembering the original information, but it’s still very efficient. On the other hand, there’s also the case where a tiny part of the memory is still present. For example, “I can’t remember this word at all, but I know it’s an animal.” Here, immediate feedback activates the reward center, as we saw earlier, and therefore further imprints the memory.
The second case concerns that moment when the word is still in our memory, but we can’t recall it. Here, immediate feedback will rewrite the memory, making it even more memorable.
It’s all about timing: the end of forgetting.
How do we combine these 5 principles? We want our memories to be as vivid as they are multisensory (principle 1). We want to study as little as possible (principle 2) and practice “recall” as much as possible (principle 3). Then, we want to be challenged by these “recall” sessions, but not too much (principle 4). Finally, we want to almost forget the information, but not completely. And when we do forget, we want to remember with immediate feedback (principle 5).
All these principles are made possible by spaced repetition. And all with one aim in mind: to flatten the forgetting curve.
(Alteration of the forgetting curve thanks to “review”; personal credit)
How does it work in practice?
You learn a word today and put it aside for a while. When it comes back, you try to remember it before putting it aside again, indefinitely, until it’s impossible to forget. While you’re waiting for older words to come back, you can learn new words and put them aside too.
Use minimal pairs to train your ear to hear the “unhearable”
Our adult brains are wired not to differentiate between certain sounds. This fact was demonstrated by a Japanese study. In this study, native speakers of Japanese were asked to listen to looped sounds. The test subjects were asked to say when the sounds varied, and when they did not. For example, in a continuous series of the word “rock” was inserted the word “lock.” In this way:
rock rock rock rock lock rock rock
The study showed that no one noticed the difference. Worse still, electrodes were connected to the brains of the test subjects: the results of their brain scans showed that no neuronal response was registered at the moment of variation.
Depending on our mother tongue, our brain is wired in such a way that it can hear certain sounds, but not others. This is a serious problem when we decide to learn a foreign language. The solution is to rewire our brains to hear such sounds.
Rewire the brain for better memorization
First, let’s look at the benefits. Learning the sounds of your target language will enable you to make faster progress in the long term. Remembering new words will be easier because they’ll sound familiar. In fact, your memory will no longer struggle with new sounds (as we saw in principle no. 1).
Learning the sounds of the language you’re learning also improves your listening skills. This means recognizing and registering new vocabulary and grammar concepts every time you come into contact with your target language.
How do you rewire your brain?
To learn these sounds, Wyner’s solution is to test yourself with minimal pairs. This time, it was a Stanford and Carnegie Mellon study that brought this trick to light. In this case, Japanese speakers (again!) were offered pairs and asked to write down what they heard. To take the example of the rock/lock pair, they had to press rock when they heard rock, and lock when they heard lock. This study proved successful as soon as immediate feedback was introduced.
This is why Wyner invites us to work on minimal pairs in the early stages of learning. You can find them in some grammar books with audio, or on the author’s website.
Train your mouth
First impressions are important! And our accent will play a huge role in the first impression we make on our interlocutors. A good accent can make all the difference between a conversation that starts in French and ends in English, and one that’s entirely in English.
(Note: Don’t forget that Fluent Forever was written for English speakers. Wyner is talking here about English speakers learning French).
A common view is that it’s impossible to change an accent after the age of 12. Wyner explains that this is completely untrue, as actors and singers do it all the time. Moreover, the author knows from first-hand experience!
The sounds we make are created by the movements of our mouth muscles. To improve your accent on your own, simply train your tongue, lips, and vocal cords to form each new sound that your target language makes up. To find these sounds, it’s best to refer to the International Phonetic Alphabet.
How to pronounce the unpronounceable? Back-chaining!
Ever come across syllable combinations that are difficult to pronounce? Like Höchstgeschwindigkeitbegrenzung? Yes, this word does exist, and it means “speed limit” in German. How do you pronounce it? Start backwards! That is, pronounce the end of the word, then add one letter (or syllable) at a time until the word is complete. Wyner gives us the example of the Russian word vzdrognu (which means flinch).
Give it a try:
See, it’s easy!
Repeat this technique until your tongue gets used to pronouncing a tricky word perfectly.
Train your eyes
Every language consists of links and/or patterns between its spelling and pronunciation. Recognizing these can save you a considerable amount of work.
Learning and using the International Phonetic Alphabet can help you in 2 ways:
- It helps you recognize rules and patterns of pronunciation.
- It gives you one more key to decoding, and therefore understanding information.
The best way to internalize such patterns is to use spaced repetition. Create flashcards to memorize each spelling pattern (unpronounced consonants, vowel combinations, etc.).
During this exercise, examine foreign sounds and complicated patterns from every possible angle – from spelling to pronunciation, and even study the mouth/tongue position for each sound.
3 free pronunciation resources:
This is an online pronunciation dictionary. Millions of words are pronounced by native speakers in over 300 languages. Great for adding audio to flashcards on your favorite application.
This site lets you post your written work in your target language, so that a native speaker can record you reading it aloud.
Personally, this is the site I use to record my islands (a great way to become fluent even as a beginner).
Wiktionary is an excellent resource for many languages, including pronunciation examples in the International Phonetic Alphabet. Which words should I learn first to become fluent? All words are created equal, but we use some much more than others. To be honest, many of the words we use the most are prepositions (so-called “functional” words). In, on, of, etc. But before you can use them, you need to know some nouns. And learning the ones that come up most often helps you use your time more efficiently. Why waste time learning words that nobody uses?
Vocabulary by theme (Personal credit)
In Appendix 5 of “Fluent Forever”, Wyner offers a list of the 625 most common words (downloadable free of charge from his site, in exchange for a valid e-mail address). These are easy to visualize, and therefore very easy to learn with pictures instead of translations (golden rule no. 2!).
Wyner’s advice is to start by learning the 1,000 most frequently recurring words in your target language. These will enable you to understand 85% of what you hear, and 75% of what you read. If your aim is to become fluent, then continue with the 1,500-2,000 most common words. These will enable you to understand 90% of what you hear, and 80% of what you read.
Once you’ve finished building your vocabulary base, choose words according to your individual needs. After all, we don’t all need to learn the same words, and you can save an enormous amount of time by tailoring your vocabulary to suit your needs. To do this, rummage through vocabulary books classified by theme, where you’ll find the essential words for every one of your needs: travel, music, business, and so on.
We’ve seen that to learn vocabulary more effectively, you need to be able to get past the filters of memory. Playing with words is one way of doing this. If you’re bored, the filters kick in. [So, take a moment to enjoy yourself, it’s more efficient!], says Wyner!
A quick reminder of principle no. 1: to create a deep, multisensory memory of a word, you need to combine several ingredients: structure, pronunciation, meaning and personal connection. This is where meaning (game #1) and connection (game #2) come in.
To find out the meaning of a word, instead of looking up its translation, you’re going to use your favorite image search engine. It’s an endless source of little pictures about each word you’re trying to learn. Here, Wyner takes the example of the Russian word “dievushka,” literally translatable as “girl.” This word can be quite confusing in the sense that it doesn’t mean what we think “girl” means. If you type this word into your image search browser, you’ll be presented with photos of rather seductive young women (usually in skimpy outfits). “Well, how about that!”
The aim of the game here is to find the difference between what you expect to see, and what you actually see. These “how-about-that” moments will have to be expressed in your flashcards through one or two particularly telling images. Not only will you have a memorable image, but you’ll also discover a cultural difference and avoid making mistakes!
Still with the aim of creating flashcards that will get through your memory filters, you should look for personal connections. In other words, find a personal memory, any memory, to link to the word you’re trying to learn.
Are you learning the word “grandma”? Add a photo of your grandmother to your flashcard. Are you learning the word “cat”? What cat comes to mind when you hear this word? You can even add a picture of the cat’s name.
Finding a personal connection with a word can make it 50% more memorable, which is massive!
Wyner offers us a 3rd game to break down another obstacle many people encounter when learning a foreign language: the grammatical gender of nouns.
A large number of languages assign a grammatical gender that has nothing to do with the word it defines, which can be a major source of hassle.
If the language you’re learning uses grammatical genders (and there’s a good chance it does if it’s a Proto-Indo-European-derived language), you can remember them easily by assigning each one a strong visual image. Then all you have to do is imagine the word performing the action.
Wyner gives us the following example: (he uses the gender of German words)
- An explosion for masculine nouns (e.g., the German word for tree: der Baum).
- A fire for feminine nouns (e.g., the German word for hand: die Hand).
- A crystal for neutral words (e.g., the German word for heart: das Herz).
In this way, you can learn the gender of the words above by imagining:
- A tree exploding, with wood debris flying up and crashing down around us.
- Your own hand ablaze, like a superhero.
- For the word heart, it’s relatively straightforward😉.
Yes! This imagery needs to be as vivid and multisensory as possible because we’re especially good at recalling imagery that is violent, sexual, funny (or a combination of all 3).
By keeping the same images (explosion, fire, crystal) for each gender, it’s easy to learn them.
Feed your “language machine”
It may be hard to realize, but we all have what Gabriel Wyner calls a “language machine” (a kind of 6th sense).
It’s a function of the brain that processes the sentences we hear, absorbs their construction and, after a certain amount of time (the time it takes to assimilate), renders their grammatical system perfectly and effortlessly. In fact, it was this function that enabled us to learn our mother tongue as children. The good news is that, as adults, we still possess this function.
This ability works through “comprehensible input.” In the case of foreign languages, this is the reading and listening portion. By “comprehensible input,” Wyner is referring to simple sentences in order to understand grammar (word order, etc.), with your newly acquired vocabulary. Of course, this means using translation, which then means breaking one of the golden rules. However, in this particular case, translation is the key to understanding the essence of an unfamiliar sentence. Grammar books are a goldmine of “comprehensible input.” Furthermore, studies have shown that you’ll learn a language faster if you learn its rules. A grammar book can act as a guide in this way:
- Read the explanations
- Learn one or two examples
- Forget the often-tedious exercises and drills
Wyner explains that this process is exciting because you can actually experience your new language forming inside your brain in real time. Instead of wasting time on grammar exercises, you’re constantly encountering new words, new grammatical forms, and new ways of expressing yourself. A ton of “comprehensible input” can feed your “language machine,” enabling you to understand more and more every day, and eventually to speak fluently forever.
Simplify! (Turning mountains into molehills)
The infinite possibilities of grammar are the product of just three basic operations:
- Adding words (you like it → do you like it?)
- Changing their form (you eat → you ate)
- Changing their order (This is nice → Is this nice?)
Use your grammar book as a source of simple example sentences and dialogues. To learn a new grammatical form, all you have to do is pull an example from your grammar book, understand its essence (using the book’s explanations and translation) and ask yourself the following 3 questions:
- Do you see a new word?
- Do you see a word with a new form (conjugation, declension)?
- Does the word order surprise you?
Then all you have to do is make flashcards with the information you want to learn.
Example of 3 flashcards (front):
- My homework was eaten ___ my dog.
- My homework was ____ by my dog. (to eat)
- My homework by my dog. (was eaten)
And on the back for each card, the solution:
- My homework was eaten by my dog.
Reading to mix business with pleasure
Reading without a dictionary is the easiest way to build up your “passive” vocabulary. On average, a single book will teach you 300 to 500 words. By reading just one book, you’ll make all your future reading easier to understand. You can also read a book while listening to its audio version, to keep up a steady reading pace and allow yourself plenty of exposure to your target language. The benefits will include improved pronunciation, listening skills, vocabulary, and grammar. In short, a quantum leap in all aspects of the language.
Learning a language from the couch
Listening (radio, films, TV series) is a skill that can seem overwhelming for the brain at times. Work at it gradually. Challenge yourself until you can understand the fastest, most complicated “material.”
TV series and films are perfect for improving your listening skills, as they are true to real-life speech, albeit at times overdone. In this respect, the facial expressions and body language of the characters will play an interesting role in comprehension. Series are easier to understand than films. After 2 or 3 episodes, you know the plot and the characters and can begin to appreciate them. Comedies are the exception as they can be very complicated to understand (cultural references, etc.).
Start with series in the target language, without subtitles (even in the target language!). The problem with subtitles is that reading is easier than listening. So, subtitles are completely useless if you want to improve your listening skills. To reduce the difficulty a bit, you can read the episode summaries beforehand, to prepare yourself for the vocabulary and storyline of each episode. Most episode summaries for any series can be found on Wikipedia. You’ll just need to switch languages at the bottom left to find the summaries in the target language. That’s right, you’ll need to read the summaries ONLY in the target language to be able to grasp the new vocabulary. Then, when you’re more comfortable, you can stop reading the summaries.
Speaking your target language is like playing the game of Taboo!
Everyone’s played it at parties. You know, that game where you have to get your friends to guess a word, without using that word, but, what’s more, without using 5 or 6 other keywords.
What’s that got to do with language learning? Well, it’s quite simple! Imagine you want to talk to your German friend about baseball, but you don’t know the word “baseball.” What’s more, you’ve forgotten the words “sport” and “game.” That’s where Taboo comes in.
“Fluency, after all, isn’t the ability to know every word and grammatical pattern in a language; it’s the ability to communicate your thoughts without stopping every time you run into a problem.”
Once you understand this concept and are able to explain each of your ideas differently without knowing a keyword, you have succeeded. You’re fluent.
One last piece of advice… If you get stuck on a word, even if you know you speak a language in common with the person you’re talking to (English, for example), don’t switch languages! Force yourself to communicate in your target language no matter what. Wyner’s advice: “Just tell everyone that you’re Albanian and don’t speak English. No one speaks Albanian.”
Conclusion to the book “Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It” by Gabriel Wyner
Fluent Forever is a book for learning any language
At the time of writing, I speak 3 languages. Therefore, I’m no beginner when it comes to learning languages. However, Fluent Forever has enabled me to completely overhaul my working methods, which have improved considerably in terms of efficiency. I can’t even imagine if I’d had Fluent Forever in my hands 10 years earlier. But no matter, as the Chinese proverb goes:
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
As well as being a very well-written and humorous book, Fluent Forever takes you by the hand and explains step-by-step how to learn any language effectively. Without spending 2 hours a day on it. Without doing a single grammar exercise.
For the sake of clarity, I haven’t summarized 100% of Fluent Forever, but I have chosen to provide you with the main techniques that can be applied straight away, as I strive to do every week on my blog.
Note: This article was written by Romain, from the blog ‘Parlons Plusieurs Langues’ [‘Let’s Speak Multiple Languages’]
Strengths and weaknesses of Fluent Forever
- If I had only one language-learning book to choose from, it would be “Fluent Forever”.
- The author manages to treat the subject with a great deal of humor and storytelling.
- The methods described are effective and immediately applicable.
- More than 100 “toolbox” pages at the end of the book that enable you to clearly apply the proposed principles.
- Some links to the author’s website are no longer accessible since the release of the Fluent Forever smartphone app.
- Because the author is an opera singer, the chapter on pronunciation is overtechnical.
- Fluent Forever only exists in English (As I said in this article on learning English, a lot of good content only exists in the language of Shakespeare, which is just a matter of fact. That said, ultimately, with the right mindset, this weak point is actually a strong point!).
My rating :
Have you read “Fluent Forever”? How do you rate it?
Read more reviews on Amazon about “Fluent Forever”
Buy on Amazon “Fluent Forever”
The handy guide to Gabriel Wyner’s Fluent Forever.
The 05 principles of Fluent Forever:
- Make memories more memorable
- Maximize laziness
- Do not review. Recall!
- “Wait, wait, wait. Don’t tell me!”
- Rewrite the past
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) concerning the book Fluent Forever
1. How has Gabriel Wyner’s Fluent Forever been received by the general public?
Following its release in 2014, Fluent Forever became a WSJ and USA Today national bestseller. In 2017, Gabriel Wyner launched the most successful crowdfunding campaign for an app in history, raising over $1.7 million to create The Fluent Forever App.
2. What has been the impact of Fluent Forever?
Fluent Forever takes readers by the hand and explains step-by-step the main techniques for learning any language effectively without ever even spending 2 hours a day on it.
3. Who is the target audience of Fluent Forever?
This book is for anyone who wants to learn a new language as quickly as possible.
4. What is the role of the rewriting process according to Gabriel Wyner?
In his book, Gabriel Wyner argues that the rewriting process is the secret behind long-term memory, which, rewritten enough times, is unforgettable.
5. What is spaced repetition according to Gabriel Wyner?
Spaced repetition is the use of flashcards: a card, virtual or physical, on which a piece of information is written on the front and another on the back. The two pieces of information are linked in one way or another.
The principles of remembering versus principles of forgetting
|Principles for remembering||Principles for forgetting|
|Make memories memorable||Do not retain memories|
|Maximize laziness||Learn by heart|
|Do not review. Recall||Study by reviewing several times|
|Make the effort to remember||Do not remember|
|Recreate new memories||Do not create new memories|
Who is Gabriel Wyner?
Born in California, Gabriel Wynery graduated in 2007 from the University of Southern California with a double degree in mechanical engineering and vocal arts performance. Awarded the Renaissance Scholar prize for excellence, he went on to study opera at the Vienna Conservatory, graduating in 2011 with the encouragement of the board. He learned German in 3 months in an immersion program at Middlebury Language School and fell in love with the language learning process.
Gabriel Wyner spent two months in Italy, taking intensive Italian courses. Wanting to bring the principle of immersion into the fold, he developed a system that enables mastery of a language through short daily sessions. In 2010, he managed to learn French in five months, Russian in less than ten years, and more recently Hungarian, Spanish, and Japanese. He published his very first best-selling book in 2014 titled, “Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It”.