Gabriel is an opera singer, and part of his craft involves singing in Italian, French, German, English, and Russian (and sometimes Czech, Spanish, Hebrew and Latin). After failing to learn much of anything in his High School language classes, he found his first real progress in a secluded college town in Vermont.
There, in the summer of 2004, he signed a paper pledging to use German as his only form of communication for seven weeks. The trouble was, he didn’t speak a word of German. Some advanced students came up to him, smiled and said “Hallo”. He stared at them blankly for a moment, thought, and then replied. “Hallo,” They shook hands. Thus began an eight-year (and counting) addiction to languages.
Starting with that first “Hallo”, he set out to see if it was indeed possible to become fluent in all of these languages. He went back to Vermont in 2005 and took German again, this time reaching fluency. He then moved to Austria for his Master’s studies, and went to Perugia, Italy in 2008 to learn Italian. He started reading books and blogs and whatever else he could find to figure out what methods existed for learning languages faster, and what he found surprised him; there are a number of incredibly powerful language learning methods out there, but no one seemed to be putting them together.