Boris Shekhtman Book Titled “How to Improve Your Foreign Language Immediately”

August 01 19:14 2022
Boris Shekhtman Book Titled "How to Improve Your Foreign Language Immediately"
How to Improve Your Foreign Language Immediately by Boris Shekhtman

Essential techniques for breaking through barriers to language learning

“Speaking one’s native tongue is like walking. One does not think about how to use gross motor muscles; one simply walks. Speaking in a foreign language is not like this. It is, in fact, more like swimming. Foreign-language speakers have been thrown from their natural environment…into an unfamiliar language environment as if it were a large body of water…After a long period of swimming, swimmers, overcome by fatigue, lose their strength and efficiency…Both the swimmer and the foreign language speaker elicit sympathy. If only each could find a small island upon which to rest…They can.”
– excerpt from How to Improve Your Foreign Language Immediately

When learning a language, one is usually in a controlled environment, with a teacher and fellow students or, more and more commonly, with nothing but an app. Students gain vocabulary, but when face to face with a native speaker, they freeze. They have learned the facts of a language but not how to apply it to the one thing that transcends grammar and syntax for any foreign language – the human ability to communicate.

In this beloved book, Boris Shekhtman walks learners through seven effective communication strategies to better utilize their language skills, such as:

Tool #1 – Show Your Stuff – Avoid one-word answers in conversations in order to foster the potential for deeper conversations.

Tool #2 – Build up Your Islands – Establish familiar monologues for common topics of conversation.

Tool #3 – Shift Gears – Simply change the subject back to more familiar territory when feeling out of your depth.

As is clear in these first three tools, the brilliance of these strategies is that they are tools people often also use in their native tongues.

“In a field where most books are colorful…and full of information on one specific language, Boris Shekhtman’s How to Improve Your Foreign Language Immediately stands out for being almost the complete opposite—short, unassuming and devoted to teaching the skills of language rather than one language in itself.”

Luca Lampariello of Smart Language Learning. 

Boris Shekhtman was a ground breaking teacher of foreign languages. Through the tools he developed, innumerable students have gained the skills to effectively communicate with native speakers. Among other awards, he received the Una Cox Chapman award for the outstanding quality of instruction from the Foreign Service Institute. He co-founded the Coalition of Distinguished Language Centers and consulted with students and faculty at the Defense Language Institute, the US Institute for Peace, and other

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