How to Learn a New Language in Record Time | The Tim Ferriss Experiment

How to Learn a New Language in Record Time | The Tim Ferriss Experiment


  • Tim Ferris is embarking on a challenge to learn the Filipino language, specifically Tagalog, in just four days.
  • He has a television interview scheduled where he will need to answer questions and converse in Tagalog.

Learning Techniques

  • Tim uses the "Cafe" framework, which stands for compress, add frequency, maximize retention, and exercise.
  • He compresses the amount of Tagalog he needs to learn into the bare essentials.
  • He adjusts the frequency of his studying to accommodate the limited time frame.
  • He uses memory tricks, such as creating associations and mnemonics, to help retain information.
  • He incorporates exercise into his learning process to improve information processing and memory.

Expert Assistance

  • Tim enlists the help of Tia Domingo, a Filipino native and language learning expert, to help him learn Tagalog.
  • Tia focuses on teaching Tim common English speaker mistakes and the differences in sentence structure between Tagalog and English.
  • They practice basic grammar, verb tenses, and sentence structure using a set of 12 sentences that Tim learns in every new language.
  • Tia also provides Tim with a roadmap for learning the most critical words and phrases for his upcoming interview.

Immersion and Practice

  • Tim stays with a Filipino host family to immerse himself in the language and culture.
  • He absorbs vocabulary, idioms, pronunciation, and useful phrases by living with native Tagalog speakers.
  • Tim practices with his host family, asking questions and conversing in Tagalog to further improve his language skills.
  • He also has a short film piece filmed with a Filipino television crew to practice speaking Tagalog in a real-life situation.

Memorization Techniques

  • Tim consults Ed Cook, a memory Grandmaster, for additional tools and tricks to improve his recall and memorization skills.
  • Ed recommends intensive memorization sessions with short breaks in between, as well as practicing without learning anything new within 24 hours of the interview.

Final Preparations

  • Tim focuses on what he knows how to say and learns how to stall or buy himself time in case he gets stuck during the interview.
  • He continues studying and reviewing his materials, while also taking time for relaxation and self-care.
  • Tim goes to a Filipino hair salon to practice speaking Tagalog and get a haircut, incorporating language learning into everyday experiences.

The Interview

  • Tim appears on the television show "Kababayan Today" for his live interview in Tagalog with Janelle.
  • Despite his nerves, Tim converses successfully in Tagalog, answering questions and discussing his language learning experience.
  • He feels a sense of accomplishment and recognizes the progress he made in just four days.

Additional Resources

  • Tim mentions that there is extended footage and interviews available on his website, as well as a podcast where he interviews language learning experts and other guests.

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