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Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It par [Wyner, Gabriel]
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Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It Format Kindle

4.3 étoiles sur 5 4 commentaires client

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Longueur : 336 pages Word Wise: Activé Langue : Anglais

Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"This is a fun way for anyone to discover the secrets of language instruction presented in a conversational, stress-free way — no matter how little time you have." --The Chicago Tribune

“A brilliant and thoroughly modern guide to learning new languages. Fluent Forever won't teach you French, or German, or any other language -- but it will teach you how to learn whatever language you do want to learn, and to learn it faster, and more efficiently.  If you want a new language to stick, start here.”
--Gary Marcus, cognitive psychologist and author of the New York Times bestseller Guitar Zero
“Aspiring polyglots of the world, take note: this book will help you pick up any new language in record time. If you’re looking for a practical, brain-friendly, field-tested approach to language learning, search no more: you’ve found your guide.”
--Josh Kaufman, bestselling author of The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything…Fast!
“Never before have I seen a language-learning method -- or method for learning anything! -- that synchs up so perfectly with our current scientific understanding of how memory works. I now understand why my past attempts to learn other languages (Spanish, German, Latin) have left me with little more than a smattering of near-random vocabulary words, and I'm inspired to try again. Fluent Forever promises a fun, personalized learning regimen that is sure to wire a new tongue into your brain with speed and simplicity. And Wyner’s sharp wit will keep you entertained along the way! I've never been so excited to challenge my mind.”
--Karen Schrock Simring, contributing editor at Scientific American Mind magazine
“Fluent Forever more than meets the daunting challenge of learning a new language by giving the reader a solid game plan based on how people actually learn and memorize information. From the first chapter, I couldn't wait to get started using Wyner's techniques and tons of resources. His writing is engaging, smart, and conversational, making learning a real joy. If you've ever wanted to become fluent in another language, do yourself a favor and start reading Fluent Forever now.”
-Melanie Pinola, Contributor Writer for and author of LinkedIn in 30 Minutes
"Fluent Forever is the book I wish I had had during my numerous failed attempts at learning different languages. It’s a refreshingly fun and engaging guide that shows you how to language-hack your brain.  Wyner’s done all the hard work so that the reader can actually enjoy the process of becoming fluent in a language quickly!"
--Nelson Dellis, 2011 and 2012 USA Memory Champion
“This is the book I'd use next time I want to learn a new language. It employs an intelligent mix of the latest methods for learning a language on your own using the web, apps, and voice training tips in an accelerated time frame.
--Kevin Kelly, Senior Maverick for Wired Magazine and author of What Technology Wants
"I know what you're thinking: But learning a new language is soooo hard! The solution? Stop being a whiner and start reading Wyner.  This book is a winner!  Guaranteed to rewire your brain in as many languages as you'd like."
-- Joel Saltzman, author of Shake That Brain!: How to Create Winning Solutions and Have Fun While You're at It
“An excellent book…Wyner writes in an engaging and accessible way, weaving in his personal language journey. His method, proven by his own achievements, is clear: focus on pronunciation, avoid translation, and use spaced repetition extensively.  And he offers lots of specific techniques to make sure you’ll never forget what you’ve learned.  I'd recommend this book to anyone who is serious -- not just aspiring but really serious -- about becoming fluent in a foreign language.”
--Kevin Chen, Co-Founder,
“Mash up the DNA of Steve Jobs and Aristotle, add training in engineering and opera, and you get Gabriel Wyner, whose ingeniously elegant system helps us knuckleheads learn not just foreign languages but, well, everything. Autodidacts rejoice!”
--Jay Heinrichs, author of Thank You for Arguing and Word Hero
“Americans refuse to realize that all languages are foreign -- yes, including English. It's time we learned how to speak like the rest of the world: in more ways than one. This book is a hilarious toolbox that helps you get a head start. Pick a foreign language (yes, including English) and voilà: el futuro es tuyoHigh-five to Gabriel Wyner!”
--Ilan Stavans, author of Dictionary Days: A Defining Passion 

Présentation de l'éditeur

The ultimate rapid language-learning guide! For those who’ve despaired of ever learning a foreign language, here, finally, is a book that will make the words stick. At thirty years old, Gabriel Wyner speaks six languages fluently.  He didn’t learn them in school -- who does? -- rather, he learned them in the past few years, working on his own and practicing on the subway, using simple techniques and free online resources. In Fluent Forever Wyner reveals what he’s discovered. 
The greatest challenge to learning a foreign language is the challenge of memory; there are just too many words and too many rules. For every new word we learn, we seem to forget two old ones, and as a result, fluency can seem out of reach. Fluent Forever tackles this challenge head-on. With empathy for the language-challenged and abundant humor, Wyner deconstructs the learning process, revealing how to build a foreign language in your mind from the ground up. 
Starting with pronunciation, you’ll learn how to rewire your ears and turn foreign sounds into familiar sounds. You'll retrain your tongue to produce those sounds accurately, using tricks from opera singers and actors. Next, you'll begin to tackle words, and connect sounds and spellings to imagery, rather than translations, which will enable you to think in a foreign languageAnd with the help of sophisticated spaced-repetition techniques, you'll be able to memorize hundreds of words a month in minutes every day. Soon, you'll gain the ability to learn grammar and more difficult abstract words--without the tedious drills and exercises of language classes and grammar books.
This is brain hacking at its most exciting, taking what we know about neuroscience and linguistics and using it to create the most efficient and enjoyable way to learn a foreign language in the spare minutes of your day.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 4878 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 336 pages
  • Editeur : Harmony (5 août 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00IBZ405W
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Non activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.3 étoiles sur 5 4 commentaires client
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°19.091 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Format: Broché Achat vérifié
J'ai acheté ce livre afin de trouver une technique efficace et pratique pour atteindre un niveau d'anglais courant. J'avais déjà lu des méthodes et des livres de grammaire mais celui-ci se démarque nettement. Tout d'abord il est agréable et intéressant à lire ce qui tranche nettement avec ce que j'ai pu aborder auparavant. L'ennui est le pire écueil de tout apprentissage. J'ai pu éviter ce problème avec ce livre. L'auteur explique ses choix de façon très convaincante et offre un accompagnement efficace pour construire un apprentissage personnel à l'aide de sa méthode.

En effet, sa méthode nécessite un travail d'appropriation avant de commencer l'apprentissage de la langue en tant que telle. Mais je pense que c'est là que réside son intérêt et son efficacité. C'est du sur mesure. Cela nécessite un investissement personnel de départ certes mais cela ne rend que le travail plus simple, ludique et pertinent ensuite. Un site internet permet de compléter les apports du livre par des vidéos expliquant différentes étapes dans l'élaboration des cartes d'apprentissage, des cartes exemples etc etc...

Ironiquement, ce livre n'est disponible qu'en anglais. Il reste cependant très accessible car je rappelle que je l'ai lu dans le but de progresser dans cette langue. Mais il serait profitable qu'un éditeur se lance dans sa traduction dans d'autres langues.
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Pas de blabla! Des conseils concrets et pratiques, pour tous ceux qui veulent apprendre une langue étrangère, peu importe laquelle.
L'auteur y fait partager sa façon de travailler et sa méthode d'apprentissage, rien d'autre!
On aime, on n'aime pas, sa méthode nous convient ou pas, le fait est, que l'ouvrage est clair et concis, et qu'il n'y a pas "tromperie sur la marchandise", il est complet!
Petit plus, l'auteur nous renvoie souvent vers son site contenant un nombre vraiment conséquent d'informations audio et vidéo qu'il ne pouvait pas insérer dans son ouvrage, évidemment. Le tout offre donc une base de référence extrêmement riche. On en a pour son argent!
Quant à la méthode? Je dois dire que tout ne m'a pas intéressé dans sa façon de travailler - elle tourne principalement autour du logiciel Anki (logiciel gratuit) - mais il faut reconnaître que ses propositions sont si pratiques et détaillées qu'elles donnent de suite envie de les essayer, et de se faire sa propre opinion.
Je me suis aperçu ainsi qu'Anki pouvait m'aider plus que je ne l'aurais pensé (mais pas autant que lui ne l'utilise) et que sa progression méthodologique consistant à partir de la prononciation (via API), pour acquérir du vocabulaire, qui lui même servira à maîtriser des points de grammaire difficile, s'avère extrêmement efficace pour moi...
Bref, si vous aimez l'apprentissage des langues, je pense que vous trouverez au milieu de ce monceaux de conseils et de propositions pratiques, quelques "tips and"tricks" qui vous seront utiles.
Encore faut-il avoir déjà étudié l'anglais pour le lire... ce qui exclue d'office tous ceux qui voudraient s'y intéresser pour acquérir leur toute première langue étrangère.
1 commentaire 7 personnes ont trouvé cela utile. Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ? Oui Non Commentaire en cours d'envoi...
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J'ai trouvé ce livre passablement ennuyeux (beaucoup de blabla, contrairement à ce que spécifient les autres commentaires) et surtout, SURTOUT, je trouve détestable l'idée d'acheter un livre et de se voir proposer D'ACHETER ENCORE des decks pour Anki alors qu'on a déjà payé le livre... pourquoi ne pas proposer un système comme les livres d'Openclassroom (l'ancien Site du Zéro) qui, une fois achetés, prodiguaient des codes pour avoir accès gratuitement à des contenus indisponibles pour les non-acheteurs de l'ouvrage? J'ai l'impression que ce livre est une usine à fric. En plus, 12 dollars pour un deck d'Anki?? Sérieusement? C'est vraiment trop à mon avis, surtout si on a déjà quelques bases dans la langue que l'on souhaite apprendre (l'allemand pour moi). En plus, Anki est un logiciel libre à la base, on peut trouver des decks gratuitement sur internet. Je trouve vraiment dommage de la part de l'auteur de l'exploiter pour se faire encore plus de blé.

En résumé, ce livre est un peu comme une application payante qui en plus d'être payante ne vous donne accès à 100% de son contenu que si vous payez en plus des éléments achetables dans l'application. C'est vraiment décourageant et démotivant. Cette méthode m'a dégoûtée et ne m'a pas du tout donné envie d'apprendre plus de langues.
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For a text that is supposed to be a How To manual this is a very enjoyable and readable book. The author says that he made language learning fun; that's true, but he also made the reading of his method fun.

I am planning to use his method to try to learn Chinese.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x98d668dc) étoiles sur 5 241 commentaires
266 internautes sur 273 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x98d99474) étoiles sur 5 He has very good videos on the mechanics of pronunciation available 10 août 2014
Par French Flic Fan - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This review comes after I have finished the book as well as explored the author's website.
The strong points: 1. an emphasis on starting off with correct pronunciation (he says otherwise you end up learning two languages rather than one). He has very good videos on the mechanics of pronunciation available. He also sells trainers for specific languages.
2. The use of minimal pairs (two words like cat and cut that differ by only one sound). He has a way of using these to train you to actually hear the differences, which can be very tricky in some foreign languages. You have to hear the differences before you can produced them, but understanding how they are produced gives you a leg up.
3. The use of IPA (international phonetic alphabet) to represent the actual sounds.
4. The use of pictures to associate with a new word. This is how you get the concept associated with the word you are acquiring. It is also how you avoid translation, which impedes thinking in the language.
5. The use of a spaced repetition system (ANKI) to integrate concept, sound, spelling and emotional connection with recall. Tricky issues like gender and grammatical problems are also addressed.
6. Frequency lists are discussed and often provided on his site.
7. Tremendous amount of info on webs resources to practice conversation (and his website also gives info on picking topics).
8. The book is so rich in content that I have probably omitted something significant.

OK, nobody is perfect, so what's missing?
1. The pronunciation material should help you master individual words. But an equally, if not more, important part of conversation is called prosody and concerns the rhythm and stress applied to a string of words. Even without knowing a word of French and Italian, you could easily distinguish the difference in rhythm in a typical conversation. If you are singing, the prosody is implied by the music. In conversation, you have no such guide. You will pick this up in conversation (slowly) but can speed this up by learning poetry in the foreign language, because typical poetry emphasizes prosody. You almost can't avoid it.
2. It's not clear how you can take advantage of sequential activities. These are sometimes called Gouin series. A simple example is: I pick up the book; I open the book; I look at a page in the book; I close the book; I put the book down. We are really good at remembering series (it's how we go through most of our day). Sometimes this is called a schema. If we attach the new words to a schema, it's very reinforcing. Perhaps this can be achieved in an anki system?
3. The only truly negative is that much of the material talked about in the book is not yet available on the website. That's hard on the impatient among us!
170 internautes sur 179 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x98d994c8) étoiles sur 5 Exceptionally thoughtful approach with a strong basis in research 5 août 2014
Par B.L. - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle
There are a lot of books and web products lately that are designed to help anyone learn a language, even those of us who gave it a good try for several years in high school and barely came out of it knowing enough to ask how to find a toilet. I think the various methods are probably going to work best for different people, so I'm definitely not going to say anything like "This is the BEST method! Forget all that other stuff!" but I still say that this is an approach that's been carefully thought out, and planned, and the author clearly works extremely hard to make sure that he's explaining himself clearly.

There are a few core principles to this approach that it's important to understand
1. It puts a strong emphasis on sound and pronunciation
2. It takes an immersion approach (where you attempt to go directly to thinking in the new language and developing associations in it, rather than trying to translate between two languages)
3. It puts a lot of emphasis on the use of flash cards.
4. You build your own learning materials, rather than using a premade solution. (Except, possibly, for the part where you're learning the sounds). There's a lot of detail on how to do this, though, including resources on the web that you can use to help you.

Flash cards are the core of the approach he's advocating. I know there are some people who just HATE the experience of using flash cards, so if that's you this is probably not the way to go.

The short version of my feeling about this is that if you want a lot of control over your learning process, you're really serious about learning a language, and you like the idea of using techniques that have a lot of scientific and research backing behind them, this book is VERY much worth it. If you know deep down that you're more the type of person who prefers to study with tools that someone else has built for you, you may have a really hard time with the emphasis on building your own flash cards. In that case, you might be better off looking at a copy from a library or borrowing it from a friend or something to get a deeper sense of what's involved before you decide if you want to buy a copy of the book and really commit to trying the system he's proposing.

The philosophy here is sort of similar to the "Learn Python The Hard Way" book that's become popular in programming circles. It teaches in a way that can FEEL harder at first than other approaches, but the goal is to ultimately make total learning process a lot easier by not cutting corners and taking shortcuts that could hurt you in the long run.

And to add on some more detail on those 4 important issues I brought up above...

1. He advocates spending time working on learning sounds early because a) you have to learn pronunciation eventually, and you might as well not spend a few years practicing pronouncing something wrong before going back and trying to fix it, and b) knowing what a word sounds like makes it a lot more memorable.

This is something I'd never thought about before I saw his explanations, but it does make a lot of sense to me. I looked it up, and it really is also consistent with how Mormon missionaries are taught (they're constantly sending people overseas, so they have to take the issue of language teaching very seriously).

2. Once you're past the sound issues and learning the spelling rules, he advocates only using the language you're learning on the flashcards, including lots of pictures, and really trying to tie words and meanings to things in your life.

3. For most people, this is actually a really good thing. He recommends Anki (a piece of software you can run on computers and mobile phones for free - the iPhone mobile app isn't free, but you can use the web interface from iPhone/iPad if you want) which implements what's often called an SRS or Spaced Repetition System. The basic idea is that you can learn most effectively by studying something again just as you were about to forget it. The program attempts to predict when you're going to forget something, so that it gradually increases the wait between practice sessions of the same word.

If all of that sounds like gibberish, then I'll just say that it's a really efficient way to learn and study. There's a lot of research and science on his side here. (In fact, some of what he covers also shows up in another book "A Mind for Numbers" that just came out a couple of days ago, that focuses on similar "how to learn" research and tricks with an emphasis on learning math and science. FYI there's also a "Learning How to Learn" MOOC available through Coursera based on that book.)

4. This is the one that I think will be a sticking point for a lot of people. The author believes strongly that you should create your own flashcards. Flash cards aren't really intended to be a teaching tool so much as a review tool. So he views the flashcard creation process as when you teach yourself something, and then you have a connection to your flash cards that makes it easier for you to understand what they were meant to remind you of, and to learn the material on them.

I think there'll end up being a lot of people who are hesitant to put in the time on creating the flashcards, though, and they'll just want to download premade decks. Anki is a great tool no matter what, but I think it really is very probable that people using pre-made decks for sentences and vocabulary will probably be undermining their progress somewhat.

The biggest barrier that I see here is that you have to be willing to take a lot of control over your own learning process, because you're building the materials. This is initially difficult, because it's sort of overwhelming to think... okay, of all the things in the world, what do I want to learn to say? I think that there'll probably be some people who will end up doing better following a lesson plan from some other learning system (like a grammar book or Duolingo or whatever) and using this to strengthen and fill in their learning.

Other products: Just FYI, the author held a Kickstarter a while ago to fund work on pronunciation trainers for various languages, and to build useful starter vocabulary lists as well. I'm under the impression that those are going to become available over the next few months for purchase, which could be a useful way to make the pronunciation stage of this plan easier.

Edit: I actually have the French Pronunciation Trainer now, since I'd preordered it and it came out a day or two ago. In terms of basic function I can say it seems to work as promised. You get flash cards, the flash cards say words, you tell it whether you knew which word, etc. I can't offer anything about how well it works for teaching you something because 2 days of use is a heck of a long way from a fair test.
115 internautes sur 122 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x98d99900) étoiles sur 5 Shows how to make learning language fun and easy. Includes references to free resources online. 5 août 2014
Par Ryan J. Dejonghe - Publié sur
Format: Broché
UPDATE: see the conversation in the comments for the author's response to my query on Duolingo. Thanks everyone for the feedback! I'm updating this to 5-stars. Terrific!

In high school I ripped my French book in half. Well, I tried to. The pages came out easily enough, but the hardbound cover was near impossible. I sure tried, though. If you are like me, you can probably relate to the feeling of that "wall" in learning a foreign language. For me, it was right around conjugating time, and it wasn't pretty.

FLUENT FOREVER is all about making learning foreign languages fun, easy, and--hopefully--permanent. Some of the first things author Gabriel Wyner promotes are never to translate foreign words and to throw out (actually he says burn) books with English-y pronunciation guides (e.g. bawn-JURE).

Wyner encourages fun, laziness, and multi-sensory involvement. He lists a TON of free resources online to build your learning repertoire. He talks about using spaced repetition systems (SRSs) and the IPA (international phonetic alphabet). And you know what? It all makes a ton of sense. Wyner explores scientific studies and shows case-by-case examples of why his methods work. His life is proof, as he can speak six languages fluently, having learned them all in a few years' time.

A lot of these free resources have been catalogued on Wyner's site

Here's what Wyner never mentions: Duolingo. Maybe he's never heard of it, but at the beginning of 2014, it won a best educational start-up award and had 25 million users. It was also named as app of the year by Apple (the first ever educational app with that award). According to one study, users of Duolingo learned the equivalent of a 130 hour first-year college semester course in a foreign language in just 34 hours. Best of all: it's free. As a Duolingo user, many of the things Wyner promotes fall into line with its offerings. I'd be curious what he thinks.

Overall, Wyner offers a great way to break down the language barrier. His methods are sound, quick to get into, and fun. If you are struggling to learn a language or want to start, this is a great resource.

Thanks to the folks at Harmony and Crown for sending this book to me for review.
46 internautes sur 51 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x98d99ccc) étoiles sur 5 solid advice. 3.5 stars 29 septembre 2014
Par sparky_magic_rainbow - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I'm an intermediate JP student and was looking for a faster way to reach advanced. "Fluent Forever"
doesnt have any ground-breaking tips but there was some interesting advice:

1) Wanting to speak a foreign language without learning to read = more time-consuming than learning both
2) Make your own Leitner flash card system or use ANKI
3) Watching movies with subtitles doesnt help listening comprehension cuz you spend more time reading than listening
4) Listening to songs isnt helpful
5) Images are easier to remember than words

I dont agree with tips 3-4. I tried watching TV shows without subtitles and was so frustrated I wanted to quit.
It's better to skip subtitles on repeat viewings. Listening to songs is a good way to learn vocabulary and get a feel
for "real Japanese" so I dont think it's a waste of time at all. Making flashcards by hand gives me cramps so I use
ANKI for the hardest grammar+kanji. Author includes websites where you can find low cost tutors.
22 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x98d99db0) étoiles sur 5 A flawed but useful guide 17 mars 2016
Par Bobby Phillips - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has thought about the topic of second language acquisition extensively, and I was eager to read Wyner’s book as a manual of practical wisdom about language learning. I was delighted by how some of his ideas lined up with ones of my own, but at the same time there are many missteps that I think hinder his readers.

On the positive side, Wyner acknowledges that for vocabulary we often learn to translate words from our native language into the foreign one, whereas what we SHOULD be learning is how to seamlessly comment in the foreign language on something we see or feel, without the intermediary step of thinking it out in the native. This jells nicely with ABA research showing that speech-speech connections (intraverbals) are typically weaker than requests (mands) and labeling (tacts), both in terms of retention and in terms of generalization. Wyner is also spot-on to argue against the idea that accent should not be a focus of early learning; the behavior-analytic scientific literature has long shown that errorless learning—getting it right from day one—reduces the likelihood of continued errors after the skill has been mastered. Moreover, Wyner speaks of the importance of forcing oneself to communicate exclusively in the foreign language; having spent time in Dr. Edward Taub’s lab working on ways to test his “learned nonuse” theory of stroke aphasia, I deeply appreciated this insight.

But on the negative side, Wyner is firmly entrenched in cognitive neuroscience. Now, while I AM the sort of behavior analyst who is open to ideas in cognitive psychology and neuroscience IF they have practical value (disclaimer: I’m a Relational Frame Theory guy), I also think the sword cuts both ways and cog-neuro guys need to stop ignoring behaviorist ideas and research.

Take, for instance, Wyner’s constant refrain that massed grammar drills are ineffective and boring and that spaced repetition is the magic bullet for retaining content. On the contrary, there is a stream of ABA research that shows that massed trials result in superior initial acquisition compared to the interspersed trials Wyner recommends (Hendrickson, Rapp, & Ashbeck, 2014; Majdalany et al., 2014)—or, at the very least, that interspersal probably does not offer any advantage for maintenance (Volkert et al., 2008). There is an equally compelling stream of research that shows that basing a system of target mastery on a single trial—as Wyner’s spaced repetition systems do—typically results in an inaccurate estimate of the student’s skills (Cummings & Carr, 2009; Najdowski et al., 2009; Lerman et al., 2011). While I feel that spaced repetition and Leitner boxes are a valuable technology for consistently scheduling maintenance of previously mastered targets—one that I plan on incorporating into my therapy case load—there just isn’t the research to back it up as a system for *acquisition.* Yes, massed trials can be boring, and no, they don’t seem to offer many advantages in terms of retention; but making 30+ flash cards per day can also be boring, and massed practice is a useful tool for certain jobs.

I also find fault with Wyner’s recommendations for memorizing grammar. In short, he advises the use of violent mnemonics and fill-in-the-blank flash cards. What Wyner does not seem to realize—because again, he’s thinking like a cog-neuro guy, not a behavior analyst—is that this introduces the same complications as learning language through translation: it gums up the process with extra steps (in Relational Frame Theory, we would call them “nodes”), and it relies on learning weaker intraverbal relations instead of tacts and mands. What he ought to have done is advise making flash cards that have images that must be described with *sentences.* Yes, mnemonics and fill-in-the-blanks can be useful as PROMPTS if you consistently fail at these full-sentence requests and labels. But to rely on them 100% of the time takes a process that should go like, “See bear riding a unicycle-->comment on bear’s actions,” and belabors it with a middleman, “See bear riding a unicycle-->imagine bear exploding-->comment on bear’s actions.”

Along with this come over-simplifications of behavioral science. Wyner repeatedly says, for instance, that “neurons that fire together, wire together” and that the reason why some events are more memorable than others is because they have more associations in the brain. Well, not quite. It is more accurate to say that events that uniquely signal a context in which we can obtain things we find rewarding, wire together with the behavior required to obtain said reward. Events that are contextually irrelevant tend to be forgotten. And it does not really matter how many events are present. What matters is whether the events that *are* present signal a specific reward IN THAT SITUATION. Wyner drops the ball in that he never arrives at the principal of all language-learning principles: Language is contextually functional—language is only learnt if it creates rewarding effects in our current circumstances. Everything else follows from that, and no “layers” of memory or Chomskyan Language Acquisition Device or other theoretical claptrap is necessary.

So overall, I give this book four stars. Three because it is highly readable, an additional fourth because it has lots of sound and practical advice and materials, and one lost star because its failure to grasp and apply the central insights of language as *behavior* costs readers what I feel is quite a lot in terms of efficiency.
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