I first discovered Kerstin Hammes Cable a while back when she hosted a Language Book Club event with Kris Broholm a while back. Naturally, I then popped over to check out her website, Fluentlanguage.co.uk, and immediately became a fan. I signed up for her newsletter, purchased one of her books and followed her blog.
I’ve since gone on to subscribe to (and even appear on) her podcast, and I enjoy listening to/reading the content that she shares.
Kerstin currently has several courses out and a few books, two of which you can get as a part of a pretty sweet package.
The Fluent Language Guides Box Set includes “Fluency Made Achievable” (as a PDF, Mobi, ePub and audiobook), “The Vocab Cookbook” (as a PDF, Mobi, and ePub) and several actionable worksheets to help you become both a more efficient and confident independent language learner. The two books as a bundle (plus all the bonuses) are $20. Individually, they are each $7.25 (and you’ll get three book formats: Mobi, ePub, and PDF)
While Kerstin herself is a fan of language classes, her books are geared more towards those who are interested in the solo language learning route. So if you’re looking for material to help you become a more effective, independent language learner (and even if your a classroom-based learner looking to up the progress you’re making), then I’m really looking forward to sharing my thoughts on her books with you.
Fluency Made Achievable Review
This 76-page guide is split into nine sections that each cover an essential aspect of language learning. The first is an introduction to the four core skills of language learning, followed by targeted exercises, listening, reading, speaking, writing, expert interviews, a conclusion, and finally, a three week study plan along with a directory of links and resources.
One of Kerstin’s philosophies towards language learning that I really respect is her take on the slow road to fluency. I think that there are a number of resources out there that push “fast” and “easy” techniques, but my experience has been that these only work short-term (if they work at all). There’s really nothing fast about language learning, especially if your goal is some degree of fluency or long-term retention.
As a part of Fluency Made Achievable, Kerstin tackles why speaking a language isn’t the whole story, sharing how language learning can go beyond conversational fluency. I think her perspective is interesting and relevant, and while I don’t want to give away too much, I want to point out that I agree with her thoughts on this subject, especially for those looking to go beyond conversing in their target language (although I feel aiming for conversational fluency is an excellent starting point).
The book guides language learners towards self-assessment, giving them the tools they need to determine where their weaknesses lie when it comes to their target language and how to improve them in order to keep a more balanced ability in another language. I think that this alone makes Fluency Made Achievable an incredible asset for language learners because of the information on self-assessment. Being able to assess one’s weaknesses and knowing what to do to bring them up to par with one’s other abilities is never an easy task, but this guide simplifies the process to help you pinpoint the areas that need the most work.
I found it really useful that Fluency Made Achievable discusses how to approach a balanced language learning routine rather than focus on any one aspect of language learning. Overall, it’s a short guide, but it’s packed full of great tips, so don’t let the page count deter you. Fluency Made Achievable was enjoyable to read and I feel as though I picked up quite a few helpful ways to better assess my four core abilities in language learning.
Title: Fluency Made Achievable
Author: Kerstin Hammes Cable
Pages: 76 pgs
The Vocab Cookbook Review
Love it or hate it, vocabulary study is one of the necessary things we need to spend time on as language learners. There are a ton of different ways to approach learning new vocabulary out there, so it can be pretty overwhelming to figure out which method will work for you. If you’ve ever found yourself at a loss as to how to approach vocab study in your target language, Kerstin’s guide, The Vocab Cookbook, is the solution to your problem.
After teaching the reader how to find new vocabulary, Kerstin then shares her personal tips (along with interviews with other established learners) on how to go about learning the new words. She offers readers numerous methods – no one size fits all – presenting their strengths and weaknesses along with examples to show just how the methods work.
After sharing ways to pick new vocabulary and then add it to our internal memory banks, she then discusses various ways to review it.
All in all, I found The Vocab Cookbook an interesting read and I think it is a great fit for someone freshly embarking on their language learning journey or for those who are feeling “stuck” when it comes to picking up new terms. If I’m completely honest, I’m not a huge fan of the way the interview sections were presented, but that is my personal opinion. I would have preferred to have read quotes from the interviewee with commentary by Kerstin than chapters from other writers. Aside from that, I think that The Vocab Cookbook is a great resource for those needing a little guidance when it comes to vocabulary learning.
Title: The Vocab Cookbook
Author: Kerstin Hammes Cable
Pages: 70 pgs
Disclaimer: Kerstin was kind enough to grant me a copy of Fluent Language Guides Box Set in exchange for this review (but I had actually already purchased The Vocab Cookbook on my own). All opinions are my own and I only recommend products that I, myself, would use.
What about you? What language learning resources have made a difference in how effective you are as a language learner? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.