Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
How to Speak Any Language in 1 Month & Never Forget It: A Polyglot’s Journey Into the Wonderland of Language Learning is a nonfiction educational book written by Andrew Pham. Pham, a Vietnamese, already spoke French, German, Spanish and Portuguese as well as his native language, when he added on several new challenges. In this book, he demonstrates how he is able to learn just about any language in four weeks and retain it well enough to converse in a fully immersive setting. How can he do that? Pham’s method shows that just about everything that language learners traditionally learn is incorrect and/or doomed to failure. Pham shows the reader how to organize language learning by comparing aspects of the languages one already knows with those of the target language. He also shares how he prepares himself for an immersive experience through the preparation of standard conversations in the new language.
Anyone who’s sat through years of foreign language classes and found themselves unable to hold a simple conversation in that new language will no doubt be somewhat skeptical of Andrew Pham’s claims. As I began reading, I realized that he had actually developed a rigorous approach to second language acquisition that holds real promise. I’ve studied, and am not fluent in, Spanish, French and Russian, several of the languages he covers, and loved seeing how his templates work for adding on Italian or Portuguese, or even better, making those languages which I’ve studied actually become my own. Would I attempt Mandarin Chinese? Maybe -- after trying a few of the others first. Andrew Pham’s approach seems sound, and his method of instruction is easily accessible and well-reasoned. As someone who’s studied linguistics and second language acquisition, and failed spectacularly at attaining fluency in the languages I’ve studied, I’m quite intrigued by Andrew Pham’s approach and most highly recommend his book, How to Speak Any Language in 1 Month & Never Forget It: A Polyglot’s Journey Into the Wonderland of Language Learning.