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The language learning world...and its problems

Hello everyone! I'm not sure but if you click right now on community, you'll see "Language Hacking"

Basically there is this guy known as "The Irish Polyglot" and he has found ways to "Hack" a language. I have not seen him speak another language and I'm not going to hate on him just because he can supposedly speak a lot of them. But I will however give some advice that I think people should hear first before buying his products.


This is number one because people do and need a number of things to happen with language learning. Language learners want to learn a language FAST! We all do, admit it, we do, but the thing is that Language Learning Resource Providers such as "The Irish Polyglot", "Rosetta Stone", etc all, to some degree, want to make money. To make their "Fast" ways to learn products  sell, they OVER-EXAGGERATE every thing. "Secrets", "Hacking", "Top X-Ways to learn", and "Fluent in X-Days" are all example of how desperate these sellers are. They make language learning look too easy, which of course appeals to people who just want to learn the language fast...not efficiently. People think these so called "Ingenious" "Ground breaking" and "Perfect" products are the key to learn a language in an unrealistic amount of time. I can't stress this enough: "THERE IS NO "RIGHT", "PERFECT" WAY TO LEARN A LANGUAGE" There just isn't and this is being said by someone who has bought these products to know that they all are border line SCAMS. Too expensive, too vague or unclear on major grammar explanation, too much technicality with "mouth position"  "tongue position" or some other useless time wasting "tricks", and/or, I've never seen this, but God so help me if I do, they can be STRAIGHT. UP. WRONG.  


Just start learning the language! It's THAT simple! There is no "easy" way out! You HAVE to make mistakes! You HAVE to practice! You HAVE to learn by reading, writing, speaking, and hearing! You might even HAVE to learn with large vocabulary list..only if you want to get fluent, and fast! You should NEVER expect anything to make sense in a language. IT'S A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE! OVER COURSE IT WON'T MAKE SENSE! People always say "Oh why is it like this!? It should be like this!" That right there is someone who does not like the language that they learn and they only learn it to impress friends or they have family who speak it or that they have ZERO respect for the language for what it truly is. This type of mindset is EXACTLY what these language learning companies want! They want some random desperate person to buy their product, just to make money, so they appeal to people who see a language as a puzzle that is solved in a certain way every single time, and not as a living breathing thing that evolves and changes based on history, culture, or other reasons. This is pretty much a mind set of "I WANT IT NOW AND IN MY WAY" which, by the way, ALMOST NEVER WORKS!

All in all, just find a system that works FOR YOU. If it takes a while to learn a language...SO WHAT! It happens, and there is really nothing you can do about it. Start with duolingo, move to something else if it's too repetitive for you, find free online resources to study, speak with natives who also speak your language at a high level, ANYTHING other than buying some horrible product that cost an arm and a leg.

Sorry if this was too long of a read, but I'm just sick and tired of people treating language learning like a bunch of children. I hope you enjoined and if you have different opinions, PLEASE comment so that I may see all view points. Thank you. 

Sep 4, 2016 3:51 AM
Comments · 7

Benny Lewis can't be criticised on here enough now that he's partnered up with italki.

I'm deeply disappointed with italki for lowering itself to advertising this snake oil salesman who puts the "hack" back into "hacking". I'm thinking of compiling a list of links that show just how incoherent and aggressively anti-intellectual this guy is, not to mention close-minded and nasty (I recall reading him debating some people on another language-learning forum elsewhere - when he was roundly defeated he started calling the other users "buzzards buzzing in [his] ear", and accusing them of being mean to him just because it's fun to troll famous people).

Re: Rosetta Stone, I'll never forget their endorsee Michael Phelps, who claimed to have used it to study Mandarin before going to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In an interview, Phelps claimed that Rosetta Stone really helped him master Mandarin's verb tenses and gender system (Mandarin doesn't have either)...Anyway, Rosetta Stone's core stated mission is to make you learn a foreign language the same way an infant learns their native language. It blows my mind how anyone could take seriously such a laughable approach...

Of course, none of the above applies to my own language learning course, "Uncle Alan's Master Any Language in Four Minutes, and YOU CAN TOO!", available for a special one-time offer of $99.99 (no refunds). You don't need any of those heavy dictionaries, or boring study thingamajigs, and your hair will be more full and lustrous than it's ever been!!!

Private message me for details.

September 4, 2016

Words and phrases like "hacking" or "fluency in X months", etc., are all just marketing, and I think these types of pitches are geared more towards people who are learning a second language for the first time (i.e. people who don't realize the effort involved). 

The world of language learning resources is very competitive, and people need to stand out in order to sell products. 

These types of pitches don't bother me. I just ignore them. 

September 4, 2016

@KodySmithson - Why are you trying to pass yourself off as a native English speaker?

@Alan - Why are you saying Benny can't be criticized here? Did you get censored? 

I'm also not impressed with Benny. If you're a complete beginner mostly looking for someone to give you encouragement to learn a language, Benny might be for you. Otherwise, he has little to offer. Here is a link to a thread that gives Benny's book a full critical review:

September 4, 2016
@aegis I was born in the USA and I was also raised here and I don't see how it matters if i'm a native or not
September 4, 2016

@Aegis: I realise I didn't express myself clearly, I meant that it's acceptable to criticise him freely here. Before the "Language hacking" downgrade, I would've thought it tasteless to start an anti-Benny Lewis thread on italki, but I think he should be roundly criticised now. italki might not care what its users think, but we can still affect other users' opinions, hopefully.

Sometimes protesting against something is the best way of advertising it, though. It's a valid concern, and I'm honestly thinking I should just stop. But I really want to inform others about how bad this charlatan is, and how controversial italki's pact with him should be. We shouldn't legitimise him, we should protest him into the dust.

But to be clear, I wasn't censored. Also, nobody has messaged me about my "Fluent in Four Minutes" course yet, and I'm really offended about that. I knew I should've made it "two minutes"...

September 4, 2016
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Language Skills
English, French, German, Russian
Learning Language
French, German, Russian