I put this is in my recommended products page quite some time ago and have been meaning to a proper review of it for a while now. Benny the Irish Polyglot is a champion of the output method of language learning, and whilst I don’t learn exactly the way he does, there’s a lot of merit in his Language Hacking Guide, which has grown in size and scope and is now hosted on its own page. So, before I go into a full-blown review of this product, let me introduce you to Benny and recap what the output method is.
Benny the Irish Polyglot is an Irish guy (no, he doesn’t drink for those of you who like to stereotype) who travels around the world learning languages in short amounts of time. Typically, he aims to be functional in a language after a mere 3 months, and he’s very successful at what he does. Now, his level of the language, while being remarkable in a short time period, would probably not land him a job in whatever country he happens to be in, and he definitely couldn’t attend a university there, but he still functions better than most foreigners do! With that said, allow me to recap the output method.
If the input method is learning through primarily reading and listening, then the output method is learning through speaking. It is Benny’s belief that you should start speaking from day one, and learn how to speak and understand a language by speaking, writing, etc. He’s learned quite a few languages this way, including Kingon, and is currently well on his way towards his goal in Mandarin Chinese.
So, why did I buy this ebook? For starters, I do like to include some output in my own method. My method is a combination that consists mostly of input and academic with a dose of output in there as well. However, when I’m tutoring students (I tutor in economics and psychology) who don’t speak English very well, I do like to be able to use some of their language. Basically, when rephrasing doesn’t work, I often switch to whatever language it is they speak and meet them in the middle.
Because of this, I have to be able to speak at least some of the language quickly, and hopefully be capable in the language just a few months into our studying lessons. For this purpose alone I bought The Language Hacking Guide, and I credit it to much of the success I’ve had in this venture.
First of all, the guide dispels a lot of myths regarding language learning and focuses on your mentality. It’s not about specific tools (I suppose this would be difficult to do because the focus of this guide is on learning in general, not geared toward a specific language), but about a philosophy on learning and how to implement learning by speaking on day one. As such, if you’re looking for lesson plans, etc., then this book simply isn’t for you.
If I had to compare it something, I’d say it’s kind of like The Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast, except with the focus on output.
Anyway, this is a book I highly recommend, especially if you travel a lot. If you want to learn a new language well enough to communicate with natives, but not necessarily hold down a job, or need a way to learn quickly, then this is an excellent book for you.