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Review: Language Hacking Guide / Speak From Day 1 (Video)

Posted in: Language Learning

Before we moved to Ecuador, we spent a lot of money on books and courses to learn Spanish. I wish we would have had this course before we moved!

I just finished listening to the audio version of Speak From Day 1 – a language hacking guide. I really liked it, it was motivational and made me laugh.

This guide does not teach a specific language. It teaches you how to use the language you are learning right from day 1, even if you haven’t crammed all kinds of vocab and grammar into your brain. The techniques in this guide can be applied to multiple languages.

Speak From Day 1 was created by Benny, the Irish Polyglot. By the end of the program, I felt like Benny was my friend (kind of like the-guy-next-door – but with a neat Irish accent). He speaks really well, knows what he’s talking about, and is very encouraging.

A Non Traditional Approach To Language Learning

When we moved to Ecuador we didn’t know any Spanish. I wish I could have listened to this program back then. We ended up doing many of the things Benny talks about in this program, but because we really didn’t know what we were doing, we struggled with a lot of discouragement. We kind of felt like were going about things the “wrong” way. It was very hard not to feel down on ourselves, like we were doing a lousy job with the language because we were not speaking it perfectly. 

In this program, Benny explains that when it comes to speaking a foreign language, the most important aspect is the humanity of it all. It’s more about communication and relationships than perfect grammar.

You might enjoy the 9 Reasons I Love Total Language Immersion.

He shares insights into why some traditional types of learning don’t really work all that well – and tend to hold people back from actually speaking the language. I totally agree with his philosophy because I’ve seen it work first hand in my own family.

Ready to get started? Learn a language now!

Ready to get started? Learn a language now!

On a funny note: In the video above (view it here) Benny (from Ireland) is explaining (in Chinese) how he couldn’t learn Spanish despite living in Spain for six months. This was before he developed a system to conquer any language. He now speaks 10 languages fluently!

The Problem With Learning Spanish

When I first starting trying to learn Spanish I felt totally overwhelmed, there was so much to learn – I couldn’t figure out where I should start. Despite that feeling I pushed ahead, and I’m so glad I did! Despite making tons of mistakes, people could see that I was trying and they worked with me, helping me along the way.

Listening to “Speak From Day 1” has giving me the breath of fresh air I needed, to get on with learning and reach out for better fluency.

That’s a big deal for me because I was starting to get discouraged with the language. We’ve been in Ecuador for over 3 years and I felt like I had reached a plateau with my Spanish. I can communicate, but it’s still messy at times. I didn’t really feel like I could do much better. Now I’m more focused on the parts of the language that I really need to improve in.

For me it’s verb conjugation. I used to think that verb conjugation was beyond me, too much to remember. I don’t feel that way anymore, and I know that little by little I’ll get it. The important thing is to keep talking and getting to know people. That’s what it’s all about, after all.

If I would have waited to start speaking until I felt comfortable with my ability to conjugate verbs, I don’t know how long it would have taken! But because I started speaking right away I started making friends and felt more comfortable. This is what “Speak From Day 1” is all about.


It’s Not Too Hard!

“Speak From Day 1” explains why anyone can learn a foreign language. You don’t need to be gifted, or have been born with some kind of special gene for language learning. You just have to be devoted to speaking it. If you are, and you apply what Benny says, you can do it! You really can start speaking from day one.

So if you are struggling with what seems like the overwhelming task of learning a foreign language, or if you are already learning and need encouragement – this program may be exactly what you need.

It’s all about your mindset. In this course, Benny establishes the right mindset for communication in a foreign language.

What Comes With Speak From Day 1?

The course costs either $87 or $97 (depending on the option you choose) and comes with the Speak from Day One hd video series, as well as the English version of the 32,000-word Language Hacking Guide. An audio version of the book, along with three hours of bonus interviews and lifetime updates are included. Because it is a digital product, you can download it immediately.

Not Quite Ready To Purchase a Training Program? Even if you aren’t ready to purchase a course – you should at least watch his videos. He has a dozen free videos on his site And he offers a free five day course – no strings attached.  They are super motivating and you will learn something.

Who Can Benefit From “Speak From Day 1?”

I would recommend doing this program if:

  • you haven’t started learning a foreign language yet
  • you’ve started and what you are doing just doesn’t seem to be working
  • you’re learning and you haven’t gotten up the nerve to start speaking
  • you think you can’t learn a foreign language

Have you taken this program? What did you think of it?

What is holding you back from learning a new language? Please share your thoughts by commenting on this post.

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Meet the Author

Dena Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Travel.

17 comments… add one
  • Lloyd Kreitzer Mar 15, 2014, 9:31 pm

    I so enjoy your clarity and down to earth approach as you openly share Ecuador in your experience with my wife and me. I used to live for years in Canada: in Nelson, BC and Regina, Saskatchewan, London, Alymer, South Gillies, and Thunderbay, Ontario. I am a fig expert here in the southwest of New Mexico

  • Mario May 24, 2013, 3:32 pm

    Could you answer this question: Do you really think if someone starts to study hard with that course a new foreigner language which not know nothing and only with that course will be able to speak in a year for example?

    Another question, Have you ever study another language than spanish with it?

    I hope you will be able to answer my questions and thank you for that, And I am so sorry if made mistakes in this writing I am not a native english speaker in fact I am Mexican and started to study english a year ago in my university so if You can tell me my mistakes I am really going to be grateful with you.

    • Bryan Haines May 31, 2013, 5:19 pm

      Time frames are hard – it depends on each person.

      The course is meant to help you speak any language. The creator speaks more than 10 languages.

  • Leora Mar 24, 2013, 10:18 am

    Thanks Dena. I have wanted to learn Spanish for a long time now. Last time I spoke any Spanish was in high school, almost 40 years ago. Maybe watching Speak From Day 1 will help give me the courage to try again. My husband and I are thinking of retiring outside the U.S. and we have been looking at the coast of Ecuador as a possible place. We are also looking into Panama, Costa Rica, and Belize. Other than Belize, all of the countries are Spanish speaking, so I feel I really need to learn the language! Anyway, thanks for another great tip! I have been following your families adventure since I watched you on House Hunters International. I applaud your courage and sense of adventure, especially with having a child! You and your husband write terrific articles and I enjoy reading about your travels. Thank you!

  • Mark Feb 16, 2013, 9:30 pm

    I have serious doubts that the speak from Day 1 is a means to really learn a language. Often times these programs help people really memorize a few phrases to handle a few basic situations. While this is great for a trip, for residing in a country permanently I wouldn’t recommend it. Often times this types of programs are gimmicks and nobody ever reaches more than maybe intermediate low proficiency with the language they are studying. This is due to the limited amount of time the learner actually spends creating in these programs. Some of the computer programs are better than others, but usually you get what you pay for. For example, Rosetta stone is expensive, but is better than most computer language learning programs. Coffee Break Spanish is a free podcast and is actually pretty helpful just for learning how to handle everyday situations.

    As a traveler it is very helpful to be able to ask about a bus schedule, speak with a waiter or any number of daily tasks, but to really develop as a language learner it is necessary to change the context to something less linguistically familiar. Just as Dena said that is why it is important to converse with native or non-native speakers as much as possible in the L2. However, language learners should be careful not to just speak about the same things, which often happens. If you find yourself just talking about food or the weather then you really aren’t expanding your vocabulary and this often results in the plateau experience you described.

    Cuenca has many quality Spanish learning institutes and La Universidad de la Azuay even has a Spanish as a second language classes if someone wants a more traditional academic setting. I recommend that people are careful with tutors. If you need to improve your grammar then make sure they are capable of explaining the grammar to you. For vocabulary and conversation tutors can be very helpful, but just because someone speaks Spanish that does not mean they will help you with some of the more difficult grammar points of Spanish (subjunctive, imperfect, imperfect subjunctive, indirect and direct objects, etc.).

    • Dena Haines Feb 19, 2013, 3:28 pm

      I’m not sure if you read this post before commenting on it. Speak From Day 1 does not teach a language, it is a guide to help people speak whatever language they are learning – as soon as possible.

      I agree with the points you make about programs that teach specific languages and so does the author of Speak From Day 1. That’s why he created it. He helps people realize that they don’t need to memorize and cram a lot of vocab in before they start speaking. People are often so afraid that they will make mistakes and not speak perfectly that they hold back from really conversing with natives. Speak From Day 1 helps people get over that fear.

      I would not have recommended this guide if I didn’t think it would help and motivate people. It helped me view how to continue learning the language I’m learning (which just happens to be Spanish) through more friendly eyes. I no longer see it as a monster that I have to conquer, but as a friend that I need to get to know better.

  • Stewart Feb 5, 2013, 6:34 pm

    Vocabulary and Grammar is what I need so this video is probably not for me.
    Still, just to see this email and the effort you guys put forth to help
    gringos make the leap is heart warming.

    We moved to Ecuador a year and 1/2 ago, and some days I don´t see any gringos in
    Quito. The other day at “El Jardin” mall I counted 29.

    Another option to learn spanish is to get a tutor.

    Best to all.

    • Dena Haines Feb 5, 2013, 8:47 pm

      Thanks Stewart,

      A tutor would be a really big help! All the best with learning the vocab and grammar. That’s what I’m working on too.

  • gordon quick Feb 5, 2013, 5:48 pm

    We had thought to move to Equador several Months ago but backed out at the last minute……..Just could not make it all come together, and that is why I’mm writing my thoughts……Many like us have not been there and easy enough to
    get there. AT THAT POINT, it became very “at a loss” and I would have given
    most anything to have someone as a Guide to advise and help get organized for
    a couple days……Arriving, and getting through Customs, from Airport over to
    Cuensa, and probably at Night, is over whelming to say the least, especially
    for Old Folks………My Thought : A Panphlet with all the things to do and not to do. Maybe a Directory of Service People to pick you up and get you settled down…….(Not the Guy for 1295 US) For the Person who arrives, its not what he knows, it what he doesn’t know that hurts ! I would have really really liked to have found one place that would spell out all the things you need to do. Help get rid of that empty feeling !…I enjoy you Emails and
    maybe someday we can get it all together and Bless Equador with our presence.
    Our Best for you, Gordon & Faye

    • Terry Feb 7, 2013, 9:28 pm

      Gordon that is my feelings exactly about needing a pamphlet or assistance of some sort. A check list of what to do step by step until you are there and settled in where you can start processing what next with assistance. Like yourself it’s what I don’t know to do or not do that concerns me. We don’t want to do something really stupid and stab ourselves with pains that could have been avoided with a little help. As people age it’s normal to be more fearful. After all this is a life altering decision! As I read through all the post I take notes and will compile them for any that come after me to benefit from. We have 3 books ordered and language assistance cd’s. I feel overwhelmed at times but keep the prize of attaining my goal in my minds eye constantly to keep me focused on the task at hand. Hoping to see you in Ecu. 🙂

  • Kim Feb 5, 2013, 4:57 pm

    I have listened to this video before. He tells it in the video, if you want to properly learn a language or are taking courses, do not use his technique. That is what he says. Personally I want to learn it properly. We are taking classes back here in Canada to better prepare ourselves. The inegration will be much much easier.

    • Dena Haines Feb 5, 2013, 6:00 pm

      Hi Kim,
      I’m not sure which video you are referring to, but in the course he definitely encourages people to learn a language properly. In this program Benny encourages people to learn the language through whatever means works best for them. This is not a Spanish learning program. This is a guide to get people started speaking a language, whatever language that may be – right away. You can definitely use his techniques if you are taking classes or studying on your own.

      The point he was making in the video was – if you are the type of person that wants to learn tons of vocab and grammar before you start speaking, then his program would not help you. You don’t have to cram your mind full of vocab and grammar before you start using a language. That idea often holds people back from communicating.

      Benny does not teach vocab and grammar in this program, he couldn’t because this is a language hacking guide, not a Spanish or German or Chinese… learning program. His program is all about how a person can speak as early as possible regardless of the mistakes they might make along the way.

      It’s really good that you are taking classes before you arrive, that will help you a lot! This guide could help you get up the confidence to start using what you are learning on locals as soon as you arrive. It’s a lot different to remember vocab and grammar in class and on a test than it is to start using it in conversation with locals. I know, because it happens to me all the time. I’ll study and think I have it down, but then I forget it in conversation. The techniques Benny talks about help with having conversations right away in what ever language you might be trying to speak.

      A person can definitely learn a language properly and use the techniques in this guide.

      • Stewart Feb 8, 2013, 1:36 pm

        About the pamphlet idea of what to do, who to see, what not to do, etc. Sounds Great! Where do I get one?
        Seriously though there are other companies that say or give the impression “Come to our seminar, pay you $$$ and you’ll get all the answers.” I don’t believe it’s that easy.
        There are many govt. Agencies in charge of many areas of Ecuadorian life. The laws that correspond do change and sometimes without notice.
        Having a “go with the flo” attitude is really essential to navigate the challenges of this life change.
        An example is driving here. Someone with a driver’s license from USA or Canada can do so for a limited time until one get’s residence. then a “cedula” (ID) and applies for an Ecuadorian driver’s license. There are many traffic laws (often similar but not all to other countries) to know and follow. In general pedestrians and driver’s follow these laws just enough to get by.
        Someone once said happiness happens when one stops expecting perfection.
        Good lucky to all.

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