Clugston's "German Volume Method"

[screw_censorship] aw Aruba

Christophe Clugston is now hawking a PDF file for $50, in which he details some kind of method for learning languages. Does anyone know what this is all about? Has anyone tried it? Has anyone seen a review copy of it?

He is calling it the "German Volume Method", and claims that he was told about it by some East Germans - although I strongly suspect it is something he has purely concocted himself. I know next to nothing about body-building, but I have heard that the is something called the "German Volume Method" in that world: 10 sets, 10 reps, 60% of max weight...or something like that. So maybe this is where he is drawing inspiration from?

According to one of the Clug's videos, the method involves 10 university level textbooks which contain traditional grammar drills and other exercises - so maybe he is advocating a strict regimen of old-school drills, working right through 10 books, and repeating everything no less than 10 times over...!? :-0

(It may not be quite as dumb as it sounds - if one actually had the iron self-discipline and super-charged motivation to do it...!)

November 2013
  • Paule89 de Germany

    Looks like a scam.^^

    November 2013
  • LFJ cn China

    ... and not a single one will be sold.

    November 2013
  • [screw_censorship] aw Aruba

    Yes, it is probably a scam, and I personally would *not* pay Mr C fifty bucks! Still, I would be quite interested to see exactly what he is offering.

    (If it is a scam, then it may be very much like those weight-loss scams which get people to pay right through the nose for a "secret method" for losing weight - a method which turns out to be: "eat no more than 1000 calories per day and run 10km every morning and every evening"...!! Likewise, the method cooked up by the Clug may be brutally effective in theory but a near impossibility in practical terms. This is what I suspect - however I would need to scrutinize it before passing final judgement.)

    November 2013
  • [screw_censorship] aw Aruba

    Iri, I believe he CLAIMS to know German - but I would want to see evidence.

    November 2013
  • spatterson us United States

    I bought a copy. $60 was cheap enough for me to try it out. I'm currently on day 9.

    Iri, it has nothing to do with German. It's just a name

    November 2013
  • [screw_censorship] aw Aruba

    Maybe you could give us a review of the system, Spatterson?

    (Obviously, it would be unfair to the Clug to divulge too much detail, but I'd say a fair and normal kind of review would be in order, seeing that he is offering the method for sale..)

    November 2013
  • spatterson us United States

    Punishment.

    November 2013
  • Paule89 de Germany

    "Punishment."

    What the what?^^

    November 2013
  • spatterson us United States

    Well okay. I'll go into a bit more depth (I was actually in the middle of my punishment for today when I saw the new post email).

    Some of the people on his channel were saying how "vast the vocabulary" is in the PDF and what not. Well... I'm no stranger to academic white papers. It's well-written but it's not (and not really meant to be) an academic paper. It does have some rather clever strategies in it. I think the weight-loss analogy is a good one though. If you were to do his scheme for 10 months straight there is no question you would have a very high level.

    I was more interested in his right brain techniques. Time will tell if they work. So I'll give them a shot for a few months. Like I said, $60 was cheap enough for me to check out what he has.

    I was getting up and doing an hour on Memrise in the morning, an hour in the evening, and another hour with Duolingo. I've replaced that time with the volume method. So I'm pretty focused and motivated. I'm the type of learner that *NEEDS* to do something... I don't really use LingQ so my German learning activities aren't reflected in my word count or activity score. I hate reading, so that doesn't help. Grammar drills for me

    November 2013
  • [screw_censorship] aw Aruba

    Thanks for that, Spatterson. Very interesting.

    You know, I would (almost as a matter of principle) really balk at paying Mr Clugston 50 bucks, or whatever. But I am always genuinely keen to see new strategies or methods for learning.

    So if I understand correctly, it isn't just a vague set of advice, rather he actually gives people a definite course of action? i.e. Do X on day 1, do Y on day 2, etc?

    I can see that there are advantages to learning by having a definite set of things to do on each day. I guess time will tell whether Mr C succeeds in breeding a new generation of language supermen! :-)

    November 2013
  • spatterson us United States

    It's not a day to day plan. It's a book by book plan I guess you could say. It tells you the type of books you should do, the order, and what you should be doing for each book.

    So yeah, if you're curious and have $50 to burn... go for it.

    I hate learning German and I really would like "my life" back instead of having a life that's consumed with learning German -- which is really pointless in Zürich because everyone speaks English -- so I'm willing to see what method is the fastest

    November 2013
  • Moderator
    ColinJohnstonov gb United Kingdom

    @ spatterson - why do you learn German?

    November 2013
  • Paule89 de Germany

    "I hate learning German and I really would like "my life" back instead of having a life that's consumed with learning German"

    Why don´t you live "your life" in German?

    Play videogames...in German.

    Listen to music...in German.

    Watch TV...in German.

    Learn even more about programming...in German.

    Do whatever you do in "your life"...in German.

    @ColinJohnstone

    He lives in Switzerland.

    November 2013
  • Moderator
    ColinJohnstonov gb United Kingdom

    @ Paule

    ...where apparently everyone knows English. Living in aninternational city in the German speaking world without knowing German is not as hard as one might think.

    November 2013
  • Paule89 de Germany

    I live in an international city in the German speaking world (Berlin) and speaking German is a useful skill for me. ^^

    November 2013
  • Moderator
    ColinJohnstonov gb United Kingdom

    I find my iPhone really useful too, but I remember when I didn't have it, I still managed to get things done without many problems.

    November 2013
  • Paule89 de Germany

    Yeah...^^

    November 2013
  • spatterson us United States

    Colin, because German is a useful skill. Reading the mail comes to mind. Conversing with my friends who rapidly switch from English, to german, to swiss german, and possibly french without realizing it also comes to mind.

    And living "my life" in German really isn't as simple as that Paule. I don't watch TV and I don't play video games and practically no technical books are in German (even my coworkers read books in English). I have other things on my list that don't include German -- so I need to double down and clear it off my list

    November 2013
  • [screw_censorship] aw Aruba

    Germany is (at least "was" a few years back when I lived there) absolutely awash with books of every kind! Is Switzerland really so different, Spatterson? Surely you can get interesting literature in German, if you look for it?

    (In Bayern I bought quite a few German editions of books on architecture and history which were originally written in English, Italian and French. Indeed I still have most of them on my shelves now.)

    November 2013
  • spatterson us United States

    Okay, there are interesting books out there, yes. I'm not really interested in reading German literature. I'd rather read German history or something but non-fiction books are too high level.

    Anyway, it's not about ignoring German culture or something.. or not wanting to read or listen or whatever. I just think reading and listening is too slow.

    Look, every time I sit down and learn a new programming language (well -- this is a bad example, I can learn practically any language now in a matter of days.. but lets say this was 10 years ago).. I can read and read and read a lot of example code, but for me it doesn't stick until I sit down and actually DO something and experiment with the language.

    Edit: Actually.. a better example is reading an algorithm book. I can study an algorithm all day.. but until I actually do my own implementation and think through the problem.. I can't learn it.

    Again -- I'm only talking about my experiences. I've talked to many people who can learn just by reading and listening. But it's not for me

    November 2013
  • Moderator
    ColinJohnstonov gb United Kingdom

    @ spatterson

    "Look, every time I sit down and learn a new programming language (well -- this is a bad example, I can learn practically any language now in a matter of days.. but lets say this was 10 years ago).. I can read and read and read a lot of example code, but for me it doesn't stick until I sit down and actually DO something and experiment with the language. "

    I am certainly no master computer hacker, but I do often have to use and edit astrophysics codes written in languages I am not at all familiar with. At the moment, I am using codes in C, C++, and Fortran, and most of what I do is using IDL (my native tongue). I have never sat down and studied any of these languages and I am sure that if I was able to read an entire textbook on a specific language, I would learn almost nothing. When I want to write Fortran code, I just Google the commands that I need, or copy bits of what are already there and edit them. Of course, the codes I use are written by astrophysicists, and not computer hackers, so are written in a significantly simplified way and usually it is obvious what each line of code does.

    November 2013
  • spatterson us United States

    You astrophysicists need to be introduced to Python. It's better than beer. Just import antigravity and you'll be flying. xkcd #353.

    November 2013
  • Moderator
    ColinJohnstonov gb United Kingdom

    A lot of people talk about Python, but so many codes are already written in IDL and most of us don't want to change. I know older professors who still do everything with Fortran 77. The fact that we all use IDL is a huge problem for us actually given how expensive it is and I hear the price is going up!

    November 2013
  • omad84 ie Ireland

    You don't know how important it is, til you can do it spatterson. Everyone speaking English is a complete cop out and I'll tell you why. When I speak German, I'm still at a level where its a bit of an effort, not work per se but my personality (in English as it were) takes it time sometimes in coming out. Unless all these Swiss have perfect native level English, it's probably the same for them. In so much, you don't really know people unless you are speaking to them on their terms.

    I never, ever thought I'd be at this level in German and I work in an all German environment every day. I'm by no means perfect but it actually scares me how far I've come without really doing a lot. About this time last year I started in Lingq btw, maybe a bit earlier.

    Switzerland can be tricky, just like the south of Germany, I feel for you there, when it comes to Dialekt. Berlin is crying out for programmers due to the start up boom here. Moneys not as good, but the life is great and your Deutsch would probably come on leaps and bounds due to hearing everyday German as you think its meant to be said!

    Good luck mate.

    PS

    You must of been in a bad way to hand over $50 to your man there. Put the time in, put it in early, or like so many people I know here, you will just give up.

    November 2013
  • spatterson us United States

    Umm Omad, I'm not sure if you read my posts... but you may want to re-read them. I'm not sure where you came up with the "complete cop out" part, since that would imply I just said "the hell with german, I'll speak English" I alluded that I really DIDNT have to learn German to survive... but that it would make my life easier.

    As for the Swiss, yes nearly everyone I meet (in my age group 20-30s) is basically natively fluent in English. The official language at work is English and they're not going to stand around waiting for me to construct sentences and work through a conversation when everyone could do it in 20 seconds in English. I don't have time for that.

    No thanks on moving to Berlin. Why would I leave paradise?

    As for the $50, like I said, it's not a big deal for me. That's the price of a cheese burger and a beer here. And you don't know me, so don't assume I'll "just give up"

    November 2013
  • omad84 ie Ireland

    Sorry man I think a few of the things I said there came out a bit more pointed than I would have liked. I actually wanted to say "maybe" give up etc.

    One of the things about actually learning another language is realising others shortcomings in yours. You would be surprised at how limited the English is of some people you imagine to be fluent because you can have a quick talk.

    It's interesting you say you don't need it to survive. But then, you become that guy then really. English isn't spoken by everyone, I know in my own experience I don't particuarly like being in a bubble of my own construction, I am certainly frustrated when not understanding. You don't need it overnight, but if you plan on staying in Europe for any length of time then...well, you do need it, maybe. As I said, I know plenty here without a word...they get by and all but I found it a bit galling when they assume every time in a mixed crowd we must speak English. It becomes a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy really.

    Personally I was sick of giving Germans the satisfaction :)

    Again good luck dude and I apologise if that came across arsey, certainly was not my intention. Honestly, I did a bit of time in Switzerland...and would find it extremely difficult to learn Hoch Deutsch there. So good luck again with it.

    November 2013
  • spatterson us United States

    The Swiss I work with are fluent. There's no "maybe" about it. They went to university in English, they read technical books in English, they've written white papers in English, they *sound* American, and they know Family Guy and South Park better than I do. I don't really care about the other people I don't talk to.

    "It's interesting you say you don't need it to survive. But then, you become that guy then really. "

    "That guy" is not me and won't be me. "That guy" is the English guy (Not to offend you Brits. If you need to- mentally insert "american" instead ) I work with that has been here for 4+ years and hasn't learned a single bit of German.

    Really I don't know where this "the sky is falling, you're going to be that guy" is coming from. I've switched from 'sit back, read, listen, and enjoy' to 'full force gale' (oh man that's a good van morrison song)

    November 2013
  • [screw_censorship] aw Aruba

    I have a kind of fantasy, which goes like this: I speak German to a native, he/she replies in excellent English, and then I switch seamlessly to word-perfect Dutch...then drift back to German. (I reckon that'd give 'em the gas! :-D)

    November 2013
  • [screw_censorship] aw Aruba

    On reflection, I reckon the Clug's method is probably closely based on the over-learning drill based courses developed by the DLI and FSI in America in the 1960s and 70s. (In fact, if I remember right, the Clug actually claims to be a graduate of DLI, doesn't he?)

    But why would anyone pay $50 for something which is available for free online?? (Most of the FSI courses are public domain.)

    November 2013
  • krantlez us United States

    It would be nice to get any kind of an update from anyone who has tried using this method. I would be interested in seeing what kind of progress has been made and in which areas... or if anyone trying this method is simply doomed to burn-out.

    April 2016
    • [platyphylla] aw Aruba

      The guy can barely write coherent English. I dread to see what this 'method' is. Also note that his 'method' is so good that he failed military school language class several times and is monolingual besides some choppy French/Spanish.

      It's probably a scam/rip off of someone else's work. He's done what classic internet marketers do when their product flops - move onto something else to try and sell people.

      April 2016
      • JulieS au Australia

        Oh you're back on the let's rubbish Clugston thing again? Well it was worth every cent I paid: I naturally acquired vocab effortlessly, and my fluency developed. His right brain exercises were fantastic, there were follow-up emails, and the group Skype sessions with him were very enjoyable. The only reason I stopped the method was because I developed peripheral nerve damage in both hands, so it was impossible to continue the volume of writing.

        If you want to know the details, fork out the money yourself - but don't bother If you don't respect copyright and intellectual property laws...

        April 2016
        • [platyphylla] aw Aruba

          Good for you.

          And yes, i rubbish the guy because he is incredibly rude and arrogant despite not being able to write or speak his native language properly.

          I like how you've said you acquired vocab 'effortlessly' but then go on to say that the sheer volume of writing is too much. Surely that doesn't count as 'effortless' ?

          April 2016
          • JulieS au Australia

            Can you read? I didn't say the 'sheer volume was too much' and it looks like you missed the significant mention of nerve damage. Perhaps I could have said 'amount' instead of 'volume'. I have to constantly swap hands even when holding a telephone receiver, but can't write with both hands, so work it out. One can't write if the hand's gone numb after a short period of time, even after a few minutes sometimes.

            The 'effortlessness' of acquiring vocab in my case (and some others) happened incidentally, just like we may aquire vocab on LingQ 'like magic' with lots of reading and listening. The 'magic' is happening for me on LingQ right now.

            Some of your various remarks on here mocking Clugston etc reveal your apparent immaturity, lack of empathy, discernment and ignorance of post-traumatic stress disorder effects on individuals - so I assume you're quite young. After all, only an immature person would flaunt someone else's alleged traumatic past online as you did in previous posts.

            April 2016
            • [platyphylla] aw Aruba

              Wow you must have been dragged up. What an insane lack of manners.

              And yes i can read - you said 'sheer volume' suggesting that it's a lot of work, so how the hell did you acquire vocab 'effortlessly'. This and i KNOW his 'method' involves a LOT of hard work. Once again, hardly 'effortless'.

              I think you're just very angry at the fact that you tripped yourself up.

              As for his 'post traumatic stress' - if you could actually read yourself you will remember i highlighted it in order to have people go a little easier on him.

              The fact that he can't read, speak or write his own language well at all means i give him no credence as a 'linguist' or a language teacher and that is why i brought him up here, to add to the fact that he's ruder than you and very insulting and derogatory towards everyone else that's not himself.

              Anyone in the martial arts world knows that he is nothing more than a guy trying to sell second rate products and i assumed his language stuff was the same owing to the previously aforementioned appalling English language skills.

              Sorry if you love him so much that i touched a nerve but you'll have to be a big girl and realise this is just a forum where i'm able to air my views, and if you don't like it you should probably get a life.

              Don't bother responding and carrying this on - i have absolutely nothing more to say to you.

              Cheers.

              April 2016
        • [screw_censorship] aw Aruba

          Seriously Julz, so you highly rate Clug's method?

          Interesting.

          April 2016
          • JulieS au Australia

            I liked it. Different ways of doing things can help for different languages or language stages, and for different times depending on the individual. Variety is the spice of life. I like to use Glossika in combination with LingQ, at the moment. Whatever we enjoy.

            April 2016
            • [screw_censorship] aw Aruba

              Yeah I'm a huge fan of Glossika.

              (Maybe I should try Clug too? :-D)

              April 2016
            • ThorIsBoss us United States

              How are you using Glossika? I am doing Russian and am on day 85 of GSR (850 Sentences). It is really good but there are quite a few mistakes (my wife is Russian so I do know) and most annoying of all, there is not enough space to respond, not even close. I have to open units up in Audacity and plug in delays to at least give me as much time to say it as they did. I listen and when I have tough sentences I copy them in their own file (The GMS A's) and listen as many times as it takes to get it right. I then review the GMS C's (no English) to verify I know what is being said. It is working and the sentences are well chosen (even if often wrong).

              Have you tried the Triangulation course since you know multiple languages?

              September 2016
      • ThorIsBoss us United States

        He does seem unbelievably hostile to people just for trying to learn languages in a way that he does not approve of. Not everyone wants to be a linguist and they probably do not need to be to learn a language. I am not sure why he feels the need to do that. I guess that is his schtick and it is entertaining but not helpful. I also doubt his claims about his martial arts method being "the worlds strongest self defense" (or whatever he claims), Laughably ridiculous. That said, he definitely seems to be knowledgeable about language learning methods. As hard as it is to say because of his abrasiveness, he has added to the discussion on these language sites. For example, I never heard a peep about TPR anywhere until he mentioned it, then suddenly several other polyglots started mentioning it. Everything I have read, indicates it is the fastest method.

        September 2016
  • ThorIsBoss us United States

    If I had to guess, I would suspect he would have you do one topic in each of the ten books then the next topic right on thru till the end. If you did ten times the exercises on a limited topic, it might stick and get easier after each book but it would be painful. He also more than likely has a well thought out sequence to progress thru the books. Nouns followed by pronouns, etc. Just a guess.

    September 2016
    • Wulfgar us United States

      Let's make a little wager. We'll both buy the PDF. If your guess is right, I'll pay for both of them (meaning I'll send you the sticker price). If it's wrong, you'll pay for both of them.

      September 2016
      • ThorIsBoss us United States

        Ha. I've considered getting his course but not till I finish Glossika.

        September 2016