The Language Secret

How to Learn a Language

Or: How to Speak 10 Languages. Badly

The author of The Language Secret was just like most other native speakers of English - dispairingly monolingual.

He never went to university – to the disappointment and disgust of his begowned and mortar-board-wearing masters at the highly-traditional Chatham House Grammar School, in Kent. This august institution was modelled on Eton and is the alma mater of Edward Heath (one-time Prime Minister, and speaker of hilariously English-accented French – but at least he tried) and Frank Muir (the owner of the plummiest tones on the popular game show “Call My Bluff”).

During a spectacularly undistinguished school career, our author obtained two language “O” levels. This astounding achievement did not however enable him to communicate anything to anybody. But he did learn the Past Historic tense. Unfortunately, he later discovered that it has not been in everyday use in France for two hundred years.

So how did such a hopeless monoglot end up multilingual? How did he discover The Language Secret?

His book will show you how to learn not just one language, but any language - several at the same time, if you wish.

Like most English schoolchildren, our author never learned the grammar of his own language. In fact, he was not absolutely sure what grammar was. Even though he was at a grammar school. Strange.

In keeping with the grandest traditions of “Call My Bluff”, however, our hero somehow ended up teaching English in Paris to graduates of the École nationale d’administration, where many presidents of France were educated. Now living in Germany, he and his wife specialise in teaching accelerated language-learning techniques. They share their secrets with you in this book.

The fifteen years spent as a linguist in various African countries produced a fascination with the phenomenon of multilingualism. Most people in the Sub-Saharan region speak at least three languages. How can that be, with such limited access to formal education? Learning and producing grammar books and dictionaries in various Bantu languages provided part of the answer.


The author of The Language Secret explains the TLS concept on Talk Radio Europe. Click below to listen to the interview: