My review of the Speak in a week email course by Benny Lewis

↓ Summary     → En español

Note: This page contains affiliate links to FluentIn3Months. That means that if you visit the site following those links, and you buy a product there, or buy a product from Benny following a link on any email you might receive from him if you sign up to his email list, I earn a commission.


Speak in a week is a free crash course on how to start speaking any language you wish to speak as soon as you can. This course is delivered via email (you receive one email a day for a week), and is authored by Benny Lewis from Fluent in 3 Months.

I discovered this new course when I was browsing through the Fluent in 3 Months PLUS platform, and now it seems this little course is Benny's main offer to get readers to subscribe to his email list. So, given that the course is free I decided to subscribe and give it a go. I read all the emails and watched all the videos.

This is what I think of the course. I hope my experience is helpful and/or interesting to you :D


First email: Welcome to Your One-Week Language Hacking Kickstarter


On this first email you get after signing up, Benny starts by sharing some words of encouragement and a brief overview of what you will be learning throughout the course. He also encourages you to actually apply what you learn on each email and video every day. I liked the part where Benny clarifies his approach to language learning and what makes it special.

He then gives you a link to a video where he describes how it took many tries and failures for him to become what he is today, and how if you don’t really believe that you can learn the language it will make your project much harder to complete, if not impossible.

In the video, Benny then proceeds to explain and demolish 3 common myths about language learning so you don’t fall for them, as well as 3 mental shifts you need to make if you want to successfully start practicing your speaking skills as soon as possible, even if you are starting from scratch.

Personally, I think shifts 1 and 2 are not that useful if your focus is on reading and writing in your target language. Shift 3 is a bit exaggerated, I think… but Benny’s intentions are good :)


Day 1 - How to Speak your Language Today: A Step-by-Step Guide


In this email, Benny shares an idea I partially agree with: If you only train yourself in recognizing and understanding the language, that will not make you able to actually speak.

Well...you can only train your pronunciation and become fluent by actually speaking, that's true. But you DO need to be able to recognize and understand a sufficient portion of the language if you want to speak. If you don't, you will not know what to say and how to say it, and you will not understand what is being said back to you.

Benny also mentions that practicing hard your speaking skills in a short time frame can have a very positive impact in your skills in the long run. As long as you are receiving feedback on any mistakes you make while you speak, that's true.

He also shares a video where he introduces the concept of mini-missions (i.e. specific, manageable language-learning objectives to complete), and guides you on how to complete your first mini-mission, which is to have your first conversation with a native speaker.

Here Benny breaks the mini-mission in the following tasks to complete:
  • Get a hold of basic phrases in your target language. To do that, he shows you a website where you can get phrases.
  • Practice those phrases.
  • Film yourself saying those phrases using your computer or smartphone.
  • And then, upload that to Youtube so others can see! This is so you can get encouragement and feedback form other people, as well as getting through the discomfort of speaking your target language for the very first time.

Day 2 – Here's How to Prepare for Your Conversation with a Native this Week


On the second day Benny talks about how tools like Phrasebooks and courses can be useful, but how they will be limiting for you if you strictly rely on them to improve your speaking skills. He mentions how you need to focus on finding out those words in your target language that YOU, and only YOU, will need the most when first speaking with a native.

In the respective video Benny mentions that nowadays he is comfortable with every first conversation in any language he wants to learn because he has had the same kind of conversation many times, just in different languages. He then instructs you to find and learn a set of YOU-words; i.e., words you will most likely use on that first conversation with a native to introduce and describe yourself.

On the P.S. of the email and in the video, Benny mentions that you don’t have to worry about speaking grammatically correct at first - he says that on that stage you should focus on the words you use instead.

At that first stage your aim is to get the native person you are speaking with to understand you. If your grammar is off, but the words you use make sense, then you will be on the right track, and you will gradually improve your grammar as you keep learning and practicing the language.

Personally, I would recommend getting used to the grammatical patterns of the language first (through listening, reading, using a dictionary), and THEN you start practicing your output. But if for some reason you need to be able to communicate with natives as fast as possible, even on a rudimentary level, following Benny's recommendations is your best bet.


Day 3 – The Most Important Language Learning Tool You’ll Ever Need


In this email Benny talks about what he believes is the best “tool” you can use to improve your speaking skills fast: A native speaker. Here Benny encourages you to get over the fear of talking live with a native, and to use online resources to get in contact with natives with whom you can practice your language skills.

In the respective video, Benny shows you how to start using a website called italki to find language exchange partners and/or tutors to practice your speaking (and writing) with.
Benny speaking Japanese on Skype after studying the language for 1 week!


Day 4 – Language Practice Should Never Be Boring


In this day’s email Benny tells you that there is no one-size-fits-all in language learning - that you need to sample several resources and methods in order to find whatever works best for YOU and your particular language learning needs. That way you will follow the methods and keep/find materials you like using most.

Benny also shares with us 3 example exercises we can use to practice our language skills in a fun way. There was no video attacked to this email :(


Day 5 - CHEAT Your Way Through Conversations


On Day 5’s email Benny shares an experience he had on a train while in the middle of China, from which he learned that you will never, EVER feel “ready” to speak… but that overcoming that fear of speaking can open the doors for great results and experiences.

On that day’s video, Benny suggests that if you are going to speak with a language exchange partner or tutor, then you should plan beforehand your first conversations with this person. ¿What will you say, exactly? ¿What topics will you talk about? ¿How long do you want the conversations to last? etc.

He also recommends that you “cheat” within the conversations, which basically means to use certain “survival” phrases to help you out if you are having a hard time understanding what the other person is saying to you.

Also, on this email Benny shares that he is a big proponent of the “fake-it-‘till-you-make-it” mentality. I just wanted to point out that I don’t agree with this kind of mentality. To me, it’s better to be honest with yourself, accept that you will make heaps of mistakes despite your best efforts, and to be brave and practice your speaking skills despite this reality.


Last email: Week 1 is Over – Where should I go from here?


In this final email Benny gives us a final piece of encouragement:

Don’t let any kind of setback let you down. They will most likely happen. If, say, you chicken out of your first Skype conversation with a language exchange partner, then don’t let that get to you. Don’t let that question yourself, your goals, your ability to achieve what you want. Just try to speak with this partner the next day. Or the next if necessary. Once you get over that initial terror, everything gets much more manageable.

After that Benny starts promoting Fluent in 3 Months Premium, and offers you a $10 coupon for italki if you buy a Fluent in 3 Months Premium membership. Not that bad of a deal :)
Conclusion

And that would be it for that email course. I think Speak in a week has pretty good content, overall. Just have in mind that Benny’s methods are geared towards learners whose number one priority is speaking the language as soon as possible.

If your number one priority in the language is understanding it (reading & listening), some of Benny’s advice and resources will still applicable for you (like making the time for the language, where to find basic phrases, etc.), but not all. If your priority is understanding first, focus all your efforts on input for a long time (6 months, 1 year, whatever you can), and then start practicing your output.

If you want to check out this crash course by yourself, and join Benny's "Language Hacking League" too, then click on the image or blue button below:


¡Click here to sign up for Benny's Speak in a Week course for FREE!



Summary


Speak in a Week is a free email course created by Benny Lewis, where you learn how to prepare to have your very first conversation in your target language with a native that speaks that language, in a week.

Although I don't agree with some things that Benny promotes, like the "fake it 'til you make it" mentality, or that "you will never, EVER feel ready to speak the language", he does share many very useful methods, resources and tips to help you get started in practicing your target language.

In general, I liked the course. If you want you can check it out by clicking on the link below:

Note: The following is an affiliate link. That means that if you go through that link, and you buy a product on the page you end up in, or buy a product from Benny following a link on any email you might receive from him if you sign up to his email list, I earn a commission.

Click here to sign up for the FREE Speak in a Week course!


Last updated: April 28 of 2016

↓ Tu atención por favor ↓

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