Normally, this would seem like quite a simple question, and my immediate answer would be ‘no’. But there is a website which not only claims that this is possible, but claims that its creator, Benny Lewis, is fluent in 8 languages!
Benny describes himself as a ‘language hacker’, and has travelled extensively over the past 9 years. He says that his experiences have helped him to learn shortcuts and unconventional language learning techniques, and that through immersion and effort, anyone can learn a language. He is quick to rubbish the usual excuses people use for not learning a language, and doesn’t hesitate to label the people who use them as lazy. This no-nonsense approach seems to be the key to his success, both in learning languages and sales of his language acquisition guides.
Personally, I think that it is possible to get a reasonably good understanding of a language in 3 months, but that true fluency is something which takes time. However, I think the main points emphasised by the website are definitely important factors which impact on the success of language students, which are:
• Confidence! You MUST not be too embarrassed to practise speaking the language.
• Effort! Don’t make excuses, just buckle down and do what you set out to.
• Lose that accent! Work on reproducing the accent of native speakers of the language.
• Preparation! Though not always possible to do, preparation will be a massive help when trying to learn any language.
• Stay positive! A defeatist attitude will get you nowhere.
Although I am a little bit skeptical about the speed claims made on the blog, I think it has some really helpful and interesting advice for language learners. If you have tried the methods on this website, I would be really interested to hear how well they worked for you. I know I am going to give some of them a try myself, as thus far my language learning experience has been a long one!