• The Language Union

The Michel Thomas method

Michel Thomas, a former linguist who was fluent in over 10 languages is well-known for his creation of "The Michel Thomas method".

Having worked on an alternative and more effective way of learning/improving a language for 50 years, his courses are today one of the most popular ones worldwide.

According to Mr.Thomas, the biggest obstacle in the way of learning a language is stress.

Therefore, his main focus was to remove the stress while learning. You don't need to try to memorize anything and interestingly enough, the method "forbids" from you trying to.

What's unique is that you only listen. In other words, there is nothing to write down and you won't need any books.

Their website describes the method as follows:

"The Michel Thomas Method works ‘in tune’ with the way your brain prefers to receive, store and then retrieve information, so you assimilate it easily and don’t forget it. It works by stripping away all inessential language and breaking down the most important language into its component parts. Crystal clear building blocks are then presented, and only when absorbed and understood, the next piece of the puzzle is introduced, enabling you to reconstruct the language for yourself – to form your own sentences, to say what you want, when you want."

‘What you understand, you know; and what you know, you don’t forget.’

After having read many good reviews, we did decide to purchase this method and give it a go ourselves. We chose the Swedish language as it's a language already spoken by one of us. This way it would be easier to analyze the teaching structure and see if the method really is as good as advertised.

Basically, you get to listen to different audio files containing a small class with only 2 students and 1 teacher. The teacher is constantly repeating words and sentences that are taught in a clear and slow pace for you to memorize it. Any mistakes that the 2 students say are always pointed out.

There are 8 CD.s with 7-10 audio files in each one. The lengths of each file vary from approximately 3-10 minutes so that you won't feel that the lessons are too much to take in. it's also perfect for when you are commuting as you can learn while waiting to get to work or school.

After having asked non-Swedish speakers to try it for at least 30 minutes, the answers were all positively the same - "it's like learning without thinking about it".

As a Swedish speaker myself, I was impressed with the way the lessons were taught and how the teacher used English words to show similarities between English and Swedish.

The same way of teaching is being used for all other languages with this method.

It feels like a more relaxed way of learning, but you would definitely need to put in time and effort to continue learning once you have finished all the courses. While it is a good purchase, it's not a miracle method that will make you fluent straight away. Nothing beats hard work and patience!

We do recommend the course itself, but the price is a bit steep to our liking. 100 USD for the complete course is not a rate that fits everyone's budget.

Therefore, we do recommend you to search through Ebay and other marketplaces as you can find used copies for cheaper prices.

Currently, you can learn the following languages:

Arabic (Egyptian), Dutch, French, Greek, German, Hindi, Italian, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Modern Standard Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish & Swedish.

If you decide to try it out, please do send us a message and let us know what you think as we are very curious to hear feedback from users who are learning the different languages taught with the method.

Remember though that the good old fashioned way of learning a language in a classroom with "real" teachers and classmates is always available with The Language Union and can be booked any day of the year!