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What do you think of Benny Lewis and his learning method?

I came across his website a couple of times before, and I keep hearing about it from other people.

I looked a bit here and a bit there but couldn't really find what his great method is really all about. The site does say "speak from day 1" but I don't think it's possible to do so literally, and if this is a metaphor for "speak a lot, and you'll get better" then it doesn't sound like anything groundbreaking :)

Then again, maybe I'm a bit prejudiced because I'm not used to people openly say they don't like languages and have no respect for them.

Anyway, I'm curious what you think and if his site was helpful for you.

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Improve your knowledge of any language online

I tried his method for Spanish, German, and Japanese before, and it works well.
However, keep in mind that "speak for day 1" doesn't mean "speak without any help at all".

Benny's method involves the following 4 things:
1. Skype.
2. A notepad-like app (or notepad itself, if you're using Windows) to write down phrases you know you will use.
3. A web browser with 2 tabs opened up: one being Google Translate and the other one being an online dictionary.

But if you like Benny's method so much, you should definitely join the #Add1Challenge.
I was supposed to take this challenge a few months ago, but I turned away when I saw the price tag: $ 97 USD. And that was a special price offer by the way!

Now you may think "but 97 dollars for 3 months is cheaper than 30-50 dollars for Italki sessions each week right?", to which my answer is "it's 97 dollars A TOP OF THE 30-50 DOLLARS EACH WEEK".
On the other hand, the main benefit of this challenge is that you encourage each other and you have access to famous polyglots during these 90 days.

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Benny Lewis's advice is mostly useful for: 

1) People who need encouragement, and

2) beginners who don't know how to begin learning a language, and haven't spent much time learning about languages or language learning.

I've never needed encouragement, so I'm never much impressed by language products or gurus who spend a great deal of their time dealing it out. I started using the internet to research language learning in 2005. Before that. I would have been a pretty good candidate for his advice, even though I was on my 5th language by then. But doing a lot of your own research is far superior to just reading Benny's blog. That's because things are always changing, and there's a lot more information out there than just his single website.

Benny Lewis's method is:

1) Spend a few hours learning beginning conversation type phrases in a phrase book or some other source.

2) Have a short conversation. Make a note of the words/phrases you thought you knew but forgot, and the words you needed but didn't know. Learn these words/phrases before your next conversation.

3) Keep repeating 2), but add in material that your partner uses and you don't know.

4) Start to use a beginner's language course to fix your grammar problems as needed. Only learn the things that you've encountered and need to work on.

That's it in a nutshell, so he really is speaking from day one. All the other advice is very general, and not unique at all, so I wouldn't call it his method. It's funny, because I've been using a technique very similar to 2) & 3) for when I begin conversing, and I was initially a little bit annoyed when he claimed it for his own, but that's how it goes. 

 

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