Why we struggle learning languages
Why we struggle learning languages, the only barrier to learning a language is memory.
The process of language learning is the process of forming memories. Nothing more, nothing less. If you understand that, and you understand how memories are formed, then you can make progress in a way you’ve never dreamed possible before.
Gabriel Wyner is an author, opera singer and polyglot based in Chicago. After reaching fluency in German in 14 weeks with the help of the immersive Middlebury Language Schools, he fell in love with the process of language learning, going on to spend two months in intensive Italian courses in Perugia, Italy.
Searching for ways to bring the immersion experience into the home, he began to develop a system that rapidly builds fluency in short, daily sessions. In 2010, his efforts paid off. He learned French to fluency in 5 months, and then Russian in 10 months.
Born in Los Angeles, he graduated summa cum laude in 2007 from the University of Southern California with dual degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Vocal Arts Performance, and was awarded the Renaissance Scholar’s prize for excellence in unrelated disciplines. He then moved to Vienna to pursue triple Master’s degrees at the Konservatorium Wien in Opera, Lieder and Voice, and graduated with honors in 2011.
Currently learning Japanese, he’s learned Hungarian and Spanish over the last few years.
His book on language learning – Fluent Forever: How to learn any language fast and never forget it – was published on August 5, 2014 (Harmony/Random House). His most recent project has been the development of a new language learning tool, which became the most successful Kickstarter for an app in history in September of 2017.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.