Benny Lewis speaks six languages fluently.
"French and Spanish, English, German, and Brazilian Portuguese..." he ticks them off for me. "And Esperanto."
That last one is a made-up language, or a "constructed international auxiliary language," meaning it was designed to help people from different nations without a common tongue communicate.
Lewis is the author of the new book "Fluent in 3 Months: How Anyone at Any Age Can Learn to Speak Any Language from Anywhere in the World." The title pretty much says it all. He believes — strongly — that with the correct approach and enough practice, anyone can master a foreign language in as little as three months.
"There's almost an epidemic of people thinking they don't have a language gene," he says. "So many people end up learning a second language but never speaking it."
Here are some of his best tips for learning a language in three months:
Speak the language out loud from day one
Beginners shouldn't be afraid of mispronouncing things or sounding unpolished, Lewis says. It's most important that they start practicing — aloud — right away.
Learn practical phrases first
New language learners should aim for phrases like "bathroom where?" that will help them communicate about basic needs. "That's not very eloquent, but it's totally understandable," Lewis notes.
初学者应该瞄准像“bathroom where?” 这类的短语口语练习，这将有助于他们对于基本需求进行沟通。“这样的表达并非很有说服力，但是大家完全可以理解你要表达的意思，” 刘易斯说。
Forget about learning strict grammar
As part of getting basic vocabulary and phrases down, Lewis says people shouldn't worry too much initially about learning the rules of grammar. Those can be filled in later.
One of today's best language learning tools, Lewis says, is the Internet — specifically video chats like Skype. Using these free services, an English speaker in New York can easily get free or cheap conversational lessons from a native speaker of another language elsewhere in the world.