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  • The book is sold!! (And info on site updates for the next 2 months)

    Posted on by
    First thing’s first, it’s official!!
    Here’s the press release: Crown Archetype has preempted World Rights to 28 year old language learning guru Gabriel Wyner’s THINK IN ANY LANGUAGE, which explores how the hundreds of millions of would-be language learners around the world can bypass current methods that clearly don’t work and teach themselves, through a series of easy-to-accomplish steps, how to learn any language now.

    I’m totally psyched to be working with such a top-notch publisher and above all, such a top-notch editor.  Crown’s authors include Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Deepak Chopra, Martha Stewart, Suzanne Somers, Dr. Pierre Dukan, Tim Ferriss, etc., and Rick Horgan is the executive editor and VP of Crown Archetype and has a simply wonderful vision for the book.  It’s going to be much better than I would have been able to do on my own, and reach a lot more people than I could ever have reached.  These next few months are going to be intense, and please keep questions coming in - it helps me know what you all need so that I can make sure that it’s addressed both in the book and here on the blog.
    Part 2:  Site updates for the Summer
    I’m going to be in Middlebury, VT next week, and forbidden from any interactions in English until late-ish August.  This means that I won’t be able to respond to email until that time, nor will I be able to post here in English.  What I will be able to do is post here in Russian and have a WordPress plugin automatically translate to English, which is what I believe it’s already set up to do (if you have any difficulties, the plugin settings are on the bottom right).  So I plan to keep posting, at least to document what an immersion program like Middlebury looks like - what classes you get, what extracurricular stuff goes on, and how to take advantage of programs like these.    I plan to correct the machine translations when I’m done with the program, and I’ll definitely go back through the summer’s emails/comments and respond to everyone!
    I will not have enough time before I leave to finish the French video series, so I’ll have to refer you to some of the resources in the French section if you need to learn the spelling rules.  (And making your own Anki deck for those rules will help you retain that info better)  Depending on how quickly I write this book, I’ll hopefully finish that series in September/October.
    Part 3: Russian status
    Over the past 5.5 months, my Russian Anki deck has grown to 4250 cards, and I suspect it’ll hit around 6000 by the end of the summer.  This language seems to be taking about twice as long as French to learn, which is about what I’d expect, and I hope to kick its ass by the end of this immersion program.  An interesting milestone that I’d love to see confirmed by your experiences:  after ~3000 memorized cards, I began to have my first thoughts in Russian without trying, I began to be able to use a monolingual Russian dictionary without major problems, and I was able to write an example sentence for any new word (with mistakes, but with enough vocab and grammar to at least articulate what I was trying to articulate).  What’s interesting is that this happened for my French in much the same way, except that my Russian vocabulary is much smaller than my French vocabulary, even with the same number of Flashcards, since I’ve needed to make 2-3 cards per word in Russian (compared with 1-2 in French).  The ability to think in the language may hinge more on the number of facts/cards learned than on the absolute size of the vocabulary.  I’d love to hear your results, especially as you start reaching the 3000 card mark.

    16 thoughts on “The book is sold!! (And info on site updates for the next 2 months)

    1. Ashton Tate

      Excuse this if it has already been discussed.

      Have you tried It went live yesterday but I’ve been utilizing the beta the past 2 weeks and I really enjoy the site in helping me learn vocab/grammar. They also use pictures for certain vocab terms.

      1. gwyner Post author

        Hi Ashton! I haven’t used it yet (and won’t get a chance until I get back from my immersion program in August). I’ve heard wonderful things about the interface, and I didn’t know they use pictures. I’m glad they’re getting a lot of press and getting a lot of people excited about language. I’ll write up a post about it once I get a chance to try it out.

    2. Jim

      Here’s a question for you: How would you go about learning something like the pitch accent for Japanese? It’s pretty much ignored in all of the basic text books, grammar books, and pronunciation guides with a hand wave stating that you don’t *really* need it.

      1. gwyner Post author

        There are a few different skills involved in pitch accent - which are you referring to (or all 3?):

        1. Learning to hear pitch accent
        2. Learning to make pitch accent when you know where it is
        3. Knowing where to put the pitch accent

        1. Jim

          I’d honestly like to learn all three skills. I eventually found a dictionary that marks the standard pitch accent but I still have trouble hearing it and making it even when I know where it is.

    3. Lisa deGuzman

      Congratulations on selling the book! Cannot wait to buy it. Thank you for all of your instruction and advice. I always look forward to receiving the updates. Regards,

    4. Dylan

      Congrats on the book and good luck this summer!

      Have you ever put colloquial phrases in your deck? Not exact English translations, but the actual way the other languages say it? Something like “its raining cats and dogs”, but the actual way they would say it in Italian/Russian/Klingon.

      (Side note: awesome that my new phone recognized ‘Klingon’ as a real word and capitalized it for me).

      1. gwyner Post author

        Hi Dylan!

        Idiomatic phrases are often interesting enough that when you hear them once and someone explains what they mean, you’ll recognize them (passively) the next time you hear them without the help of Anki, so I rarely put them in. In terms of using idioms actively, that’s a pretty advanced skill of knowing when they’re appropriate. If I was going for solid C2+ fluency in a single language, I would eventually make sure I was pretty well versed in idioms, but so far, I’ve been moving on to a new language before I hit that level.

    5. scott

      congratulations! happy to see your work being published.

      it has forced me to make my own french pronunciation anki deck, (as i was waiting to glom off of yours).

      i used the wikipedia site:

      i’ve finished the visual part of the deck using your english pronunciation ipa deck as a model, but i’m having trouble finding mp3′s of each sound.

      any suggestions?

      on the side, my ‘first 400′ deck progresses.

      cheers and good luck this summer.


      1. gwyner Post author

        Hi scott! It will likely be difficult to find mp3s of each isolated sound, but pretty easy to find examples of those sounds over at

        I’d pick a word as an example of each sound and put in a Forvo recording. (Or write out a string of words that work as an example for each sound and then have someone at record it for you, so it’s all in one person’s voice)

    6. Lando

      Hope things at Middlebury are going well for you this summer!

      Do you think you will just keep learning languages one after the other, or are you just concentrating on the ones most relevant for your singing?

      Also, do you find learning additional languages has become easier or more difficult (like french and german for example).

      1. gwyner Post author

        Hi Lando! Russian is my last singing related language, and I believe I’m going to keep picking up more of them for a while. I want to try an agglutative language like Hungarian and a tonal language like Chinese so I can understand those sorts of language families better.

      2. gwyner Post author

        And additional languages get easier to pick up as you go. You get better at the process each time and your brain knows what to do with new words and grammar better.

      1. gwyner Post author

        It’s probably possible, but I’d probably treat them as separate languages and learn them one at a time so that you won’t get mixed up (which is very easy to do and somewhat dangerous when learning related languages or dialects of a language). Whichever you decide to learn second will be much, much easier, and you’ll be more able to keep them straight and switch between them for different speakers.


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