When I was eleven, I decided to teach myself French. I used all of my Barnes and Noble gift cards on grammar textbooks and spent most of my free time in my bedroom memorizing verb tables.
It was thrilling.
My parents couldn’t figure it out: what was it that enchanted me so much about French? And why was I spending my hard-earned birthday money, usually spent on candy and makeup, on textbooks and subscriptions to language-learning software?
They couldn’t figure it out because I didn’t tell them: I had decided to learn French because my father’s family used it when they didn’t want me to understand what they were saying. I had a rock solid motivation: not only did I want to learn French, but I needed to learn French in order to uncover my family’s secrets.
Once they realized that I had reached proficiency in French, they switched to German. So, no problem: I learned German, too. But after they had run out of languages, I realized that I was getting kind of good at this language learning thing. I knew what worked; I knew what didn’t. I had discovered how to identify a motivation, choose the right tools, and learn most effectively.
My techniques helped me to win a gold medal on the National Latin Exam for three years in a row, win the Upper Midwest Japanese Language and Culture Competition for two years in a row, receive 5’s on the French and German AP exams (without ever receiving formal instruction), get a near-perfect score on the Hebrew SAT Subject Test (without ever receiving formal instruction or going to Israel), and win a Critical Language Scholarship to study Persian in Tajikistan. Since turning 11, I’ve reached proficiency in French, German, Persian, Hebrew, and Tajiki -- in addition to being a native speaker of Russian and English. I’ve studied Japanese, Latin, and Somali, and am currently learning Ukrainian and Kazakh.
(This is my first published article in Hebrew! I wrote it at age 15.)
I’ll teach you my techniques and more in my Hermiona University class “How to Teach a Language From Scratch.” In our four-session master class, you’ll learn how to pick a language that works for you (which isn’t as simple as you might think), start speaking right away, and feel the same language-learning “rush” that I did when I first began learning French ten years ago. You’ll save yourselves hundreds of dollars and countless hours that you’d otherwise spend on expensive and ineffective language-learning software like Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur.
I’m looking forward to helping you learn a new language -- and enjoy the process, too. See you soon!