Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book Review: Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner

Okay...some of you who read my blog regularly may wonder why I've chosen to review this book about how to more effectively learn foreign languages.  Here is my rational...we are to be missionaries to the world, aren't we?  And most of the people who need to be reached don't speak English, correct?  So in order to serve God and spread the Gospel, it would help to learn the language of the people we are reaching, right?  So, here, a non-Christian book, but one that would be highly beneficial to Christians....

Fluent Forever:  How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget it by Gabriel Wyner is a departure from the normal Christian non-fiction I review.  Realizing though that many of us who go to various areas to serve will need to learn a foreign language, though, I thought it would be worth looking at and I'm glad I did.

Fluent Forever is not your typical foreign language book.  It doesn't teach you any language.  Instead it teaches you HOW to learn a language.  Chances are, what you see in this book is very different from the way you learned language in school.

Gabriel Wyner has an interesting perspective on language learning.  He is an opera singer.  Because his specialty is opera, he has to be ready to sing in many different languages.  I found this fascinating because I have experienced both sides of learning foreign language that he presents in his book:  I took the traditional school style approach by taking five years of German in middle and high school AND I studied opera for three and a half years, which required an entire semester course on the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and learning, translating and singing eight or so operatic pieces every semester during those three and a half years of study.

From my experience, the most effective approach is the operatic style.  While I didn't study each language with the intent to speak it fluently, I did learn the languages I sang in much faster than I did with five intense years of studying German in school.  That is what I loved so much about this book.  Wyner brought all of his training from the opera world and applied it to how the average person can learn languages quickly.  I can vouch for his methods and I have enjoyed using his methods to refresh my German abilities.  I hope this book revolutionizes the way languages are taught because this method is far superior to the traditional classroom method.  I even find it superior to foreign language tapes (which failed to prepare me for the Spanish I would need on a mission trip to Mexico).

I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning any foreign language, but especially those who may be going on a mission trip or who are interested in long term mission work.  The method is quick, easy and will be a more efficient use of your time.

I was given this book free of charge by Harmony Books in return for my honest review.

No comments: