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Fluent Forever

Mitchell Caldwell's Key Ideas from Fluent Forever
by Gabriel Wyner

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The three keys to language learning

The three keys to language learning

  • Learn pronunciation first.
  • Don't translate.
  • Use spaced repetition systems.


4.99K reads

Five principles of memory

Five principles of memory

  • Make memories more memorable. Make foreign words more memorable by learning the sound system of your language, then connect those sounds to images, then connect those images to your past experiences.
  • Maximize laziness. Don't do rote repetition. Study a concept until you can repeat it once without looking, then stop.
  • Recall rather than review. Make and use flashcards containing images and personal connections for words, pronunciation or grammatical construction.
  • Test yourself just before you think you'll forget.
  • Rewrite the past. When you recall a memory, you can rewrite earlier experiences.


3K reads

Train your ears, mouth and eyes

Train your ears, mouth and eyes

  • Ears. Your brain is hardwired to ignore the differences between foreign sounds. Train your brain to listen to similar-sounding words, such as niece and knees.
  • Mouth. Improve your accent by using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Learn the position of the tongue, lips and vocal cords.
  • Eyes. Every language contains a pattern of connections between its spelling and its sounds. Try to internalise that pattern using a spaced repetition system (SRS). Create flashcards to memorise every spelling pattern you need.


2.43K reads

Learning words

Learning only a thousand words can help you recognize almost 75 percent of what you read

  • Learn 625 words from word frequency lists. Each language has its own list.
  • Use games to create deep multi-sensory memories for words.

Game 1: Spot the differences.

Search for the words in the native language, then switch to Basic Version. Look for differences, then add one or two good images in flashcards for that word.

Game 2: Memory Game.

Look for a personal memory related to the word. Try to remember the word rather than the translation.


2.2K reads

Learning sentences

All language learning follows the same pattern: We go from simple sentences (doggie jump), we change their forms, -ing forms(doggie jumping) to irregular past (birdies went). Then regular past tense verbs (doggie jumped) and present tense in third person (Daddy eats).

To make sentences:

  • Take the first example out of your grammar book. and make a flashcard.
  • When you see new words or word forms that surprise you, make flashcards based on them.


1.89K reads

Learn with language games

Learn with language games

  • Start with the top 1000 words in your new language.
  • Add keywords based on your interests.
  • Use a thematic vocabulary book.
  • Use Google Images to find quality example sentences and pictures for your words.
  • Write example sentences and definitions, get them corrected.
  • Add a dictionary when you have enough vocabulary.

Read a book.

  • The first book should be familiar to you.

Watch movies and TV.

  • Read an overview of the series or movie first. Don't use subtitles.

The game of taboo.

The only rule - no first language allowed.

  • Do video chatting.
  • Take language holidays.


1.72K reads



Hydrographic surveyor


This book will equip you with simple and effective ideas to learn a language.

Mitchell Caldwell's ideas are part of this journey:

Learning A Foreign Language

Learn more about personaldevelopment with this collection

How to practice effectively

The importance of consistency

How to immerse yourself in the language

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