How to Learn a Foreign Language

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Book Description Publication Date: March 15, 1987 How to Learn a Foreign Language Learning any foreign language is hard work. But it’s a lot easier if you know the hidden skills and techniques that experts know -- a...
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Book Description

Publication Date: March 15, 1987
How to Learn a Foreign Language

Learning any foreign language is hard work. But it’s a lot easier if you know the hidden skills and techniques that experts know -- and use -- to learn any foreign language. In this little handbook, language expert Graham E. Fuller -- whose career has required him to learn more than a dozen languages -- shows how to take the steps that will make it easier for anyone struggling to learn any new language.

That’s why How to Learn a Foreign Language is used by schools, universities, and independent language-learners throughout the world. 

Acclaim for How to Learn a Foreign Language:

“Useful and entertaining.”
-- The New York Times

“It’s astonishing that no one has ever thought of a book like this before -- designed to prepare students for beginning the study of any language. This book is indispensable to anyone learning a first foreign language.”
-- Dr. L. Michael Bell
Professor of English and Foreign Languages, University of Colorado

“This book could save a beginning student hours of confusion, and might provide some confidence that learning a language is normal and possible, even for someone like him or her!...Fuller has codified what many successful language learners have found out for themselves by learning languages...The knowledge that Fuller is writing from such vast experience can only inspire confidence on the part of the reluctant language learner.”
-- Carol L. McKay, Modern Language Journal

Excerpts from the Book:

This book is for those of you who have never studied a foreign language before. And it is for those of you who have already had one painful experience with a foreign language and who hope to do better at it this time...

This book isn’t just for people who like languages. It’s for those of you who have to learn a language for one reason or another...


Product Details

File Size: 295 KB

  • Print Length: 102 pages
  • Publisher: Storm King Press (March 15, 1987)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00492CR10
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled 
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,095,164 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You got to love it to learn it November 2, 2001
By A Customer
Fuller's book contains a wealth of personal anecdotes regarding his lifelong love affair with foreign languages. Thus, it should perhaps not surprise the reader that the most useful information in his "guide" is that, without motivation, all the flashcards, mnemonic tricks, and extroverted behaviors in the world won't help you to learn a language. Desire is the key element, but you can't catch that from handling his book anymore than you can lose weight by watching Oprah. "Motivational" ought not to be confused with "entertaining." This book falls into the latter category.
Fuller's book is, in its own way, entertaining once you get past the plethora of exclamation points (punctuation that, like little red sports cars, make me wonder what the driver is trying to compensate for) and the gung-ho attitude. As a fellow lifelong foreign language learner, I identified with some of his stories and language jokes, but I got tired of the jokey tone long before I got to the meat of the "techniques" he offers. My favorite part had nothing to do with techniques at all; it was the appendix in which, without either exclamation points or silly in-jokes, the author reviews the up-and-coming and/or more popular foreign languages for usefulness, "personality" quirks, and general level of difficulty.
As for Fuller's language learning techniques, they appear to be largely based upon what any foreigner immersed in a new language has to do anyway--try to figure out what the newspaper and other such materials are trying to communicate to the consumer and talking with native speakers whenever possible using whatever limited vocabulary you possess. The volume does include more specific hints and recommendations such as using flashcards whenever possible to remember new vocabulary, finding the best language tapes and memory techniques out there, and using those techniques religiously and consistently in order to get results. It also includes some recommendations regarding good support materials (those tapes and other books). But I find most of this coaching fairly obvious; I certainly didn't get any particular insights or more effective methods than sheer dilligence will provide.
Using your head as much as this book will get you the same results. Save your money toward an immersion class, preferrably one based in a country that speaks the language you desire to acquire. I give the book 3 stars because it only adequately accomplishes what it sets out to do.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for the right audience. March 3, 2001
have read the book and have a little to say about it from two
different perspectives. First of all, I think that everything Fuller
says about learning languages is true and can be effectively applied
by anyone learning a foreign language. Fuller talks about learning
methodology, word groupings, mnemonics and use of the tape recorder as
well as ways to increase vocabulary effectively. He uses actual
examples taken from languages such as Turkish and Russian. I think the
information contained here would be useful to someone who is serious
about learning a language for whatever reason and who is approaching
language learning for the first time. I think Fuller's presentation
style is concise and clear too. That is the mark of a
professional. However I think I should point out that if you have
already studies a language to degree level, let's say, then you will
already have figured out most of what Fuller is talking about already,
if not all of it! I am not taking away from the value of the book when
saying this because I think it is a good book for the inexperienced
wannabe language master. But for people who are linguists it will only
tell you what you already know.


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