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Fluent

French
Copyright 2016 by Simon Schalumov
All rights reserved,

Including the right of reproduction. In whole or in part in


any form.

This book is designed to inform and educate in such way


that people can easily and immediately apply the given
information and finally improve their and the life of
others. This book or any portion thereof should not be
reproduced or used without the written permission of the
publisher except for the use of quotations in a review.

The uploading and distributing of this book through the


Internet or any other means without permission of the
publisher is illegal and punishable by law

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 1544026374
ISBN-13: 978-1544026374
Acknowledgment
The ability to live in Germany, France, Russia, Israel
and Ukraine influenced my perceptions and wouldn't
been possible without my family. People I meet, talk
and learn from are the real source of information I
draw upon, books are the complement. This book is
for you, the reader, the poet, the pawn and the
French learning king. The fighter, the speaker, the
one who never gives in. The reader, the reader, the
reader, for you and thank you. Thank you.
Fluent French

In Paris they just simply opened their


eyes and stared when we spoke to them
in French! We never did succeed in
making those idiots understand their
own language.
-Mark Twain
CONTENTS
Introduction
Born to Speak

1What is language
Communication
Like an Instrument

What was language?

Why do we have language?

Misconception
2French Story
Yes You Can

3Time Input
You Need
Par 1

Part 2

4Motivation
5Eat Smart
Be Water my Friend
Guidelines
8

Introduction
The limits of my language means the limits
of my world
-Ludwig Wittgenstein

Use language what you will, you can never


say anything but what you are
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Learning new language is not just learning to be a


better communicator and understand more people,
but to experience life in much more detail and color.
This book gives you all the tools you need in order to
learn any language in the clearest and most effective
way possible. We use languages to express our
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thoughts. This magical thought-forming tool shaped


the world you see today. Through globalization and
human achievements like the internet, every language
is evolving and compounding into each other.
Researches today are presenting us the idea that
language as itself was invented once and all modern
spoken languages, therefore, are related to each other.
One small thought experiment will clarify this point.
Everyone of us has two parents, four grandparents,
eight great grandparents and so on. If you go on until
we reach the time of William the Conqueror, around
1028-1087, the number of your ancestors would be at
least one billion, which is more than twice as much as
the world population of that time. Yet, language as
itself was invented around 50.000 years ago.
Therefore, we are the result of maybe a handful of
people sitting in a cave and starting to give their
thoughts, feelings and actions meaning which
everyone could understand.
Finally, language can dramatically change the way
we behave and think. Different languages inherent
peculiar traits which are only existing in that particular
language. Because of that, French is known for
centuries to be the language of love and feelings and
emotions and vast sensations. There is no other
language that can express these characteristics as the
French language does. Moreover, people being able to
speak French are unquestionably more receptive and
skilled in expressing and understanding natural
qualities like emotions and feelings.

Plainly put, you will understand more about people


in general by learning to speak French.
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Born to Speak
For thought is a bird of space, that in cage
of words may indeed unfold its wings but
cannot fly
-Kahlil Gibran

Y our brain creates new areas for every new


language you learn.
Those areas affect and improve each other
continuously. If, for example, your mother tongue is
English and you learn to speak French as your second
language, you will improve the way you speak
English. If you learn to speak a third language, it will
likewise affect every other language you already know.
Because we life in a generation of Central Processing
Units (CPU) and Hard/Solid-State-Drives
(HD/SSD), people are getting accustomed to the idea
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that there only is a certain amount of processing


power and space available in order to store
information altogether. That goes as far as thinking
that the limit of our computers is the limit of our
world. But, your brain, if you can say so, is the
synthesis of any CPU and any HD/SSD available. It
doesn't start to malfunction or being slower the more
information you put in.
In fact, it's the other way around. Your brain will
start to work faster, the more there is and the more
there is, the more fits in. Today, the majority of
people are still feeling the inability to express their
thoughts and experiences, even in their mother
tongue. They feel the lack of words, because our
world sometimes just can't be put into an alphabet.
New learned languages aren't just giving us the ability
to communicate with new people but to improve our
understanding for speaking, people, and the world in
general. Therefore, many are starting to play music
instruments or paint, because they search for channels
to express and communicate themselves. Learning
more about languages and new languages in general
will help you to solve this problem. It won't entirely
dissolve, not yet, but dramatically improve. If you
were raised with two languages, according to our
previous brain-computer analogy, it will be easier for
you to learn additional languages. In fact, most people
today are getting raised with at least two languages.
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1 What is Language
13

What is Language
The Cambridge English
Dictionary: A system of
communication consisting of sounds,
words, and grammar, or the system of
communication used by people in a
particular country or type of work.

Wikipedia: Language is the ability to


acquire and use complex systems of
communication, particularly the human
ability to do so, and a language is any
specific example of such a system.
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Communication
Writing, the art of communicating thoughts
to the mind through the eye, is the great
invention of the world... enabling us to
converse with the dead, the absent, and the
unborn, at all distances of time and space
-Abraham Lincoln

C ommunication is the main competence in our

world.
If you can't communicate, you can't help other
people and correspondingly yourself. All ideas and
thoughts and passions you have, need to be
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communicated. Just thinking about any subject is


communicating. In this case to yourself. With
prevailing technological achievements, everyone can
communicate to almost everyone. Furthermore,
speaking French certainly changes the way you
behave.
Don't get me wrong, you won't change into
Casanova, because you can speak French and Italian,
but it will affect your behavior and perspective and
improve your way of expressing yourself in every
aspect. So far we have spoken about language as
something that is learned from culture. But, there are
innate mechanisms in your mind which are not learnt
from culture. They are preprogrammed modules,
which developed with exposure to the world in
general.
You could call them genetic instincts. These
mechanisms are designed by evolution to interpret
perceived signals instinctively, such as face
recognition, attraction towards the opposite sex,
acquire language grammar, interpret social situations,
distinguish emotions and so on. Each of those
modules is already equipped with certain knowledge
of the world for doing such tasks, just as the human
heart is naturally designed to pump blood. You see,
culture could teach you the fear to not jump off
skyscrapers, but why not be just born with the fear to
not jump off such altitudes. Imagine you have to learn
this instinct, it wouldn't make any sense. In nature it is
more efficient to be born with such instincts than to
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learn them. The point is that nothing can be more


instinctive than the ability to learn a language. It is
genetically hard-wired into everyone of us. Noam
Chomsky, MIT professor and the father of modern
linguistics, says that there is a common set of
principles to all languages and they are
preprogrammed into your brain rather than learnt.
You are designed to learn languages and are born with
already built-in knowledge for every human language
there is. And, in fact, we are not trained by someone
to learn a language. We get exposure to a particular
language and then we learn it. There is no way to
teach a baby that it has to learn a language, because it
will need to speak to other people someday. It already
knows it from birth. Therefore, speaking a language is
as human as having two legs and two arms. Summing
up, we are the result of two sources.

First, the cultural (environment) and second the


natural (genetics). So far, we have talked about
genetic exposure. But, what influence has the
environment?
Now, our genes interact with our environment.
Languages actually are the product from natural and
cultural factors. There is no gene which single-
handedly builds language into your brain. The
preprogrammed knowledge for languages consists of
multiple genes collaborating with each other and the
environment.
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After all, why should your genes allow you to speak


languages if your culture (environment) doesn't need
you to speak any languages? A similar question would
be, why do you have two hands and not two wings?
Because you are determined by your environment. As
a Fish can't live in New York on Park Avenue, we, as
humans, can't fly. And because the Fish won't be able
to live in New York the next years, but we, as
humans, could live in the oceans, or fly in the skies
with our self-made airplanes, we win. So what is the
difference between the Fish who wants to live in New
York and us?

We can adapt almost instantaneously to any


environment! Thus, our genes are determined by the
environment we live in. But, the environment changes
at an increasingly faster pace. Where there was just a
forest, now there are streets, cities, rails and
metropoles. First, we lived in caves, then in small
villages and cities. These small cities were captured
and left in ruins, destroyed and rebuild, they were
developed, expanded, protected. Bigger and better,
always adapting, searching for advanced ways of being
more secure, of providing a better life for people.
From Genghis Khan to Alexander the Great, from
Caesar to Attila The Hun, Catherine the Great,
Napoleon, Hitler, Lenin... all these people have
conquered, have killed and have changed the world
throughout thousands of years.
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All these ages resulted in big cities which still


contain remnants of what happened. Paris, almost
2000 years old. Rome, 2770 years old. Athene, 7500
years old. So many things have changed, but one
thing remained almost unchanged, the language. What
Napoleon did, what Louis XIV did and said has
influenced the way we speak French today.
We have lost the old cities of pharaohs, but we can
learn something that shaped the way those people
thought and saw their world. We can learn their
whole culture, their whole nature handed over,
without thousands of symbols graved in papyrus rolls,
by just learning Egyptian.

Same for French. Same for Russian and the same


for every language there is. Today, we create our
environment. As a small baby you couldn't choose
your environment, as an adult you can. Every second
we are communicating who we are, where we have
been and even sometimes where we want to go.
There is an old saying: When a man enters a room, all
his life follows in tow. Different cultures have
different languages and finally produce different
people which, therefore, have different perspectives.
Finally, a new perspective is nothing else than a new
pair of eyes. If we can change the way we look at
things, it will enrich our understanding and enjoyment
of life enormously. Good communication can only
happen through understanding. Consequently,
language gives us the ability to understand.
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Coming back to the quote of Abraham Lincoln,


written words are nothing else than condensed and
crystallized language written down and preserved for
eternity. As you can see, books are our gates to
communicate with the greatest minds of mankind,
alive or not. Books are your personal time travel
machine. Read great books in their original language,
because like I already said, every translation is a sort
of distortion.
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Like an Instrument
There are many shapes of language.
Music is a language, film for example is a visual-
language.
Today we are going to concentrate on one particular
form, the spoken language. If we are able to
understand a language, then we are able to connect
sounds to a particular object, activity or thought.
Simply put, someone makes sounds and someone else
knows what these particular sounds mean. That's
spoken language, that's all it is. Like an instrument we
use air from lungs, mouth, tongue, larynx and so forth
in order to produce a tone. Your organs are shaping
the incoming air from the lungs to create a certain
tone.
Our brain therefore has to safe the exact positions
of each organ to produce a certain sound. Because
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our communication is based over 30 percent on


tonality alone, controlling these organs can improve
your ability to communicate enormously. Now,
according to this knowledge, the sounds you can
make are actually limited by your anatomical
characteristics.
But, any extensively used organ can develop and
enhance its function. This also applies the other way
around, we have to use our organs therewith they
don't degenerate and this is true for every organ in the
human body. For example Franz Liszt, probably the
most virtuosic pianist ever lived, had very big hands
for a man of his size. He was 1,85m tall and possessed
hands the size of a man which should be 2,00m.
From young age on, Liszt was exposed to extensive
piano practice regimes. Most importantly, he didn't
stop when he got older, he kept his tremendous
practice schedule all his life. This true example is
evidently exaggerated, unless you want to become the
next Luciano Pavarotti, but it clarifies this topic in
great detail.
You have to use your organs in term of developing
and maintaining their function. Thus far the technical
part. As human, we use language to mentally connect
to each other and there is a great difference between
just expressing oneself and connecting with other
people. If you can appreciate the visual-language a
painter has created then he was able to connect to
you. Whereas poetry and music does not need a
canvas, those paint on our minds. Internet,
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smartphones and so on are just made up tools to


spread our ideas, thoughts and believes. We life in a
world which intertwines itself more and more. For
instance, why do we have the most significant
technological progresses in the last 100 years? If you
look at these 100 years in detail, you will see that it
isn't a linear progression, but rather an exponential
curve.
It's because world changing advances in
communication are accelerating. It's heading towards
a universal connected knowledge which will grow out
of any proportion we experienced so far. See it like
this, all of humanity is magically connected to each
other and is able to instantly share and transfer
knowledge between every human being. The perfect
language. One sunny day, this can become reality. For
some people it may sound like Star Wars: The return
of the Language, but it is the main goal of our
society: Perfect understanding which ensures our
survival. The further a person progresses in terms of
communication, inherently, the more successful this
individual will become.
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Why do we have language?


We need language to share our ideas, mental
thoughts, in short ourselves to others. The
ability to formulate, develop and make
someone else understand a thought is only
possible by the virtue of language.

What was language?


Language was a bunch of sounds which just
developed into a systematical and ordered
bunch of sounds, containing all the
information and knowledge about the world
those people who spoke that particular
language knew and still know. Every tribe
had its own language and this probably was
the main cause why most tribes were
aggressive against each other.
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Misconception
First of all no, children do not learn a language
faster than any adult, otherwise babies could speak
any language fluently one month after birth. It won't
happen. This misconception prevents most people
from learning anything new at all, because they think
they are too old to learn anything. Learning and
willpower are like organs, they have to be used
extensively.
Actually, adults can learn languages faster than
children. Any Polyglot, including myself, will confirm
that. If you want to learn a new language mind-
blowing fast, you need to use your adult intelligence
and knowledge and focus it on learning a language.
It's easy as that.
Children do learn extremely fast, because they
simply have to learn everything there is. We as
mammals are designed to finally become independent
from our parents. Children must learn everything
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about life which adults already know. Therefore,


adults can focus and narrow their efforts on one
particular task at a time. And this is exactly the reason
why adults can learn any language faster than
children. Finally, we are as intelligent as we are
because of our social structures. Our brain is made to
function in this social world. People who are prolific
at languages, arts and theatre are in fact highly
intelligent. Medical students went against a group of
special language learning recruits from the Swedish
Armed Forces Interpreter Academy. Those recruits
were about to start their extraordinary intensive
language acquisition program, which the Academy is
famous for. Both groups went through Magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) scans. After three month,
the final scans clearly demonstrated that this language
acquisition group had literally grown their brains,
whereas the med students had no sign of brain
growth whatsoever. Medicine students were chosen
thanks to their likewise demanding learning pace. This
study was well documented and took place in 2012.

Learning a new language is like


learning a new way to think. It is
about learning to see things you
couldnt see before by changing
your perspective. You should see a
new language like a new pair of
eyes, a new yourself.
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The way a sentence is built or a


thought is formed in any language
isn't just French, German or
Italian, it's rather the culture,
history, nature and moral of that
particular language and country
which formed it.

When we learn a new language


our brain creates completely new
cerebral connections and
strengthens already existing ones.
Learning a new language,
therefore, will not only strengthen
the connections in languages you
already know, but improve your
overall brain connectivity. Studies
are showing that learning a new
language is the best prevention
against Dementia, Alzheimer and
other brain malfunctions.
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2 French Story
28

French Story
The real voyage of discovery consists not in
seeking new landscapes, but in having new
eyes
-Marcel Proust

When I arrived in Paris, I could barely ask


someone where to find the next boulangerie. The first
two days plunging into this fairy tale I called Paris
Paris, I knew French people won't learn English by
tomorrow morning. I can't make all people in France
speak the languages I can speak, but I can control
myself in order to learn French. Therefore, my
approach was quite simple. From now on, I think, I
speak, eat and even buy baguette only in French. Just
after 2 months following this approach, I was able to
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hold fluent conversation without any knowledge


beforehand. First of all, do not lock yourself up into
this English bubble!
It's comfortable, because most people today can
speak English. But avoiding the discomfort of not
immediately being able to find the right words or
using what you already know to express yourself,
which is what learning languages is all about, will
dramatically delay your progress. Moreover, be careful
with translating, because building a sentence in
French is completely different from English or
German. I suggest avoiding translating as much as
possible. Translating by definition always causes
distortion. Rely on the language you want to learn as
fast as possible, think right from the beginning in
French. This will have the greatest impact. Unknown
vocabulary can easily be understood when derived
from the context. Finally, develop a habit for learning
in general.
To accelerate my progress, I started applying to jobs
and going out to appointments, all in French. There
wasn't a way of not speaking French, because I need
food to eat and money to buy it. Put yourself and
your brain in a demanding, yet even stressful
situation.
Creating willing discomfort literally skyrockets your
results.
This is how I drove to Paris. I just took 200 Euro
and went, without preparation, without reservation
and most importantly without securitization. Further,
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language connects our whole brain. Every object,


word, thought goes through the process of putting it
into words and images we already know.
And sure enough this process itself can create new
things we didn't know before. This new formed
connections, and nothing else, is creativity. Therefore,
by improving our communication skills in regard to
the spoken language, we evidently can improve the
way we receive and process information in general.
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Yes You Can


Autosuggestion. Frankly, I never believed in
those kind of things.
Well, I knew that you can use your
subconsciousness to improve performance
dramatically and there certainly are ways to put
information inside it, but I never actually tested it
until I went to live in Paris for one year.
It was the best year of my life and like everything
good, it had to start rather less good. I couldn't find a
job, nor had much money to afford myself to not find
a job. It went as far as sleeping for weeks in my own
car.
There always comes a day when you have to make a
decision. It was a cold, windy and dark night outside.
I was staring on my windshield in solemn silence,
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trying to count those slapping raindrops, because


there wasn't much to count when only 5 Euro are left
to live on. Right there in this moment, things were
heading towards an end I would never accept and I
knew that my day had come.
Three days later, living on a baguette and a small
box of pineapple juice a day, skipping lunch for
dinner, dinner for breakfast and breakfast for lunch, I
was driving with a French actress to a friend of hers
who was living in a mansion in the Normandy on top
of a small mountain. It's a funny true story witch
started with me finally learning some French. Like
you already know, my financial situation was quite
unpleasantly impromptu, to say the least. It was a sunny
beautiful day and I was walking along the old edges of
the Seine. If you've ever been to Paris, along the Seine
are various small book sellers, vending their ancient
books of from small tin-can-like boxes. One of those
French, I should say booklovers, supported by a glass
of red wine and a chapeau as French as they get,
stopped me and asked what I like to read.
Well, I responded with something romantic, after all
it's Paris.
He looked at me, slightly starting to smile and went
off to get something out of his little box. What he
gave me there was an original 1800 something printed
book about masterpieces by Alfred de Musset. When I
saw the price tag and already was about to give my
just-won treasure back, he simply replied that it was a
present. His dangerously cheap bottle of Bordeaux
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was the best translation we both could hope for.


Nevertheless, I went into the beautiful Jardin du
Luxembourg (park in Paris) and sat down near the
Fontaine Mdicis. It was quite a cold, but bright day and
I started reading the book he gave me. Now, there
was only one small problem left, I could barely order
baguette in French. So, there I was, sitting in Paris in
one of the most beautiful gardens on this globe,
following at least the advice of Maupassant's Forestier
in Bel-Ami: In Paris one is better off without a bed
than without good clothes.
After 20 minutes of solid translation work, I had to
state, completely betraying my vie la franaise, that me
translating that book was the same as a horse playing
chess.
Once, long ago, I have tried to learn French but just
gave up after one month. However, exactly this was
the moment when my first unknown autosuggestion
kicked in. Very exhausted, I closed my eyes and
imagined myself talking French, driving along the
French Riviera and reading great French classics. It
was lucid, almost a dream, certainly a daydream, but
still awake. I could see those pictures in undimmed
precision, all of them. Maybe I was just truly tired of
walking ten miles and eating almost nothing that day.
However, suddenly something shifted. I couldn't tell
exactly what it was, but I felt the urge to try again
reading my beloved book. Like I said, I couldn't speak
French back then, I just have listened to it for a little
more than one month. I opened my eyes, grabbed
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that book and at once could understand around 70


percent of what I was reading there. It was exactly the
same book and between both situations were only 10
minutes difference.
Afterwards, like almost every day, I went to
Shakespeare and Company. I like going there, reading old
books, playing the piano and meeting people around
the world. It's a melting point. Nevertheless, once
again I was playing the piano and one guy just started
whistling and then singing along. Well, I kept playing
my Chopin and joined in. Till today, I don't know his
name, I just called him English guy and he called me
Russian guy.
After our singing session, we went out to get several
beers, which he paid most of. I liked this English guy.
We came across a little bar and just went in. Suddenly,
we found ourselves in the middle of an almost surreal
situation.
Good old fashioned Jazz and Boogies were played,
people were dancing and laughing and dressed
completely different from what we were used to see
nowadays, at least myself. If you have ever watched
Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, well this was the
closest thing you could get. We talked with several
girls and danced and had several more beer. Needless
to say that my 5 euro said goodbye and I went
completely broke that night. One particular girl
seemed quite interesting and this cheered me up.
Hours later, when those musicians already had left,
the interesting French girl sat down at the deep red
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mahogany piano and started to play, you guessed it,


Chopin.
She played beautifully and the whole bar went quite.
Halfway in, she made a small mistake and didn't know
how to go on. She abruptly stopped playing, still
sitting at the piano, while the whole bar was looking
at her in embarrassing silence. So, I stood up, went
right besides her and continued, while standing, from
the exact same point from where she stopped playing.
After I had finished playing she stood up from her
small piano bench and kissed me, while around 30
people where bursting into cheering applause. It was a
good night. Long story short, she was the French
actress and the very next day we went into the
Normandy and I sadly have never seen my English
friend again.
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3 Time Input
37

Time Input

For 37 years I've practiced 14 hours a day,


and now they call me a genius
-Pablo De Sarasate

I remember a conversation I had with a friend of


mine who was thinking that after 12 years of playing
the piano you just cant be bad at playing the piano.
My opinion was that not the years you think you've
invested in something are important, but the actual
hours you were sitting right in front of the piano are
decisive.
Everyone who is telling me hes playing football,
chess or no matter what for 5 years, is straight
forward lying. It would mean more than 40.000 hours
of invested time, which in most cases I hardly doubt.
Especially after the rule of 10.000 hours. But, let's
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assume you truly want to dedicate 2 months of your


life to something which will make you speak fluent
French.
You should spend at least 8 highly concentrated
hours a day with this subject. This is a universal
technique, valid for everything you want to learn
sincerely fast. Those eight hours can be spread
throughout the day, preferably into a few bigger
chunks.
Why a few bigger chunks? Because it's like driving a
car. In the first gear, the initial fuel consumption is
the highest and then your car consumes less and less
with each additional gear. Therefore, maintaining
concentration costs less than achieving concentration.
This will be your schedule: 8 hours a day, 56 a weak
and 224 hours a month. 448 hours in total. I know
this could sound like the schedule of a plastic
surgeon, but it is the time counted in real hours you
have to spent to develop and expand your abilities
properly. See it like this, after 2 months, I promise,
you will be able to talk French.
And with talking I mean fluent expression of
feelings and thoughts. Only this kind of immersion
allows you to involve your subconsciousness
effectively. Because our subconsciousness is much
more potent than the consciousness in terms of
information processing, you will accelerate your
learning tremendously by following this schedule.
Now, you could say 448 hours and 10.000 hours
aren't quite the same thing and you are right. But,
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learning 95 percent of any language can take you 2


months, whereas learning the remaining 5 percent
could take you 10 years of your life. Our focus is to
get prolific as fast as possible, not perfect. This
analogy simply shows that you can learn even more
than 95 percent of any language in 2 months. Time is
not money, time is time and you only have a certain
amount of it.
Try to see the whole learning process as a journey
through an unknown country. Nobody travels to
Paris only to see the Eiffel Tower, but to feel the life
people are living there. Every day, you have to
imagine how great it would be to speak this language
and express your thoughts and feelings in French.
How great it would be to walk along the Seine, hand
in hand, with someone you love. This will prime your
brain to learn French almost automatically.
40

You Need
A Smartphone and the following apps:
Brainscape, Doulingo, Memrize (best)
TV, Computer, Radio
Your favorite book (one in mother tongue
and one in French)
The 1000 most used words in French
A Pen with a lot of paper

If you are learning new vocabulary, always write it


down in full sentences. This will teach you the
grammatical rules effortlessly and automatically.
Researches show that kids have already learned the
grammatical rules of their mother tongue just at the
age of 7 months. This means, we can understand and
41

learn grammatical concepts without even knowing


what they are or how to use them. Rarely write down
any translations.
Our brain isn't good in just remembering straight
given facts, but a sentence with a sense will stick.
Therefore, we should try to remember unknown
words from the context and link those to ridiculously
vivid images.
For many people spaced repetition seems to be very
effective. Nevertheless, I personally have never used
this technique and therefore wouldn't allow myself to
comment on this one. One technique that I have used
extensively though is to bring my heartbeat and
breathing to a certain point when the brain switches
into a rapid learning mode. Simply put, there are two
ways your heart can beat, erratic and coherent. Erratic
is the spiking pattern you see in those Horror-
Doctor-Blockbusters.
Sharp up-and-down spikes display the erratic way
your heart can beat. Now, there is another way. If you
loose yourself in reading a book or playing a piece
and forget everything around you or when you get
into a state where anything you do seems to succeed
with ease, then you are in the coherent state. If we use
a more modern description it would be the flow
state.

If you would look at any Electrocardiographic image


while being in the flow state, you would see a soft and
rounded wave pattern evenly flowing. Therefore the
42

name, state of flow. Of course, it still goes up-and-


down but now at it's peak you would see a curved
wave like picture. This state can easily be created
willingly.
All you need are 5 minutes of smooth breathing.
First, it can take you more than 10 minutes to reach
this state, later you can access it in 30 seconds.
Smooth breathing means not deep breathing, it means
breathing in a steady and rhythmic pattern. For
example 5 seconds inhale and 3 exhale is not
rhythmic. Repeated 5 seconds inhales and 5 seconds
exhales are rhythmic.
Repeated breath strokes in the same rhythmic
pattern, paired with a smooth way of breathing are
the surest and fastest ways in achieving the flow state.
A friend of mine who is a world class pianist taught
me to use this technique. Because of my background
in sports,
I already was very familiar with the effect of
breathing on our human performance. For instance,
at birth we inhale and our life starts, at death we
exhale and our life ends.
How can it be then, that people are running through
their days without consciously controlling this life
depending part?

Breathing is the most important factor when it


comes to performance.
You can change your physiological and
psychological state with breathing alone. Further, you
43

can resolve any tension, boost blood circulation and


pack every cell full with oxygen. Use this technique
and start consciously to control the way you breath,
especially in demanding or stressful situations.
44

Part 1
The first week you spend with learning the sounds
of French and nothing else. Your brain can't
recognize those sounds, not yet. Before you can
understand anything, you must be able to recognize
them. Therefore, start by learning the right
pronunciation and intonation.

I mean thoroughly repeating words and sentences


the right way, even if you have no clue what those
words mean. Start with words, afterwards full
sentences, until you can pronounce them well. The
first week must be completely dedicated to this task.
If you can read the Phonetic alphabet, good for you,
if not, then turn on the TV, the Radio, your
Smartphone, Smartwatch, Computer and get some
45

native and well deserved French input. Pause the


playback and repeat single words, then whole phrases.
Pause, repeat, pause and repeat.
This is the very first part.
Evidently, you should choose a device which allows
you to do so. All your further learning will depend on
this repetition cycle, therefore, do it as detailed as
humanly possible. I call this exercise intensive
listening. Additionally, you should record yourself
from time to time and proof your pronunciation
progress. After two weeks you will bee able to
recognize all of those French sounds. You need to
recognize those sounds in order to learn French
properly.
The second week you start with sticking every chair,
book, dog, just anything with a small pieces of paper
containing the translation of that particular thing in
French.
This will change your environment. Our brain is
designed to adapt to new situations, which is exactly
what you are going to do, simulate a new
environment. After a week without even paying
attention you will know everything in your apartment
in French. Additionally, you should download
applications like Memrize and Doulingo and start
spending around 30 minutes with these programs per
day. They are free, slow and the best on the market.
Forget Rosetta Stone and all those expensive things.
They will take your hand and show you around and
that's all these applications can do. I honestly don't
46

want anybody to fool himself thinking that those apps


can teach you to speak a language fluently. This won't
happen. The biggest part of the day should be spent
with listening and speaking French, even speaking to
yourself will help enormously.
In the shower, while driving to work and so forth.
When you go to sleep you should listen to French,
preferably all night long.
Radio and TV can help here If you have visual
content, observe body language and facial expressions
Furthermore, listen to French while you cook, walk
around, or even do something completely different.
Make sure to permanently have input. Our
subconsciousness does not filter. Everything you
throw at it will be picked up somehow. The following
technique is called intensive understanding.
You get a tape, favorable a person who is talking
about his trips. It should be in a subjective and
narrative perspective though. For example about his
or her last trip to Rome and Paris, or about the
feeling of base-jumping and surfing. Anything related
to personal experiences.
Try to understand everything, if you will come
across a passage you don't understand then stop and
go back and listen again. If necessary, reduce the
speed of the playback. Do this until you can
understand the tape without any kind of effort. This
exercise will surely boost your comprehension in no
time and is the natural continuation of intensive
listening. When I studied medicine, we went through
47

a study. It was about going to sleep and listening to


foreign languages which those particular participants
were already learning.
To make things interesting, people who couldn't
speak any of those particular languages were likewise
listening to foreign languages all night long.
After one week of dedicated listening, both groups
underwent several tests. Sure enough, not only
participants who already could speak their respective
languages improved, but those people who had no
previous knowledge whatsoever could improve their
understanding significantly. Our brain actually does
not sleep. I found myself saying and understanding
words which Ive never had seen or learned before
because I was listening several nights per week to
French.
48

Part 2
Everyone has his favorite book, which means a
lot to him or her.
I want you to buy exactly this book in French. Try
to find the most exact translation available. When I
learned French I had a copy of Hermann Hesse's:
Siddhartha (in German), so I went and bought one in
French. Though my mother tongue is Russian, I knew
the book in and out and had already read it many
times.
Even if I couldn't always exactly understand the
French version word per word, I always had a feeling
of knowing what it actually meant. Especially the side
by side translation was extremely helpful regarding
the structure of thoughts and sentences in French.
49

But, be careful here. Like mentioned before,


concentrate rather on the context than on every single
word. Last but not least, learn the 3000 most used
French words. The first 300-400 most used words will
give you an understanding of about 65 percent.
I repeat, if you learn the 300 most used words in
French, you will understand more than half of what
you hear and see in French. Yet, I want to mention
here that French people are extraordinary proud of
their language and enjoy the way of expressing
themselves in untold fashion. This especially is true
for French women.

But for women, as always, will do as they please, they


aren't meant to be understood, rather to be loved.

It's their culture. I'm not assuming that Germans or


Russian aren't enjoying expressing themselves, but to
a lesser extent on average. The average French girl
will express herself more fluid than the average
German girl, for that I'm sure. Nevertheless, with
3000 words, you are considered fluent and 5000-6000
and upwards depending on education, social status
etc. is mother tongue level.
Most words are very easy to learn and you already
know them, because French and English actually have
a lot in common. Concentrate and drill on the first
1000 words, because these are the words you will see,
hear and read the most. 1000 words can seem
50

exorbitantly at first, but you will already know around


200 of them, because you speak English. It can easily
be done within the first month.

Summed up, intensive listening and intensive


understanding paired with learning the most used
1000 words and continuous French input, even
while sleeping, is the best things you can do in order
to become fluent in any language.

Native conversation partners are obviously very


beneficial, but you can't make your progress depend
on them.
Nevertheless, after several weeks you should start to
speak with other people in French. If you don't know
anybody who can speak native French, find someone.
Find communities in your town that provide you with
conversation partners. Additionally, to all previously
mentioned techniques, you should try to write down
the most used French sentences and learn them too.
Lastly, there is a big difference between intonation
and pronunciation.
For clarification purpose: Pronunciation is how we
pronounce single words whereas Intonation is how
we utter whole sentences.
Further, I don't want you to exaggeratedly focus on
written material. In French, the written language is
very different than the spoken language. When I lived
in Paris, my girlfriend at that time was studying at the
Sorbonne University. The essays she was writing
51

compared to the way she actually spoke were two


completely different things. Actually, the written and
the spoken language are two completely different
languages.
Concentrate fully on the spoken language, because
you can't learn two languages at the same time.
Everyone who is saying multitasking works is lying. In
Russia, we have a beautiful proverb for that: If you
chase two rabbits at a time, you won't catch neither
one.
Imitate native speakers and learn the right
pronunciation and intonation from the beginning. Pay
special attention to the way the French language
flows. Every language has a special rhythm to it, like
music. And I think everyone agrees that French
sounds magnificent.
It is very important that the French material you are
watching and listening to is delivered by native
speakers.
This is all you need to speak with and understand
even native French speakers just after several weeks.
There is no other way to learn French faster except

You have no money, no food, speak near to none


French and live in one of the most beautiful cities on
this planet,
Paris.
52

4 Motivation
53

Motivation
Circumstances are the rulers of the weak;
they are but the instruments of the wise
-Samuel Lover

You see, being healthy won't get you on the


treadmill, loosing your man boobs so you can hook
up with somebody, now that is motivation. Ask
yourself why you want to learn French? You need to
know what you really want and without too much
analysis and hypothesis.

I very often watch a lot of young people sort of


meander around, without any idea, why theyre doing
what theyre doing. I mean to want and to be
56

ambitious and to want to be successful, is not


enough. Thats just desire. To know what you want,
to understand why youre doing it, to dedicate every
breath in your body to achieve. If you feel you have
something to give, if you feel that your particular
talent is worth developing, is worth caring for, then
there is nothing you cant achieve.
-Kevin Spacey

You have to make a clear decision and then


immediately act on it. Being able to convincingly
motivate yourself is key in learning, not just
languages.
Tell your brain that the following information is
important and actually could change your life in a
positive direction. Do this every time before you start
studying. I promise, you will be impressed how
concentrated you can become. When motivated, our
brain automatically switches into a rapid learning
mode.
It is the same in sports, you have to be in the right
state if you want to perform your best. When I
moved to Paris, I was literally stunned. This
architecture, the beauty, this Parisian live just
captured me utmostly. I already saw myself going
through the streets and buildings all those big writers,
thinkers and artists of the last centuries have gone
before me. Sitting in those cafs franais. French
almost stayed the same throughout all these years.
Speaking the same language as Voltaire and Victor
55

Hugo seems surrealistic, doesn't it? I have to say here


that learning French, because it's just fun, is not
enough.

Fun as itself has no substance and won't give you


considerable energy or ambition. Deep rooted
conviction and passion, now this is something we can
work with. Finally, motivation is a motive, an idea, a
vision, a conviction that causes you to act. Without
action, without movement towards something,
motivation is useless.
56

5 Eat Smart
57

Eat Smart
To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently
is an art
-Franois de La Rochefoucauld

Nutrition is a strongly underrated subject.


If you want your brain to work properly it needs the
right nutrition, period.
Fact is that the majority of us have vitamin deficits,
mineral deficits, protein and fat deficits or abundance
and so forth.
The lack of Vitamin D nowadays can almost be
considered normal. Imagine a male bodybuilder going
to the gym with the goal to put on some size without
eating, it's ridiculous. He can't just eat salads, some
carrots and a piece of lemon cake. He needs high
58

quality proteins, good fat acids, all the vitamins,


nitrates, carbohydrates and 3l of mineral water every
day.
Exactly the same applies to our brain. In addition,
your brain consumes at least 20 percent of your daily
energy input. Outgoing of any normal person who
goes to work and isnt overloaded with mental
activity.
A student who is learning 8 hours a day or a surgeon
who operates 12 hours straight should be able to
increase this number significantly. Furthermore, we
need the right nutrition to build new neuronal
connections in the first place. In short, stick to
biological produced, very high quality oils, pay special
attention to good rap seed oil. Any kind of saturated
and unsaturated fat consumed moderately is necessary
and healthy. Forget margarine completely and eat real
Irish butter! By contrast against the public view, our
daily Omega-6 consumption degenerated into far
more consumption than is healthy for us. Excessive
omega-6 intake has been associated with higher rates
of obesity, mental illness, violence, allergies, asthma,
cancer and so on.
Further, excessive omega-6 consumption prevents
the body from utilizing omega-3 fats properly.
Nevertheless, make sure to include both PUFAs
(Polyunsaturated fat = Omega-3 and Omega-6 fat
acids) in proper relation into your diet, since our body
can't derive them on his own. Trans and
interesterified fats are made artificially and can be
59

found in cereals, everything baked, fast food, some


ice creams and almost every prepared frozen dinner.
This is the worst type of fat for your health and
should be avoided completely.

Example: Fruits and Vegetables


Fruits and vegetables are as important as it gets.
They improve your immune system, prevent the
forming of cancer cells, help your digestion and
finally delay aging. Additionally, fruits and
vegetables are a good source of dietary fiber,
vitamins, water and one of the main suppliers of
potassium. Potassium (Kalium) is the most
important mineral in your body. Every cell
contains Kalium and without this mineral, your
body couldn't make use of any proteins. Kalium is
essential when it comes down to protein synthesis
and carbohydrate utilization. Further, this mineral
regulates your cell growth, maintains a normal and
healthy blood pressure, affects the release of
extremely important anabolic hormones like
insulin and transfers the biological electricity in
your body. Your cells can only communicate with
each other because of Kalium.
60

Note: Always consider that fructose, the thing that


makes your apple sweet, is sugar. Eating too much
sugar can lead to health problems. Further, sugar and
particularly fructose and short-chained glucose, has
the feature of literally slowing down your brain.
Insulin for example is strongly involved in the
functionality of your brain cells, especially in synaptic
plasticity. Insulin resistance therefore inhibits brain
function massively.

Example: Fish, Sardines


Packed with EPA and DHA (Omega 3/6 acids)
will skyrocket your concentration and improve the
communication between neurons. Pregnant
women are shown to increase the IQ of their
children by eating these fat acids during pregnancy.

Example: Eggs
According to Swiss researchers, protein-rich food
like eggs can improve overall cognitive
performance. Eggs are full of useful Cholin, which
is a precursor to acetylcholin, a neurotransmitter
involved in the process of remembering.
61

Example: Multivitamin-Complex
Unavoidable! Your body is a system and if one cog
is missing, the other cogwheels can't work
properly. Make sure to supply yourself from A to
Z. Pay special attention to B6 and B12. If you are
further interested in this topic you should inform
yourself about the Liebig's law of the minimum.

Example: Pomegranate and Red Wine


Both of them are extremely rich with antioxidants.
For one, if you consume these products regularly,
you will slow down the aging process and look
younger. Second, your cardiovascular system will
improve, which on the other hand provides your
brain with fresh and oxygen-rich blood supply.
Finally, your overall well-being will improve. Thus
you will feel more energetic and capable
throughout the day.
62

Be Water my Friend

They both listened silently to the water, which


to them was not just water, but the voice of
life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual
Becoming
-Hermann Hesse

About 70 percent of your body consists of water.


91 percent of your blood is water. Consequently, we
can't talk about nutrition without mentioning the
topic of water and how important it actually is to
drink enough mineral water every single day.
First of all, your blood needs to be fluid in order to
provide every cell with valuable nutrition. If you don't
drink enough water, your blood becomes thicker,
63

better know as blood clotting. For instance, Aspirins


primary function is to resolve this blood clotting
process and suppress pain. Your blood becomes more
fluid.
Dissolving headaches and pain is merely a side
effect.
Only one percent dehydration will cause around 5
percent decrease in cognitive function. Thirst for
example, is a sign that you already are dehydrated.
Thus, try to avoid being thirsty and drink several
times throughout the day. Remember, if you feel
thirsty, it is too late and your cognitive functions
already have decreased substantially. Moreover, water
is essential in all metabolic processes. We have talked
about one kind of nutrient transportation to the brain
through blood, but we haven't talked about
detachment of waste products out of the brain, yet it's
equally important. You see, every kind of waste in
your body gets flushed away by your lymphatic
system, but the brain has no lymphatic system. And,
in fact, many diseases can be traced back to the
malfunction of this self-cleaning and self-nourishing
system. Like any system that clogs itself up with
unnecessary and damaging waste, it starts to
degenerate in function.

Now, the human brain naturally is very flexible and


adaptable. Because of that, we start to feel the first
signs of most neurodegenerative disease, only when
almost 70 percent of our brain already is useless.
64

Alzheimer and Parkinson are just two examples.


Therefore, everything concerning your brain health
has to be done prophylactic and in advance. You
won't hear this from your personal physician, because
your health is his money. Although if you take a
closer look, most medication is aimed at suppressing
and not solving problems.
This literally in mind, let's get back to our brain's
self-cleaning and self-nourishing system. For one, we
have our cardiovascular system which provides blood
for the brain, but much more interesting and
shockingly unknown is the glymphatic system.
Around half the cells you have in your brain are
glympahtic cells. They are smaller than neurons and
wreathe themselves in multitude around neurons in
order to hold them in place, provide them with
nurture and electric isolation. Moreover, they clean
your neurons and brain in general.
The special fluid they use consists to 99 percent of
water and is called Cerebrospinal fluid. It is created from
your blood plasma through filtration in the brain.
Around 500 ml of this water is produced every day.
According to that, healthy brain-water can only be
created if we have healthy blood in the first place.

For simplification purpose, we exchange the term


Cerebrospinal fluid with brain-water.

Now, these glial cells expand in order to absorb more


brain-water and then flush away all those metabolic
65

waste products and unnecessary proteins and


excessive fluids out your brain through shrinking.
Glial cells make use of the constant prevailing
pressure in your brain as their energy source. They
effortlessly swell and shrink, it's a brilliant
selfinforcing cleaning system. All waste products then
get flushed into the venous brain system and
transported back to the heart. On their way down,
our normal lymphatic system takes care of them.

Your brain can hold around 150 ml brain-water at a


time and renews it around 3 times per day. Though,
most of this brain self-cleaning happens while we
sleep. I strongly simplified this topic in order to make
it as clear as possible. Finally, we are our brain and
how it functions affects who we are. The
understanding and learning of your brain and overall
body functions will give you control. Control of who
you are and who you want to be.
66

Guidelines
First: Use all of your senses when learning.
Imagine ridiculous vivid pictures of vocabulary you
are learning, because your brain is inherently
structured to remember emotion fueled pictures
almost instantaneous. Say it, so your ears can hear it.
Paint it, draw it, sing it.

Second: The majority of your language learning


time you should be speaking with other people,
preferable native speakers. Find Skype conversations
or use other media to do so. There will always be
people who want to learn English in exchange. Find
your most productive learning time on any given day
and start developing a habit for learning at that
particular time every day.

Third: Drink Green tea and Coffee, additionally


eat Omega 3/6 acids and vitamin B6/12. Your brain
uses at least 20 percent of your energy consumption.
A good and healthy and energy-rich nutrition will
support your brain significantly. Chewing something
like a bubble gum can further improve concentration,
because chewing stimulates your blood circulation
towards the head.
67

And Finally: Learn about the learning process.


Which areas of your brain are involved in learning
and which areas are the biggest in general? How does
your brain learn and hear and see? How does
speaking languages affect our brains exactly?
Furthermore, every individual has its own way of
learning. Learn about yourself ! This will teach you
how to present and understand information in the
most effective way for you.

Goethe once said that the best education a wise


man finds on travel. Dont be afraid to leave your
comfort zone and go to foreign countries and learn,
learn, learn. Most of what makes a book good is
simply that we are reading it at the right moment for
us. I hope when you read this book it was in the right
moment for you. Strive for the magic something. It is
there and you are part of it.

The End
68

Books
Last but not least, I do believe in Voltaires words
when he said that books expand ones mind and
learning French is nothing else than expanding your
mind and therefore yourself. Finally, I want to share
with you some of my preferred books when it comes
to Paris. I will only suggest editions I have read myself
and consider exceptionally worthwhile. It's a short list
that can bring you to Paris with just opening one of
their pages.

Hemingway - A Moveable Feast


Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Jonathan Cape, 1964 (best edition)
Language: English
69

Patrick Skind - Das Parfm


Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Diogenes, 1994
Language: German

Pierre la Mure - Moulin Rouge


Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Herbig, 1928
Language: German (originally in French)

Herbert Asmodi - Dame in den


Toulerien
Hardcover: 160 Pages
Publisher: Matthes & Seitz, 2008
Language: German

Thomas Mann - Felix Krull


Hardcover: 360 pages
Publisher: C.A. Koch's Verlag, 1963
Language: German
70

Guy de Maupassant - Bel-Ami


Hardcover: 435 pages
Publisher: Gallimard, 1973
Language: French

mile Zola Paris


Paperback: 704
Publisher: Gallimard, Folio Classique
Language: French
71

Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to


go from here?

That depends on a good deal where you want to go,


said the Cat

I don't much care where,


said Alice

Then it doesn't matter which way you go,


said the Cat

As long as I go SOMEWHERE,
Alice added as an explanation

Oh, you sure to do that, if you walk only long enough,


said the Cat

-Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll),


Alice in Wonderland